Hauling heroes: The trucks that can pull the heaviest trailers

Whether it is towing a simple trailer for work, or shifting a giant RV camper with a fifth wheel, there is a pickup truck to suit every need.

We have taken a look at trucks from mid-size options, through to full-size and heavy duty offerings, to see which can pull the most weight.

For our comparison we have taken the ‘maximum trailer weight rating’ for each model to compare. With multiple engine, chassis, and drivetrain configurations available for most trucks we have noted the highest figure out of all possible permutations.

2019 Honda Ridgeline

Maximum trailer weight: 5,000 lb

Kicking things off in the mid-size category is the second-generation Honda Ridgeline. With its unibody construction, some have dismissed Honda’s only current pickup as a lifestyle choice, but the Ridgeline can still be a capable contender.

Honda only offers the Ridgeline with a 280 horsepower gasoline V-6 engine, in a crew cab configuration. To gain the maximum 5,000 lb towing capacity you will need to opt for the AWD model, with the FWD version limited to pulling just 3,500 lb.

2020 Chevrolet Colorado ZR2

Maximum trailer weight: 5,000 lb

Chevrolet likes to market the off-road biased Colorado ZR2 as a model in its own right, so we have included it here in our mid-size truck collection. Chevy has recently announced a 2021 ZR2, but towing data is currently only available for the existing 2020 model.

With the ZR2 it doesn’t matter if you pick the 3.6-liter gasoline V-6, or the 2.8-liter diesel engine, as both can trailer a maximum of 5,000 lb. Choosing between extended cab or crew cab also has no impact on the pulling power of the ZR2.

2019 Nissan Frontier

Maximum trailer weight: 6,640 lb

Nissan offers the Frontier for sale across the globe with different names, and the base components also underpin trucks made by Renault and Mercedes-Benz. Customers in North America do benefit from larger engine options than other markets.

To tow trailers of up to 6,640 lb, buyers will need to opt for the S, or SV, crew cab version of the Frontier, with rear-wheel drive and a manual transmission. This does still mean a 4.0-liter V-6 gasoline engine, producing 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. 

2020 Toyota Tacoma

Maximum trailer weight: 6,800 lb

The third-generation Tacoma has received a facelift for the 2020 model year, including the addition of new options such as a Panoramic View Monitor camera and LED headlights. Toyota is clearly keen to keep the Tacoma as the best-selling mid-size truck in the USA for another year.

With 2.7-liter four-cylinder versions able to tow trailers up to 3,800 lb, it is the 3.5-liter V-6 model that can pull the maximum of 6,800 lb. This is when fitted with the optional ‘Tow Prep Package’, and when specified in the rear-wheel drive Access Cab configuration. 

2020 Ford Ranger

Maximum trailer weight: 7,000 lb

Reintroduced to the North American market in 2018 after an absence of seven years, the latest Ford Ranger has proven to be a competitive mid-size truck. All versions are powered by Ford’s 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline engine, with 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque.

Ford offers the Ranger with all-wheel drive as standard, matched with a ten-speed automatic transmission. The only main option is picking between SuperCab or SuperCrew configurations, both of which can tow a maximum trailer weight of 7,000 lb.

2020 GMC Canyon

Maximum trailer weight: 7,700 lb

GMC has made only minimal changes to the Canyon for the 2020 model year. These are limited to a new Carbon Black Metallic paint option, plus a remote-operated tailgate lock. The engine choices of a 2.5-liter gasoline four-cylinder, 3.6-liter gasoline V-6, and a 2.8-liter turbodiesel remain.

It is the diesel engine which buyers will need to pick if they want to haul the most with the Canyon. The 189 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque allow it to tow up to 7,700 lb, with the option of all-wheel drive and three choices of cab and bed configurations.

2020 Chevrolet Colorado

Maximum trailer weight: 7,700 lb

As you may expect, with the Chevrolet Colorado being the same vehicle underneath as the GMC Canyon, towing capabilities are the same. This means that versions fitted with the 2.8-liter four-cylinder diesel can pull the same 7,700 lb.

Should you wish to stick with gasoline for either the Colorado or GMC Canyon, choosing models with the 3.6-liter V-6 offers the potential for towing trailers up to 7,000 lb.

2020 Nissan Titan

Maximum trailer weight: 9,370 lb

Moving up to full-size trucks, Nissan revealed a new 2020 version of the Titan last month. It has now confirmed towing specifications for the revised model, although the maximum trailer rating for it remains the lowest full-size option here.

2020 model year Titans come with a 400 horsepower 5.6-liter gasoline V-8, with the option of rear-wheel or all-wheel drive. It is the rear-wheel drive version, in King Cab specification, that can currently tow the biggest trailer at 9,370 lb. Choosing the Crew Cab model results in only a minor reduction to 9,350 lb. 

2020 Toyota Tundra

Maximum trailer weight: 10,200 lb

Upgraded for 2020, the new Toyota Tundra packs a number of new features, including standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto across the range. All models are powered by Toyota’s 5.7-liter gasoline V-8 engine, producing 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque.

A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for all grades, with the choice of rear- or all-wheel drive models. A towing package is fitted to almost all versions, with the rear-wheel drive Double Cab responsible for the headline 10,200 lb figure.

2020 GMC Sierra 1500

Maximum trailer weight: 12,100 lb

Sharing a platform with the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, you may expect the GMC Sierra to have the same towing capacities. Instead, the GMC version features slightly reduced maximum trailer weights compared to the Chevy.

Buy the 2020 Sierra in all-wheel drive Double Cab configuration, powered by the 6.2-liter gasoline V-8, and the maximum trailer weight is 9,300 lb. Specify the NHT trailering package, and this gets boosted to a potential 12,100 lb.

2020 Ram 1500

Maximum trailer weight: 12,750 lb

The Ram 1500 range has had a minor makeover for 2020, with the biggest changes taking place beneath the surface. Diesel fans can take note that the new EcoDiesel Ram 1500, which features 480 lb-ft of torque, can haul a maximum trailer weight of 12,560 lb.

However, for the biggest towing opportunities, Ram buyers need to look at the rear-wheel drive Quad Cab model in entry-level Tradesman trim. Fitted with the 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 and 3.91 rear axle, this truck will pull a potential 12,750 lb.

2020 Ford F-150

Maximum trailer weight: 13,200 lb

It might be the best-selling vehicle in the United States, but the Ford F-150 just misses out on the top slot for the full-size trailering capacity to Chevrolet. However, if your loyalty to the Blue Oval is unshakeable, the 2020 F-150 is still more than capable.

The SuperCrew cab options present the greatest trailer capacity, when combined with the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 engine. That brings a maximum tow weight of 13,200 lb, with 4×4 models pegged at 13,000 lb. Traditionalists sticking with the 5.0-liter V-8 can expect a maximum of only 11,600 lb in comparison.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Maximum trailer weight: 13,400 lb

The winner of the full-size truck class is the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500. It may only beat the F-150 by 200 lb, but when it comes to bragging rights that may be all that matters. Chevy offers an array of special trailering packages and features for the Silverado 1500, including an eight-camera surround view system.

To score the maximum 13,400 lb towing capability, buyers need to pick the 4×4 Silverado with the 6.2-liter gasoline V-8 engine. Specifically it needs to be in double cab RST trim, fitted with the Max Trailering Package, and wearing 20-inch alloy wheels.

2020 Nissan Titan XD

Maximum trailer weight: 11,000 lb

Moving into the heavy duty category of trucks, we find the new 2020 Nissan Titan XD as the starting point for pulling power. One of the notable changes for the 2020 Titan XD is that all trucks will come fitted with an integrated gooseneck hitch engineered into the frame.

Specifications for the 2020 Titan XD have only just been released, and currently only detail the 4×4 Crew Cab model with the standard 5.6-liter V-8 engine. Towing conventionally, this will pull 10,880 lb, whilst using the integrated gooseneck fitting takes this to the full 11,000 lb.

2020 Ram 2500 HD

Maximum trailer weight: 19,780 lb

Specifications for the 2020 Ram Heavy Duty range remain unchanged from the previous year, with a vast array of engine and body options available. The Class 2b version of the Ram has plenty of towing potential with either gasoline or diesel power.

Maximum trailering potential comes with the regular cab version of the Ram 2500, specified in rear-wheel drive configuration. Choosing the gasoline 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 engine sees a max trailer weight of 17,580 lb.

But, it is the Ram 2500 HD with the Cummins 6.7-liter six-cylinder engine that can pull up to 19,780 lb. Helped in part by the 370 horsepower and 850 lb-ft of torque from the big diesel engine.

2020 Ram 3500 HD

Maximum trailer weight: 35,100 lb

The biggest Ram model was, until this year, the outright leader in the Class 3 Medium Truck towing business. Once again, it is the Cummins diesel engine which allows for the biggest trailering capacity, but here in High Output configuration.

When fitted to a Regular Cab Ram 3500 HD, with dual-rear wheels, the 6.7-liter diesel and its 1,000 lb-ft of torque can pull an impressive 35,100 lb. By comparison, a 3500 HD with the 6.4-liter gasoline Hemi V-8 will only haul up to 18,210 lb.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 HD

Maximum trailer weight: 18,510 lb

All-new for 2020, the Heavy Duty range of GMC Sierra trucks have extra trailering potential and a host of new technologies. This includes the option of a ‘transparent trailer’ camera package, allowing drivers to see what is happening behind their rig.

As with most Heavy Duty trucks, diesel is where it is at for maximum pulling power. GM has mated the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel V-8 engine to a ten-speed automatic transmission for 2020, making the most of its 890 lb-ft of torque.

Towing conventionally, the diesel 2500 HD will pull trailers up to 18,500 lb in Crew Cab configuration. Use a gooseneck or fifth wheel, it is the rear-wheel drive Regular Cab model that tow up to 18,510 lb.

2020 GMC Sierra 3500 HD

Maximum trailer weight: 35,500 lb

Just like the 2500 HD, the 3500 HD version of the GMC Sierra does its best towing work when fitted with the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine. Unlike the Ram 3500 HD, the biggest Sierra does not receive a boost in torque compared to the smaller version.

That does not stop it from towing a maximum of 35,500 lb when fitted with a gooseneck trailer linkage. This applies to the rear-wheel drive Regular Cab dually model only, with the all-wheel drive model limited to 31,760 lb.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD

Maximum trailer weight: 18,510 lb

Unsurprisingly, the potential towing capacities of the Chevrolet Silverado HD range mirror that of the GMC Sierra HD trucks.

However, given that the Chevy models have a slightly lower list price, we have given them the more favorable ranking here. The Silverado 2500 HD range begins at $39,895, whilst the Sierra 2500 HD costs from $41,595.

The diesel-powered Chevy 2500 HD pulls the exact same maximum trailer weights as the GMC. Those interested in gasoline options, the Silverado 2500 HD can tow up to 14,500 lb with its 401 horsepower 6.6-liter V-8 engine.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD

Maximum trailer weight: 35,500 lb

The boost in the towing capabilities of the Silverado 3500 HD to 35,500 lb represented a 52% increase over the previous generation. Chevrolet has also made the Silverado HD range compatible with the iN Command Control System through the myChevrolet app. This allows owners to alter settings inside compatible RV trailers remotely.

As with the SIerra 3500 HD, it is the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel version of the Silverado which can tow the biggest trailers. Again, that full 35,500 lb capacity requires a gooseneck fitting.

2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty

Maximum trailer weight: 22,800 lb

Ford has given the 2020 range of Super Duty trucks a substantial overhaul, with a focus on trailering capabilities. This includes the optional Pro Trailer Backup Assist system, which allows drivers to steer the trailer via the reversing camera and control knob alone.

For conventional towing, the gasoline 7.3-liter V-8 version of the F-250 can haul up to 20,000 lb in 4×4 configuration. Add a gooseneck fitting to the F-250, and it is the rear-wheel drive 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8 that will allow up to 22,800 lb trailers to be towed.

2020 Ford F-350 Super Duty

Maximum trailer weight: 35,750 lb

Move on up to the bigger Ford F-350 and even larger towing capacities become an option. Here things are dominated by the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel V-8, with its 475 horsepower and 1,050 lb-ft of torque output.

Fitted with this engine, the Crew Cab F-350 dually with all-wheel drive can pull a maximum of 21,200 lb with a conventional trailer hitch. Add a gooseneck fitting to the equation, and this goes all the way to a whopping 35,400 lb in rear-wheel drive configuration.

2020 Ford F-450 Super Duty

Maximum trailer weight: 37,000 lb

Whilst the Ford F-350 may already outgun the General Motors and Ram 3500 HD rivals, the Blue Oval also has one last trick up its sleeve. The F-450 still falls into the Class 3 Medium Truck classification, making it fair game to be included here. Notably, the F-450 only comes with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 diesel engine.

In conventional towing situations, the F-450 can tow trailers up to 24,200 in either rear- or all-wheel drive configurations. However, opt for the rear-wheel drive F-450 fitted with a gooseneck towing hitch, and you can tow an incredible 37,000 lb.

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