Budget Buy $15,000: Toyota Tundra vs Chevy Silverado

We’ve compiled the facts on the Toyota Tundra and Chevy Silverado. Find out what you can buy on a $15,000 budget in our article here.  

Half-Ton Bargains

pressroom.toyota.com | media.chevrolet.com
pressroom.toyota.com | media.chevrolet.com

If you’re here, then you’ve probably been trying to compare the seemingly endless options of both the Toyota Tundra and the Chevy Silverado. We admit that there are a ton of options to consider with both models.

However, we’ve managed to narrow down the need-to-knows so that you can make the best decision. After all, when it comes to a used vehicle, you don’t want to pay for features that you don’t plan to use.

In this article, you’ll find a side-by-side comparison between used Toyota Tundras and Chevy Silverados for those on a budget. We kept the budget at $15,000, and you can find plenty of options on our marketplace. Let’s take a look at the important factors.

Tundra vs Silverado Specs

2011 Toyota Tundra 5.7L V8 - pressroom.toyota.com
2011 Toyota Tundra 5.7L V8 - pressroom.toyota.com

Between 2007 and 2013, there were three different engine options on the Tundra: a 4.0L V6, a 4.7L V8, and the beefy 5.7L V8 with 381 hp and 401 ft. lbs. of torque.

To give you an idea of the power, the Toyota Tundra can tow between 4,800 lbs. to 10,600 lbs. depending on the engine and powertrain options available. The payload capacity is between 1,575 to 1,940 lbs.

You will also find that RWD, 4×2, and 4×4 drivetrains are plentiful for under $15,000. This makes it incredibly easy to find a good truck for towing heavy loads or for general work use. Opting for an RWD drivetrain will save considerable money at the expense of towing capacity and 4WD capability.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado 5.3L V8 - carsforsale.com
2011 Chevrolet Silverado 5.3L V8 - carsforsale.com

However, here’s where the difference comes in. While the Toyota is known for its reliability factor and great driving experience, the Chevy Silverado packs plenty of towing power – especially with the 5.7L V8 engine. It can deliver up to 12,200 lbs. of towing capacity – 1600 lbs. more pounds than the Tundra.

The payload capacity of the Chevy Silverado is also more than the Tundra with a weight of up to 2,300 lbs (Chevy Silverado 1500). A Chevy Silverado 1500 delivers up to 355 hp and 383 ft. lbs. of torque with its 5.3L engine, which is an impressive feat.

When it comes to towing power, the Chevy Silverado definitely has the Toyota Tundra beat for the price range. Since the resale value of the Chevy Silverado is considerably less than a Tundra, drivers can find a broader range of all powertrain and engine options available.

Many are well under our mark of $15,000 as well!

Driving and Performance

2011 Toyota Tundra - pressroom.toyota.com
2011 Toyota Tundra - pressroom.toyota.com

When it comes to driving, the Toyota Tundra stands out. It is simply a wonderful truck with enough power no matter what engine is available. Most commonly, you’ll find the 4.6 L or 4.7 L V8 engine in Tundras for under $15,000. The 5.7 L V8 is also available, although a bit scarce in this price range.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado - media.chevrolet.com
2011 Chevrolet Silverado - media.chevrolet.com

While the Toyota Tundra stands out in the driving category, don’t think for a second that a Chevy Silverado is a complete slouch. While they tend to drive similarly, we’ve found that they simply don’t have quite the up-and-go power of the Toyota Tundra.

Comfort and Interior

Whether you’re looking for a daily driver or a hard-working machine, comfort is a necessity. Luckily, both offer superior comfortability. You will need to take into consideration the interior options, such as cab types. Both models offer extended, crew, and regular cab options well within our $15,000 budget.

The Toyota Tundra offers a smaller cab than the Chevy Silverado in most aspects. The Tundra’s center console is wider and places the shifter closer to the driver, whereas the Chevy Silverado is a little more classic. This makes the Silverado a great choice for drivers who may be vertically challenged. The Chevy Silverado is certainly roomier and would be better for taller drivers.

Instrumentation and infotainment will vary from model year to model year, but ultimately, both models lack an infotainment system in this price range. Drivers will be more likely to find a newer Silverado with an infotainment system package in this price range than a Tundra due to resale values.

Trims and Features

2011 Chevrolet Silverado Work Truck - carsforsale.com
2011 Chevrolet Silverado Work Truck - carsforsale.com

Here’s the real head-scratcher: What do you do when there are so many trim options? To do this, we’ll take a look at a used 2011 Chevy Silverado and a 2011 Toyota Tundra so you can get an idea of what you can expect from trucks from the same year model.

For 2011, the Chevy Silverado came in four packages: WX, LS, LT, and LTZ.

The WX trim is essentially a basic work truck. It comes standard with an AM/FM/XM stereo for entertainment, and comfort is provided by a vinyl-covered bench seat. Amenities such as dual glove boxes, dual power outlets, a tire pressure monitoring system, and an automatic transmission give some modern touches.

You’ll also find that OnStar is standard. The 5.3L V8 engine boasts a 15 MPG city/22 MPG highway fuel economy which is very nice for a V8.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado LT - media.chevrolet.com
2011 Chevrolet Silverado LT - media.chevrolet.com

The LS trim gives you all of the same features as the WX with the addition of upgraded cloth bucket seats, a six-way power adjustment, dual-zone temperature controls, and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. 

The LT trim comes standard with cloth-covered seats. It also includes lockable under-seat storage, power windows/locks/mirrors, keyless entry, and a compass/temperature display. A CD and MP3 compatible stereo is standard as well. Drivers who like a little “bling” will also like the chromed bumper of the LT trim.

Finally, the LTZ trim gives drivers a taste of luxury and power. You’ll love the towing package and automatic locking rear differential. Reclining heated leather seats give drivers a luxury feel while the Bose-based in-dash six-CD changer allows for hours of entertainment. Heated windshield washers, mirror-mounted turn signals, and painted bumpers really round out the luxurious feel of the LTZ trim.

2011 Toyota Tundra Work Truck - pressroom.toyota.com
2011 Toyota Tundra Work Truck - pressroom.toyota.com

The 2011 Toyota Tundra has three distinct trim models.

The “Grade” trim is Toyota’s version of a basic work truck. Drivers get a two-door truck with 3 vinyl seats. RWD is standard. Drivers can add upgrades such as cruise control, power windows and locks, and chrome bumpers and grills.

The “Grade” trim utilizes Toyota’s 4.0L V6 engine for its power, and it definitely boasts the most economical fuel milage at 18 MPG combined.

The “Base” trim seems to be anything but a base model. It includes a four-door cab with 5 vinyl-covered seats. Optional upgrades include cruise control, keyless entry, and a black upper and lower front bumper.

2011 Toyota Tundra four door cab - pressroom.toyota.com
2011 Toyota Tundra four door cab - pressroom.toyota.com

The mighty Toyota 5.7L powers the “Base” trim with a respectable 16 MPG combined mileage.

Lastly, the “Limited” trim gives off-roaders a bit of fun with optional upgraded off-road suspension and Bilstein shocks. Drivers can also get 18” alloy wheels as an option. Standard equipment includes four doors, 5 seats, and RWD.

The “Limited” trim has the same 5.7L V8 engine as the “Base” trim with a 16 MPG combined gas mileage.

As you can see, the options and trims are fairly comparable for the two examples we listed here. You can expect to find color variations and option configurations for different model years, so take that into account when buying your next used truck.

Final Thoughts

2011 Chevrolet Silverado - media.chevrolet.com
2011 Chevrolet Silverado - media.chevrolet.com

While both the Toyota Tundra and the Chevy Silverado offer a staggering amount of options to sift through on the used market, we’ve broken down all the need-to-know information here to help you make a more informed decision.

The Toyota stands out with their reliability and healthy resale value, but the Chevy Silverado certainly owns the market for trucks under $15,000 when it comes to trims and options. Many models clock in at much lower prices, so you’re more likely to get a newer Silverado with more features with a lot less money.

This makes the Silverado stand out above the Tundra in terms of value and bang-for-your-buck options. Be sure to check out our entire selection of used Toyota Tundras and Chevy Silverados right here on carsforsale.com!

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D.L. Shepherd

D.L. Shepherd’s love of anything with an engine and everything that goes fast was kickstarted as a child who spent time at the local dragstrip and dirt track. At Bluefield University, D.L. explored creative writing with published pieces in the university's literary journal. He then worked as a Sales Rep. for Harley-Davidson and as an electronic technician. Now, he's using his expertise as an author. With an endless interest in learning about new cars and analyzing all of their specs, D.L. specializes in vehicle reviews of all kinds.

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