Ask TFL: Replacing a Toyota Tacoma – Which Half-Ton Truck to Get for Towing?

2011 Toyota Tacoma (photo: Todd S.)

Todd has been towing a 29-foot camping trailer with a 2011 Toyota Tacoma. It’s time for an upgrade to a bigger half-ton truck. Which truck to get?

Todd S. writes:

I’ve decided to upgrade to a half-ton full-size crew cab truck. My Tacoma is a 2011 TRD sports package with #6500 towing capacity. My Coachmen Apex 250RLS has a dry weight of #5210. I’m looking for towing capacity and payload capacity. With all the confusion in most configurations with the big 3. I have trouble trying to decide my best option. Money wanting to spend is in the $30K to $40K range.

The trailer weighs about 5,200 lbs dry with a total gross weight of 7,000 lbs. Indeed, this trailer is too big for the midsize Tacoma. Although, Todd has it setup up correctly with a weight distribution hitch.

A wider, longer, and heavier half-ton truck is a much better fit to tow a trailer like this. It is definitely possible to purchase a brand new crew cab half-ton truck for under $40,000. You should look at the mid-level powertrain options with the “big 3”. For example, a Chevy Silverado 1500 with the 5.3L V8, or a Ford F-150 with a 2.7L twin-turbo V6, or a Ram 1500 with a 5.7L V8. If you select a lower trim level (such as a Chevy LT, or Ford XLT, or a Ram Big Horn) then you can keep the price lower and ensure the truck has plenty of payload to carry the trailer and people.

What do you guys think? Which half-ton truck would work best for this towing task?

Here is our latest 2019 Gold Hitch Awards towing comparison for half-ton trucks on the Ike Gauntlet – world’s toughest towing test.