While pickup trucks are known for their wide array of capabilities, including off-road adventures, hauling heavy loads, and even offering a fair degree of luxury in their upper trim levels, a truck’s maximum towing capability is typically its most impressive specification. Unlike SUVs that have to balance passenger space and cargo capacity with towing needs, trucks have a more utilitarian focus that’s reflected in their powertrains specs, including payload capacity and tow rating.

We’ve included the max tow rating for each truck listed below, along with maximum horsepower and lb-ft of torque figures for the engine that delivers the best tow capacity. You might not be surprised to learn the best engine for towing is rarely the base engine. We’ve also included each truck’s starting MSRP. Keep in mind that achieving a truck’s highest towing capacity will often involve ordering (and paying for) a tow package. You can also increase any truck’s maximum towing capacity by adding a gooseneck or fifth wheel hitch in the center of the bed, which locates the trailer’s tongue weight directly over the rear axle to improve trailer stability. 

While heavy-duty pickups have the highest towing capacity, we’ve also included the specifications for full-size and midsize trucks below.

Best Trucks for Towing: Heavy-Duty Trucks

These are the largest and most capable consumer pickup trucks. Their engine options include diesel engines (usually turbo diesels) with names like “Cummins”, “Duramax” and “Power Stroke”. They are also physically larger than full-size trucks, making them the best pickups for towing large, heavy trailers or campers. It’s worth noting that while manual transmissions used to be commonplace in pickup trucks, in recent model years every automaker has switched to automatic transmissions across their lineups.

Best Heavy-Duty Trucks for Towing
Model Starting MSRP Max HP Max Torque Max Towing Capacity
2023 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD $40,500 445 910 18,510 pounds*
2023 Ford F250 

Super Duty

$43,970 500 1200 20,000 pounds*
2023 GMC Sierra 2500HD $41,200 445 910 18,510 pounds*
2022 Ram 2500 $44,675 410 850 19,980 pounds*

*Denotes diesel engine

Best Trucks for Towing: Full-Size Pickups

Full-size pickups are consistently the best-selling vehicles in the U.S. market, reflecting their strong demand as both work vehicles and weekend adventure vehicles. Available as both regular cab (two-door) and crew cab (four-door) models, full-size trucks like the Chevy Silverado and the Ram 1500 have evolved into capable, even luxurious, family transportation. But they haven’t yet dethroned the Ford F-150 as the best-selling truck for the past four decades. Does the Ford’s highest tow rating in this category play into its ongoing sales success? Maybe. It’s also available as a hybrid or electric truck, though towing capacity diminishes with its more efficient engines.

Best Full-Size Trucks for Towing
Model Starting MSRP Max HP Max Torque Max Towing Capacity
2023 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 $36,300 305 495 13,300 pounds*
2023 Ford F-150 $34,585 400 500 14,000 pounds
2023 Ford F-150 Lightning $59,974 580 775 10,000 pounds
2023 Ford F-150 Hybrid $41,530 430 570 12,700 pounds
2023 GMC Sierra 1500 $37,100 305 495 13,200 pounds*
2023 Nissan Titan $39,950 400 413 9,320 pounds
2023 Nissan Titan XD $47,590 400 413 11,060 pounds
2023 Ram 1500 $35,900 395 410 12,750 pounds
2023 Toyota Tundra $35,950 437 583 12,000 pounds

*Denotes diesel engine

Best Trucks for Towing: Midsize Pickups

Although physically smaller than modern full-size pickups, today’s midsize trucks still offer roomy, comfortable cabins and enough towing capacity to serve many of today’s truck buyers while being easier to park and delivering superior fuel economy. You can’t get a high-torque diesel or V8 engine in this category, but you will find capable V6 and four-cylinder engines, rear-wheel and four-wheel drive powertrains, plus premium features like advanced infotainment systems and safety features. There’s even fully-electric midsize trucks like the Rivian R1T and the GMC Hummer and, though their starting prices are between two and three times the cost of a traditional model.

Best Midsize Trucks for Towing
Model Starting MSRP Max HP Max Torque Max Towing Capacity
2023 Chevrolet Colorado $29,200 310 430 7,700 pounds*
2023 Ford Ranger $27,400 270 310 7,500 pounds
2023 Ford Maverick $19,995 250 277 4,000 pounds
2023 GMC Canyon $36,900 310 430 7,700 pounds*
2023 GMC Hummer $98,400 1,000 1,200 7,500 pounds
2023 Honda Ridgeline $38,800 280 262 5,000 pounds
2023 Hyundai Santa Cruz $25,700 281 311 5,000 pounds
2023 Jeep Gladiator $38,775 285 442 7,650 pounds
2023 Nissan Frontier $29,370 310 281 6,750 pounds
2023 Rivian R1T $74,800 835 908 11,000 pounds
2023 Toyota Tacoma $28,250 278 265 6,800 pounds

* Denotes diesel engine

Bottom Line:

Pickup trucks come in many configurations and offer a wide range of features across trims. There are also more models than ever before to choose from thanks to the growing compact and midsize truck segment. Hauling capability can also vary widely across trucks in each segment, so if towing capacity is a priority, consider the heaviest haulers on this list.


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This article, Best Trucks for Towing, originally appeared on iSeeCars.com.

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