Thursday, November 30, 2023


Heavy load: Ford regains towing honors in half-ton trucks

By James Raia
MotorTrend has just released a comprehensive look at all things related to 2021 trucks, from payload to towing, gas mileage to bed quality.

One of the most coveted category titles is towing capacities for half-ton pickup trucks.

The 2021 Ford F 150 Series will have the industry top towing capacity.
The 2021 Ford F-150 Series will have the industry top towing capacity

According to the publication, Ford has recaptured the lead among mainstream manufacturers.

Ford has versatile top-towing F-150s

Its F-150 has a maximum trailer weight of 14,000 pounds. Two-wheel drive F-150s fitted with the 3.5L EcoBoost V-6 and either SuperCab or SuperCrew can be configured to hit this maximum weight.

Four-wheel drive Ford F-150 trucks drop 100 pounds to 13,900 pounds of max towing ability.

Chevrolet’s Silverado and GMC’s Sierra can tow a maximum of 13,300 pounds with a 6.2L V-8 equipped four-wheel-drive extended cab truck. A 2021 Ram 1500 can tow up to 12,750 pounds with a 5.7L Hemi V-8 equipped Quad-Cab two-wheel drive. Both the Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra top out in the 9,000- to the 10,000-pound range.

Here’s the list of leading capacities for 2021 half-ton pickup trucks:

• Ford F-150 (two-wheel drive), 14,000 pounds
• Ford F-150 (four-wheel drive), 13,900 pounds
• Chevrolet Silverado, 13,300 pounds
• GMC Sierra, 13,300 pounds
• Ram 1500, 12,750 pounds
• Toyota Tundra, 10,200
• Nissan Titan, 9,400 pounds


The Top 5 Trailer Towing Mistakes Owners Make

James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, He can be reached via email:




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Bob P (@guest_120534)
2 years ago

just checked the Ford F-150 towing capacity, the 14,000 lb rating comes in the regular cab, 2wd, max payload pkg, 3.5L turbo eng. this is not what the average truck buyer buys. I believe all the truck manufacturers should be required to advertise the tow ratings of their most popular models and then if they want to they can tell the prospective buyer they can increase the tow capacity by giving up some of the bells, buttons, and whistles. We know that’s not going to happen, but at least it would make for safer newbies towing their new RV.

Drew (@guest_120537)
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob P

Bob P,

I think buyers should be aware of what they are buying. Do your research, dilegence, and whatever else is needed to inform yourself of what’s available. Aren’t you interested and concerned with your buying decisions?

Tommy Molnar (@guest_120471)
2 years ago

Braking capability never seems to make the cut in terms of “performance” and safety. I can say with authority that the biggest improvement I’ve made to my 2016 F-350 has been the addition of disc brakes on my travel trailer. Yup. Ever since that upgrade, when I step on the brakes, WE STOP ! ! !

George Howard (@guest_120466)
2 years ago

What ever happened to the SAE J2807 Towing test ? Put these trucks to a good base line and see where they really stack up. I have been over that pass a few times with and without a trailer. IMO it is a good place to test a tow rig.

Jeff Arthur (@guest_120455)
2 years ago

No mention of payload capacity, although those figures are most likely exaggerated also.

Donald N Wright (@guest_120434)
2 years ago

Why didn’t you include Consumer Reports favorite truck & tow vehicle, the Honda pickup.?

Drew (@guest_120439)
2 years ago


Here’s the towing capacity of that truck:

Roger V (@guest_120512)
2 years ago

I’ve owned my Ridgeline since 2006. Great truck for my purposes, but at a 5K towing capacity, it doesn’t really belong in a discussion of top tow capacities. It’s even the lowest among mid-sized trucks.

Ray (@guest_120390)
2 years ago

Because of this decades-long one-upmanship between the major manufacturers, the towing capacities/hp/etc, have climbed to impractical levels. I’d like to see an article on just who gets final say on the truth in these statistics. Is there any 3rd party verification to these claims? How about stopping power? Five years ago my 3/4 ton diesel was rated at 12000 lbs towing capacity. In this race to appeal to shallow minds, is safety assured?

Dan (@guest_120412)
2 years ago
Reply to  Ray

I agree. These ambitious numbers must be supplied by the manufacturer and not real world testing. I’m betting the numbers from independent testing will be significantly different. I can’t get past the old school “there is no replacement for displacement”. I feel sorry for the 3.5 liter Ford trying to tow 7 tons through the mountains.

Gary (@guest_120467)
2 years ago
Reply to  Dan

The Ford 3.5 Ecoboost effectively adds “displacement” via forced induction.

Drew (@guest_120472)
2 years ago
Reply to  Gary

And one or both turbos failing will quickly disorganize the engine.

Drew (@guest_120538)
2 years ago
Reply to  Ray


Look at my response to Bob P. above. In addition, manufacturers are responding to consumer’s requests and competition. As always, be engaged in your research and buying decisions.

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