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 mid-size utility to full-size, 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?'
Best Truck For Towing - 01 - 2013 GMC Sierra 3500HD
The 2013 GMC Sierra 3500HD is the most hardcore edition of GM's full-size 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 22,800 lbs with a 5th wheel trailer hitch. This is made possible in part by the GMC's available 6.6-liter V-8 turbodiesel engine, which produces 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque.
Best Truck For Towing - 02 - 2013 Ford F-450 Super Duty
The 2013 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, but more importantly this truck comes exclusively with dual rear wheels in order to improve its towing capacity. 18,500 lbs of conventional towing capacity are available with the F-450 Super Duty, and its 400 horsepower, 6.7-liter turbodiesel V-8 engine also churns out 800 lb-ft of torque in order to make it that much easier to climb a steep grade when hitched to a fully-loaded trailer.
Best Truck For Towing - 03 - 2013 Ram 3500 HD
The 2013 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 - and its available dual rear wheels expand its towing capacity to be competitive with 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 six-cylinder engine built by Cummins. This unit produces a staggering 385 horsepower and 850 lb-ft of torque, numbers which go a long way towards the Ram 3500 HD's claimed towing capacity of up to 30,000 lbs.
Best Truck For Towing - 04 - 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
The 2013 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD is targeted specifically at fleet buyers, although it is also available to individuals interested in its high towing capacity if they know who to ask at their local dealerships. 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 322 horsepower, 6.6-liter turbodiesel V-8 that also generates 397 horsepower and 765 lb-ft of torque. Towing is equally impressive, with over 20,000 lbs of trailer capacity accessible to properly-equipped Silverados, and a substantial number of different truck configurations are available to interested buyers.
Best Truck For Towing - 05 - 2013 Toyota Tundra
Although it's not sold in heavy duty trim, the 2013 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 V-8 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 10,400 lbs, a figure that requires you to also select the Tow package to upgrade the vehicle's cooling system.
Best Truck For Towing - 06 - 2013 Nissan Titan
The 2013 Nissan Titan hasn't quite kept up with the rest of the pack when it comes to technology and features, but it remains at heart a brawny half-ton pickup truck option that can still get the job done for most people's towing needs. All versions of the Nissan Titan come standard with a 317 horsepower, 5.6-liter V-8 engine, and this unit also produces 385 lb-ft of torque. The vehicle's available Tow Package includes a Class III hitch as well as a trailer wiring harness, and it helps up the Titan's total hauling capacity to a respectable 9,500 lbs.
Best Truck For Towing - 07 - 2012 Chevrolet Colorado
The 2012 Chevrolet Colorado is a mid-size 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 is notable for its eight-cylinder engine option, which displaces 5.3-liters and puts out 300 horses and 320 lb-ft of torque, and which plays a big part in the truck being able to tow as much as 6,000 lbs. As with half-ton trucks, a tow package is also available to help improve the Colorado's trailer-readiness.
Best Truck For Towing - 08 - 2013 Toyota Tacoma
The 2013 Toyota Tacoma doesn't come with a brutish V-8 engine like the similarly-sized Colorado, but this smaller pickup truck can actually handle more trailer than its domestic competitor. The Toyota Tacoma features the option of a 4.0-liter V-6 engine, and this motor can be counted on to provide 236 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque - far less than the Colorado, yet its tow rating is 500 lbs higher for a total of 6,500 lbs. The secret? Toyota offers a comprehensive tow package for its most affordable pickup, consisting of a heavy-duty alternator, additional engine and oil cooling, a trailer sway control system, and even a Class IV hitch.
Best Truck For Towing - 09 - 2013 Honda Ridgeline
The 2013 Honda Ridgeline is a pickup truck that rides on a crossover-based platform, which means that it lacks the full-frame chassis that is typically associated with a tow rig. That doesn't mean that it is completely incapable of handling a trailer, however - it just means that you'll have to temper your expectations of just how much weight the truck can safely pull. The Honda Ridgeline is motivated by a 250 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 engine that also churns out 247 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard with the Ridgeline, and it can tow up to 5,000 lbs total - which is in line with crossover SUVs of roughly the same size.
Best Truck For Towing - 10 - 2013 Nissan Frontier
The 2013 Nissan Frontier is another mid-size pickup that can step in to handle the towing duties of anyone who doesn't need to carry too big of a load from point A to point B. As with its Toyota Tacoma rival, the Nissan Frontier has been cleared to tow up to 6,500 lbs when equipped with its V-6 engine option. This 4.0-liter unit generates 261 horsepower and 281 lb-ft of torque, and although it can be had with four-wheel drive (like most of the vehicles on this list) keeping it in two-wheel drive trim maximizes its trailer capability. A trailer harness and up to a Class IV hitch are available with the Frontier.