Why Ford Pickup Drivers Wouldn't Be Caught Dead in a Chevy

2020 Ford F-150 Raptor

The Ford Motor Company

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2020 Ford F-150 Raptor
The Ford Motor Company

A Game of Pickup

Like the Yankees and Red Sox, Coke and Pepsi, Marvel and D.C., the Ford and Chevy rivalry is a generational affair that has no clear winner — but Ford aficionados have earned plenty of bragging rights. Ford owners tend to be brand loyalists, and it shows in the sales figures. Dollars and cents aside, here are the real reasons that Ford fans would never trade up for a Chevy, whether in the compact, full-size, or heavy-duty lines.

Related: 32 Most Reliable Trucks of All Time

2015 Ford F-150 Frame and body
The Ford Motor Company

Aluminum Turned Out to Be a Smart Move, After All

When Ford switched from steel to aluminum alloy for the bodies of its F-150s — the frames are still steel — Chevy launched an ad campaign mocking the move. Steel, after all, is much more macho than the silly stuff airplanes are made from. The campaign backfired. The F-150 shed hundreds of pounds without sacrificing performance, and the major players in the industry scrambled to catch up. Among them was Chevy, which swallowed its pride and announced that it would be making a move toward aluminum bodies on its own trucks in the future.

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Ford 6.7L Power Stroke diesel third-gen
The Ford Motor Company
Chevy Model 490
Chevy Model 490 by General Motors (CC BY-SA)

Chevy Has Always Been a Step Behind

It’s not just recent innovations. Chevy has been copycatting Ford trucks since, well, it copycatted the Ford truck. In 1917, the truck became America’s working vehicle when Ford unveiled the Model TT, which was available as a chassis only. One year later in 1918, Chevy introduced the Model 490, which also was a truck chassis only that required the addition of a bed, body, and cab.

Related: 19 Reasons Why Drivers Love the Ford Bronco

2020 Chevrolet Silverado
2020 Chevrolet Silverado by General Motors (CC BY-SA)

Chevy’s Standard Bearer Is Not the F-150

The F-150 arrived in 1975 as a compromise between the F-100 and the F-250 — and what a compromise it was. The most popular model in the most popular series of trucks in America year after year and decade after decade, the F-150 is, without question, America’s truck. The icon’s counterpart in Chevy world, on the other hand, is the Silverado, which is essentially a GMC Sierra in a cheap tuxedo.  

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2020 Ford F-150 Raptor
The Ford Motor Company

The F-150 Has Led in Safety

The Ford F-150, with its aluminum body, was the only pickup awarded a Top Safety Pick rating last year from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The truck aced all five major tests, including a new one simulating the effects of hitting a pole or a tree. It wasn’t just Chevy that got lost in Ford’s shadow; Ram, Toyota, and GMC were also left temporarily in the dust, seemingly catching up in 2021. (The latest F-150 is waiting to be rated.)

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2020 Ford F-150 Super Duty
The Ford Motor Company

There’s That Little Discrepancy in Payload Capacity

At its max, the Ford F-150 can haul 3,325 pounds of stuff. That’s more than 1,000 pounds than the Silverado 1500 at its own maximum payload capacity. That’s about five big dudes. Or a small horse. Or a large bear. You get the point.

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2020 Chevy Silverado 1500
2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 by General Motors (CC BY-SA)

Towing Is Complicated for Silverado Buyers

Chevy puts the max towing capacity for the Silverado 1500 at 13,300 pounds for 2021, which would still be more than the 13,200 that’s been available on the F-150 since 2015 but a drop of 100 pounds from what the Silverado offered in 2020! Another little problem: The F-150 now goes up to 14,000 pounds. Silverado buyers may be haunted by the towing power they don't have either from Ford … or their own brand.

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2018 Chevrolet Colorado
2018 Chevrolet Colorado by General Motors (CC BY-SA)

The Entry-Level Chevy Is a Pricing Trap

With a starting MSRP of $25,200, Chevy’s entry-level midsize Colorado is already pricier than the $24,820 starting MSRP attached to the entry-level Ford Ranger. (Even Ford's priciest model is nearly $10,000 less than the top Colorado trim.) The base Ford, however, has more power with a better engine, while the interiors and amenities are basically matched from brand to the other.  

Related: The Most Popular New and Used Cars and Trucks in America

2020 Ford Ranger
The Ford Motor Company

The Entry-Level Ford Offers More Standard Safety Features

The Ford Ranger comes with an impressive suite of standard safety features, including canopy airbags, curve control, AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control, four-wheel antilock brakes, forward-collision warning, and much more. The Chevy Colorado offers forward-collision warning, rear parking sensors, and lane-departure warning as options.

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2020 Ford F-250 SD
The Ford Motor Company

Chevy’s Heavy Duty Line Can’t Compete

Ford’s Super Duty line is 18 models strong, each with its own suite of packages, and the comparable Chevy Silverado HD line simply can’t compete; its heavy-duty trucks have been known for rough rides at low speeds and dated interior looks. The popular Ford F-250 packs in more power and features standard than the comparable Silverado 2500. 

Ford SYNC 4 infotainment system
The Ford Motor Company

Ford’s Infotainment System Is Sweeter

Ford moved to the SYNC 4 infotainment system, which debuted on the 2020 Explorer. It offers a 12-inch screen and increases its computing power by a multiplier of two compared with the previous incarnation. The Chevrolet Infotainment 3 system, on the other hand, goes up to 8 inches. Screen size, however, is not the only consideration. The SYNC 4 is more user-friendly and more intuitive than Chevy’s version, unless you’re willing to pay more to upgrade.

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Chevy Is Just Another Piece of the GM Portfolio

Japan’s Toyota, Germany’s Volkswagen, and South Korea’s Hyundai are the world’s three biggest automakers in terms of annual production. In terms of American brands — no Ford or Chevy aficionado would ever be caught in a Tundra or a Santa Cruz — Ford comes in second behind only GM, but it’s not a fair comparison. GM includes the Chevy brand, but it also includes Buick and Cadillac. Standing only on its own two feet in recent data, Ford produced 6,386,818 vehicles compared with just 6,856,880 for the entire GM collective combined.

Related: 33 Greatest American Trucks of All Time

1913 Experimenting with mounting body on Model T chassis
Wikimedia Commons

The Ford Name and Legacy

Louis Chevrolet was a giant of the automotive industry and great pioneer, no doubt — but there can be only one Henry Ford. Ford, the man and the company, not only revolutionized the automobile industry, but helped create the American middle class with the $5 wage and the five-day, 40-hour workweek. (He did not, however, invent the car.) His creation of the modern assembly line became the blueprint for the entire American manufacturing sector. The Chevy and Ford lines of trucks are undeniably comparable, but only one carries the name of what might be the most consequential name in the history of U.S. industry.

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Ford F-Series
The Ford Motor Company

The Numbers Don’t Lie

In terms of sales, Ford is the winning team by many, many miles. Not only has Ford been the bestselling brand in America for a decade, but the jewel in the Ford crown is its F-Series line of trucks. With 787,422 F-Series pickups sold in 2019 alone, it holds the remarkable distinction of being the bestselling truck in America for 44 straight years, leaving Chevy — and all other truck makers — as nothing more than specks in the rearview mirror.

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