Does your work or hobby require heavy hauling and towing? These best trucks for towing are here to help.
Bought a new boat? Transporting cattle? Current truck not cutting it at the worksite? Whatever the reason, you need a new truck, and you don't want to settle for anything less than one of the very best trucks for towing. As you shop around for a new rig that fits your towing needs, there are a few basics you should take into consideration when evaluating towing rigs: horsepower, torque rating, total weight and wheelbase width.
Whether you're towing for hobby or work, this guide to the best trucks for towing can help you pick the perfect model and connect you with the lowest new truck price quotes in your area. It also spells out some differences you’ll find among leading models when it comes to delivering the basics.
If towing power is the first and only quality you seek in a new truck, you'll want to step up to one of these models in what’s known as the heavy-duty truck class. The prices for these powerful beasts are premium and the fuel economy ratings miniscule, but they can tow a gigantic boulder up and down a mountain faster than Sisyphus. These models also lap the competition in that intangible quality of truck-cred. No wannabes in this bunch. Here are the best heavy-duty trucks for towing:
The Ram 2500
For years Ram was the top-end truck offering from the nation’s #3 carmaker, Dodge. These days, the company has shortened its truck tag and just refers to Ram as the blanket logo for trucks. It makes it easier to remember and works very well in all of its commercials. Speaking of, Ram the commercials always seem to mention how its trucks are constructed with large bolts that are so much more rugged than the weak screws used by their sissy competitors. Yes, the marketing is correct; Ram trucks are big and tough. And they're consistently rated one of the top heavy-duty trucks by industry and independent surveys. The Ram 2500 is also routinely ranked as one of the best heavy-duty trucks for towing sold each year.
The Ram 2500's 5.7L V8 produces 383 horsepower at 5,600 rpm, with plenty of torque to get it up to speed in a hurry. You can upgrade the truck with a 6.4L V8 that bangs out a class-leading 410 horsepower. In contrast to the 18-gallon fuel tank of the Ford F-350, the Ram 2500 can hold 30 gallons of diesel, so you can fill up less.
The 2500 brings with it a towing capacity of 18,350 pounds. When hauling trailers up steep inclines and over treacherous mountain passes, the Ram 2500 with the 410-horsepower V8 is a better choice than the Ford F-350. The Ram is slightly lighter than the F-350, and it has a ground clearance of 16 inches, making it easier to operate in snowy and hazardous conditions. This bad boy is a monster.
The Ford F-350
Of course, the Ford F-350 is no slouch, either. The Ford F-350 has a 6.2L V8 engine that generates 385 horsepower. For an additional $3,500, you can equip the F-350 with a turbocharged version of its engine that can match the Ram 2500's 400 horsepower.
The Ford F-350 can be upgraded with four wheels on the rear axles of the truck (dualies) that help it maintain a solid grip on roads when there’s ice, snow and water. This is a particularly useful feature when it comes to towing heavy loads. This six-wheel version of the F-350 can accelerate 20 percent more quickly than the standard model when hauling 5,000 pounds.
The towing capacity figures of the Ford F-350 are staggering. The fully loaded version of the Ford F-350 can tow up to 18,500 pounds, and when a large trailer is attached to its rear, the truck has the ability to tow up to 30,000 pounds (loaded on the trailer.)
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
The Chevy Silverado HD has a towing capacity of 13,000 pounds and can haul bed loads of up to 7,000 pounds. With its huge 36 gallon gas tank, the Silverado 2500HD can travel 680 miles on a single tank at a solid-for-a-heavy-duty-truck 18 mpg on the highway.
The Silverado 2500 HD is equipped with a 360-horsepower 6.0L V8 Duramax diesel engine. It's also available with an upgraded 6.6L turbocharged V8 diesel that pumps out 397 horsepower, allowing it to give stiff competition to the Ram and the F-350.
This mammoth truck is an optimal choice for hauling horses, dirt bikes, snowmobiles and even small boats. To improve its performance in inclement weather, you can upgrade the Silverado to a package that features all-wheel drive and a six-speed, manual transmission. The standard electronic stability control keeps your towing load lined up and pulling smoothly when you need to tow through winding mountain passes.
GMC Sierra 2500HD
What separates the GMC Sierra from its nearly identical cousin, the Chevy Silverado? It's a classic no-frills workhorse championed by farmers, contractors, construction workers and motorsports enthusiasts alike. Like the Siverado, the GMC Sierra 2500HD can tow 13,000 pounds with a 360-horsepower 6.0L V8 diesel engine.
And just like the Silverado, the Sierra you can upgrade your towing power to include a turbocharged Duramax 6.6L V8 diesel engine that achieves a strong 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. Its standard Allison six-speed automatic transmission is perfectly suited for heavy towing.
The Sierra 2500HD weighs 9,300 pounds sitting on a 133-inch wheelbase (same as the Silverado 2500HD.) The Sierra's gas tank can hold 36 gallons of fuel and the 6.0L V8 FlexFuel engine can run on ethanol E85 in addition to regular gasoline with no noticeable impact on performance. (Ethanol is usually much cheaper than regular unleaded gas, and it comes with the added bonus of being better for the environment.) These are just a couple additional features designed to help you save money at the pump while putting the Sierra through some serious work.
Sometimes a heavy-duty truck is just too impractical. For instance, if your hauling truck also has to serve as your daily commuter and you drive in the city regularly, parking can become an issue with a heavier truck. Sure, regular-duty trucks don't offer the same brute strength as heavy-duty trucks, but they're much more well-rounded and widely applicable. They tend to multi-task a little better and it’s one reason why trucks like the Ford F-150 and Ram 1500 are routinely the top-selling vehicles (across all classes) in the country.
Speaking of, here’s a brief summary of leading towers in this standard truck class:
When it comes to towing power, the Ford F-150 may offer you the absolute best bang for your buck. A properly equipped Ford F-150 is capable of towing up to 8,800 pounds while featuring a price tag that falls well under $30,000. The Ford F-150's EcoBoost V6 pumps out a sturdy 302 horsepower with 278 lb-ft of torque. That's a performance profile usually reserved for a bigger V8. The EcoBoost V6 also afford some impressive and shameless solid fuel economy ratings with 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway.
If you want to add some flash to the old work truck, try upgrading your rig to the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor. Although it has the same towing capacity as the standard model, the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is able to haul a trailer much more swiftly because its turbocharged, eight-cylinder engine can generate 412 horsepower and a mammoth 434 lb-ft of torque. That's performance to match any of the standard heavy-duty trucks.
When towing a major load, the F-150 can stop more rapidly than any other truck on the list. When driving at 60 miles per hour, the F-150 can come to a stop within 120 feet to 130 feet. All F-150 models come standard with advanced towing features like Trailer Sway Control (an integrated trailer brake controller.) Choose the Trailer Tow Package or optional Max Trailer Tow package and the F-150 comes with some additional bells and whistles that allow it to effectively haul and let you control up to 11,300 pounds on a trailer.
American trucks aren't the only ones that can handle serious towing loads. The base V6 version of Toyota’s Tundra is middle-of-the-road and quite forgettable. Upgrade to a Tundra with a V8 engine, and you’ll pack quite a towing punch.
The Tundra with a 4.8L V8 generates 310 horsepower and is well equipped to handle lighter duties. Step up to the Tundra with the 5.7L V8 and you’re stepping into a true workhorse, capable of towing up to 10,400 pounds and bed hauling up to 2,040 pounds. Achieving 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft. of torque, the 5.7 L V8 is strong enough for practically any work application. It even towed the Space Shuttle Endeavor across the Manchester Boulevard Bridge in Los Angeles (you may have seen that commercial.)
The Tow package for the Toyota Tundra includes a TOW/HAUL Mode setting, trailer brake controller prewire, and supplemental transmission and engine coolers to keep you hauling without overheating. Some reviews say the Tundra cab space leaves drivers feeling a little insecure towing a maximum payload. Trucks like the Silverado are packed with technological features to improve towing (like Trailer Sway Control, Hill Start Assist and exhaust brakes) and the larger cab interiors tend to make drivers feel more stable. No Tundra model gets above 16 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway, which is well below the averages of comparable models in the full-size pickup class.
Ram 1500 EcoDiesel
Like the diesel-powered heavy-duty Ram 2500 and F-Series Super Duty, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is no slouch when it comes to working and towing. Diesel has a few additional pluses that help this model stand out in the crowd. Unlike the Ram 2500, The 1500 EcoDiesel gets a staggering 28 mpg on the highway, even with a trailer in tow. It’s certainly one reason why this truck is consistently rated one of the best trucks on the road.
The V6-powered diesel truck is rated to tow up to 9,200 lbs. (which is just short of the RAM truck powered by the big, bad Hemi V8 engine.) The 1500 EcoDiesel's tow rating is right up there with any full-size truck with a V8, and absolutely blows all other V6-powered trucks.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel gets its impressive towing power from the same source as the heavy-duty diesel trucks – Torque. While the 3L diesel V6 only pushes out 240 horsepower, it pulls with a muscular 420 lb-ft of torque. That toque is what sets the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel apart from normal gas-powered V6 trucks.
The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is currently the only full-size truck available with a diesel engine, but its success will bring competition soon enough. A diesel V6 (especially one dropped into a Ram) offers the best of both worlds: tremendous towing capacity with efficient fuel economy. The 1500 EcoDiesel's towing strength rates right up there with the Hemi V8, but gets five miles per gallon better on the highway. Wow!
Obviously, there are quite a few choices if you're looking for one of the best trucks for towing, and how you pare down the list depends on your driving and towing needs. There's a truck out there for everyone, so connect with a local dealer to find the best prices in your area today!