Best Trucks for Towing in 2019
Whether you have a pair of jet skis or a four-horse trailer, you need something rugged and hardy enough to tow the load. When it comes to best trucks for towing, there are many options available, from mid-size to super-duty pickup trucks.
If you’re towing a lower weight — say, under 9,000 lbs — you may be able to get away with an SUV. But for serious haulers, you’ll need a full-size or super-duty truck. Keep in mind that adding the tow package — such as wiring harnesses, trailer hitch receivers and a ball mount — can add to the vehicle’s cost. Additionally, how much the truck can actually pull is dependent on its size, how much weight it has in the cab and bed, and the kind of hitch installed.
We looked at the best trucks in every class to come up with our favorites, giving weight — no pun intended — to ratings by Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts, consumers on Edmunds, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), when available. See the methodology for more information.
- 2019 Nissan Frontier King Cab SV
- 2019 Toyota Tacoma SR-5
- 2019 Honda Ridgeline Sport AWD
- 2019 Chevrolet Colorado
- 2019 GMC Canyon
Best compact and mid-size trucks for towing
If you do light hauling, you likely only need a compact or mid-size truck. Here are the best options we found that can tow up to 7,000 lbs.
- $25,620 MSRP
- 3.8 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.2 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (6 reviews)
- 4 stars NHTSA
Though the Nissan Frontier is the cheapest car on our list, it has some nice standard features, including rear-view camera and full color display. With a towing capacity of about 6,500 lbs on the King Cab V-6 trim, it’s also known for its excellent handling. When you add the value truck package, the total cost comes to about $27,510. There are some safety concerns with the truck. The NHTSA gave it four stars but noted some issues, and IIHS gave it marginal and poor ratings in several areas.
- $27,325 MSRP
- 4.3 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (13 reviews)
- 4 stars NHTSA
If you need a truck that can handle more work, the Toyota Tacoma is a smart choice. There are 30 different configurations to choose from to meet your needs, but be warned — they can drive the price up to over $42,000 for the TRD Pro. For purposes of this review, we focus on the Toyota Tacoma SR-5, though it can quickly get as expensive as well, at about $31,000, but comes with V6 engine, double cab, five-foot bed and towing hitch receiver and is capable of towing up to 6,700 pounds. In terms of safety, it received a “good” ranking in most areas from the IIHS.
- $35,290 MSRP
- 4.3 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (44 reviews)
- 5 stars NHTSA
The Honda Ridgeline combines the comfort of an SUV with the power of a mid-sized pickup. However, it has the lowest towing capacity of any vehicle on this list, 5,000 pounds, and one of the highest prices in this category. But it also just might be the safest, five stars from the NHTSA and “good” rankings in most areas from IIHS. You’re also paying for clever extras like a hidden compartment beneath the bed floor for storing items that you want to be safe from view.
- $36,580 MSRP
- 4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (5 reviews)
- 4 stars NHTSA
If you need a solid towing vehicle but don’t want the tremendous size of heavy-duty trucks, the Chevrolet Colorado can meet your needs. It can tow up to 7,700 pounds with the turbo-diesel option, indicated in the price above, making it strong enough to tow most small boats and trailers. While the starting price is listed at $21,300, we could not find a trim and specs that would give us that price; it quickly jumped into the $30,000 range shown here and even higher, $40,000 and above for the ZR2 trim, so keep your budget in mind. The Colorado received “good” marks for most areas from IIHS.
- $37,705 MSRP
- 4.2 out of 5 by KBB experts; consumer reviews unavailable on Edmunds
- 4 stars NHTSA
The GMC Canyon offers standard features that include high-tech perks and an updated interior with an infotainment system, HD rearview camera, wireless phone charging and parking sensors. The GMC Canyon can tow up to 7,700 pounds, which should be more than enough for most people’s needs. However, it received “poor” or “marginal” rankings in two areas from the IIHS.
Best full-size trucks for towing
If you need more power, but still want a vehicle that’s relatively easy to maneuver, a full-size pickup is likely for you. Here are the best options that can pull more than 10,000 pounds.
- $38,495 MSRP
- 4.4 out of 5 stars by KBB experts; 3 out of 5 stars from 2 Edmunds consumer reviews
- 5 stars NHTSA
There’s a reason the F-150 is one of the most popular trucks — it’s capable of towing up to 13,200 pounds, though it drives up the base price of $28,155 considerably. It also has a comfortable interior and safety technology to enhance the vehicle, though critics may find the ride to be a bit rough. Though the SuperCrew received 5 stars from the NHTSA, not all configurations of the F-150 were rated. It was ranked “good” in most areas by the IIHS, except it received a “poor” rating with regard to its headlights.
- MSRP $27,395
- 4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (2 reviews)
- 4 stars NHTSA
The 2019 Ram 1500 Classic is not to be confused with its similarly-named, all-new 2019 Ram 1500, which has not yet been rated by KBB experts. The Classic offer solid towing capabilities, especially as production of the new 1500 (and it’s heavier-duty siblings, the 2500 and 3500) ramps up, and is available in three trims: Express, Tradesman and Big Horn. For purposes of this review, we focus on the front-wheel drive Tradesman with regular cab and V6 engine — it’s capable of towing up to 10,620 pounds. Keep in mind that adding the trailer-tow mirrors and brakes add $480 to the price above. If you want more bells and whistles, look to the higher Big Horn trim because the Tradesman has manual windows and mirrors. Want more towing capacity? The all-new Tradesman meets the bill, but, again, has yet to be rated.
Best heavy-duty trucks for towing
If you have serious hauling to do, you’ll need a heavy-duty truck to get the job done. While there are several super-duty trucks on the market, most of them are so new, they haven’t been ranked by KBB, Edmunds, the NHTSA, or the IIHS.
- $37,365 MSRP
- 4.4 by KBB experts; 5.0 out of 5 by consumers (1 review) on Edmunds
If you’re looking for sheer power, it’s hard to beat the Ford F-250 Super Duty XLT. With a maximum towing capacity of 18,500 pounds, it delivers incredible power and utility. The downside is that in order to get that maximum power means adding thousands to the price. The F-250 XLT, one step up from the base XL trim, comes with features such as voice-controlled infotainment system and 4.2-inch display. But to add the trailer tow package means stepping up to the diesel V8 engine, all of which sends the price soaring to about $49,000. Ford also offers the F-350 and F-450 for even more towing capacity and maximum payload, topping out at a 35,000-pound towing capacity on the F-450. Though NHTSA has not given the 2019 F-250 an overall rating, it received 3 or 4 stars, depending on its configuration, in rollover crash tests.
- MSRP $39,000
- 4 out of 5 by KBB experts; not yet reviewed by consumers on Edmunds
- 4 stars NHTSA
The GMC Sierra HD is offered as the 2500 or 3500, capable of towing up to 23,100 pounds, but for purposes of this review we focus on the Sierra 2500HD which is capable of conventional towing of 14,500 pounds and even more when equipped for gooseneck or fifth-wheel towing. But all versions of this heavy-duty pickup reach their full potential with an available diesel V8 engine, which adds to the base price above — the V8 diesel with trailering package adds more than $10,000 to the price above. But perhaps that’s a bargain with the Denali versions of the 2500 and 3500; the 2500 Denali HD starts at $56,600.
Ways to finance the best truck for towing
If you’re in need of a vehicle capable of towing, make sure you understand your financing options before walking into a dealership. While financing through the dealer might sound like the most convenient option, you may end up paying a premium for that convenience. Instead, think about securing financing on your own before you go out truck shopping. You can get an auto loan through banks, credit unions and online lenders, giving you more power at the negotiation table. You can also go to LendingTree, where you can fill out an online form and receive up to five potential auto loan offers from lenders at once, instead of filling out five different lender applications.
To come up with the best towing pickups on the market in 2019, we looked at 20 models currently for sale. We evaluated each vehicle based on ratings from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts and consumers on Edmunds. We looked at each vehicle’s features, capabilities and towing capacity, with an emphasis on just how much each truck could pull. We also looked for vehicles that were rated by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) or the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
If the trucks were not rated by either safety organization, they were eliminated. For consumer reviews, we included the number of reviews posted as of the date of publication. That meant that some popular trucks, such as the Ram 2500 or the Chevrolet Silverado, did not make the cut because they are so new. Note that some KBB and Edmunds reviewers may be discussing the overall trucks models, not the specific configurations or trims we recommend here.
MSRPs in the article are accurate as of the date of publishing.