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Toyota Tundra vs. Chevrolet Silverado: Which Is Better?

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Eric Brandt August 2018
  • The Toyota Tundra hasn't received a major revision since the 2007 model year.

  • The current Chevrolet Silverado is about to be replaced by an all-new 2019 model.

  • The Chevy is a more modern truck, but that doesn't mean the Toyota is obsolete.

The full-size truck segment is one of the most competitive fields in the automotive world. The best-selling models in this segment, by far, are trucks from the "big three" American brands: the Ford F-150, Ram 1500 and Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra. But just because those are the biggest players doesn't mean they're the only ones in the game.

The 2018 Toyota Tundra is pretty long in the tooth. It got a facelift a few years ago, but it's a truck that's been stuck in its second generation since the 2007 model year with no word of a replacement coming anytime soon. The 2018 Chevrolet Silverado, on the other hand, is in the final year of its current generation, which has been around since 2014 -- and it's already getting replaced for 2019.

Is the Tundra too old to be competitive? Is the Silverado still relevant with an all-new model on the horizon? Let's get into the differences between these two trucks and find out.

Exterior

These two trucks wear very different looks. The Silverado has a boxy aesthetic all around from the front end to the back end and all throughout the body. The Tundra, on the other hand, is more curvy with softer features, but still looks pretty rugged.

The 2018 Chevy Silverado is available with three cabs and three boxes: Regular cab, double cab and crew cab and standard, short and long bed variants. It's all pretty self-explanatory, the regular cab has no back seat, the double cab has a small back seat and the crew cab has a big back seat. The short box for the Silverado is 69.33 inches, the standard box is 78.87 inches and the long box is 97.77 inches.

The 2018 Toyota Tundra also has a short, standard and long box, but its cab sizing is a little unconventional. There's no "regular" cab available for the Tundra, which means you can't get one without a back seat. Its two cab sizes are double cab and Crewmax, which are comparable to the Silverado's double cab and crew cab, respectively. The bed lengths for the Tundra are almost identical to the Silverado's numbers. The short box is 66.7 inches, the standard box is 78.7 inches and the long box is 97.6 inches.

Interior

The aesthetic of the Silverado's interior is similar to its exterior. It has a boxy, rugged look befitting of a truck, and it has a very practical layout. The interior design does a nice job of looking functional, yet modern. One minor nitpick we do have is that the font of the gauges in Chevy trucks has looked the same since the 1990s, and it tends to date the truck a bit. You shouldn't be making a truck buying decision based on gauge fonts, but it's something we can't help but notice.

The Tundra shows its age a bit on the inside as well. It doesn't have an ugly or uncomfortable interior, but it doesn't quite feel like a truck from 2018 on the inside. Details like the vents, the steering wheel and the buttons just make the truck look older than it is. That being said, it can be optioned to have a very nice interior, but even in the higher trims it has a hard time shaking its dated look.

Mechanicals and Capability

If you're shopping for a truck and planning on putting it to work, what's under the hood matters. There are three engines available in the 2018 Chevrolet Silverado. The base engine is a 4.3-liter V6 making 255 horsepower and 385 lb-ft of torque. The most common engine under the hood of a 2018 Silverado is a 5.3-liter V8 that makes 353 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque. The biggest and most capable engine you can get in this truck is a 6.2-liter V8 that puts out impressive performance numbers of 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque.

The 2018 Toyota Tundra is available with two engines, and they're both V8s. The base engine is a 4.6-liter V8 that makes 310 hp and 327 lb-ft of torque. If that's not enough grunt, you can upgrade to a 5.7-liter V8 that makes 381 hp and 401 lb-ft of torque. On paper, the base V8 in the Tundra falls between the V6 and the 5.3 V8 in the Silverado while the Tundra's 5.7 V8 slots between the 5.3 and the 6.2 in the Chevy.

When it comes to towing and payload capacity, the Silverado beats the Tundra when similarly equipped. The Chevy has a maximum towing capacity of 12,500 lbs, which is more than a ton more than a Tunda's maximum towing capacity of 10,200 lbs.

The Silverado is also quite a bit more fuel efficient than the Tundra. Even the Chevy's strongest engine, the 6.2-liter V8, is more efficient than the base 4.6-liter V8 in the Tundra. If you're planning on covering a lot of miles with your truck and want to save some money at the pump, then you may want to take a closer look at a Chevy.

Both pickups are available with 4-wheel drive to give these trucks extra traction in all seasons and some off-road capability.

Features and Technology

We live in an age where the interior of a truck can be every bit as nice as a high-end luxury sedan. The Tundra and Silverado are no exceptions to that new rule. In the higher trims of the Silverado, like the LTZ and High Country, you can get luxuries like heated and ventilated leather seats, a Blu-Ray back seat entertainment system, navigation, premium audio and much more. The top trims of the Tundra, like the Platinum and 1794 editions, are similarly appointed with luxury features, but you can't get a Tundra with a back seat entertainment system. Another perk of the Chevy is available Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

A noteworthy advantage that the Tundra has over the Silverado is the fact that every 2018 Tundra comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P) technology. This suite of safety tech includes a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane-departure alert with sway warning system, automatic high beams and dynamic radar cruise control. Similar safety features are available on the Silverado, but they'll cost you. No matter how much you prioritize safety, TSS-P is nice to have standard on every new Tundra.

Pricing

At $31,320, the Tundra has a higher starting price than the Silverado at $28,300, but the Tundra is generally the more affordable truck when the two are similarly equipped. One of the main reasons for the gap in starting prices is the fact that you can get a Silverado with a regular cab and you can't with a Tundra. The cheapest Tundra is a lot nicer than the cheapest 4-door Silverado.

The price ceiling is a lot higher for the Silverado than it is for the Tundra. The Sierra High Country starts at $53,000, while the Tundra Platinum and 1784 Edition both start at $47,280. The Chevy might be the nicer truck, but a loaded full-size truck for well under $50,000 actually makes the Tundra a budget proposition in luxury pickups.

The Tundra is also just easier to shop for by having fewer trims than the Silverado. If you get deep into the configurator for the Silverado, it can make your head spin with all of its different trims and optional equipment packages, while the Tundra has clear-cut entry-level, mid-range and luxury trims -- and they're all more affordable than comparable Silverados.

Conclusion

Which truck is right for you depends on your priorities. If you're looking for a modern, capable truck that returns strong fuel economy, the Silverado is probably right for you. If you're looking for an affordable truck that's capable of doing truck stuff and if fuel economy takes a back seat to safety, then the Toyota Tundra can deliver a lot of bang for the buck.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Toyota Tundra vs. Chevrolet Silverado: Which Is Better? - Autotrader