Oftentimes, when people are shopping for a vehicle on a budget, they opt for a base model because they think it’s all they can afford. But that’s not always the case.
The truth is, if you’re smart about the way you build your vehicle of choice, you can actually get a lot more for your money. And if you are split between two models, a great way to help you decide between them is to set a budget and see how much equipment you can get on each for that amount of money.
To prove this, we used Ford and Chevrolet’s configurators, set a budget of $48,000 and tried to find out which American pickup is the best value for a daily driver/weekend hauler: the 2017 Ford F-150 or the 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
Photo via Ford
2017 Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCrew, 5 1/2-foot box, 5-liter V-8, four-wheel drive (starting MSRP $46,645)
The Lariat is one of the highest available trim levels for the F-150, which means we don’t have to add to many options to make this the ideal weekend hauler. It comes with exterior features such as 18-inch aluminum wheels, all-terrain tires and LED box lighting. The Lariat trim also includes Sync 3, six months of Sirius XM, rearview camera with dynamic hitch assist and a Class IV trailer hitch. We selected the 5-liter V-8 because, with the Lariat’s 3.31 non-limited slip axle ratio it offers a maximum towing capacity of 9,100 pounds.
Photo via Ford
Options: Extended range 36-gallon fuel tank ($395)
We were fairly close to budget because we selected the Lariat trim, but we also didn’t need many options that it didn’t already come with. The only option we selected was the extended range fuel tank so, even when we’re towing, there will be no need to refuel more often than normal.
The total price — with $1,195 destination charge and $250 cash back — of our 2017 Ford F-150 Lariat SuperCrew, 5 1/2-foot box, 5-liter V-8, four-wheel drive in Shadow Black: $47,985.
Photo via Chevrolet
2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, crew cab, short box, 5.3-liter EcoTech3 V-8, four-wheel drive (starting MSRP $48,740)
The LTZ Z71 has a starting price that exceeds our budget, but given the amount of incentives available through Chevrolet, it ends up being below budget with a few options. We selected it because of the equipment it comes with, such as a trailer hitch with a 2-inch receiver, tow/haul mode, hill descent control, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment with an 8-inch touchscreen display, a three-month trial of Sirius XM and OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi with a three-month trial at 3G speeds. Also, with the 5.3-liter V-8 and 3.42 rear-axle ratio, our Silverado has a maximum towing capacity of 11,100 pounds. Additionally, the Z71 off-road suspension allows us to travel over rough terrain if need be.
Photo via Chevrolet
Options: Chrome trailer mirrors ($725), radio-navigation ($975)
The two options we selected are for the two different uses of this truck: Daily driving and weekend hauling. The trailer mirrors are to increase visibility while hauling and the radio-navigation is to make sure we get where we need to go as fast as possible during the week.
The total price — with $1,195 destination charge and $1,000 cash allowance and $3,072 factory reduction below MSRP — of our 2017 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, crew cab, short box, 5.3-liter V-8, four-wheel drive in black: $47,023.
Although our F-150 and Silverado are both extremely well-equipped, the added towing capacity offered by the Silverado’s V-8, as well as its off-road suspension, make it better value for the money. It’s important to note, though, if Ford decides to start increasing its incentives again our conclusion would likely change.
Thumbnail photo via Ford