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2021 Chevrolet Colorado vs. 2021 Ford Ranger: Which Is Better?

The 2021 Chevrolet Colorado has the best-in-class towing rating, while the 2021 Ford Ranger has the best-in-class payload capacity. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • Chevrolet Colorado: Offers diesel power for best-in-class towing.
  • Ford Ranger: Offers new Tremor off-road model.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado

2021 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

2021 Chevrolet Colorado: Base price $25,200 / Read our 2021 Chevrolet Colorado Review

What we like: Multiple powertrain choices including Duramax diesel; most customizing choices; refreshed exterior; best-in-class towing.

What we would change: Prices can climb; add more standard safety features. 

Overview: Already an award winner, the Chevrolet Colorado continues to impress in 2021. A versatile powertrain selection including a 2.5-liter inline-4, a 3.6-liter V6, and a best-in-class towing winner with the 2.8-liter Duramax diesel, impress on all levels. Available in either two- or four-wheel-drive, off-road enthusiasts can opt for the Z71 and ZR2 trim levels and their uprated rough-riding abilities. 

What’s new for 2021: Primarily cosmetic in nature, most Colorado trim levels will receive revised fascias. Revised badging, new wheel options and the LT’s chrome appearance package are the big news items for the new year. 

Features and technology: With a ride that resembles those found in an SUV, the Colorado is a livable alternative for those owning a single car garage. There is no bone-jarring, vibrating ride that you would expect from a standard truck. Kudos to the engineering team for designing a truck that relays useful feeling to the driver, thanks to its excellent steering. Being the only mid-size pickup to offer a diesel powertrain, the 2.8-liter Duramax makes it a towing and mileage champ. Its off-road accessories include a wider track, raised suspension, revised bumpers, and functional skidplate. This way, you can go trail-busting on the weekend, and back to the office for the workweek.

What does the future hold: Expect mild refreshing in 2022 with a model overhaul (Redesign) in 2023. See 2021 Chevrolet Colorado Models for sale near you

2021 Ford Ranger

2021 Ford Ranger

2021 Ford Ranger: Base price $24,820 / Read our 2021 Ford Ranger Review

What we like: Powerful but singular engine; strong fuel economy; 7,500-pound tow rating; best-in-class payload.

What we would change: Offer other powertrain choices; expand bed and cab options; smooth out the ride.

Overview: With a pair of cab sizes, and bed lengths, and just one engine available, some may claim the Ford Ranger has a limited reach. But not so fast: The hefty tow rating and best-in-class payload do the talking here, and mix nicely with the high-tech infotainment and safety features. 

What’s new for 2021: The Tremor Off-Road package is new for 2021.

Features and technology: The Ranger returns to the midsize truck fold as a highly versatile vehicle that can help others forget the previous model. Power comes from a turbocharged 2.3-liter inline 4-cylinder engine developing 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. That power is sent to a 10-speed automatic transmission. Friends and family will appreciate the SuperCrew over the tighter SuperCab. The blind-spot monitoring system is tow-optimized to extend reward vision covering whatever is behind the truck. That system and the Bang & Olufsen 10-speaker audio system are two of our favorite options. Ford’s Co-Pilot360 safety suite is available on all models; Optional on the XL, standard on XLT and Lariat trim levels. 

What does the future hold: The Ford Tremor is new for 2021 and features real off-road capabilities. Expect the current design to undergo minor trim changes during the next two or three years. See 2021 Ford Ranger Models for sale near you

Colorado vs. Ranger: Strengths Comparison 

Chevrolet Colorado benefits: Diesel powertrain, with best-in-class towing.

Ford Ranger benefits: Fuel efficient, Best-in-class payload, and strong towing.

2021 Chevrolet Colorado vs. 2021 Ford Ranger: Which is better?

The Ford Ranger has the best-in-class payload capacity, but the Chevrolet Colorado with its Duramax Diesel powertrain achieves best-in-class towing capabilty. For that reason, we think the Chevrolet Colorado is better. Find a 2021 Chevrolet Colorado for sale or Find a 2021 Ford Ranger for sale

2021 Chevrolet Colorado 2021 Ford Ranger
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter I4 2.3-liter Turbo I4
Horsepower 200 @ 6,300 rpm 270 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque 191 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm 310 lb-ft @ 3,000 rpm
Transmission 6-spd automatic 10-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 22 mpg (19 city/25 hwy) 23 mpg (21 city/26 hwy)
Also Available 3.6-liter V6, 2.8-liter Duramax Turbodiesel, 4WD, off-road packages  AWD; Cabs and Beds; Tremor off-road package
Warranty 3years/36,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Safety Rating 4-star 4-star
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 128.3 inches 126.8 inches
Overall Length 212.7 inches 210.8 inches
Width 74.3 inches 77.8 inches
Height 70.7 inches 71.1 inches
Turning Diameter 41.3 feet 42.0 feet
Headroom, Front 41.4 inches 41.0 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.3 inches 38.3 inches
Legroom, Front 45.0 inches 43.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 35.8 inches 34.5 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 57.5 inches 56.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 56.2 inches 56.3 inches
EPA Passenger Volume N/A cu. ft. 97.6 cu. ft.
Max Payload 1,590 pounds 2,128 pounds


Mark Elias
Mark Elias
Mark Elias is a writer and photographer specializing in automotive topics ranging from new and used cars to classics and motorsports. His first car was a Matchbox Jaguar D-Type. From there, things have only become larger. During his professional career, he has been a staff photographer for the Associated Press, a contract photographer for Bloomberg News, and a contributor to automotive outlets... Read More about Mark Elias

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