Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips, and Reviews

A silver 2021 Ford F-150 Tremor is shown off-roading after visiting a used truck dealer.

Choosing the Right Ford For Your Towing Needs

A truck’s ability to tow is one of its most important features, which is why many people purchase one. If you’ve ever needed to move heavy equipment, pull recreational vehicles, or help a friend move, you know that having a truck that can tow is useful. When it comes to heavy-duty towing and hauling, Ford trucks have been a popular choice for decades. Ford offers a range of powerful engines designed to handle the toughest towing tasks. In this blog, we’ll talk about the benefits of having a truck that can tow, who might benefit from having this feature, and delve into the world of Ford truck engines, specifically the F-Series, to help you determine which option at your local used truck dealer is the best for towing.

Benefits of Owning a Reliable Ford Truck for Towing

Beyond the tasks mentioned above, having the power to tow gives you the opportunity to make memories with friends and family members as you haul the camper or boat for the weekend. In addition, towing power can be useful in your full-time job or your side hustle. Contractors, landscapers, and others can move heavy tools, trailers full of supplies, and vehicles made for particular jobs. It not only saves time but also makes your Ford truck useful in many industries. In addition, adventure seekers can go on off-road trips with confidence, whether they like to go overlanding, off-roading, visiting remote camping sites, towing ATVs, or whatever else might be needed.

There are many great opportunities you gain when you purchase a truck with the ability to tow. Additionally, it can be an investment that pays off quickly, as long as you find the truck with the towing power you need. The Ford lineup offers a few dynamic towing choices and advanced trailering packages that make towing easy for everyone.

Breaking Down the Ford Lineup: Towing 101

Ford offers a diverse selection of engines for their trucks, catering to a wide range of needs and preferences. The engines you’ll find in Ford trucks can be grouped into several categories:

EcoBoost Engines: Ford’s EcoBoost engines are known for their blend of power and efficiency. They are often found in the F-150 series and are a great option for those who want to tow moderate loads without compromising fuel economy.

V6 Engines: Ford’s V6 engines, including the 3.3L and 3.5L variants, are popular for their reliability and balance between power and fuel efficiency. These engines are found in various Ford truck models, from the F-150 to the Ranger.

V8 Engines: The classic V8 engines are known for their robust power and torque. These engines come in multiple sizes, such as the 5.0L and 5.2L, and are suitable for heavier towing tasks. They are common in models like the Ford F-150 and Super Duty series.

Diesel Engines: For those needing the utmost power and torque for heavy towing, Ford offers diesel engines, like the 6.7L Power Stroke V8. These engines are found in the Super Duty lineup and are renowned for their towing capabilities.

A white 2023 Ford F-150 is shown towing a trailer on an open road.

What Makes an Engine Great For Towing?

To determine which Ford engine is best for towing, you’ll need to consider several factors:

Towing Capacity: The first step is to know the weight of the trailer or load you intend to tow. Different engines have varying towing capacities, so make sure the engine you choose can handle your towing needs.

Power and Torque: Engines with more power and torque will make towing more effortless. V8 and Power Stroke engines tend to excel in this department.

Fuel Efficiency: If you plan on using your Ford truck for daily driving in addition to towing, consider an EcoBoost or V6 engine. These engines offer a balance between power and fuel efficiency.

Vehicle Size: The size of your truck matters. Smaller trucks, like the Ford Ranger, will have different engine options compared to the larger F-150 or Super Duty series. In addition, a smaller, lighter truck like the Ranger will not be able to tow as heavy a load as the F-150 because the truck’s own weight helps to manage the trailer as it goes down the road..

Budget: More powerful engines often come with a higher price tag. Consider your budget when selecting the right engine for your towing needs.

Best Ford Engines For Towing

While the “best” engine for towing depends on individual requirements, the following recommendations will meet most needs and deliver other features you might look for when shopping for a truck.

Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 has been an iconic fixture on American roads for decades, and for good reason. This truck is tough and reliable, and it can also pull a lot of weight, which makes it a great choice whether you’re a weekend warrior, a small business owner, or just someone who likes how versatile pickup trucks are. Many engine options are available in the F-150, but the two below offer substantial power when it comes to your conventional towing needs.

3.5L PowerBoost Full Hybrid V6: Surprisingly, the hybrid powertrain, usually associated with sipping fuel, also provides an excellent towing capacity, offering a maximum of 12,700 lbs of towing capability and a maximum available payload rating of 2,120 lbs. It is also rated for 25 MPG in rear-wheel drive versions and 23 MPG with four-wheel drive. While you should expect lower fuel economy than this when towing, this is the best mileage available in any F-150, making it a great choice for daily driving as well as towing.

3.5L EcoBoost V6: One might expect the 5.0 Coyote V8 to take top towing honors, as V8s traditionally do. However, with a rating of 400 horsepower and 500 lb ft. of torque, the EcoBoost V6 gives you up to 14,000 lbs of towing capacity when properly equipped. That’s 1,000 lbs more than the V8 provides.

The Ford F-150 also has high-tech tools for towing that make the process safer and smoother. Features like Pro Trailer Backup Assist, which makes backing up with a trailer easier, and Trailer Sway Control, which keeps you in charge of your load when it’s windy or going fast, give you confidence as you drive down the road.

Ford F-250 Super Duty

The Ford F-250 is another viable option in the Ford lineup, known for its rugged durability and aggressive styling. Like most trucks, the Ford F-250’s towing ability depends on a number of factors, such as the engine, transmission, axle ratio, and whether it has two-wheel or four-wheel drive. When selecting the best F-250 for your towing needs, consider the following engine options:

6.7L V8 Power Stroke Turbo-Diesel: This engine, coupled with either the 3.31 or 3.55 axle ratio and either the SuperCab or CrewCab option, has a maximum towing capacity of 22,000 lbs.

6.7L V8 High Output Power Stroke Turbo-Diesel: You can also achieve a maximum towing capacity of 22,000 lbs with this engine when selecting the SuperCab or CrewCab options.

Ford offers the same collection of dynamic trailering packages for the F-250 as the F-150, giving you better capabilities and options for what you tow.

Ford F-350 Super Duty

The Ford F-350 is a step up from the F-250, offering you even more heavy-duty durability. For the F-350, the engine choices are the same for the F-250. However, the maximum towing capacity is increased slightly for certain cab and bed configurations. For instance, the 6.7L V8 High-Output Turbo Diesel can tow up to 24,000 lbs. As noted above, to get the most capability, trailering packages, cab and bed configurations, and other factors need to be considered.

A white 2018 Ford F-350 diesel is towing a boat on a highway.

Take Towing to the Next Level With Ford

The best engine for towing depends on your specific needs and priorities. Whether you prioritize power, fuel efficiency, or a balance of both, Ford’s diverse engine lineup has something for everyone. Assess your towing requirements, vehicle size, and budget to make an informed decision and ensure that your Ford truck can handle your towing tasks with ease. When you’re ready to see what Ford can do for you, head to your local Ford dealer.