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Best Trucks for Towing: Which Has the Highest Towing Capacity?

Best Trucks for Towing

Best Trucks for Towing

One of the reasons to buy a truck is to have the potential for towing, after all, and it’s integral to their design.

Our list here will include towing capacities as both a maximum towing capacity if the truck is configured for that and an average for the rest of the models in the pickup’s options.

For example, the single cab with a diesel engine is not likely to have as much towing capacity as is the double cab with the larger V8 gasoline engine.

Check out all our picks for the best trucks >>

Read about how we rank our trucks >>

What Is Towing Capacity?

Towing, contrary to popular belief, is not just about how much can be pulled behind the truck. It’s also about how much cargo (trailer weight) can be borne by the truck’s rear axle and framing and how safely and comfortably that towing happens.

Best Midsize and Full-Size Truck Towing Comparison

Midsize Pickups

Maximum TowAverage TowMaximum Payload
Chevrolet Colorado
7,700 lbs
5,250 lbs
1,590 lbs
Ford Ranger
7,500 lbs
7,500 lbs
2,128 lbs
GMC Canyon
7,700 lbs
5,250 lbs
1,584 lbs
Honda Ridgeline
5,000 lbs
4,250 lbs
1,583 lbs
Jeep Gladiator
7,650 lbs
6,384 lbs
1,200 lbs
Nissan Frontier
6,700 lbs
6,700 lbs
1,867 lbs
Toyota Tacoma
6,800 lbs
5,567 lbs
1,685 lbs

Full-Size Pickups

Maximum TowAverage TowMaximum Payload
Chevrolet Silverado
13,400 lbs
11,350 lbs
2,280 lbs
Ford F-150
14,000 lbs
11,900 lbs
2,238 lbs
GMC Sierra
12,100 lbs
10,600 lbs
2,280 lbs
Nissan Titan
11,000 lbs
10,185 lbs
1,699 lbs
Nissan Titan XD
11,070 lbs
11,070 lbs
2,398 lbs
RAM 1500
12,750 lbs
12,655 lbs
2,322 lbs
Toyota Tundra
10,200 lbs
10,000 lbs
1,730 lbs

#1 Choice Midsize Towing: Chevrolet Colorado & GMC Canyon

Chevrolet Colorado TowingThe Chevrolet Colorado and its near-twin the GMC Canyon are both our top choice for towing with a midsized truck. Maximum towing comes with the desirable diesel engine upgrade for these trucks, and they offer a good, stable platform for towing when configured that way.

The diesel brings good amounts of torque and confidence when pulling a trailer. In addition, the sway control and other systems on these trucks do a good job of holding that confidence down the road.

Current Chevrolet Colorado Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021ChevroletColorado$259/month for 36 months, $3,249 due at signing9/30/2021

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

Current GMC Canyon Deals & Incentives

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

#2 Choice Midsize Towing: Honda Ridgeline

Honda Ridgeline TowingThe Ridgeline’s best towing comes with the all-wheel drive package, which is desirable as an upgrade anyway. Without that AWD, the Ridgeline’s towing is limited to 3,500 pounds.

Where the Honda really shines, though, is in its low center of gravity and its surprising amount of cargo weight capacity. Cargo weight is important in towing as it affects how much of the trailer’s weight (aka “tongue weight”) can be born by the truck’s suspension. In this case, the Honda Ridgeline is more comfortable with heavier amounts of weight forward on the trailer, which means balancing the load is much easier. That translates into easier towing.

Current Honda Ridgeline Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021HondaRidgeline1.90%11/1/2021

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

#3 Choice Midsize Towing: Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma TowingWhile remaining the best-selling midsize pickup truck on the market, the Tacoma has seen several improvements in recent years. One of those improvements is the truck’s ability to pull loads confidently.

Improved braking assistance for sway control and other measures have made the Tacoma a much better trailer puller than it has been in the past.

However, for best towing, we recommend staying away from the extreme off-road packages in the TRD lineup as their looser suspension settings are less conducive to trailering.

Current Toyota Tacoma Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021ToyotaTacoma2.49%$169/month for 36 months, $2,999 due at signing10/4/2021

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

#1 Choice Full-Size Towing: RAM 1500

RAM 1500 TowingIn the realm of full-size trucks, the “best-in-class” claim is a just marketing bonanza. While the Ram 1500 no longer holds "best-in-class" for towing, it does still take our number one spot for its balance of capability (even the least capable can pull well over 12,000 pounds) and safety systems.

Ram has a very well-done trailer sway control and confidence level to its towing setup on all of its pickups, including the 1500. It offers solid cargo-hauling capacity to allow good trailer balancing as well.

Current RAM 1500 Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021RAMRam Pickup 1500$2,500 0.00%$259/month for 36 months, $3,799 due at signing9/30/2021

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

#2 Choice Full-Size Towing: Chevrolet Silverado

Chevrolet Silverado TowingThe Silverado 1500 is a solid towing machine. Its top-most towing capacity is a bit of a fluke, coming in only one package and configuration, but the average towing (which includes towing with the V6-powered model) is very good.

All models are confident in their tow capabilities, and a solid cargo rating adds to that balance.

 

Current Chevrolet Silverado Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021ChevroletSilverado 1500$1,750 $309/month for 24 months, $3,809 due at signing9/30/2021

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

#3 Choice Full-Size Towing: Nissan Titan XD

Nissan Titan XD TowingThe Titan has seen a lot of changes since its introduction, but the Titan XD with its powerful V8 engine, strong framing, and a new transmission with better gearing brings a solid towing capability to the half-ton truck arena.

It’s steady, capable, and confident in its work — all good things when it comes to towing.

 

Current Nissan Titan XD Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021NissanTitan XD$1,000 0.90%10/4/2021

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

What Is the Best Towing Setup?

RAM 1500 Towing Overall WinnerFor serious hauling of routinely heavy loads, we very much recommend the Nissan Titan XD with its gooseneck setup (comes standard). For very heavy loads, a gooseneck is safer and more capable than a bumper pull (rear hitch receiver). We do recognize, however, that for most pickup truck and trailer owners, that is not the type of trailer that is most often being pulled.

For that reason, we put the Ram 1500 with its eTorque drivetrain at the top of our list. The Max Towing package for the two-wheel drive setup offers the maximum towing capacity on our list, but going to four-wheel drive only lowers that number by about 1,200 pounds. In every way, though, the Ram 1500 has a solidly confident pull when under a load.

Frequently Asked Questions

What midsize truck offers the best towing capacity?

The Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon have the highest towing capacity in midsize trucks, with the Jeep Gladiator coming in at a very close second.

What full-size truck offers the best towing capacity?

The Ford F-150 has the highest towing capacity for a full-size truck, with the Chevrolet Colorado in at a close second.

What is the best truck for heavy towing?

For serious hauling of routinely heavy loads, we very much recommend the Nissan Titan XD with its gooseneck setup (comes standard). For very heavy loads, a gooseneck is safer and more capable than a bumper pull (rear hitch receiver).

The F-150 has the best towing capacity, but what are the drawbacks?

The F-150’s best tow rating is 14,000 pounds, but that is in only one configuration, and a top tow capability is not the same as best in towing. The F-150 is a lightweight truck, when compared to its competition, and has a tougher time controlling trailer sway and push/pull on the road as a result.

Is the Honda Ridgeline a pickup truck?

The Honda Ridgeline is definitely a pickup truck by all definitions. It is the only unibody (car-based) pickup on our list, but it’s also a very capable truck compared to its rivals.