When you’re truck shopping, the 2021 Ford F-150 and Toyota Tacoma are certain to pop up on your radar. These modern pickup trucks are ready for action, with plenty of towing power and off-road potential. Better yet, both trucks also offer a ton of creature comforts and tech features. Which model is right for your daily drive? Our comparison guide is here to help you tell these trucks apart.
More Muscle: 2021 Ford F-150
While the Toyota Tacoma is technically a midsize truck, the F-150 comes from the bigger full-size truck segment. Not only does the full-size F-150 deliver more power than its smaller counterpart, but it also offers a longer list of powertrain options. When you choose the F-150, you can tailor performance to suit a wide range of needs.
Of the F-150’s six engine options, the most powerful is its new hybrid powertrain, which combines the top-of-the-line twin-turbo 3.5-liter V6 with a battery-powered motor, churning out a total of 430 horses and 570 pound-feet of torque. The F-150 also offers a pair of engines designed to balance power with efficiency, the turbocharged 2.7-liter V6 (325 hp, 400 lb-ft) and turbocharged 3.0-liter diesel V6 (250 hp, 440 lb-ft).
The 2021 Tacoma offers two engines. On the SR and SR5 models, you’ll find the standard 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine (159 hp, 180 lb-ft). An upgraded 3.5-liter V6 (278 hp, 265 lb-ft) is optional for those trim models and standard on the rest. While the Tacoma is powerful enough, it can’t really compete with the F-150 in terms of muscle.
Maximum Efficiency: 2021 Ford F-150
Interestingly, the F-150 is both the most powerful truck and the most efficient one. The new hybrid powertrain helps the F-150 earn up to 25 mpg combined (25 city/26 highway mpg). The diesel engine offers the next-highest EPA ratings, with 23 mpg combined (20/27 mpg).
The Tacoma’s EPA ratings also vary according to powertrain, body style, and equipment. The Tacoma’s base engine is also its thriftiest option, with EPA ratings of up to 21 mpg combined (20/23 mpg). With the optional V6, the Tacoma actually earns similar EPA ratings — up to 21 mpg combined (19/24 mpg).
Rugged Capabilities: It’s a Tie!
Both the 2021 Ford F-150 and Toyota Tacoma will take you as far off the beaten path as you care to venture. The F-150 offers a number of off-road-friendly packages, including the FX4 and Tremor packages. Add these to your truck for upgrades like all-terrain tires and off-road-ready suspension. The F-150 also offers a specialty off-road model, the Raptor. It’s fully loaded with rugged extras to maximize your trips down the trail.
The Toyota Tacoma offers its own rugged trim model, the TRD Off-Road. Like the F-150 Raptor, it upgrades your trail experience with features like Bilstein shock absorbers and a lockable rear differential. However, the Tacoma doesn’t offer a variety of off-road packages for its other trim models.
Technology: 2021 Ford F-150
The newly redesigned 2021 F-150 introduces some tech features never before seen in a pickup truck. This includes the optional semi-autonomous driving system, which lets you drive hands-free down thousands of miles of pre-mapped highways. The new Pro Power Onboard system is perfect for drivers who spend a lot of time at remote worksites, supplying up to 7,200 watts to operate power tools.
Like the F-150, the Tacoma offers all the latest infotainment gear, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity. Toyota’s midsize pickup also comes standard with the usual driver safety aids. That means features like lane departure warning and forward collision mitigation help you avoid a dangerous situation. However, you won’t find an onboard generator or any hands-free driving technology.
The 2021 Toyota Tacoma is an impressive midsize truck, but the newly redesigned 2021 Ford F-150 outdoes it in just about every capacity. The F-150 offers everything from maximum muscle to wallet-friendly efficiency. And all-new tech features add to your daily drive in a way the Tacoma simply can’t match.