Pickup trucks to carry the biggest payload are known as workhorse vehicles. They stand out from their brethren by virtue of their brawny capabilities, including powerful engines, and top-rated hauling and towing capacities. Most carry a heavy-duty or HD in the name, or numeric designations plus HD or Super Duty.

Of the big rigs designed for heavy-duty use, there are four models (two are corporate siblings) that rate as Pickup Trucks to Carry the Biggest Payload:

  • 2011 Ford Super DutyAlthough it was redesigned in 2008, constant improvements are the name of the game and Ford delivers with an all-new 2011 Super Duty line. Autoweek says: “The many models of Super Duty Trucks – F-250, 350, 450 and 550 – can haul as much as 6,520 pounds and tow up to 24,400 pounds when attached to a first-in-class factory substructure built into the bed. Crawl underneath one, and you’ll be amazed at the sheer beefiness of the suspension.” Moving all this is a choice of two all-new engines built by Ford: the 384 hp 6.2-liter gasoline V8 and the 390 hp 6.7-liter turbocharged V8 Power Stroke diesel. And a new TorqShift 6-speed transmission gives consumers four kinds of powertrain control – depending on what they’re hauling or towing, or how steep a grade they’re tackling.
  • 2010 Chevrolet Silverado HDConsumers who need a solid work truck or tow vehicle should seriously consider the 2010 Chevrolet Silverado HD, available in 2500HD and 3500HD models, each available in WT, LT, and LTZ trims. Properly configured, 2500HD models can tow up to 13,000 pounds (16,700 with in-bed “5th-wheel” hitch) and haul 3,929 pounds. Silverado 3500HD can haul up to 5,255 pounds, while maximum towing capacity is the same as 2500HD. Car and Driver opines: “Though they drive big, GM’s HD trucks are surprisingly smooth and quiet and make child’s play of towing.”
  • 2010 GMC Sierra HDCorporate (and more upscale) relative to the Chevrolet Silverado HD, the 2010 GMC Sierra HD (2500 and 3500) shares just about everything with its sibling except sheet metal and grille. Like the Chevy, the GMC is easy to drive, features strong engines fully capable of carrying large payloads, and comfortable and pleasing interiors. Properly equipped, the 2500HD can tow up to 13,000 pounds. Edmunds comments: “As for its non-familial rivals, the Ford F-250 Super Duty is similarly comfortable and capable, but the Sierra still offers a little more work capacity as well as a nicer cabin (especially on the uppermost trims).”
  • 2010 Dodge Ram HDRedesigned for 2010, the Dodge Ram Heavy-Duty pickups are available in 2500 and 3500 models. Towing and hauling capabilities are impressive: 2500 tows up to 13,450 pounds and carries a payload up to 3,160 pounds, while 3500 tows up to 17,600 pounds and has a maximum payload of 5,130 pounds. This is due to the powerful 6.7-liter Cummins turbodiesel engine (standard in 3500, optional in 2500). The diesel comes with an exhaust brake that helps to slow the big rig (and its load) down without using the brakes, thus saving on brake wear and tear. Ram Heavy Duty was named Motor Trend’s 2010 Truck of the Year, with the sub-head “Hardest Working Truck in Tow Business.”

Bottom line: You can’t go wrong with any of these Pickup Trucks to Carry the Biggest Load. And, since competition is the name of the game, look for each of the automakers to continually step up their efforts to out-do each other.

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