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Diesel vs. hybrid towing: Pitting the Chevy Silverado diesel against the Ford F-150 hybrid

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diesel vs hybrid towingl
If you had to guess: Which light-duty truck do you think would do better towing a 24-foot camper, the Ford hybrid or the Chevy diesel? (Photo by Tim Esterdahl)

Have you ever wondered if a hybrid truck such as the Ford F-150 hybrid would get better fuel economy while towing than a diesel truck? If so, Tim is here to help answer that question in his latest video, which pits his brand new 2021 Ford F-150 PowerBoost against the 2021 Chevy Silverado Duramax in this diesel vs. hybrid towing test.

Towing with a half-ton truck

Most people who plan to haul an RV on a regular basis will choose a 3/4-ton or 1-ton pickup truck. They offer more power and better control when towing heavy loads. But it is totally possible to tow a decent sized camper with a half-ton truck like the Chevy Silverado with the 3.0-liter diesel or the Ford F150 hybrid.

When pulling an RV with a half-ton truck, there are some things to consider, and wind is one of them. High winds could leave you stranded at the park an extra day if it’s too windy to drive.

Ford vs Chevy: The stats

Let’s start with the 2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost. With a curb weight of 5,840 pounds, 1,546 lbs of payload, a 10-speed automatic transmission, and a 3.73 rear axel, this truck has an impressive towing capacity of 12,400 pounds. That’s pretty incredible for a half-ton pickup truck.

The price on this particular model is right at $61k.

The 2021 Chevy Silverado 3.0-liter diesel is just 400 pounds lighter, coming in at a curb weight of 5,420 pounds, yet with more payload at 1,709 lbs. It also has a 10-speed automatic transmission and a 3.23 rear axle. However, its towing capacity tops out at 9,000 pounds.

2021 Ford F-150 Hybrid towing
The 2021 Ford F-150 hybrid doesn’t use the electric motor when towing. (Photo by Tim Esterdahl)

The camper’s dry weight is 4,738 pounds. It is a 24-foot double-axel trailer. Tim also keeps both trucks in 2-wheel drive for the duration of the diesel vs. hybrid towing test.

Fuel economy by the numbers

2021 Chevy Silverado 3.0L diesel
Fuel used: 5 gallons
Miles driven: 65.2
Calculated MPG: 13 MPG
The computer read: 11.4 MPG

2021 Ford F-150 Powerboost
Fuel used: 9.119 gallons
Miles driven: 71.3
Calculated MPG: 7.8 MPG
The computer read: 7.6 MPG

When driving the Ford, Tim did use the boost mode to add more power. Unfortunately, this reduces fuel economy, but it’s better for towing. We should also note the hybrid system doesn’t use the top 2 gears when towing.

2021 Chevy Silverado Diesel Towing
The 2021 Chevy Silverado diesel truck has a smaller towing capacity, but the diesel engine offers more torque and a better fuel economy overall. (Photo by Tim Esterdahl)

Diesel vs. hybrid towing: which truck wins?

In short, the Duramax diesel is a better towing engine, thanks to the extra torque from the diesel engine, which offers more power and better fuel economy. But, the Ford Powerboost offers the on-board generator with plugs, which is great for overnight camping. So, there are pros and cons to each model.

Be sure to watch the diesel vs. hybrid towing video because Tim covers some other fun things like squat stats, the FordPass app’s trailer light check tool and more.

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