We all want a giant truck that goes anywhere, tows anything and can carry a house in the bed. Heavy-duty trucks are the ones that do work the best. The best heavy-duty pickups have capabilities that aren’t measured in pounds, but tons.
Safety in a big truck is paramount, too, especially when you can be hauling up to 20,000 pounds. But all of these trucks are so big the NHTSA doesn’t crash them. While every truck offers some sort of driver assistance technologies, on most of these heavy-duty trucks they’re options.
Ford, Chevy, and Ram have made heavy-duty trucks for decades. Recently Nissan joined the fray and launched the Titan XD. While the XD doesn’t offer a diesel engine or have a huge tow rating, the XD is certainly aiming to build one of the best heavy-duty pickups.
These trucks are all experts at towing. There all offer two different ways to tow, conventionally with a hitch or with a gooseneck. They all come in basic work truck trim or can be ordered as luxo-trucks.
Ford’s big trucks are what the company does best. We all know the F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in North America, which means it’s a great starting point for the best heavy-duty trucks. The F-250 can join the more-than-1,000 lb-ft club, too, with the Power Stroke diesel that makes 1,050 pounds of twist. Ford’s easy-to-use Sync 4 is standard on most trim levels and it includes a 12-inch touchscreen and natural voice recognition technology.
Ford’s top trim is the Platinum, which makes the truck as nice inside as a Navigator. While there’s no Super Duty Raptor, there is a Tremor. The Tremor adds 25-inch tires, a front-end lift, and a special suspension. But, of course, you’ll have to try hard to find one.
Starts at: $43,280
Conventional Towing: Up to 20,000 pounds
Torque: 1,050 lb-ft with the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel
Ram heavy-duty trucks come in four sizes, ranging from big, in the regular-cab and eight-foot bed, all the way up to a Mega Cab, with a 6’4” bed. They also come in six trim levels, from the Tradesman work truck to the Limited luxury truck.
Sure, these are work trucks, but Ram spent time to make them comfortable, too. In its heavy-duty trucks, Ram offers either a five-link rear suspension or an air suspension that is well regarded for its comfort. The digital rearview mirror allows you to see behind the trailer if you add a remote camera. Rams can also be optioned with the new Uconnect 5 and a 12-inch touchscreen, wi-fi capability, and a 17-speaker Harmon Kardon stereo. For those that want to work and play, look at the Power Wagon, which is one of the best heavy-duty pickups for off-road use.
Starts at: $37,750
Conventional Towing: up to 20,000 pounds in 2500
Torque: up to 1,075 lb-ft with the 6.7-liter Cummins diesel engine.
Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD
The Chevy Silverado is more work truck than play truck. One look at that big, wide, grille tells you all you need to know about the rest of the truck. That work-truck atmosphere is apparent in the cabin, which is dominated by black plastic and big buttons. The cab is not an uncomfortable place to be, but it could be nicer. The Ford and Ram have nicer interiors unless that is, you spring for the High Country interior that has premium leather on the front bucket seats, rear heated seats, and extra storage bins.
Silverados are available in Regular cab, Double Cab, and Crew Cab. You can order some safety tech and driver aides, but they don’t come standard on the truck. For 2022, the Silverado can be had with the clever Multi Flex tailgate, which folds, flops and opens in a bunch of ways.
Starts at: $39,500
Conventional Towing: up to 18,500 pounds
Torque: 910 lb-ft with 6.6-liter Duramax diesel
GMC Sierra HD 2500
The Sierra is a corporate twin to the Silverado, and they share their immense capabilities. The differences are in the options. The Sierra can be ordered with a seven- or an eight-inch touchscreen, which incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Sierra can also be ordered with automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, and more.
The big truck can also be ordered in AT4 and Denali trims, with each showing a different part of the truck’s personality. The AT4 is the off-road package that includes skid plates, hill descent control, and tuned Rancho shocks. The Denali trim makes this one of the best heavy-duty trucks with a luxury streak, with almost every luxury option that GMC offers. Like the Chevy, the Sierra offers the MultiPro tailgate.
Starts at: $32,495
Conventional Towing: up to 18,500 pounds
Torque: 910 lb-ft with the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel
Nissan Titan XD
XD, in Nissan-speak, means heavy duty. While most know Nissan as a maker of compact trucks, in recent years it has stepped up to make not just the full-sized Titan, but also the heavy-duty Titan XD. Nissan is aiming to build one of the best heavy-duty pickup trucks. The XD weighs 780 pounds more than the Titan and has a bed that is one foot longer. Its extra capability comes via a reinforced frame, as well as a commercial-grade rear differential and upgraded brakes.
The interior of the Nissan is also a very nice place to be. All XDs are four-wheel-drive. It’s not quite as capable as other big trucks; it only tows 11,000 pounds. And, it is a little more expensive for a base model than other big trucks. However, most of the driver aids like automatic braking that are extras on the other trucks are standard on the XD. It comes in four versions, including a PRO-4X off-road version, and a Platinum Reserve luxury version.
Starts at: $46,380
Torque: 413 lb-ft
Conventional Towing: Up to 11,000 pounds