Ask TFL: Midsize Truck Upgrade – Should I Get a Half-ton or a Heavy Duty?

Should I get a Silverado 1500 Diesel for a 6,000 lbs trailer?

2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Diesel duramax straight six
2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 Diesel

Which truck should I get after a midsize: a half-ton or a heavy duty? We recently received this question from Matt.

Matt writes:

“I’m looking at upgrading to a bigger truck.  I currently have a 2017 GMC canyon 3.6 crew cab. I have a 18′ car hauler trailer that I put a tractor and ATVs on that I’m guessing I load up to about 6,000 lbs.  Add in the cargo (coolers, generator and general gear) and I fear I overload the truck’s GVWR.  I’m really liking the Sierra 1500 with a 3-liter diesel, but I am afraid that it doesn’t have enough payload. Should i get a 3/4 ton? I am also commuting about 50 miles per day for work.”

Matt, I am very glad that you are paying special attention to the truck’s payload capacity in addition to the towing ratings.

It’s common for a Sierra 1500 4×4 diesel to have close to 1,500 lbs of payload capacity if it does not have a lot of luxurious options. If you are towing a 6,000 lbs trailer, then you have about 600 lbs of tongue weight. Then you might have about 900 lbs of capacity left over. Is that enough for the extra gear and the people?

You could also step up to a 3/4-ton truck with close to 3,000 lbs of payload capacity. You will surely have enough capacity then, but you will not see as great of fuel economy as in the Sierra 1500 when commuting.