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The great American truck rivalry has heated up over the past few years, and the options seem endless. Manufacturers are offering more alternative options to traditional gas-powered pickups. The 2021 Ford F-150 Diesel and 2021 Chevy Colorado Diesel are top contenders for those who prefer robust options. So, how can you determine which model is suitable for you?

There’s plenty of analysis breaking down which light-duty diesel truck is the best. But some shoppers cross-comparing trucks in different segments may remain undecided. After all, pickups like the F-150 and Colorado feature wildly different price points and capabilities. However, the following insight might help you make a more informed decision.

There’s hidden value in the 2021 Ford F-150 Diesel

A red 2021 Ford F-150 Diesel Lariat parked on display with trees in the background
The 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat on display | Ford

On the surface, the 2021 Chevy Colorado Diesel appears to be the economical option – even if it does have disappointing resale value. Chevrolet makes it available at a starting MSRP of just $37,810 (Colorado Diesel LT Crew Cab Short Bed.) Meanwhile, you’ll have to spend $6,970 more to get the most-affordable diesel-powered F-150. However, these numbers aren’t a simple as they appear.

Ford only makes its full-size diesel truck available with a four-wheel-drive configuration. This feature gives the F-150 Diesel more rugged capability by providing extra traction while driving off-road or on slick surfaces. 

Alternatively, Chevrolet’s mid-size diesel pickup comes standard with a rear-wheel-drive system. This cost-cutting measure reduces the Colorado’s versatility as a work truck or off-road performer. 

Once you add the cost of the available 4WD system to this Chevy, it no longer seems like a budget option. For example, the 2021 Colorado Diesel LT Crew Cab Short Bed 4WD starts at $41,275. Suddenly, the 2021 Ford F-150 Diesel XL Supercab Regular Bed’s starting MSRP of $44,780 seems like a steal.

The 2021 Chevy Colorado Diesel is shockingly inefficient

A black 2021 Chevy Colorado Diesel LT driving down a highway road
The 2021 Chevy Colorado LT 4WD in action | Chevrolet

Diesel pickups typically achieve better fuel economy than traditional gas-powered counterparts. So you may expect to get more miles out of every gallon when driving a diesel-powered F-150 or Colorado. 

That’s not quite the case. Both models are among the diesel trucks with the highest annual fuel cost. Yet, once again, the initial figures are misleading. 

According to the EPA, the 2021 Ford F-150’s 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 engine achieves a 23 MPG city/highway combined fuel-economy rating. Meanwhile, the 2021 Chevy Colorado manages the same fuel-economy rating with its 2.8-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. Keep in mind that Chevrolet’s truck does so with a more-efficient 2WD system. Colorado 4WD models get either 22 MPG or 19 MPG combined, depending on trim level.

The 2021 Ford F-150 Diesel has no limits

We’ve already established that purchasing a 2021 Chevy Colorado Diesel isn’t much cheaper than an F-150 Diesel. Plus, you’re not getting the fuel-efficiency return you’d expect from a smaller-sized truck. So, why would you settle for less capability?

The 2021 Ford F-150 Diesel kicks out 250 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. This power translates to 12,100 pounds of max towing capacity when the truck is properly equipped. As you’d expect, the pint-sized 2021 Chevy Colorado Diesel can’t compete in a head-to-head matchup. It only delivers 181 hp and 369 lb-ft of torque. And while its 7,700-pound towing capacity is one of the best in its class, it can’t take on big-time jobs.

Other experts also favor the 2021 Ford F-150 over the 2021 Chevy Colorado. For example, the U.S. News & World Report didn’t compare the trucks directly. However, the publication named the F-150 the best full-size truck of 2021. Meanwhile, it ranked the Colorado fourth among all compact pickups.

In the end, the 2021 Chevy Colorado Diesel isn’t affordable enough to be a better value than the 2021 Ford F-150 Diesel. You’ll only reap significant savings if you purchase a 2WD model, which destroys the appeal of a truck known for its off-road capability


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