Ford F-150 vs Toyota Tundra: Which Is the Better Full-Size Truck

Ford F-150 vs Toyota Tundra

Spend any time reading up on pickups and you’ll quickly realize that the Ford F-150 is - and has been for over four decades - the big kahuna among full-size trucks.

Yet the market is not short of competition vying to carve their own success from Ford’s share of the sales pie chart. Among those is Toyota. The Japanese brand is best known for its midsize pickup truck, the Tacoma, but its full-size Tundra has been sparring with the American trucks for quite some time.

We’ve dove into the nitty-gritty of both the all-new F-150 and the aging, 2007-vintage Tundra to see if the Ford does indeed earn its first-place sales position.

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Ford F-150 vs. Toyota Tundra Comparison

Toyota Tundra2021 Toyota TundraFord F-1502021 Ford F-150
Max Length/Width/Height
229 / 80 / 76 in.
244 / 80 / 78 in.
Wheelbase Length
145.7 in.
157 in.
Minimum Ground Clearance
10.4 in.
8.8 in.
Legroom 1st/2nd Row
42.5 / 34.7 in.
43.9 / 43.6 in.
Max Towing Capacity
10,200 lb
14,000 lb

Available Engines

5.7-liter V-8
3.3-liter V-6
2.7-liter V-6
3.5-liter V-6
5.0-liter V-8
3.0-liter V-6
Max Fuel Economy (City/Highway)
13 / 17 mpg
19 / 26 mpg

Tale of the Tape

Ford F-150 Tale of the TapeSo which is the bigger truck? Don’t answer that, because it’s a trick question: the F-150 is both the larger and smaller truck. That’s possible thanks to the endless configurations the F-150 is offered with.

In its shortest form, the F-150 sports a single cab and a 6.5-foot bed. This combo measures 209 inches long and utilizes a 122-inch wheelbase.

On the flip side of things, you can opt for the same bed with the crew cab design. That combo - far more common than the single cab/short bed layout - uses a 157-inch wheelbase to support 243 inches of total length. This and the aforementioned single-cab truck bookend a raft of other configurations that include a 5.5-foot bed, an 8.0-foot bed, and an extended cab design.

Toyota, meanwhile, claims that all Tundras share the same 145.7-inch wheelbase and 228-inch overall length. We find it a bit odd, considering there’s the extended cab and its 6.5 foot bed and a crew cab with a 5.5-foot bed. Perhaps the shorter cab and longer bed of the extended-cab model perfectly cancel out the longer cab and shorter bed of the crew cab truck. We’re still skeptical, but Toyota’s own website says it’s so.

Regardless of the validity of Toyota’s figures, one thing is clear: the F-150 is the longer truck, the shorter truck, and the in-between truck.

Performance

Ford F-150 PerformanceFord seems to know this better than anyone else - why else would it offer a half-dozen engines across the F-150 range? We won’t spend too much time on the unimpressive base V-6, the pleasant twin-turbo 2.7-liter V-6, or the torquey but obscure diesel.

If you want to haul or tow the most poundage, you’ll need the 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6. This engine generates a stout 400 horsepower and 500 lb-ft of torque, which gets sent through a ten-speed automatic transmission common to every F-150 powertrain. With up to 14,000 pounds of towing capacity and 3,250 pounds of payload capacity, this engine is strong. Strong enough, in fact, to vault the F-150 to coveted best-in-class status for towing capacity.

More powerful than the 3.5-liter EcoBoost is the 3.5-liter PowerBoost, a hybridized version of the potent V-6. Adding the hybrid components boosts power to 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque, but it’ll only tow up to 12,000 pounds and haul 2,000 pounds. But no one is complaining about a truck that can return 24 mpg in all EPA drive cycles.

Traditionalists will be happy to know that along with these engines there’s also a 5.0-liter V-8 on the order sheet. Despite the most cylinders, its 400 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque slot it under the 3.5-liter engines when it comes to power. While the V-8’s 13,000 pounds of towing capacity doesn’t trump the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, its 3,325-pound payload rating is the highest among the F-150 lineup - and also the highest in the segment.

Against all this muscle and motor, the poor Tundra makes do with a dated 5.7-liter V-8 generating 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. It pairs up to an equally old-school six-speed automatic transmission. If you were hoping for another option - perhaps a base V-6 or an optional turbocharged or hybridized engine akin to the EcoBoost - you’ll be disappointed.

The Tundra does manage to tow 10,200 pounds in its strongest configuration, but that doesn’t quite give the F-150 any reason to be concerned. The Tundra’s max payload is 1,730 pounds, also falling short of the F-150. Even its gas mileage isn’t as good as the V-8 Ford.

Unfortunately for Toyota, there’s no contest here. The F-150 offers a much better range of performance suited to a wide spectrum of buyers and shoppers.

Current Ford F-150 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021FordF-150

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Ford deals here.

Current Toyota Tundra Deals & Incentives

You may qualify for deals and incentives, check out this month's Toyota deals here.

Interior

Toyota Tundra InteriorHere again, versatility and customization play to Ford's favor. A sea of trims and cab designs allows buyers to build an F-150 to resemble anything from Grandpa’s old work truck to a ritzy luxury SUV that happens to sport a bed rather than a third row.

Most F-150 buyers will want the crew cab for its four full-size doors. Generous rear legroom of nearly 44 inches gives the cabin a cavernous feel. The priciest trims in the F-150 lineup are exclusively offered with this cab design.

For those who rarely haul passengers, the extended cab and its rear jump seats might be a more practical choice - it ultimately means less truck to wield around. The single cab is limited to the work-spec XL and the slightly nicer XLT. The continued availability of a single cab is another point for Ford, as many other truck manufacturers - the Tundra included - have abandoned it in favor of the more popular larger cabs.

The Tundra’s crew cab is also its most popular iteration, and its 43 inches of legroom nearly matches that of the F-150. The Tundra also offers an extended cab that’s available on four of the Tundra’s six trims. Only the Platinum and 1794 Edition are limited to the crew cab.

Technology

Ford F-150 TechnologyInside, both trucks sport honest cabins with lots of hard angles and large, flat, rectilinear surfaces. Ford, however, has upped its game significantly when it comes to technology. The all-new 2021 model offers such features as a 12.0-inch touchscreen - standard on nearly every trim - with over-the-air updates, wireless smartphone compatibility, and split-screen functionality, all courtesy of the latest Sync 4 infotainment software. Buyers of the base XL get an 8.0-inch touchscreen, also with the latest software.

Other neat tech available on the F-150 includes a power-folding shifter - designed to fold out of the way so owners can put their laptop or paperwork on the resulting flat surface - a 12-inch digital gauge cluster, and a built-in generator for powering worksite tools. A Ford app also allows remote control of numerous vehicle functions and diagnostic information around service intervals and other information.

The Tundra, dating back to 2007, doesn’t have any such in-truck technology. It does get either a 7.0- or 8.0-inch touchscreen, and among its available features are navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, SiriusXM, and cloud services. Other noteworthy tech is notably lacking.

Safety

Toyota Tundra SafetyThe Tundra comes standard with safety equipment such as lane departure alert, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, and emergency braking. It’s an impressive list for any pickup truck, especially one as old as the Tundra. There’s also the usual raft of airbags and other common safety gear.

In crash testing, the IIHS found the Tundra to be a mixed bag. Side and moderate front overlap tests earned the highest rating of ‘Good,’ but the small front overlap was a ‘Poor.’ Other tests fell somewhere in the middle. The NHTSA gave it four stars out of five overall.

The 2021 F-150 is too new to have been tested by either testing body just yet, so scores remain forthcoming. As for active-safety gear, Ford builds every F-150 with automatic emergency braking, automatic high beams, and dynamic hitch assist. Unlike the Toyota, there’s no adaptive cruise control right off the bat.

It is optional, however, along with plenty of other equipment, including a notable new feature for 2021: Active Drive Assist. This is similar to adaptive cruise control, but with the added benefit of hands-free driving. You’ll still have to look at the road ahead, but otherwise the truck will steer itself as the adaptive cruise control maintains a set speed. The feature will currently work on about 10,000 miles of pre-mapped highway, but over-the-air updates will improve that going forward.

Ford F-150 vs. Toyota Tundra: Which Is Better?

Ford F-150 BestWithout a doubt the Ford. The reasons are many: Ford has better powertrain options, better capability, better fuel economy, more configurations, more technology, more trims to choose from, and more options. The list could go on but we’ll stop there.

The Tundra has reliability on its side - that old 5.7-liter V-8 is as likely to break down as a mountain is to crumble - but that alone can’t compete with the fact that the Ford is newer, more modern, more comfortable, more practical, and more efficient. All in all, the Ford is a better truck by a wide margin.

Admittedly, this was almost an unfair comparison. The Tundra, as we mentioned, dates back to 2007 with few changes. The F-150? All new this year. With an all-new Tundra on the way and due out next year, we hope a rematch between these two trucks is a much closer fight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, the Ford F-150 or Toyota Tundra?

Without a doubt the Ford. The reasons are many: Ford has better powertrain options, better capability, better fuel economy, more configurations, more technology, more trims to choose from, and more options.

Which is more powerful, the Ford F-150 or Toyota Tundra?

Unfortunately for Toyota, there’s no contest here. The F-150 offers a much better range of performance suited to a wide spectrum of buyers and shoppers.

Does the F-150 now have a hybrid?

Yes. For 2021, Ford has gone and made a hybridized version of its 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6. It’s the first hybrid available in a full-size pickup truck.

Which F-150 engine is best?

We’d say the 3.5-liter V-6. Available in regular gas-only form or as a hybrid, the 3.5-liter engine delivers the most power in the F-150 lineup, the most towing capacity, and - in hybrid form - the best fuel economy. It’s well worth the upcharge over the other engine options.

Is the Toyota Tundra reliable?

Yes, it has proven reliable over its long life. The engine is well-known for its ability to run hundreds of thousands of miles with basic maintenance and not much else.

Which is the better off-road truck - the Ford F-150 Raptor or Toyota Tundra TRD Pro?

The Tundra is capable, but the Raptor is specialized in a way the Toyota isn’t. If we’re running through the desert - and maybe jumping a few dunes - the Raptor would be our first choice.