With the luxury trims and features that are available on today’s pickup trucks, the price can rise quickly. There are many configurations, though, so buyers can find just the right cab size, bed length, and features. Four-wheel drive is one feature that does add to the price, but it also adds important capabilities for trucks that drive off-road or in tough conditions.
Price is also important for many buyers, so here’s a look at three affordable 2021 four-wheel drive full-size trucks: the Chevy Silverado, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500.
The 2021 Chevy Silverado is the least expensive four-wheel-drive full-size truck
The 2021 Chevrolet Silverado has eight trims and 34 configurations, according to Cars.com. That’s a lot of versions, but if four-wheel drive is one of your must-haves, then only some of those configurations will work.
The Silverado’s eight trims are Work Truck, Custom, LT, Custom Trail Boss, RST, LTZ, Trail Boss, and High Country. The Custom Trail Boss and Trail Boss are only available with four-wheel drive.
The Work Truck trim is most affordable, starting at $28,900 for two-wheel drive with a Regular Cab, eight-foot box, and 139.6-inch wheelbase. Buyers looking for four-wheel drive can have that added to the same truck for $4,600 more, giving it a starting price of $33,500.
The 2021 Ford F-150 comes in second
The Ford F-150 has six trim levels and 42 configurations, says Cars.com. The six trim levels are XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch, Platinum, and Limited. All the trims are available in either two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
The most affordable F-150, at $28,940, is the XL trim two-wheel drive with Regular Cab, styleside 6.5-foot box, and 122-inch wheelbase. The most affordable four-wheel drive version comes on the same configuration for $33,585, which is $4,645 extra.
The 2021 Ram 1500 is third
The 2021 Ram 1500 offers eight trims and 31 configurations, according to Cars.com. Its eight trims are the Tradesman, HFE, Big Horn/Lone Star, Laramie, Rebel, Longhorn, Limited, and TRX. The HFE comes only with two-wheel drive, and the TRX comes only with four-wheel drive.
The least expensive Ram 1500 is the Tradesman trim with two-wheel drive, a Quad Cab, and a 140.5-inch wheelbase. Its price starts at $32,595. The same configuration with four-wheel drive starts at $36,095, which is $3,500 more.
What if you want a bigger cab?
Two of these three affordable trucks will seat just three people: the Silverado Regular Cab and the Ford F-150 Regular Cab. The Ram 1500 with the Quad Cab can seat up to six since it’s an extended cab with a smaller backseat.
The extended cab on the Silverado is called a Double Cab, while the F-150’s extended cab is called a SuperCab. All three have larger crew cab options too.
The most affordable four-wheel drive extended cab Silverado is a Work Truck trim with a Double Cab plus a 6.6-foot box and a 147.4-inch wheelbase. It has a starting price of $36,100.
The most affordable four-wheel-drive extended cab F-150 is the XL trim with the SuperCab plus a styleside 6.5-foot box and a 145-inch wheelbase. It starts at $36,455.
Why does four-wheel drive matter?
Two-wheel drive powers just two of the wheels, while four-wheel drive powers all four wheels. Two-wheel-drive vehicles are lighter and use less energy, according to Car and Driver, so these cars are more fuel-efficient. On the other hand, four-wheel drive provides more power and is better for all sorts of terrain.
In general, front-wheel drive provides better traction and handling at the expense of the performance of rear-wheel drive. Vehicles with four-wheel drive have the best traction and control, especially for slippery, rocky, or uphill terrain. Four-wheel drive is best for off-road driving.
Getting four-wheel drive in your truck does add to the price, but there are still affordable options. The 2021 Chevy Silverado Work Truck Regular Cab is the least expensive option today.
However, the 2021 Ford F-150 XL Regular Cab is just $85 more. Buyers who need to seat six may want to look at the 2021 Ram 1500 Tradesman Quad Cab, although the Silverado Work Truck Double Cab is just $5 more.
The F-150 XL SuperCab is $360 more than the Ram 1500. With so many available truck configurations, pickup truck buyers can find an affordable four-wheel drive truck that fits their needs.