Towing is one of the most stressful things you can ever do behind the wheel of your truck, both in terms of driver tension and the demand on a vehicle's chassis and drivetrain. Automakers offer a wide range of different towing options in the truck segment, ranging from midsize utility to fullsize, heavy-duty “pull your house around the block” designs that are dedicated to hauling. There's quite honestly a specialized answer out there for almost everyone's specific towing needs. Let's take a look at 10 vehicles that attempt to answer the question, “What is the best truck for towing?”
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1) 2016 RAM 3500 HD — 31,210 lbs
The updated 2016 RAM 3500 HD offers a number of body styles, including regular, mega, and crew cab models for those who need to transport more than just three people at a time. Its available dual rear wheels expand its towing capacity to top the Ford and GMC models on this list. At the heart of the RAM 3500 HD, nestled within its ultra-strong frame and rugged suspension system, is a 6.7-liter turbodiesel 6-cylinder engine built by Cummins. This unit produces a staggering 385 horsepower and 865 lb-ft of torque, numbers which go a long way towards the RAM 3500 HD's claimed towing capacity of up to 31,210 lbs.
2) 2016 Ford F-450 Super Duty — 31,200 lbs
The 2016 Ford F-450 Super Duty is a hyper-capable pickup tow rig that sits right on the border of being a dedicated commercial vehicle. The Ford F-450 Super Duty is crew cab only, which means plenty of passenger room inside. This truck also offers dual rear wheels in order to improve its towing capacity. 31,200 lbs of towing capacity are available with the F-450 Super Duty, and its 440-horsepower, 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8 engine also churns out 860 lb-ft of torque in order to make it that much easier to climb a steep grade when hitched to a fully-loaded trailer.
Photo Credit: General Motors
3) 2016 GMC Sierra 3500HD — 23,300 lbs
The 2015 GMC Sierra 3500HD is the most hardcore edition of GM's fullsize pickup. The GMC Sierra 3500HD best able to deal with extreme towing demands is the model that features dual rear wheels, which help to spread out the weight of a bed-mounted hitch and also provide additional straight-line stability. Available in regular, extended, and crew cab body styles, the Sierra 3500HD with dual rear wheels is rated to tow up to 23,200 lbs with a 5th wheel trailer hitch. This is made possible in part by the GMC's available 6.6-liter V8 turbodiesel engine, which produces 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque.
4) 2016 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD — 23,200 lbs
Though the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD used to be targeted specifically at fleet buyers, it’s become more accessible to individual consumers. Under its Bowtie-branded skin, the Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is mechanically very similar to the GMC Sierra 3500HD, which means that it enjoys access to a 6.6-liter turbodiesel V8 that also generates 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. Towing is equally impressive, with 23,200 lbs of trailer capacity accessible to properly-equipped Silverados, and a substantial number of different truck configurations are available to interested buyers.
5) 2016 Nissan Titan — 12,310 lbs
The redesigned 2016 Nissan Titan makes up for lost time. While previous versions of the truck lagged behind the competition, it’s now leaving some of them in the dust. The most tow-capable versions of the Titan come with a new 310-horsepower, 5.0-liter V8 turbodiesel engine, and this unit also produces 555 lb-ft of torque. The vehicle offers an integrated gooseneck hitch, Tow-Haul Mode, and an integrated trailer brake controller to help make the most of the Titan's total hauling capacity of a respectable 12,310 lbs.
6) 2016 Ford F-150 — 11,300 lbs
Ford’s eternally popular F-150 makes a great everyday truck, but it’s also a good option for towing. The SYNC 3 infotainment screen is added this year. The 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost engine provides 365 horsepower, which is 20 ponies shy of the F-150’s available V8 engine, but the EcoBoost’s torque comes in at a towing-friendly 420 lb-ft, and also provides good fuel economy. Properly equipped, the 2016 Ford F-150 can haul up to 11,300 lbs.
Photo Credit: Toyota
7) 2016 Toyota Tundra — 10,500 lbs
Although it's not sold in heavy duty trim, the 2016 Toyota Tundra still has a lot to offer those looking for a tow vehicle, especially one that doesn't come with cumbersome dual rear wheels. The Toyota Tundra is best outfitted for towing when it is ordered with its top-of-the-line 5.7-liter V8 engine, a unit that delivers 381 horsepower and 401 lb-ft of torque. When equipped with this motor, you can count on the Tundra to pull a trailer weighing up to 10,500 lbs, a figure that requires you to also select the Tow package to upgrade the vehicle's cooling system.
Photo Credit: General Motors
8) 2016 Chevrolet Colorado — 7,000 lbs
The 2016 Chevrolet Colorado is a midsize pickup, and while most of those with “serious” towing needs dismiss this class of truck outright, it's still a viable choice for anyone who needs to pull a load lighter than a boat or a team of horses. The Chevrolet Colorado’s most powerful engine option is a 6-cylinder that displaces 3.6 liters and puts out 305 horses and 269 lb-ft of torque, and which plays a big part in the truck being able to tow as much as 7,000 lbs. As with half-ton trucks, a tow package is also available to help improve the Colorado's trailer-readiness.
Photo Credit: Toyota
9) 2016 Toyota Tacoma — 6,800 lbs
Like the similarly-sized Colorado, the redesigned 2016 Toyota Tacoma features a relatively modest V6 engine as its highest performance engine. The Tacoma’s 3.5-liter unit can be counted on to provide 278 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque. That’s a bit shy of the midsize competition, but the Tacoma also features good speed and acceleration, even with a trailer along for the ride.
Photo Credit: Nissan
10) 2016 Nissan Frontier — 6,500 lbs
The Nissan Frontier might have the lowest towing ratings in the class, but keep in mind, this pickup is actually classified as a compact, so it should be no surprise that it can’t pull as much as the larger competition. To achieve those numbers, order a Frontier with the available 4.0-liter V6 engine, which produces 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque. The Frontier is an affordable way to get a compact pickup that still has some punch.