The Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500 are all popular pickup trucks, but Consumer Reports hated all options. This decision wasn’t made lightly, and Consumer Reports back up the decision with facts and scores. What made CR overlook all three of these full-size trucks? A variety of reasons.
Why Consumer Reports Dissed the Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Consumer Reports noted that the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 made some improvements over the 2019 version, which was good news. The Silverado received an increased payload and towing capacity along with better fuel economy. Chevrolet also upgraded the transmission to an eight-speed to match the 5.3L V8 better. With that, the Silverado 1500 achieved an overall fuel mileage of 17 mpg.
Consumer Reports found the full-size pickup truck responded well during the road course and the automatic four-wheel-drive system was helpful. The LT trim can tow up to 9,600 pounds. The upgraded, heavy-duty tow package upped that number to 13,400 pounds.
But overall, CR found the 2021 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 unimpressive for the price of around $50,000. The interior and controls looked cheap and basic. The seats weren’t very comfortable, and the dashboard looked uneven. When tested, the V8 truck took 163 feet to stop during the wet braking test. Unimpressive indeed. With a lack of forward collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), and blind-spot warning (BSW), it left a lot to be desired. The overall reliability came in at 45, which, again, was unimpressive.
Consumer Reports didn’t love the Ford F-150 either
The Ford F-150 received a bit of an upgrade both on the exterior and cabin. Ford introduced a hybrid version of the F-150 and added more technology. While Consumer Reports was quick to note that the F-150 is the best-selling truck in the U.S., the 2021 model didn’t make any significant improvements. The specific trims tested were the Lariat hybrid and XLT trims. The hybrid has 430 hp that has an astronomical 12,400-pound tow rating.
The XLT version still has 325 hp from the 2.7L turbo V6. This engine had a 7,700-pound towing capacity. Four-wheel-drive is available for the Lariat trim and up. The tailgate folds down to act as a workbench when needed, and the hybrid model can work as a mobile generator. The F-150 comes with FCB and AEB standard.
Consumer Reports found that Ford gave the PowerBoost hybrid 4WD version an EPA-estimated 24 mpg for fuel economy. However, during testing, that number was a mediocre 20 mpg. The 2.7L turbo option got 21 mpg. The steering wasn’t the fastest, and the handling was clumsy at times. The reliability score was alright, and the overall score was 55. CR suggests getting at least the XLT trim and the 2.7L turbo engine.
The 2021 Ram 1500 was a solid contender
Compared to the other options, CR found that the Ram 1500 “remains a kinder, gentler pickup truck but in a good way.” 2019 saw the truck lighter, more fuel-efficient, and roomier for passengers. The crew cab tested got 17 mpg overall from the 5.7L V8 engine with a mild-hybrid setup. The 3.0L V6 diesel with 260 hp got 23 mpg overall. With the right towing package, the diesel truck can tow up to 12,750 pounds. The payload for most of the Ram trucks is 1,800 pounds. Automatic 4WD is available on most trim levels, and the tailgate is improved.
The 2021 Ram 1500 is roomy, and there are storage bins built into the floor. However, things like leather seats and interior selections look cheap for a $50,000 truck. FCW, AEB, and BSW are all only optional. For such a high price, these should ideally be included in most trim levels. CR predicts the reliability for the truck won’t be outstanding based on years past.
If you have to have the Ram 1500, CR suggests the Hemi V8 with the eTorque mild-hybrid option. Or, the Big Horn trim with the Level 2 equipment package offers BSW and trailer upgrades. The Laramie trim with the Level 1 package provides FCW, AEB, and finally, leather seats.
Final thoughts on the full-size trucks
Consumer Reports didn’t recommend any of the above trucks when it came down to it due to the unreliability. The Ram 1500 was the best of the worst options with a solid blend of modern qualities. The Ford F-150’s inclusion of FCW, AEB, and a hybrid powertrain were positives. Consumer reports felt the Silverado missed the boat overall. The diesel option was OK, but for an extra $3,300, it wasn’t great. Keep looking because there are better deals and better trucks to be had.