small midsize truck towing capacity and payload specs
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Truck Towing Capacity & Payload: Small & Midsize Pickups

People buy trucks for many reasons, but one of the primary ones is towing. Compact and midsize trucks obviously can’t pull as much as full-size models, but most are up to the task of bringing along your trailered belongings.

When automakers advertise “maximum towing capacity,” they usually mean the highest rating across the truck’s entire lineup. Towing capacity can vary, depending on factors such as the engine, transmission, driveline, or cab size. In a truck with multiple choices, such as the Chevrolet Colorado, the spread from lowest to highest maximum towing can be as much as 4,200-lb difference. 

Here are all our used pickups, if you’re in the market for one. All certified, delivered to your door, and backed by a 7 day return policy. Below, we’ll cover the towing capacity and payload for the following trucks:

  • Ford Maverick
  • Toyota Tacoma
  • Ford Ranger
  • Jeep Gladiator
  • Honda Ridgeline
  • Nissan Frontier
  • Chevrolet Colorado
  • Hyundai Santa Cruz
  • GMC Canyon 

Not sure which midsize truck is right for you? We break it all down here – Small Trucks: 9 Best Compact Pickups in Canada

First, what can these smaller trucks tow? 

Here are some possible ranges of popular items, including the weight of the trailer they’re on:

  • Personal watercraft: 900 – 2,500 lbs
  • Two snowmobiles on open trailer: 1,150 – 1,600 lbs
  • Two snowmobiles in closed trailer: 3,100 – 3,500 lbs
  • Small utility trailer: 700 – 1,000 lbs
  • Fishing boat: 2,900 – 3,500 lbs

A few small truck towing factors to consider

Remember to factor in the weight of what you’re putting in the trailer, or fuel in the snowmobiles or watercraft, along with whatever you’ve packed in the truck box and how many people you’re taking. 

Overloading a truck dangerously affects its braking and handling. We’ve gathered the numbers on the compact and midsize trucks available in Canada.

Ford Maverick towing capacity

  • Towing capacity: 2,000 – 4,000 lbs
  • Payload capacity: 1,500 lbs
  • Engines
    • 2.5-litre I4 hybrid – 162 horsepower/155 lb-ft of torque
    • 2.0-litre EcoBoost I4 – 250 horsepower/277 lb-ft of torque
  • Configuration: Crew Cab

A unibody, hybrid truck option

The compact Ford Maverick is a unibody, based on the same platform as the Ford Escape and Bronco Sport. Its three trim levels start with the hybrid powertrain, which comes only in front-wheel drive, but all trims can be optioned to the turbocharged 2.0-litre, which comes strictly with all-wheel drive. 

Both engines have a 2,000-lb towing capacity, but the 2.0-litre can be optioned with a towing package that includes a transmission cooler, heavier-duty radiator, trailer brake controller and other components that raise the limit to 4,000 lbs.

Toyota Tacoma towing capacity

  • Towing capacity: 6,400 – 6,500 lbs
  • Payload capacity: 1,096 – 1,285 lbs
  • Engine: 3.5-litre V6 – 278 horsepower/265 lb-ft of torque
  • Configurations: Access Cab, Double Cab

A body-on-frame pickup with proven reliability

The Tacoma is a body-on-frame truck that comes in Access Cab, with rear-hinged back doors and four-passenger seating, or in Double Cab with four doors and five-passenger seating. Both of them have a six-foot bed, and all models are four-wheel drive. The Access Cab can tow up to 6,500 lbs, while the Double Cab’s maximum is 6,400 lbs. 

The Access Cab also has the higher payload rating, at 1,259 lbs with a six-speed manual transmission and 1,285 lbs with a six-speed automatic. The Double Cab’s payload ranges from 1,096 to 1,155 lbs. The long-running Tacoma is considering by many one of the best small trucks on the market.

Ford Ranger towing capacity

  • Towing capacity: 7,500 lbs
  • Payload capacity: 1,430 – 1,650 lbs
  • Engine: 2.3 EcoBoost I4 – 270 horsepower/310 lb-ft of torque
  • Configurations: SuperCab, SuperCrew

A small truck with an optional Class IV hitch receiver

The midsize Ranger is a body-on-frame truck that comes in SuperCab, with rear-hinged back doors and four-passenger seating, or SuperCrew with four doors for five passengers. All trims are four-wheel drive. 

Towing capacity is the same for both configurations, and 4-pin wiring is standard. An optional package adds a Class IV hitch receiver and 4-pin/7-pin wiring harness. Payload varies by model, with the SuperCab able to haul up to 1,650 lbs. 

The heavier SuperCrew can handle up to 1,560 lbs. The Tremor off-road package, available on the SuperCrew, is the heaviest truck and so its payload capacity tops out at 1,430 lbs.

Jeep Gladiator towing capacity

  • Towing capacity: 4,000 – 7,700 lbs
  • Payload capacity: 1,075 – 1,710 lbs
  • Engines:
    • 3.6-litre V6 – 285 horsepower/260 lb-ft of torque
    • 3.0-litre V6 EcoDiesel – 260 horsepower/442 lb-ft of torque
  • Configuration: Crew Cab

Jeep truck with diesel engine options

The midsize, body-on-frame Gladiator shares its cab styling with the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited but with a longer wheelbase and five-foot bed. All models are 4x4. With the gasoline engine, maximum towing capacity starts at 4,000 lbs with the six-speed manual transmission and 3.73 ratio; while the highest capacity of 7,700 lbs is with an eight-speed automatic and 4.10 ratio in the entry-level Sport. The diesel engine ranges from 6,000 lbs in the Rubicon to 6,500 lbs in the Sport.

An available towing package on the Gladiator adds a Class IV hitch receiver, 240-amp alternator, heavy-duty cooling, and rearview-camera hitch view so you can back up to the trailer tongue. 

For payload, models with the gasoline engine range from 1,105 to 1,710 lbs, while diesel-equipped Gladiators range from 1,075 to 1,325 lbs. 

Honda Ridgeline towing capacity

  • Towing capacity: 5,000 lbs
  • Payload capacity: 1,486 – 1,530 lbs
  • Engine: 3.5-litre V6 – 280 horsepower/262 lb-ft of torque
  • Configuration: Crew Cab

An SUV-based pickup with all-wheel drive

The midsize SUV-based Ridgeline comes in four trims, all with all-wheel drive. The 5,000-lb towing capacity is the same for all. Two optional trailer hitch packages are offered, one with a 1-7/8-inch ball, the other with a 2-inch ball. All trims come with the appropriate pre-wiring so you can add a 7-pin connection or a trailer brake controller.

Payload depends on the trim level: higher trims have more features, which add more weight, which cuts into how much the truck can carry. The highest 1,530-lb payload belongs to the base Sport, while the EX-L can haul up to 1,521 lbs. The Touring and Black Edition trims top out at 1,486 lbs.

Here’s our Honda Ridgeline vs. Hyundai Santa Cruz comparison – both unibody style pickups. 

Nissan Frontier towing capacity

  • Towing capacity: 6,240 – 6,490 lbs
  • Payload capacity: 1,140 – 1,400 lbs
  • Engine: 3.8-litre V6 – 310 horsepower/281 lb-ft of torque
  • Configurations: King Cab, Crew Cab

Recently redesigned midsize truck with standard trailer sway control

The midsize Nissan Frontier is a body-on-frame truck. It comes in King Cab, with rear-hinged back doors and four-passenger seating, or in Crew Cab with four doors and five-passenger seating. All trims come standard with four-wheel drive. A hitch receiver with trailer wiring is optional, while trailer sway control is standard on all trims.

The King Cab’s maximum towing capacity ranges from 6,390 to 6,490 lbs, depending on trim, while the Crew Cab is 6,240 to 6,260 lbs. The King Cab also leads for payload, rated between 1,360 and 1,400 lbs, while the Crew Cab hauls from 1,140 to 1,230 lbs.

Chevrolet Colorado towing capacity

  • Towing capacity: 3,500 – 7,700 lbs
  • Payload capacity: 1,367 – 1,550 lbs
  • Engines (2022):
    • 2.5-litre I4 – 200 horsepower/191 lb-ft of torque
    • 3.6-litre V6 – 308 horsepower/275 lb-ft of torque
    • 2.8-litre I4 turbodiesel – 181 horsepower/369 lb-ft of torque
  • Engines: (2023):
    • 2.7-litre turbocharged I4 – 237 horsepower/259 lb-ft of torque
    • 2.7-litre Turbo Plus I4 – 310 horsepower/390 lb-ft of torque
    • 2.7-litre Turbo High Output I4 – 310 horsepower/430 lb-ft of torque
  • Configurations: Extended Cab, Crew Cab w/5-foot-2- bed, Crew Cab w/6-foot-2 bed

A midsize truck with a wide range of towing capabilities

The midsize, body-on-frame Chevrolet Colorado will be remade into an all-new truck for 2023. It will trade in the three engines available on the 2022 for a single 2.7-litre turbocharged engine in three power variants. Overall towing capacity will stay the same as for 2022, ranging from 3,500 to 7,700 lbs.

For 2022, towing capacity depends on the configuration and whether the truck has two- or four-wheel drive. The Extended Cab has rear-hinged back doors and four-passenger seating, while the Crew Cab has four doors and five-passenger seating. 

The Extended Cab and Crew Cab with 5-foot-2 bed both range from 3,500 to 7,700 lbs for towing capacity, while the Crew Cab with 6-foot-2 bed is from 7,000 to 7,700 pounds – with the highest capacity achieved with the diesel engine.

Hyundai Santa Cruz towing capacity

  • Towing capacity: 1,650 – 5,000 lbs
  • Payload capacity: 1,609 lbs
  • Engine: 2.5-litre turbocharged I4 – 281 horsepower/311 lb-ft of torque
  • Configuration: Crew Cab

A new midsize truck based on the Tucson SUV

The compact Santa Cruz is based on the Tucson SUV, with a 4-foot-3 bed that comes standard with a sliding tonneau cover that can be locked in place when the tailgate is closed. All trims are all-wheel drive. 

The maximum towing capacity range depends on the trailer: The Santa Cruz can tow up to 1,650 lbs with a regular trailer, but if the trailer has its own braking system, that rises to a maximum of 5,000 lbs, since the trailer’s doing the majority of the work of slowing everything down. Available options are a hitch kit, 4-pin or 7-pin harness, and 1-7/8-inch or 2-inch ball.

Check out our full 2022 Santa Cruz review.

GMC Canyon towing capacity

  • Towing capacity: 3,500 – 7,700 lbs
  • Payload capacity: 1,398 – 1,578 lbs
  • Engines (2022):
    • 2.5-litre I4 – 200 horsepower/191 lb-ft of torque
    • 3.6-litre V6 – 308 horsepower/275 lb-ft of torque
    • 2.8-litre I4 turbodiesel – 181 horsepower/369 lb-ft of torque
  • Engine: (2023): 2.7-litre Turbo High Output I4 – 310 horsepower/430 lb-ft of torque

Like the Colorado, the Canyon will be all-new for 2023, but it will come with only the high-output version of the turbocharged 2.7-litre engine (replacing the three engine options in 2022). Depending on trim, maximum towing capacity is between 5,500 and 7,700 lbs, while payload ranges from 1,010 to 1,640 lbs.

The midsize GMC Canyon is a mechanical twin to the Chevrolet Colorado, and shares its engines and configuration of Extended Cab, or Crew Cab with two bed lengths. As with the Colorado, its towing capacity depends on its cab configuration and whether it’s two- or four-wheel drive. For 2022, the highest towing capacity is with the diesel engine.

Here’s our full review of the 2022 Canyon AT4, an off-road-ready trim first introduced in 2021.

Buy a used truck that’s right for you

Whether you’re looking for a small pickup, a full-size model, or a heavy-duty truck with ultimate towing capabilities, we may have the right one for you. View all our used trucks here

Make sure to read our guide – Buying a Used Truck: 10 Things To Keep in Mind.

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