Pickup Towing Arms Race Heats Up

Farmer Iron

New Silverado HD claims top honors for now...

Published on: May 24, 2010

The heavy duty pickup segment - which I call 'real' farm trucks - is a hot, competitive market and last week the folks at Chevy announced another milestone. No, it was not that loan payment news. They announced that the 2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD now has a 21,700-pound towing capacity and a 6,635 pound payload capacity.

That gives Silverado bragging rights on highest and biggest for now. In a release touting the news, Rick Spina, GM Full-Size Truck global vehicle line executive, says the company's focus has "consistently been on delivering customers the most capable heavy-duty trucks in the market. The first set of capability tests confirmed that the team had exceeded the payload and towing targets by a significant margin."


Marking a higher notch on the old towing belt, Chevy can now claim the highest fifth-wheel towing capacity of 21,700 pounds. The heavy-duty shoot-out continues.

He adds that even pulling a combined weight of "nearly 15 tons seems easy behind the wheel of a 2011 Silverado HD 3500" with that Duramax diesel.

That 15-ton number comes from the fact that the maximum gross combined weight rating to validate the durability of the powertrain, drivetrain and brake components, rose to 29,200 pounds. Based on further testing in variet terrain, grades and climates while pulling the maximum trailer weight to confirm predictable and stable handling, the fifth wheel towing capacity rose to that 21,700 pounds. Conventional towing capacity rose to 17,000 pounds.

The new pickup goes into production this week. If you're looking for a new pickup, you're going to have plenty to choose from with this new Silverado HD, Ford's upcoming new Super Duty series with a new diesel engine; and that top end Dodge with its Cummins power. Choice is good.