Of the 11 trucks deemed suitable for “work truck applications,” the Toyota Tacoma came in as the lightest truck at only 5,400 pounds. The Ford F-150 came in with the highest possible towing capability at 13,200 pounds. The Ford F-150 features the top possible payload at up to 3,270 pounds, when properly equipped.The Nissan Titan came in as the heaviest truck starting at 7,100 pounds.
 - Photos courtesy of General Motors, Ford, Ram, and Toyota. 

Of the 11 trucks deemed suitable for “work truck applications,” the Toyota Tacoma came in as the lightest truck at only 5,400 pounds. The Ford F-150 came in with the highest possible towing capability at 13,200 pounds. The Ford F-150 features the top possible payload at up to 3,270 pounds, when properly equipped.The Nissan Titan came in as the heaviest truck starting at 7,100 pounds.

Photos courtesy of General Motors, Ford, Ram, and Toyota. 

For quite some time, automakers have been focusing on making trucks lighter, but bigger. The news has been full of new medium-duty trucks coming to market and arriving at dealers, but the light-duty segment is quickly growing for the work truck segment. 

The light-duty market includes both mid-size and full-size pickup trucks. U.S. light-truck sales in 2018 grew 7.7%, according to the Automotive News Data Center, to 11.98 million units — a level car sales have never reached.

Additionally, the Diesel Technology Forum shared that sales of light-duty vehicles equipped with diesel engines crossed 500,000 in 2018, partly driven by a 12.5% gain among heavy-duty pickups. 

For light-duty vehicles in Class 1 through Class 3, sales of diesel-equipped models reached more than 500,000 units in 2018, which represented more than 3% of the overall market of 17.33 million vehicles sold, according to DTF, which sourced Baum & Assoc. data.

And, the popularity of the 4x4 has risen in comparison to the 4x2. The 4x4 made up 41% of light-duty service trucks in 2012, and by 2016 this number had risen to 54%, according to Utilimarc.

A few findings from Work Truck

  • The Toyota Tacoma came in as the lightest of the mid-size trucks at 5,600-pounds GVWR. 
  • The Ford F-150 offers the most payload of the truck models at 3,270 pounds (when properly equipped).
  • The Ford F-150 also came out with the top towing capacity at 13,200 pounds (when properly equipped). 
  • Of the 11 light-duty work truck models currently on the market, six of them offer a diesel engine option. 

Ford Ranger

After an eight-year hiatus, the Ford Ranger returns for 2019.

The truck features a 2.3L EcoBoost engine mated to a 10-speed automatic that delivers 310 lb.-ft. of torque at 270 hp. 

When properly equipped the Ranger achieves up to 7,500 pounds of gas towing capacity with available tow package and 1,860 pounds of max payload and has an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 21 mpg city/26 mpg hwy.

The truck comes in three trim levels and can be optioned with 4x2 or 4x4 for additional capability as well as either SuperCab or SuperCrew configurations.

Ford F-150
 - Photo courtesy of Ford

Ford F-150

Photo courtesy of Ford

Ford F-150

The Ford F-150 entered 2019 with several upgrades. 

The truck features a standard, 3.3L V-6 engine mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. The optional 2.7L EcoBoost V-6, 5.0L V-8, 3.0L Power Stroke turbo diesel V-6, 3.5L EcoBoost V-6, and 3.5L High-Output EcoBoost are all paired to a 10-speed automatic transmission. The 3.5L High-Output EcoBoost can generate up to 450 hp and 510 lb.-ft. of torque.

When properly equipped, the Ford F-150 can achieve up to 13,200 pounds of towing capacity and has an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of up to 22 mpg city/30 mpg hwy (diesel).

The truck comes in seven trim levels and can be equipped with several packages, including Heavy Duty Towing, Maximum Trailer Tow, and a Snow Plow Prep Package, among others.  

Chevrolet Colorado
 - Photo courtesy of GM

Chevrolet Colorado

Photo courtesy of GM

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The next-generation 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 offers six engine and transmission choices. Eight total models are offered.

New 5.3L and 6.2L V-8 engines join the Silverado lineup for 2019, including the all-new Duramax 3.0L inline-six diesel. Both the 3.0L and 6.2L engines are mated to the new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission. 

When properly equipped the Silverado 1500 can tow up to 12,200 pounds and has an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of up to 16 mpg city/23 mpg hwy.

The Silverado is up to 450-pounds lighter than previous models and boasts up to 63 cubic feet of storage volume in just the short-box version.

Chevrolet Colorado

First introduced as a 2015 model, the 2019 Chevrolet Colorado is powered by a standard 3.6L V-6 or an optional 2.8L Duramax turbodiesel engine.

The truck is offered in four models (Work Truck, LT, Z71, and ZR2) and offers an extended cab model and two different crew cab bed lengths. 

When properly equipped, the Colorado can tow up to 7,700 pounds and features built-in WiFi and available safety packages. 

The Colorado can achieve up to an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.

Light-Duty Truck Comparison Chart

MAKE MODEL GVWR (LBS) PAYLOAD (LBS) TOWING (LBS) DIESEL MODEL? MID-/FULL-SIZE
Chevrolet Colorado 5,400-6,100 1,373-1,566 5,000-7,600 YES MID-SIZE
Toyota Tacoma 5,600 1,155-1,620 3,500-6,800 NO MID-SIZE
Nissan Frontier 5,600-5,690 1,020-1,460 6,110-6,640 NO MID-SIZE
GMC Canyon 5,700-6,200 1,459-1,605 3,500-7,700 YES MID-SIZE
Ford Ranger 6,050 1,560-1,860 7,500 NO MID-SIZE
Ford F-150 6,070-7,850 1,690-3,270 5,000-13,200 YES FULL-SIZE
Toyota Tundra 6,700-7,200 1,440-1,730 9,800-10,200 NO FULL-SIZE
Ram 1500 6,800-7,100 1,528-2,302 6,280-12,750 YES FULL-SIZE
GMC Sierra 6,800-7,300 2,070-2,240 9,800-12,200 YES FULL-SIZE
Chevrolet Silverado 6,800-7,300 2,130-2,280 9,900-12,200 YES FULL-SIZE
Nissan Titan 7,100-7,300 1,850-1,930 9,540-9,660 NO FULL-SIZE


GMC Canyon

The 2019 GMC Canyon is offered in six models (SL, Canyon, SLE, All Terrain, SLT, and Denali) and three configurations: an Extended Cab with 6-foot 2-inch bed, Crew Cab with 5-foot 2-inch bed, and Crew Cab with 6-foot 2-inch bed. 

The Canyon is powered by a choice of three engines, the standard 2.5L I-4, a 3.6L V-6, and a 2.8L Turbo-diesel. 

When properly equipped, the truck can tow up to 7,700 pounds and has an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy for the diesel 2WD model. 

The Canyon features added technology and driver-comfort features for 2019.

GMC Sierra
 - Photo courtesy of GM

GMC Sierra

Photo courtesy of GM

GMC Sierra

The 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 offerings include regular cab, double cab, and crew cab body styles — all offered with 4WD. Regular cab models feature an 8-foot box; double cab models feature a 6-foot 6-inch box, and crew cabs offer a 5-foot 8-inch or 6-foot 6-inch box option.

The truck is offered in six models (Sierra, SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, and Denali) and is powered by a choice of six engine and transmission combinations. Dynamic Fuel Management is featured on the new 5.3L and 6.2L V-8 and expands cylinder deactivation capability.

When properly equipped, the truck can tow up to 12,200 pounds. The 2019 models also launched the MultiPro tailgate, offering six functions and positions. 

Nissan Frontier

The 2019 Nissan Frontier features a choice of a 4.0L DOHC V-6 engine, rated at 261 hp and 281 lb.-ft. of torque or the 2.5L inline-four-cylinder rated at 152 hp and 171 lb.-ft. of torque, mated to either a 5-speed manual (I-4), 6-speed manual (V-6), or 5-speed automatic transmission. 

The truck features five trim grades (S, SV, PRO-4X, Desert Runner, and SL) and either King Cab or Crew Cab configurations. 

When properly equipped the Frontier can tow up to 6,640 pounds and features an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 19 mpg city/22 mpg hwy.

Nissan Titan
 - Photo courtesy of Nissan

Nissan Titan

Photo courtesy of Nissan

Nissan Titan

The 2019 Nissan Titan features Single Cab, King Cab, and Crew Cab body dimensions, 4x2 or 4x4 drive, and a choice of five trim levels (S, SV, PRO-4X, SL, and Platinum Reserve). 

Every Titan is equipped with a 5.6L Endurance V-8 engine rated at 390 hp at 394 lb.-ft. of torque. 

When properly equipped the truck can tow up to 9,660 pounds and features an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 15 mpg city/21 mpg hwy.

The Titan features additional towing, utility features, and driving aids, including an integrated trailer brake controller, trailer sway control, and trailer light check, among others. 

Ram 1500
 - Photo courtesy of Ram Truck

Ram 1500

Photo courtesy of Ram Truck

Ram 1500

The 2019 Ram 1500 is almost 225-pounds lighter than the previous model, featuring a frame with 98% high-strength steel.

Available in several configurations including the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, the Ram 1500 is available in two versions for the 2019 model-year, all-new for 2019 Ram 1500 and the Ram 1500 Classic, which is the previous platform.

The trucks feature a choice of a 3.6L Pentastar V-6 with eTorque mild-hybrid technology or 5.7L HEMI V-8 engines (available eTorque mild hybrid). A new generation of TorqueFlite 8-speed automatic transmissions are standard. 

For 2019, the Ram 1500 also features a new multifunction tailgate for greater utility function.

When properly equipped, the Ram 1500 can tow up to 12,750 pounds and features an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 20 mpg city/25 mpg hwy. 

Toyota Tacoma

The third-generation of the Toyota Tacoma will be heavily upgraded for the 2020 model-year. 

The truck will feature a standard, 2.7L DOHC four-cylinder engine that can achieve 159 hp and 180 lb.-ft. of torque, and an available 3.5L V-6 with 278 hp and 256 lb.-ft. of torque. Both engines are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with intelligence.

The V-6 Tacoma will come standard with the Tow Package, which includes a Class IV receive hitch, among other options. When properly equipped, the truck can tow up to 6,800 pounds and has an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 20 mpg city/23 mpg hwy. 

The Tacoma features more than 30 configurations in six model grades.

Toyota Tundra
 - Photo courtesy of Toyota

Toyota Tundra

Photo courtesy of Toyota

Toyota Tundra

The 2019 Toyota Tundra features an all V-8 engine lineup in its four-door Double Cab and supersized four-door CrewMax configurations. Six model grades are offered within the two configurations.

The trucks feature a standard 4.6L i-FORCE V-8 that produces 310 hp at 327 lb.-ft. of torque or an available 5.7L i-FORCE V-8 engine that offers up to 10,200 pounds of towing capacity. The trucks feature an EPA-estimated fuel economy rating of 13 mpg city/17 mpg hwy.

When properly equipped, the Tundra can tow up to 10,200 pounds and features a standard Tow Hitch Receiver and Tow package on all grades.

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