Trucks are designed to work hard, whether that means driving around the farm, commuting between job sites, towing heavy equipment, or hitting the blacktop for a weekend of fun. One of the most prominent parts of what makes them iconic work vehicles is a truck’s ability to tow heavy loads. But did you know that not all trucks are created equal when it comes to towing? A quick visit to the Chevy dealer near you, and you’ll discover that Chevy’s truck lineup comes with a variety of different towing options. So, what is the best Chevy truck for towing?
Mid-Size: 2021 Chevy Colorado (7,700 lbs)
The 2021 Colorado starts our list as the best mid-size truck for towing with a maximum capacity of 7,700 lbs. This towing capacity depends on the Colorado’s trim and engine options. The WT starts at $27,100, the LT at $27,700, the Z71 at $35,500, and the ZR2 at $41,600. The Chevy Colorado has three engine options available: a 2.5-liter four-cylinder, a 3.6-liter V6, and a 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel four-cylinder.
The 2.5-liter engine produces 200 hp at 6,300 rpm and 191 lb-ft of torque at 4,400 rpm. This configuration offers a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs. Upgrading to the 3.6-liter V6 engine offers more power and produces 308 hp at 6,800 rpm and 275 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. With the V6 capable of towing 7,000 lbs, this setup is a great option for drivers looking for performance and power without a high price tag.
However, the best towing option for the Chevy Colorado is to upgrade to the 2.8-liter Duramax turbo-diesel four-cylinder that produces 181 hp at 3,400 rpm and 369 lb-ft of torque at 2,000 rpm. This results in an impressive towing capacity of 7,700 lbs, the highest of the entire Colorado lineup.
Half-Ton: 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 (13,400 lbs)
The 2020 Silverado 1500 is ranked as America’s most fuel-efficient truck with the half-ton 2WD model offering an impressive 23 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway. But that’s not all the Silverado is known for! The truck boasts an impressive towing capacity of up to 13,400 lbs depending on the trim and engine.
Chevrolet pulled out all the stops with the 2020 Silverado 1500 and offers eight trim choices and six engine options. The trims are impressive and include the High Country, LTZ, LT Trail Boss, RST, LT, Custom Trail Boss, Custom, and the Work Truck. The engine options are what truly set the Silverado apart and include the 2.7-liter turbo, 4.3-liter V6, 5.3-liter V8, 6.2-liter V8, and the 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel. How do these measure up in terms of horsepower, torque, and towing capacity?
The Silverado is known for its performance and ability to pull at low rpms and accelerate quickly, which is certainly the case for the 2020 models. The standard 4.3-liter Ecotec V6 engine produces 285 hp at 5,300 rpm and 305 lb-ft of torque at 3,900 rpm with a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 lbs. The 4.3-liter runs neck and neck with the 2.7-liter turbo that produces more power at 310 hp at 5,600 rpm and 348 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm. Despite the power, the 2.7-liter offers a smaller towing capacity of 6,800 lbs.
The Silverado’s 5.3-liter Ecotec V8 engine is beefier and produces 355 hp at 5,600 rpm and 383 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm. Its maximum towing capacity is 9,700 lbs. The next step up is the 6.2-liter Ecotec V8 that offers more power but surprisingly doesn’t match the 5.3-liter’s towing capacity, at least not at first glance. The 6.2-liter produces 420 hp at 5,600 rpm and 460 lb-ft of torque at 4,100 rpm but trailers 400 lbs less than the 5.3-liter on its own. Although the next step up is the 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel, the diesel surprisingly falls short when it comes to towing. The turbo-diesel produces 277 hp at 3,750 rpm and 460 lb-ft of torque at 1,500 rpm. Its towing capacity is a modest 7,600 lbs.
If that’s the case, how is the Silverado capable of trailering up to 13,400 lbs? It’s all about the trim, package, and engine combination. The Silverado tows a maximum of 13,400 lbs with the 6.2-liter V8, the Max Trailering Package, and 20-in wheels on a double cab standard bed RST model with four-wheel drive.
Three-Quarter Ton: 2020 Chevy Silverado 2500HD (18,500 lbs)
The 2020 Silverado 2500HD offers towing confidence for the long haul thanks to its powerful engine options, outstanding performance, and advanced towing and trailering technology. The three-quarter-ton Silverado 2500HD is available in five trim options—High Country, LTZ, LT, Custom, and Work Truck. Chevrolet also gives drivers a choice between two engines—the 6.6-liter V8 or the 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V8.
The robust 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V8 gives the Silverado HD more power under the hood and produces 445 hp at 2,800 rpm and 910 lb-ft of torque at 1,600 rpm with a maximum towing capacity of 18,500 lbs using a fifth-wheel trailer. The 6.6-liter V8 gasoline engine doesn’t offer as much power, but still impresses with 401 hp at 5,200 rpm and 464 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The gas engine can tow a maximum of 14,500 lbs on a traditional trailer or 16,900 lbs with a fifth-wheel hitch.
One-Ton: 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD (35,500 lbs)
For those looking for the biggest heavy-duty Chevrolet on the road, the 2020 Silverado 3500HD answers that call. The 3500HD is the best Chevrolet truck for towing and offers a maximum towing capacity of 35,500 lbs on a regular cab with a long bed powered by a 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8 engine and with a gooseneck or fifth-wheel setup. Of course, this isn’t the only option available for the Silverado 3500.
Like its smaller counterpart, the 2500HD, the 3500HD comes in the same trim packages—High Country, LTZ, LT, Custom, and Work Truck—and offers the same engine options—the 6.6-liter V8 or the 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V8. The 6.6-liter V8 gasoline engine can tow up to 16,800 lbs with a long box 2WD option. The Duramax engine takes this up a notch and offers a maximum towing capacity of 20,000 lbs. From there, the fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailering options drive the 3500HD’s hauling capacity even higher with the gasoline engine maxing out at 17,200 lbs on a regular cab with a long box and the diesel maxing out at 35,500 pounds with a long box and gooseneck hitch.
Picking the Best Chevy for Your Towing Needs
From the mid-size Colorado to the robust Silverado 3500HD, Chevrolet offers an outstanding lineup of trucks that feature the best in towing, performance, and comfort. Choosing the best Chevrolet truck for towing depends on your needs and what you plan to tow. If you’re looking for a mid-size option capable of towing a small trailer to haul gear and equipment or even a small camper, the Chevy Colorado is ideal. From there, the options expand all the way up to the 3500HD, which is ideal for farmers, ranchers, and heavy equipment workers who need tow extremely heavy loads.