I’ve had the rare pleasure of spending quite a few miles behind the wheel of both the 2015 F-150 and the 2015 Silverado. While we’re heading right into model year 2016, both models are staying quite similar even though the 2016 Silverado will have a retouched front grille and other mild changes.
I was able to test out the 2015 F-150 at the press event they hosted in Texas, where I got to take a few different models and trims out on the highway, on an off-road course and even pulling a trailer. This past spring I also got a review vehicle for a few days for a Fly Fishing and camping trip to Southeast Minnesota. Between the two I put over 800 miles on the vehicle.
In August, I got a 2015 Silverado for a road trip with my wife. We spent about 5 days driving all over South Dakota and even dipped into Wyoming via service road. While I only had the chance to drive the one trim of the Silverado, we put a significant number of miles on it. We camped, we took forest service roads and put plenty of highway miles on it. At the end of the trip we had traveled 1,700 miles.
While I didn’t live with either truck for an extended period of time, it was definitely enough time to develop an informed opinion on both models. The majority of my time was spent in remarkably similarly equipped trucks with just as similar prices. I’m not going to quote a ton of stats and specs but rather focus on personal experience.
F-150: Going into a full-size truck with a diminutive 2.7L, I had my doubts. They were quickly forgotten as soon as I stepped on the gas. The engine was designed around the the turbo so the dreaded turbo lag is non-existent. There is plenty of power and it’s readily available. The steering is tight and car-like, and the handling is nice. It kind of feels like driving a very large car, if that makes sense. For a truck, it’s a lot of fun to drive. The disappointing factor in driving the F-150 was that the gas mileage wasn’t as good as expected. We averaged around 20 miles per gallon in the 2.7L EcoBoost, even using the Start/Stop technology.
(Editor’s Note: The F-150 4×4 with the 2.7L EcoBoost is rated at 18 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, or 20 mpg combined.)
Silverado: With the ever-present 5.3L V8, the Silverado had a very familiar feel. Growing up a ‘Chevy Guy’ I’ve had plenty of time behind my Dad’s two Silverados over the years and jumping into the 2015 Silverado felt like driving a prettier version of the exact same truck. You have to really put your foot into it to get it to go but when it does, you get that familiar V8 power. The one issue we had was how stiff the rear suspension was. While I’m sure it softens under load, driving over washboard service roads even at low speeds caused the back end to slide out a few times. We averaged 19.8 miles per gallon in the Silverado which was great for a V8 that makes use of the cylinder deactivation. Keep in mind that much of our driving was on Highway 90 in South Dakota where the Speed Limit is 80 miles per hour. I was impressed with getting close to 20 MPG in a mix of high speeds on highway 90 and low speeds over varied terrain on service roads.
Ride & Comfort
F-150: The F-150 is truly all new for 2015. The overall ergonomics, view and seat position are spot on. It’s comfortable to sit in for long periods, though the seats can be a little stiff and make your butt a little numb after a few hours. I’d imagine they’ll soften over time. The infotainment system was easy enough to use and plenty intuitive. Throw in a reverse camera and blind spot monitoring, and the truck is not only fun to drive but easy to drive.
Silverado: While the field of view wasn’t quite as good as the F-150, it was not an issue. The interior layout is good and the seats were fine even on 8+ hour days in the saddle. While the infotainment user interface could use some refinement, the available wifi connectivity was great to have.
F-150: The majority of my time was spent in a 4-door XLT with a short box, and it was immensely useful. We were traveling with two fat-bikes, camping and fishing gear. With some of that gear being quite valuable having the rear seats folded up with the flat floor pan made an awesome, dry and safe storage area. The bed provided plenty of space for what we needed but obviously if you haul a lot of stuff and often you’ll want more bed space. The ground clearance and 4-wheel drive were great and were as expected for a full size truck.
Silverado: Similarly, the Silverado was 4-door with a short box and we packed full of camping gear and food. It was surprising how much I missed the easily folded seats with the flat floor pan. However, our truck was equipped with the under-seat storage bin than can provide secure storage hidden out of view. As silly as it may seem, having the little notched step in the bumper is actually a huge help when entering and exiting the bed often as I’m not that tall.
After spending plenty of time in both vehicles and despite growing up a Chevy guy, I just really like the F-150 better. It’s not like the F-150 blows the Silverado out of the water on paper or even in fee,l but it just has the culmination of styling and feel that puts it ahead. While driving the Chevy across South Dakota I kept thinking to myself that I just liked driving the F-150 better. While they’re both great trucks and I put both through the ringer of on and off-road use, my personal preferences and uses just fit better with the F-150.
There is value in the consistent feeling of the Silverado. Having a truck with updated features and technology like wifi in a truck that has that familiar engine, feel and performance will make loyal Chevy truck guys feel right at home. With rumors of an all-new Silverado due in 2018, it will be interesting to see how that truck takes shape.