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Best Half-Ton Truck Alternatives for Towing

We get this question a lot! What is the best small pickup alternative to half-ton trucks for towing? Contrary to popular belief, if you have a small trailer or you’re in the market to purchase a small travel trailer, teardrop, or pop-up trailer, you are not always required to have a half-ton pickup truck for towing.

While half-ton pickup trucks have their advantages – in terms of additional payload capacity and increased towing capacity if properly equipped – not everyone needs a larger half-ton truck the remainder of the year when not camping.

One of the most popular comment and question we receive on our YouTube channel and through our website is, I already own a small pickup truck, we don’t want to buy a larger half-ton truck, can we tow a small sport trailer or travel trailer?

Ford Ranger Raptor sitting in mountains with red paint
Ford Ranger Raptor

The answer is yes! There are several alternative, smaller pickup trucks and vehicles that are capable of towing camping trailers. Here is a guide to some of the best, small pickup trucks to consider when towing a cargo trailer or camping trailer.

Half-Ton Truck Alternatives

Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline is one of the best half-ton trucks for towing. The Ridgeline is equipped with a 3.5L V6 engine that can tow up to 5,000 lbs. It also has a payload capacity of 1,470 lbs. This makes it a great choice for travel trailers. Based on the 2023 model specifications, all Ridgeline model’s come standard with an integrated Class III trailer hitch and a 7-pin connector.

Depending on which trim level of Ridgeline you purchase, the payload capacity will vary. The payload capacity ranges between 1,509 pounds on the Honda Ridgeline Black Edition AT up to 1,583 pounds on the Honda Ridgeline Sport AT. Additional towing and performance features include:

  • Intelligent Traction Management
  • Fully independent front/rear suspension system
  • i-VTM4® AWD system
  • Premium fuel recommended when towing more than 3,500 pounds
  • All trim levels equipped with high-capacity radiator, duel high-power fans, and heavy-duty transmission cooler
  • 9-Speed Automatic Transmission

The Ridgeline also has a comfortable interior and advanced safety features such as lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking. It is reliable, efficient, and offers great towing power. In conclusion, the Honda Ridgeline is one of the best alternatives for towing and is an ideal choice for those looking for reliable and efficient towing power.

Click Here to Learn More about Tire Pressure When Towing!

Jeep Gladiator

The Jeep Gladiator is another stand-out alternate versus a half-ton truck for towing, whether you are embarking on a cross-country journey or towing a travel trailer. With its superior capability and towing capacity, the Gladiator can handle any job. This rugged truck is equipped with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 engine that produces 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque and can tow up to 7,650 pounds.

It comes with a standard six-speed manual transmission or an optional eight-speed automatic transmission. Additional Jeep Gladiator trailer-towing package features and highlights include:

  • Equipped with a Class IV hitch
  • 240 Amp alternator
  • Heavy-duty engine cooling
  • Trailer hitch Zoom camera
  • 4.10 axel ratio (optional: Sport and Sport S models)
  • heavy-duty Dana® 44 axles (optional: Sport and Sport S models)
  •  Trac-Lok® Anti-Spin rear differential (optional: Sport and Sport S models)

The Gladiator also has a payload capacity of up to 1,600 pounds. With its best-in-class off-road capabilities and impressive towing capacity, the Jeep Gladiator is one of the best half-ton pick-up trucks for towing and travel.

Ford Ranger

The Ford Ranger is a great option for anyone looking for a small truck for towing travel trailers. The Ford Ranger is a reliable vehicle with great fuel economy for a pickup truck and good power for towing. It boasts a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder engine generating 270 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque.

All of this power and torque provides the 2023 Ford Ranger models a surprising towing capacity up to 7,500 pounds with an accompanying payload capacity of 1,905 pounds. That’s over 1,000 pounds more towing capacity than a Toyota Tacoma.

The Ford Ranger comes with plenty of features that make towing easier, such as a tow-hitch receiver, trailer sway control, and Trailer Sway Control, which helps prevent the trailer from swaying and makes for a smoother ride. The Ford Ranger is a great choice for those looking for a budget-friendly half-ton truck for towing.

Chevrolet Colorado

The Chevrolet Colorado is a solid pickup truck for towing. It has a maximum towing capacity of up to 7,700 pounds and the available 2.7L turbo charged engine delivers up to 390 lb-ft of torque and 310 horsepower paired with an 8-speed transmission. This powertrain configuration is available in the following trim packages:

  • Z71
  • Trail Boss
  • LT
  • WT

An additional powertrain option to achieve the 7,700 pound towing capacity is only available in the ZR2 trim package boasting a 2.7L Turbo High-Output engine with 310 hp and 430 pound-feet of torque. All Colorados with towing packages come equipped with:

  • 2-inch hitch reciever
  • 4-pin and 7-pin electrical connectors
  • Automatic locking rear differential

If you want to stay within the Colorado and Chevy family, but you don’t need that much towing capacity, Chevrolet offers a 2.7L turbocharged engine with a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds powered by a 237 hp, 8-speed automatic transmission engine producing 259 pound-feet of torque.

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