Which new 2021 heavy-duty diesel truck is the most capable and the most powerful? Is it the 2021 Ford Super Duty, 2021 Chevy Silverado HD / GMC Sierra HD, or the 2021 Ram HD? All of these trucks get a towing rating increase and/or engine output increase. We collected all the data in a single place, so it’s easy for you to compare. You don’t have to dig for numbers on three or more different websites.
This topic is also part of our TFL Talkin’ Trucks Podcast series.
Let’s start with the power output specs! While the GM and Ford engine specs carry over from 2020, the guys at Ram and Cummins are raising the output. Here is the break down by the numbers!
|2021 Chevy/GMC HD||2021 Ford SD||2021 Ram HD|
|Engine||6.6L V8 turbo-diesel||6.7L V8 turbo-diesel||6.7L I6 turbo-diesel H.O|
|–Power||445 hp||475 hp @ 2,600||420 hp|
|–Torque||910 lb-ft||1,050 lb-ft @ 1,600||1,075 lb-ft|
|Transmission||10-speed auto (Allison brand)||10-speed (Ford)||6-speed (Aisin)|
As you can see, the Ford Super Duty remains the king of diesel horsepower among 3/4-ton and 1-ton heavy duty pickup trucks with 475 hp. GM keeps their ratings for now. Ram’s H.O. version of the 6.7-liter Cummins engine (in their 1-ton / 3500-series trucks) gets a boost in power to 420 hp and class-leasing 1,075 lb-ft of torque. The Ram high-output engine remains paired to the heavy-duty 6-speed Aisin transmission.
How about the towing and payload ratings? These three major truck makers are fighting for your dollar with very high tow ratings. The maximum tow ratings you see below apply to the latest diesel-powered 2021 one-ton dually trucks configured with a regular two-door cab and rear-wheel-drive only. On the flip side, the maximum payload ratings are listed for gasoline-powered versions of the two-door 2WD trucks.
While the diesel-powered trucks have the torque and power to tow great big trailers and the exhaust brake systems to slow them down, the diesel engine itself adds weight to the truck. As such, if you want maximum payload from your heavy-duty truck, you need to choose one that is powered by a lighter gas engine.
|2021 Chevy/GMC HD 3500||2021 Ford SD F350/450||2021 Ram HD 3500|
|Max. Tow Gooseneck||36,000 lbs||35,750 lbs/37,000 lbs||37,100 lbs|
|Max. Tow 5th-wheel||?||32,500 lbs||?|
|Max. Payload||7,442 lbs||7,850 lbs||7,680 lbs|
Alright, the above numbers are very impressive, but many people and businesses prefer to purchase crew cab trucks with 4WD to carry more people and have additional traction. How do these manufacturers stack up if you choose a 2021 dually in a crew cab 4×4 configuration? Here it is.
|2021 GM HD 3500||2021 Ford SD F-350||2021 Ram HD 3500|
|Max. Crew Cab 4×4 Towing||31,800 lbs||34,700 lbs||34,120 lbs|
While the 2WD short-cab Ram HD currently leads the segment with 37,100 lbs of towing, the Ford Super Duty edges ahead when you look at the 4×4 crew cabs. Now you can really see how close this “Heavy Duty Truck War” actually is.
Now, let’s consider the 3/4-ton trucks. These HDs sell in greater numbers than 1-ton trucks. The 2500-series trucks don’t ride quiet as rough as 1-tons when unloaded, and they are a little easier to live with on a daily basis if you do not need those massive payload and towing numbers of a 1-ton.
Here is a quick breakdown of how the 3/4-ton diesel-powered HD trucks stack up against each other. As you can see, Ford is edging ahead here as well.
|2021 GM HD 2500||2021 Ford SD F-250||2021 Ram HD 2500|
|Max. Tow Gooseneck||18,500 lbs||22,800 lbs||19,680 lbs|
|Max. Tow Conventional||18,500 lbs||20,000 lbs||19,680 lbs|
It is difficult to gather precise payload and towing ratings for each class of HD truck. These number depend on a lot of additional factors, such as rear differential ratios and configurations. Some manufacturers do not make it easy to find some of this information. Often time, the gooseneck trailer weight ratings are significantly higher than 5th-wheel ratings. This is primarily due to the hitch strength and design.
This page will continue to be updated with additional information. If you find additional data for the 2021 HD trucks, please let me know in the comments below or by sending an email to email@example.com Thank you!