You’d want these trucks on your side when you need to do heavy lifting

We often get blinded by the horsepower wars among sports cars and supercars that a lot of us don’t pay enough attention to the pickup truck battlefield where horsepower isn’t as important as torque and towing capacity. These heavy haulers may not have the kind of power that Ferraris and Ford Mustangs have, but when it comes to pulling weight on top of its own, the competition is as cutthroat as it is the performance segments. Whether its towing capacity, max payloads, or just all-around usefulness and reliability, these five pickup trucks are the best options to get to where you need to go if you’re hauling some heavy weight

Updated0 7-11-2018: This article was updated to reflect an improper torque rating given for the Ram 3500 with the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine The torque rating has been revised from 900 pound-feet to 930 pound-feet, which is accurate for the 2019 model year.

5. Nissan Titan XD

2016 Nissan Titan XD High Resolution Exterior
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Gas versions of the pickup carry a max towing capacity of 11,600 pounds for the 4x2 with Endurance trim

When you’re a truck that goes by the name “Titan,” there’s a level of expectation that comes with it. That expectation goes up a level when you affix “XD” after the name. The Nissan Titan XD not only bears the responsibility of being the Nissan Titan’s big brother, but it also shoulders the expectation to deliver the goods, literally and figuratively.

Fortunately, the Titan XD is well-equipped to handle the job. It packs a standard Cummins 5.0-liter V-8 turbo-diesel that pumps out 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque, the latter of which comes into huge play when the truck needs to maximize its towing capacity, which comes in at 12,030 pounds for the 4x4 diesel model. Gas versions of the pickup carry a max towing capacity of 11,600 pounds for the 4x2 with Endurance trim, but where they fall short in that department, they make up for with a max payload of 2,910 pounds. That’s almost 500 pounds more than the max payload of diesel versions of the Titan XD, which tops out at 2,420 pounds. The Titan XD impressive in its own right, but it doesn’t measure up quite as handily as some of the other trucks on this list. The good news for Nissan’s full-sized hauler is the grocery list of towing aids that can even the playing field, so to speak. The truck comes with an integrated trailer brake controller, a trailer sway control, Tow/Haul Mode with downhill speed control, a backup camera with trailer guides, and an incredibly useful around-view monitor that gives the driver the closest thing to a virtual “bird’s eye” view of the truck and its surrounding area.

2016 Nissan Titan XD High Resolution Exterior
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Engine 4.0-liter Cummins V-8
Horsepower 310 hp
Torque 555 LB-FT
Max Payload 2,520 lbs (2,910 lbs - single cab)
Max Towing Capacity 12,030 lbs
Towing Eqipment Integrated trailer brake controller, a trailer sway control, Tow/Haul Mode with downhill speed control, a backup camera with trailer guides, and an incredibly useful around-view monitor that gives the driver the closest thing to a virtual “bird’s eye” view of the truck and its surrounding area.
Price $45,770 - $64,110 (crew cab diesel)

Read our full review on the 2018 Nissan Titan XD.

4. GMC Sierra 3500 HD

2015 GMC Sierra HD High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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It has 910 pound-feet of pure, metal twisting torque - enough for it to tow up to 23,100 pounds when equipped with a fifth wheel gooseneck and 2WD

One look at the GMC Sierra 3500 Denali and you can immediately tell that it could probably move a mountain or two. Ok, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the diesel-powered, four-wheel drive monolith on wheels can do incredible things. First things first, though. The Sierra 3500 Denali comes with a Duramax 6.6-liter, turbodiesel, V-8 that produces 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. That’s not an exaggeration. It has 910 pound-feet of pure, metal twisting torque - enough for it to tow up to 23,100 pounds when equipped with a fifth wheel gooseneck and 2WD. I should point out, though, that on GMC’s website, the Sierra 3500 Denali also has a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 17,200 pounds. The weight of the passengers, cargo, and other options and accessories all reduce the weight the pickup truck can tow, so that’s how we likely arrived at the posted max towing capacity. The truck’s max payload is rated at 7,153 pounds.

If there is one drawback to the Sierra 3500 HD relative to its competition, it’s the lack of meaningful towing aids. Sure, the Sierra has an integrated trailer brake controller, a backup camera, and a corner step rear bumper, but there’s also an optional wireless camera.

2015 GMC Sierra HD High Resolution Exterior
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Engine 6.6-liter Duramax V-8
Horsepower 445 hp
Torque 910 lb-ft
Max Payload 7,153 lbs
Max Towing Capacity 23,100 w\ 5th wheel and 3.73 rear axle
Towing Equipment Integrated trailer brake controller, a backup camera, corner step rear bumper, wireless camera (available,) three camera trailering system (optional,) extended view tow mirrors, front camera system, trailer tire pressure monitoring
Price $34,940 - $68,195 + options

Read our full review on the 2018 GMC Sierra 3500 HD.

3. Ram 3500 Limited

2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Ram 3500 is capable of towing a conventional 18,000 pounds, putting most of its rivals to shame

In automotive parlance, the name “Ram” is synonymous with in-your-face, go-anywhere trucks. It’s also synonymous with the Cummins turbo diesel engine, something that the Ram 3500 has in the form of an optional 6.7-liter, inline-six. That engine helps the 3500 crew cab produce 385 horsepower and 930 pound-feet of torque with an automatic transmission. Opt for the six-speed manual and the torque level drops to 660 pound-feet of torque. Both options make compelling cases, but you can also choose to go with the standard 6.4-liter Heavy Duty V-8 HEMI. Power’s rated at 410 horsepower and 429 pound-feet of torque, but it’s still formidable enough to get the job done.

Power may be down compared to other pickups from Chevrolet or GMC, but the Ram 3500 is capable of towing a conventional 20,000 pounds, putting most of its rivals to shame. Throw the kitchen sink in terms of extra equipment and that number goes all the way up to 31,210 pounds, Even better, the heavy-duty hauler comes with a max payload rating of 7,350 pounds, head and shoulders above what both the Nissan Titan XD and the GMC Sierra 3500 Denali are capable of.

The Ram 3500 is far from smoking mirrors, either. It also has a good amount of towing aides at its disposal, giving you plenty of options on how you want to configure your pickup. You can opt for an integrated trailer brake controller, trailer sway control, and a basic backup camera, air suspension system, fifth-wheel hitch, elevated cargo view camera, 4.10 rear axle (max towing package.)

2018 Ram 3500 Heavy Duty
- image 786199
Engine 6.7-liter Cummins I6
Horsepower 385 hp
Torque 930 lb-ft
Max Payload 7,350 lbs
Maximum Towing 31,210 lbs
Towing Equipment Integrated trailer brake controller, trailer sway control, and a basic backup camera, air suspension system, fifth-wheel hitch, elevated cargo view camera, 4.10 rear axle (max towing package.)
Price $47,045 - $64,195

Read our full review on the 2018 Ram 3500 Limited.

2. Chevy Silverado 3500

2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD High Resolution Exterior
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The maximum towing capacity of 23,100 pounds that’s available with the Duramax-powered Silverado 3500 HD Crew Cab 2WD DRW and a fifth-wheel hitch

Chevrolet has been a formidable presence in the pickup truck wars for so long that any mention of heavy-duty trucks inevitably comes with a nod to the Silverado 3500. The expectations surrounding the Silverado 3500 are well-earned. It’s Chevy’s go-to truck, one that comes with a massive Duramax 6.6-liter, turbodiesel, V-8 that produces 445 horsepower and a knee-buckling 910 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to an Allison 1000 six-speed automatic transmission. The new Duramax engine is General Motors’ most powerful diesel engine ever, so it’s more than capable of accomplishing whatever job it’s tasked to do.

Depending on the version of the Silverado 3500 HD, you’re going to get some pretty significant capabilities, none more important than the maximum towing capacity of 23,100 pounds that’s available with the Duramax-powered Silverado 3500 HD Crew Cab 2WD DRW and a fifth-wheel hitch. The truck’s max payload reaches a staggering 5,281 pounds, which accounts for one of the best returns in the segment.

Towing equipment and options include an integrated trailer brake controller, a backup camera, corner step rear bumper, wireless camera (available,) three camera trailering system (optional,) extended view tow mirrors, front camera system, and trailer tire pressure monitoring.

2016 Chevrolet Silverado HD High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 648541
Engine 6.6-liter Duramax V-8
Horsepower 445 hp
Torque 910 lb-ft
Max Payload 7,153 lbs
Max Towing Capacity 23,100 w\ 5th wheel and 3.73 rear axle
Towing Equipment Integrated trailer brake controller, a backup camera, corner step rear bumper, wireless camera (available,) three camera trailering system (optional,) extended view tow mirrors, front camera system, trialer tire pressure monitoring
Price $35,500 - $69,290

Read our full review on the 2018 Chevy Silverado 3500.

1. Ford F-450 Super Duty

2017 Ford Super Duty High Resolution Exterior
- image 648397
It has a conventional tow rating of 21,000 pounds, with maximum gooseneck trailering coming in at 34,000 pounds

If you’re in the market for the ultimate tow rig, the Ford F-350 Super Duty is about as good as it gets. It comes with a gargantuan 6.7-liter, Power Stroke, turbodiesel that produces 450 horsepower and 935 pound-feet of torque. It has a conventional tow rating of 21,000 pounds, with maximum gooseneck trailering coming in at 34,000 pounds. If that isn’t enough, the F350’s max payload peaks at 7,630 pounds.

Speaking of the towing tech goodies, Ford’s Super Duty arguably has some of the best in the business. It’s the first truck to have adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support for heavy trailers, allowing drivers to climb steep grades while maintaining speed. It also has a trailer tow camera system that uses four cameras that provide a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the truck. That’s on top of the trailer reverse guidance system that provides visual cues and tips to help make the difficult job of backing a trailer much easier. The Blue Oval also has the industry’s first-ever factory-available trailer camera that can be custom-placed on a trailer to improve visibility backing up, an improved blind-spot info system that has been improved to include the length of the trailer up to 33 feet long, and an in-cab trailer tire pressure monitoring system.

2017 Ford Super Duty High Resolution Exterior
- image 648393
Engine 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8
Horsepower 450 hp
Torque 935 lb-ft
Max Payload 7,630 lbs
Maximum Towing 34,000 lbs with gooseneck
Towing Equipment Trailer camera system, reverse guideance system, trailer-mounted camera, trailer tire pressure monitoring, trailer brake controller, extended tow mirrors.
Pricing $54,560 - $86,285

Read our full review on the 2018 Ford F-450 Super Duty.

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