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10 Best 1/2 Ton Trucks for Towing in 2023

The era of private luxury pickup is here. Modern pickups of all sizes are more posh, comfy, and technologically advanced than ever before. But when there’s work to be done, none of it matters much.

A pickup’s ability to tow has long been one of its most appealing features. This is what the owners of high-performance automobiles consider to be peak speed. Larger numbers are preferable. That’s how things work, and they always have. This gives the truck’s owner and manufacturer something to boast about and provides a glimpse into the truck’s engineering and capabilities.

Check out our compilation of the best 1/2 ton truck for towing 2023. You may see a progression in towing capacity from lowest to highest by clicking on the links above. Maximum conventional towing capacities are underlined, along with gooseneck and fifth-wheel capacities when applicable.Choosing a New Tow Truck: What to Look for!

Top 10 Half Ton Trucks For Towing

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#1. Ford Maverick

  • Price: $ 23,320
  • Engine: 2.0 L Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4
  • Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 2000 Pounds

Just two manufacturers have entered the recently revitalized small truck market, and one of them is Ford with the Maverick. These little best 1/2 ton truck for towing are designed more for economy and affordability than for hauling heavy loads. The Maverick has a front-wheel drive hybrid inline-four producing 191 horsepower as standard equipment. Towing capacity is 2000 pounds with the standard engine. The 4K Tow package, which can be added to Mavericks with either front- or all-wheel drive and the 250-horsepower turbocharged inline-four for an additional $745, allows for towing of up to 4000 pounds.

#2. Hyundai Santa Cruz

best 1/2 ton truck for towing
  • Price: $ 25,175
  • Engine: 2.5 L Regular Unleaded I-4
  • Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 3500 Pounds

The Hyundai Santa Cruz stands out among these pickups due to its lighted front grille. It’s drastically different in appearance from the competition, yet rivals more oversized vehicles in certain respects despite its little size. The base model has a 191-horsepower inline-four and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Also standard are front-wheel drive, four doors, and a bed measuring around four feet in length. This model’s maximum towing capacity is 3500 pounds, making it more powerful than the entry-level Ford Maverick and on par with the front-wheel drive Honda Ridgeline. Towing capacity is maximized by equipping an all-wheel-drive Santa Cruz with a 281-horsepower turbocharged inline-four and an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. That’s in line with what the 5000-pound towing capacity of an all-wheel-drive Ridgeline allows.

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#3. Honda Ridgeline

best 1 2 ton truck for towing travel trailer
  • Price: $ 39,435
  • Engine: 3.5 L Regular Unleaded V-6
  • Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 5000 Pounds

In its second generation, the Honda Ridgeline combines the good looks of a mid-size truck with the ride quality of the crossovers and SUVs it shares its chassis with, such as the Honda Pilot. The Ridgeline has a 3.5-liter V-6 that generates 280 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque at 4700 rpm. It is only offered in a four-door, crew-cab form. Since this is the case, the Ridgeline is the best 1/2 ton truck for towing and has unimpressive tow ratings. Previously, the maximum towing capacity of a two-wheel drive Ridgeline was 3,500 pounds, while that of an all-wheel drive Ridgeline was 5,000 pounds. The 2021 Honda Ridgeline is available only in all-wheel drive. The Pilot received the same tow ratings, by the way.

#4. Ram 1500

best 1/2 ton truck for towing camper
  • Price: $ 38,295
  • Engine: 3.6 L Gas/Electric V-6
  • Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 6640 Pounds

The RAM 1500 earned the top spot on Car and Driver’s list of the 10 Best Cars and Trucks for 2020 for a number of good reasons. The RAM 1500 is a great choice for those who live in snowy climates. It’s one of the most adaptable Class 2 cars on our list because to its plush cabin, which combines a premium feel with optimum practicality. The Tradesman is the most reasonably priced of the two trim levels, despite both offering 4×2 and 4×4 drivetrains. When it comes down to it, “The Ram 1500 isn’t just the best 1/2 ton truck for towing camper out there, it’s one of the best automobiles,” as said by Car and Driver, says it all.

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#5. Nissan Frontier

best 1/2 ton truck for towing
  • Price: $ 29,985
  • Engine: 3.8 L Regular Unleaded V-6
  • Transmission: 9-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 6510 Pounds

The Nissan Frontier has an updated exterior but retains several tried-and-true features. This new pickup is powered by Nissan’s 3.8-liter V-6 engine rated at 310 horsepower and mated to the nine-speed automated gearbox introduced with the 2016 Frontier. The same ladder-type frame is used, but it has been upgraded with additional suspension mounting points, bump stops, and hydraulic body mounts to reduce road noise within the cab. What is the best 1/2 ton truck for towing? With a single motor producing 281 lb-ft of torque at 4400 RPM, the base Frontier is the best-towing model. A Frontier S with an extended cab and rear-wheel drive can tow up to 6720 pounds, but the base model of the new Frontier, the PRO-4X, can draw no more than 6270 pounds. That’s 20 pounds more than the previous model Frontier could tow.

#6. Ford F-150

best 1/2 ton truck for towing
  • Price: $ 33,315
  • Engine: 5.0 L Regular Unleaded V-8
  • Transmission: 10-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 9300 Pounds

The Ford F-150, which is recognized as one of Edmunds’ best work truck models, is highly regarded for its adaptability and extensive list of amenities. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on the F-150’s base work truck trim, while a quick-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission is available on trims with more potent engine options. This model has been deemed “the perfect example of the tough yet modern full-size pickup truck” by the experts at Edmunds. A 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot is standard on all trim levels.

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#7. Toyota Tacoma

best 1 2 ton truck for towing travel trailer
  • Price: $ 28,485
  • Engine: 3.5 L Regular Unleaded V-6
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 6400 Pounds

Once upon a time, the Toyota Tacoma dominated the market for mid-size pickups. Tacoma’s towing capacity has been surpassed by newer models from Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, and Jeep. The Toyota could only pull 3500 pounds with the 159 horsepower basic four-cylinder engine. Depending on the truck’s setup, the 278-hp, 3.5-liter V-6 with 265 lb-ft of torque substantially increases that tonnage to between 6400 and 6800 pounds. Mobility is maximized with the Access Cab 4×2. The six-speed automatic that comes standard on most vehicles is about as outdated as a landline phone, but fortunately, Toyota still sells the V-6 with a six-speed manual in two different variants.

#8. Toyota Tundra

best 1/2 ton truck for towing
  • Price: $ 37,745
  • Engine: 3.5 L Twin Turbo Regular Unleaded V-6
  • Transmission: 10-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 11310 Pounds

Before the all-new 2023 Toyota Tundra is out, the 2021 Tundra will be the last year for this old model. The Tundra can pull up to 10,200 pounds with its one available engine, a 5.7L V-8 paired with a six-speed automated gearbox. This is the highest-level package available on the Double Cab vehicle with front-wheel drive. Four-wheel-drive Crew Max models have the lowest tow rating, at 9,800 pounds. Neither tow rating is the greatest in its class, but the gap between the best 1/2 ton truck for towing travel trailer and worst is modest compared to others in the industry.

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#9. Ford Ranger

best 1/2 ton truck for towing
  • Price: $ 27,425
  • Engine: 2.3 L Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4
  • Transmission: 10-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 3500 Pounds

Ford’s mid-size Ranger lacks a turbo-diesel engine compared to the Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon. The smallest Ford truck is powered by a gasoline-burning, turbocharged four-cylinder displacing 2.3 liters. It has the same 10-speed automatic gearbox as the bigger F-150 and is rated at 270 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, making it fairly powerful. It’s not quite as strong as the competing diesels, but it can still haul a fair amount of cargo. Every Ranger, from the 2WD models to the 4WD vehicles, has a maximum towing capacity of 7500 pounds. That’s 500 pounds more than the V-6 powered Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, but just 200 pounds less than the diesels in the class.

#10. Jeep Gladiator

2022 Jeep Gladiator
  • Price: $ 38,765
  • Engine: 3.6 L Regular Unleaded V-6
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual Transmission
  • Towing Capacity: 4000

The Jeep Gladiator was voted North American Truck of the Year, and we ranked it highly enough to include it on our 10Best list. Although a turbo-diesel V-6 is now an option, it isn’t where you’ll find the highest towing power. Instead, the most powerful Gladiators are those equipped with the 3.6-liter naturally aspirated V-6 found in the Wrangler. It isn’t the most powerful vehicle in its class with only 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm, but it does include a six-speed manual gearbox. Like the Wrangler, the Gladiator has an optional automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive. This pickup can draw up to 4500 pounds when equipped with the manual transmission, but up to 7650 pounds when fitted with the automatic found on the Gladiator Sport trim. The Rubicon model reduces that to 7 thousand pounds.

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Choosing a New Tow Truck: What to Look for!

Pulling Power

The maximum load a vehicle can pull is defined by the manufacturer and is referred to as the towing capacity. To be sure the car you’re thinking of buying can manage the load, you should look into its towing capability.

Curb Weight

A towing vehicle’s curb weight is its weight with the fuel tank full but no people or goods inside. Since cutting fuel consumption is a top priority, modern automobiles are smaller and more fuel-efficient, yet they still have the muscle to pull large trailers. When operating a bigger vehicle hauling a trailer, it is only natural to feel more in command of the situation.


Wheelbase, defined as the distance from the front axle to the rear axle of the tow vehicle, is crucial to the handling and stability of the towing vehicle. Longer wheelbases on towing vehicles reduce the risk of the trailer’s weight shifting forward, raising the front tires.

Power Train

When shopping for a tow vehicle, it’s crucial to choose one with either rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. When towing, the engine’s power should be sent to the axle carrying the heaviest load, hence a vehicle with rear-wheel-drive is desirable. It’s easier to spin out the back end of a front-wheel-drive car.


When it comes to towing, nobody can agree on whether an automatic or manual gearbox is preferable. Shifting gears in a manual gearbox may take your attention away from the road, while an automatic transmission may allow you to concentrate on driving safely. The ideal choice is the one that you feel most at ease with. Pick the gearbox that best suits your driving style and comfort level.

Plan of the Chassis

SUVs and trucks have distinct chassis structural differences. Vehicles like pickup trucks and full-size SUVs have a “body-of-frame” architecture, which consists of a steel “ladder-like” framework. Towing strength will be increased with this design. Generally speaking, towing is not advised for automobiles and smaller SUVs due to their “unibody” designs, which concentrate vehicle stress on the body panels rather than distributing it among more isolated components. Their physical make-up is incapable of withstanding the strain.

A Trailer Hitch Setup

Did you realize that a tow package includes more than simply the ball hitch on the back? A tow package enhances a vehicle with stronger brakes, a larger radiator, and a gearbox that sends more power to the wheels. This results in a more robust vehicle that can pull greater weight.


Which 1/2 ton truck has the best towing capacity?

The 2022 Ford F-150 has a maximum tow rating of 14,000 pounds, making it the best 1/2-ton truck for towing. The reliable Ford F-150 is a top pick among full-size 1/2-ton pickups. There’s a good reason why it’s the best-selling pickup in the United States and why people consistently praise its durability and adaptability.

What 1500 truck has the most towing capacity?

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and GMC Sierra 1500 extended cab 4×4 models with the 6.2L V-8 engine and the NFT towing package have the highest towing ratings for the 2021 model year. The weight limit for this is 13,300 pounds.

What is the most reliable pickup truck for towing?

Toyota Tundra is the most reliable pickup truck for towing.

Which small truck has the highest towing capacity?

Honda Ridgeline & Nissan Frontier are small trucks with the highest towing capacity.

Who makes the best 1/2 ton pickup?

Ford makes the best 1/2-ton pickup.

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