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Chevrolet Silverado v. Toyota Tacoma: You Decide

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Chevrolet Silverado v. Toyota Tacoma: You Decide

When it comes to choosing between the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 or the Toyota Tacoma, the truck you favor will likely depend on how you are going to use it.

When it comes to choosing between the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 or the Toyota Tacoma, the truck you favor will likely depend on how you are going to use it.

If you need a full-sized truck, the Chevy Silverado 1500 will likely be your preference; the Silverado is the second most popular full-sized pickup sold in the U.S. If you don’t need the full-sized truck, you can’t go wrong with the Toyota Tacoma, #1 seller in the mid-sized truck category.

Off-roading? Take a look at the Tacoma. Heavy-duty work site? You can't beat the Silverado.

Pickup Market Share (2017)

  • Chevrolet Silverado – #2 most popular Full-Sized Truck: 586,000 sold
  • Toyota Tacoma – #1 most popular Mid-Sized Truck: 198,124 sold

The Toyota Tacoma

The Toyota Tacoma

Tale of the Tape:

Mid-Sized Pickup Truck

Payload: up to 1,620 pounds

Towing: up to 3,500-6,800 pounds

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): 5,600 pounds

The Toyota Tacoma has two choices for engines:

  • 2.7 Liter DOHC 16-Valve/4 cylinder – 159 hp, 180 lb-ft of torque
  • 3.5 Liter DOHC 24-Valve V6 – 278 hp, 265 lb-ft of torque

The Chevy Silverado 1500

The Chevy Silverado 1500

Tale of the Tape:

Full-Sized Pickup Truck

Payload: Up to 2,250 pounds

Towing: Up to 12,500 pounds

Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): 6,900 pounds

A redesigned 2019 model will use lighter materials, reducing vehicle weight by 400 pounds while maintaining durability and strength.

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has three engine choices:

  • 4.3 Liter V6 – 285 hp, 305 lb-ft of torque
  • 5.3 Liter V8 – 355 hp, 383 lb-ft of torque
  • 6.2 Liter V8 – 420 hp, 460 lb-ft of torque

The Ride

You’ll see the Tacoma featured in commercials going off-road, and enthusiasts will tell you that it's a fun ride. It’s trail-ready, with rugged equipment for toughness and long life. The trade-off is a possibly noisy ride.

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has plusher seats and a noticeably quieter cabin.

Towing Strength

With the two trucks belonging to different vehicle classes, the biggest difference you’ll find will be in towing strength. While it depends on which engine and options you choose, the Chevy Silverado 1500 has a maximum towing rating of 12,500 pounds – that’s likely more than enough to pull anything you’d need to.

The mid-sized Toyota Tacoma, by comparison, has a towing capacity of 3,500-6,800 pounds. That’s enough to pull lightweight trailers, or a utility trailer with a couple of snowmobiles or personal watercraft.

Keep in mind that more towing power means increased engine needs, which means lower fuel mileage.

Payload Capacity

There is also a big difference in payload capacity between the two trucks. The Silverado 1500 can handle 2,250 pounds, while the Tacoma payload max is 1,620.

Payloads are determined by engine, axle ratio, and transmission. In making your choice, think carefully about what kind of tasks you’ll be doing. Your first instinct may be to load up your truck with maximum payload and towing capacity, but you don’t want to pay for capacity that you won’t use.

The Chevy Silverado 1500 comes in 5’8”, 6.6”, and 8’ beds. The Toyota Tacoma has 5’ and 6’ bed options.

Better Fuel Efficiency

When you’re driving around something as heavy-duty as a pickup, you can’t expect to see mileage comparable to a sedan, but pickup truck fuel efficiency has improved significantly over the years.

The Toyota Tacoma earns an EPA estimated mileage rating of 18 city/22 highway miles per gallon. Different models and configurations can impact mileage, but the lowest-rated performer still rates 17 city/20 highway.

The 4.3 Liter V6 is the most efficient engine for the Silverado 1500. It is EPA rated at 18 city/24 highway mpg for the two-door. The 6.2 Liter V8 is rated at 15 city/20 highway mpg for the four-wheel drive version.

Technology & Safety Features

Starting with its 2017 models, and continuing with the 2018 models, Toyota has significantly upped both its interior tech and safety game. Both trucks now sport similar capabilities when it comes to tech and safety features.

Chevy Silverado and Toyota Tacoma both feature:

  • Forward collision mitigation
  • Lane departure warnings
  • Blind spot monitors
  • Backup cameras
  • Anti-lock brakes
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Tire pressure monitoring

The Silverado also offers lane-keeping assist, to avoid drifting. The Tacoma offers rear parking assist, hill start assist control, and dynamic radar cruise control on some models.

Comparison Pricing

The Silverado is bigger and more robust, with more towing power and payload. As you’d expect, you’ll pay more for a full-size versus a midsize truck.

The 2018 Silverado starts at $28,285 MSRP. The 2018 Toyota Tacoma starts at $25,200 MSRP. With options added to the base model, a typical Silverado can easily sell for $10,000 more than the Tacoma.

The most popular trim levels and packages can easily add $10,000-$15,000 to your bill for either vehicle.

The top limited trim level for the Tacoma TRD Pro can cost you more than $41,000, while the High Country Silverado 1500, Chevy’s priciest truck, has a price tag of $55,000.

What’s Anticipated For 2018

For their 2018 models, Toyota upgraded the standard active safety features, including automatic emergency braking, auto high beams, and adaptive cruise control. The optional 5-speed manual transmission was phased out. There are few changes coming for 2019, with the exception of the TRD Pro model. The Tacoma TRD Pro is getting some design upgrades, a relocated air intake for dust reduction when going off-road, better shocks, and improved front suspension.

The Chevy Silverado 1500 has also been redesigned, starting with the 2019 models. Unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show, the Silverado 1500 features a stronger but lighter-grade steel alloy than previous models. Doors, hood, and tailgates are made of lightweight aluminum, while the frame is 80% high-strength steel. Chevy says these changes allow for a reduction in total weight without sacrificing durability. Altogether, the redesign has reduced the truck’s weight by 400 pounds.

Other changes for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 in 2019 models:

  • Industry-first power tailgate will open and close automatically
  • Increased number of tie-downs
  • Double the maximum capacity of the 2018 model
  • New lockable storage bins
  • Updated versions of the 5.3 liter V8 and 6.2 liter V8 engines
  • New safety and tech package

Tacoma or Silverado? It’s Your Choice

Ultimately, your choice depends on which features you want and what capabilities you need. The more you need and the bigger the truck, the more you’ll pay. When you’re making your decision about whether to purchase the Toyota Tacoma or the Chevy Silverado 1500, first figure out exactly what you're going to do with it. Then, take the test drive, line up your pros and cons, and study the numbers. While this is by no means an exhaustive shopping guide, we hope we have covered the most common concerns of shoppers looking for truck backup cameras.