Pickup trucks may have gotten more capable in recent years, but that increase in payload capacity has also come with an increase in size. A mid-size truck, on the other hand, is significantly easier to park and maneuver around a city. And with modern engines and transmissions, they can still haul around plenty of stuff. Here are the top six pickups with the highest payload capacities that can be bought at your local dealer.
6. Chevrolet Colorado
A two-time MotorTrend Truck of the Year winner, Chevrolet’s Colorado also recently beat out some of the other trucks on this list in a head-to-head comparison held by Car and Driver. Although a 2.4-liter gasoline inline-four is standard, and a 2.8-liter turbo-diesel is also available, the Colorado’s maximum payload capacity of 1578 lbs requires getting a WT Crew Cab Short Box with the optional 3.6-liter gasoline V6, and skipping all-wheel drive.
5. Honda Ridgeline
Honda’s Ridgeline has had a slightly ‘odd duck’ reputation in the mid-size truck segment. However, its design and unique features were what led Car and Driver to call it the Best Mid-Size Pickup of 2019. Interestingly, it is also one of the few pickup trucks on this list to achieve a higher payload capacity when equipped with all-wheel drive. Picking the Sport trim with all-wheel drive (there’s only one engine, a 3.5-liter V6) nets a maximum payload of 1580 lbs, just edging out the Colorado.
4. Jeep Gladiator
Jeep fans have been asking (read: ‘begging’) for a factory pickup, and this year Jeep delivered with the Gladiator. Although the Gladiator failed to win first place in recent comparison tests run by MotorTrend and Car and Driver, overall reviews have been positive. Plus, how many pickups can you buy with removable doors and roof? Although potential owners may want to go straight for the off-road ready Rubicon, to maximize payload capacity, the one to buy is the 6-speed manual Sport S with Trailer Tow Package. Do so, and you can haul up to 1600 lbs in the bed.
3. GMC Canyon
Interestingly, although the GMC Canyon is essentially a more luxurious Chevrolet Colorado, offers the same engine and transmission choices, and only differs from the less expensive truck in one exterior dimension (total length: the Canyon is 0.3” shorter), the two have different maximum payloads. The latter’s max payload is 1578 lbs. The former, when equipped with the V6, has a maximum payload capacity of 1605 lbs.
2. Ford Ranger
The Ford Ranger returned in 2019 after a hiatus from the US market. Although its bigger brother the F-Series is still the best-selling vehicle in the States, the mid-size Ranger is a workhorse in its own right. MotorTrend and Car and Driver were impressed with its hauling capabilities, if not its suspension or interior quality. Still, it doesn’t matter which trim level of the Ranger you buy. With a 2.3-liter turbocharged inline-four, each 4×2 SuperCab Ranger gets a maximum payload capacity of 1860 lbs. That’s the biggest payload capacity of any truck available in America.
1. Volkswagen Amarok
Unfortunately, American buyers can’t buy the mid-size truck with the biggest payload capacity on the market. Volkswagen doesn’t sell its Amarok pickup in the US, which is a bit of a shame. When equipped with VW’s 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel V6 and all-wheel drive, this German pickup delivers a maximum payload capacity of 1147 kg or 2528 lbs.