People crave strength, power, and dependability when they’re buying a pickup truck. So it’s generally these three traits that automakers focus on when crafting the latest breed of the world’s toughest pickups. And, wow, is this current crop tough.
Pickup trucks that can move mountains are a mostly American phenomenon, and while Toyota and Nissan both build serious contenders, for the most part Chevrolet, GMC, Ram, and Ford still run the show in terms of power and popularity.
When it comes to power in particular, American trucks just can’t be beat. There are plenty of reasons people buy big trucks — whether it be for work, fun, or both. No matter the reason, most buyers looking for trucks in the Heavy Duty segment are interested in how well these trucks can pull heavy things around.
That’s where this list comes in.
Here, we’ve taken a look at the pickup truck market, and ranked the top 10 by their conventional towing capacity. To keep it simple, we stuck with how much weight each truck can pull with a standard towing package, so considerations like overall GVWR or payload capabilities will have to wait for another list.
Read on to see the 10 most powerful pickups for conventional towing.
10. Ford F-150
Ford has proven time and again that the risky jump to an aluminum body has only made America’s best-selling vehicle even more formidable. Lighter, more fuel efficient, and considerably more capable than the older steel-bodied trucks, the current F-150 has a towing capability of 12,200 pounds when equipped with the factory towing package. And with the 2018 model on its way to dealerships this fall, Ford promises that the new truck will boast near-Super Duty towing numbers.
9. Ram 2500
Ram’s entry into the Heavy Duty segment is plenty tough. The 2500 can tow up to 17,980 pounds, which is nothing to sneeze at. Like the bigger 3500, the 2500 uses a 6.7-liter inline-six Cummins turbo-diesel to generate 385 horsepower and 900 pound-feet of torque, giving Fiat Chrysler’s truck brand a formidable pickup that can handle just about anything.
8. Ford F-350 Super Duty
The F-350 is all-new for 2017, and benefits from a healthy jump in towing capacity. Bigger, lighter, and more economical than the old model, the top F-350 is powered by a 6.7 liter diesel V8. And with 440 horsepower and 950 pound-feet of torque on tap, the Super Duty truck can tow a cool 18,000 pounds.
7. Ford F-250 Super Duty
One of the more exciting developments in Ford’s commitment to hauling is the F-250. A step up from the best-selling F-150, Ford’s smallest (a relative term here) Super Duty pickup can go toe-to-toe with the bigger F-350 and tow up to 18,000 pounds thanks to the same 6.7 liter diesel V8.
6. Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
The Silverado’s entry into heavy duty territory is seriously impressive. The 2500HD has the capacity to tow up to 18,100 pounds thanks to its available Duramax turbo diesel engine. The 6.6 V8 makes 415 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque, and is the cornerstone of GM’s Heavy Duty truck lineup. For the rest of this list, the powerful Duramax gets a lot of attention.
5. GMC Sierra 2500HD
Just like its cousin the Silverado, GMC’s Sierra also gets a considerable boost in size and power once it makes the jump to Heavy Duty. The Sierra 2500HD can also tow up to 18,100 pounds thanks to — you guessed it, the 6.6 liter Duramax V8. But once you get to this upper level of the pickup segment, GMC’s more luxurious interior appointments start to differentiate the Sierra from the Bowtie-wearing Silverado.
4. GMC Sierra 3500 Denali HD
If you’re a die-hard GM person, but want a little more luxury from what Chevy offers, then opt for the Sierra 3500. With that 6.6 liter Duramax diesel V8 (the most powerful engine in GMC history), this rig has 445 horsepower, 910 pound-feet of torque at its disposal. And that’s good for towing up to 23,100 pounds.
3. Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD
Despite getting the same 415 horse, 910 pound-feet from that good old 6.6 liter Duramax engine, and much of the same equipment, the workhorse Silverado 3500 HD actually edges out its fancier cousin by a full 200 pounds of towing capacity. That means Chevy rates its biggest truck at a cool 23,300 pounds. Did the GM brands just get their wires crossed? Given how competitive brands are when it comes to towing, we doubt it. When it comes to the GM stable, the big Chevy reigns supreme.
2. Ram 3500
Proving once and for all that truck makers are in a towing capacity arms race, the Ram 3500HD spent years as the most capable hauler of the bunch, edging out the biggest Ford by just 10 pounds. Then 2017 happened, and Ram is now thoroughly in second place. Not that that’s a bad thing; this heavy duty truck can haul a whopping 31,210 pounds.
1. Ford F-450 Super Duty
The Ford F-450 Super Duty is a serious hauler, and after spending years in second place, the 2017 model rockets into the top spot. Towing capacity has skyrocketed from 31,200 pounds to an incredible 32,500, thanks to its optional 6.7 liter turbodiesel V8, which puts out 440 horsepower and 925 pound-feet of torque. If you need to tow anything heavier, you might as well buy a semi truck.