For fleets, here’s some crucial information you need to guide your full-size, half-ton pickup purchase decisions.
There’s no question that full-size, half-ton pickup trucks are the mainstay of most fleets. The best part is that, thanks to their popularity with consumers, they now receive regular updates to improve their efficiency, performance, and features. Here’s our look at what’s on offer among the 2021 light-duty trucks.
The F-150 is substantially new for 2021, and now includes a hybrid option available on all trims. It rides on the same platform and with the same outside dimensions, but every body panel is redesigned. As before, it comes in Regular Cab, SuperCab, and SuperCrew, and the body is aluminum.
Engine choices are a naturally aspirated 3.3-litre V6 and 5.0-litre V8, which now adds cylinder deactivation; “EcoBoost” turbocharged 2.7-litre V6 and 3.5-litre V6; and 3.0-litre Power Stroke V6 turbodiesel that makes 440 lb-ft of torque. The hybrid system, called PowerBoost, uses the turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 with 35 kW electric motor and lithium-ion battery. It’s a full hybrid, capable of running on electricity, gasoline, or both, and makes up to 570 lb-ft of torque. It recharges through regenerative braking and doesn’t get plugged in.
Other features include an available work-bench tailgate, flat-folding driver’s seat, and centre console work table. An available onboard generator, with outlet plugs in the box, comes in power levels of 2.0 kW; 2.4 kW; and 7.2 kW on the hybrid. The F-150’s maximum towing capacity ranges from 5,000 to 14,000 lbs.
For 2021, the Chevrolet Silverado now offers the Multi-Flex tailgate on some trims, first offered on the GMC Sierra as the MultiPro. The tailgate has a weight capacity of 170 kilograms and six configurations, including a standing workstation and second-tier loading. The Silverado also offers a bed option package with LED lighting, 120-volt outlet, and 12 fixed tie-downs.
The Silverado and Sierra have different styling and trim levels, but are mechanically identical. Their engine choices may contain either Active Fuel Management (AFM), which shuts off half the cylinders when full power isn’t needed for better fuel economy, or Dynamic Fuel Management (DFM), which shuts off cylinders in patterns. There’s a 4.3-litre V6 with AFM; turbocharged 2.7-litre four-cylinder with AFM; two 5.3-litre V8s, with either AFM or DFM; 6.2-litre V8 with DFM; or a 3.0-litre inline-six turbodiesel that makes 460 ft-lb of torque.
Both the Silverado and Sierra come in Regular Cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab. Towing capacity ranges from 7,200 lbs to 13,300 lbs.
The company has announced it will stop selling the Titan in Canada, but will still offer it here through 2021. The truck underwent a mild makeover for 2020, and is available as the Titan and larger, heavier-duty Titan XD, both in Crew Cab and 4×4 only.
Both use a 5.6-litre V8 engine, now mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission in place of the old seven-speed. The engine has been retuned and Nissan advertises 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, but that’s only on premium fuel. On 87-octane, you get 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft as before. The 5.0-litre Cummins diesel previously offered on the Titan XD is no longer available.
The makeover includes updated exterior styling, new interior, available 9-inch centre touchscreen, and standard Nissan Safety Shield 360 on all trims, which adds front and rear emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, high-beam assist, and driver alertness monitor. Bumper-to-bumper warranty is 5 years/160,000 km. The Titan offers a maximum towing capacity of 9,210 lbs, while the Titan XD has a maximum of 10,880 lbs.
The Ram 1500 gets a few updates for 2021, including an available head-up display, digital rearview mirror, trailer reverse steering control, power-folding trailer mirrors, trailer light check, and a snow plow prep package with 220-amp alternator.
The available Multifunction Tailgate offers traditional drop-down opening, or two-piece side-door opening. Also available is RamBox, which adds two locking storage boxes on both bed sides.
Configurations are Quad Cab, or Crew Cab with two bed lengths. Engine choices are a 3.6-litre V6, 5.7-litre V8, or 3.0-litre EcoDiesel V6 making 480 lb-ft of torque. Standard on the V6 and optional on the V8 is eTorque, a self-charging mild hybrid system. The truck can’t run on its battery alone, but the system adds electric torque on acceleration to improve fuel efficiency and smooth out the gear changes.
A four-corner air suspension is available, which can be raised for off-road or lowered for easier entry and exit, and which self-levels when the truck is loaded, although it does cut down on payload capacity. Depending on configuration, the Ram 1500’s maximum towing capacity ranges from 6,390 lbs to 12,750 lbs.
The Tundra is unchanged for 2021, except for a new available Trail Package with unique TRD off-road wheels, side step bars, and black upholstery with tan stitching.
The Tundra comes in Double Cab or Crewmax. All use a 5.7-litre V8 making 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. All are 4×4 only, and every model comes with a towing package with heavy-duty hitch receiver, trailer brake controller, and transmission cooler. Towing capacity ranges from 8,800 lbs to 9,700 lbs.
Standard or available features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, adaptive cruise control, emergency front braking, automatic high-beam headlamps, power drop-down back window, LED headlamps, spray-in bedliner, blind spot monitoring, and power-locking tailgate.