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A red 2021 Chevy Colorado Trail Boss is shown from the front driving on an open road after leaving a Chevy truck dealer.

Chevy Truck Sizes: Towing Capacity, Payload, And More

Before you visit a Chevy truck dealer to pick up a new or used pickup truck, having the right insight into the kind of truck you need, whether for recreational or work purposes, is a very important thing to get ironed out. This quick buyer’s guide will help you identify the different truck sizes offered by Chevy and answer the question that some shoppers have when they wonder about the difference between midsize, full-size, and heavy-duty trucks. Put simply, midsize trucks are on the smaller side, designed for light work and everyday tasks, while full-size models are your most common type of pickup and can handle a bit of everything. At the top of the heap are heavy-duty trucks, which are intended for heavy trailering and commercial work.

The size of the truck affects everything from performance and passenger volume to payload capacity and trailering ratings. It also has an effect on price and fuel economy, which can determine which size truck you may feel is most beneficial for you. Before you commit to checking out a Chevy truck dealer for your next pickup, here are all the basics that you need to know about the different trucks from the bowtie brand. Because in the end, you’re shopping smart if you’re buying what you want.

Chevy Truck Sizes

There are three main sizes for the popular Chevy consumer trucks available on the market. The sizes are associated not just with length, height, and cabin space, but also with other attributes such as payload capacity and tow ratings. The three truck sizes that you can expect from Chevy’s consumer pickups include:

  • Midsize
  • Full-Size
  • Heavy-Duty

Alternatively, you may sometimes hear full-size trucks being labeled as “light-duty” or “half-ton” models, while heavy-duty trucks can be divided between “three-quarter-ton” and “one-ton” models. Most Chevy truck dealers will have all three variations of the truck sizes in stock. It’s important to be able to find different trucks in different sizes that suit your tastes. The sizes also come in different trims and configurations, which will also greatly determine things like performance, off-road capabilities, and even luxury features and components.

Chevy Colorado: Midsize Truck

The Chevy Colorado is a reliable midsize truck that covers everything from basic transport to payload and trailering. The Colorado has been a nameplate since 2004, slotting into the Chevrolet line-up as an economical alternative to the larger Chevy Silverado. The Colorado has a selection of power plant options, including 4-cylinder, 6-cylinder, and diesel engines. The 2021 Colorado has a starting MSRP of $25,200, with the option of scaling up based on trims and packages.

The newer model years of the Colorado are capable of towing up to 7,700 lbs and offer a max payload capacity of 1,550 lbs. This gives the Colorado ample ability to conveniently tow and carry fairly heavy loads, even though it is classified as a midsize pickup truck. The Colorado is available in an Extended and Crew Cab format, along with long and short beds. The Colorado is fully outfitted with all the necessary interior, infotainment, and safety features you would expect from the other trucks, only it’s smaller and more affordable. However, the Crew Cab still seats up to five people and features an interior cargo capacity of 49.9 cubic feet of space. The 2021 model also has a fuel economy rating of up to 23 mpg combined with the optional diesel engine.

A black 2021 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTD is shown from the side parked in a field.

Chevy Silverado 1500: Full-Size Truck

The half-ton, full-size pickup that is the front and center representation of the Chevy truck brand is none other than the Chevy Silverado 1500. This truck is classified as a full-size pickup due to its payload capacity, trailering rating, and performance-driven powertrains. As a full-size pickup truck, the Silverado offers additional payload and trailering capacity over midsize pickup trucks like the Colorado, and this adds a lot to its overall appeal for those who need a truck that can handle heavier tasks. The first-generation Silverado first debuted back in 1999, and it quickly became one of the best-selling full-size trucks on the market thanks to its conventional design, fundamental workman-like dependability, and its comprehensive suite of features.

Newer generation Chevy Silverado 1500 trucks come with multiple powertrain options, including a variety of powerful V8 gasoline options and the high-torque Duramax turbo-diesel. The 2021 Chevy Silverado has a starting MSRP of $29,300. The price can scale up according to optional features and trims, which span everything from basic conventional amenities to off-road trims, as well as luxury-oriented trims at the top end of the line. The Silverado 1500 is capable of achieving a payload capacity of 2,280 lbs and has a max trailering rating of nearly 13,300 lbs.

Chevy Silverado 2500 HD: Heavy-Duty Truck

The Chevy Silverado 2500 HD series came onto the scene alongside the Silverado 1500 as a heavy-duty variant to the light-duty 1500. The Silverado 2500 HD took everything the 1500 was capable of but offered more durable powertrains and suspension for improved towing and trailering, as well as increased payload capacity. While light-duty trucks are categorized as half-ton trucks, heavy-duty trucks like the 2500 HD are classified as three-quarter-ton trucks because they can carry more payload.

Even though the older generation heavy-duty variants featured increased tow and payload capacity over the 1500, the newer generation 2500 HD increased the trailering capacities even more. In fact, the 2021 Silverado 2500 HD is capable of trailering up to 18,510 lbs, thanks to over 900 lb-ft of available torque with the 6.6L Duramax V8 turbo-diesel engine. The Silverado 2500 HD, however, will cost you a bit more than the typical Silverado 1500, with the MSRP of the 2021 model starting at $35,300. However, the nice part about the 2500 HD is that it’s quite varied with its available trims and luxury options, which makes it a choice truck among those looking for something more capable of heavy-duty tasks than the Silverado 1500.

A white 2021 Chevy Silverado 2500 is shown from the front driving on an open road.

Chevy Silverado 3500 HD: Heavy-Duty Truck

For maximum trailering and payload capacity, the Chevy Silverado 3500 HD is the ultimate consumer-ready heavy-duty pickup. It arrived during the first generation of the Silverado’s debut, with the defining feature being the available dual-rear-wheel setup, also known as a “dually” drivetrain. This allows the Silverado 3500 HD to trailer and carry much heavier cargo than the 1500 or even the 2500 HD are capable of. Newer generations of the Silverado 3500 HD, much like the 2500 HD, have been built on much stronger and reinforced frames, allowing them to tow and trailer more than ever before.

The 2021 Silverado 3500 HD, with the dualie setup, is capable of trailering up to 36,000 lbs of cargo when properly equipped. It can also carry a maximum payload of up to 7,442 lbs. These figures keep increasing with each new generation and model year, allowing intrepid truck drivers to haul some of the largest trailers out there that can be hitched to a heavy-duty pickup. The 2021 Silverado 3500 HD’s MSRP starts at $35,900, which actually makes it quite the catch for those who need to perform commercial work with a heavy-duty truck, especially since it’s just slightly more than the 2500 HD.

Which Size Pickup Is Right For Me?

Picking the right kind of pickup truck is based entirely on a number of factors. First and foremost, you need to determine what you plan to use the truck for. If your main goal is simply to have a truck that you can drive back and forth in, with some occasional light towing of recreational vehicles such as a small boat, then a midsize truck like the Colorado might be the right choice for you. Need something that can handle heavier loads and offers more high-end luxury options and possibly off-road capabilities? Then maybe you should consider the full-size Silverado 1500. Need something for commercial work or heavy-duty tasks? The Silverado 2500 HD or Silverado 3500 HD would be the better option. Obviously, the trims and package should also be taken into consideration based on your budget, so when you visit a Chevy truck dealer, you have an idea of what the right size truck is for you.