A man drives his tow vehicle through the mountains which can be seen towering above through the sun roof.

5 Best Small Trucks for Towing

Your tow vehicle is a lifeline to RVing. Getting one that fits your needs is one of the most critical choices you’ll make.

There are numerous options for tow vehicles on the market today, but small trucks have their advantages. They can serve more than one purpose. Keep reading to see what we mean and which are the best small trucks for towing.

A man drives his tow vehicle through the mountains which can be seen towering above through the sun roof.

What Is a Small Truck?

A small truck is a light-duty vehicle with a cab for passengers and an open truck bed in the back. Small trucks can be an excellent option for towing, and they can also be an ideal daily vehicle. A small truck gives you flexibility, whereas a large truck may be harder to park and more challenging to maneuver.

Important Towing Factors to Consider

When looking for a vehicle to tow with, you want to keep in mind three main factors. The most important is the towing capacity.

Your vehicle needs to be able to handle towing the weight of the RV you’re pulling behind it. It’s essential to pay attention to the gross vehicle combined weight rating and the tongue weight. If your vehicle is rated below the weight of whatever you’re towing, it’s unsafe. 

Engine ability is another factor to consider. The exact size of the engine you need for towing an RV will depend on the weight.

For example, you can tow a 2,500-pound camper with a smaller engine than a 7,000-pound travel trailer. In other words, the more robust an engine like a Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel, the greater towing capacity you have.

Finally, torque is an important factor to consider when towing. Higher levels of torque allow the engine to carry and pull heavier loads. 

5 Best Small Trucks for Towing

Here are the five best small trucks on the market today that can tow an RV. Let’s take a look.

#1. Chevy Colorado

2021 Chevrolet Colorado in orange speeding down an empty road pulling a trailer through the mountains.
2021 Chevrolet Colorado

About: The Chevy Colorado is a mid-size truck with four different models on the market. Small enough to go nearly anywhere, including off-road, it also has the convenience of seating up to five passengers. It’s available with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine, 3.6L DOHC V6, or Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel. 

The V6 engine can pull up to 7,000 pounds. It has 308 horsepower and 275 pound-feet torque. The Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel has the most towing capacity at 7,700 pounds and gets the best gas mileage at between 18-20 mpg in the city and 22-30 mpg on the highway. It has 181 horsepower and 369 pound-feet torque. 

Towing Capacity: 7,000 pounds with the V6 engine; 7,700 pounds with Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel

#2. Honda Ridgeline

2021 Honda Ridgeline Sport in red speeding down a dirt road in remote rocky terrain.
2021 Ridgeline Sport with HPD Package.

About: The Honda Ridgeline is an all-terrain, all-wheel-drive small truck. It has four different four-door trims with the latest innovations, including an intelligent tracking management system that allows you to select between snow, sand, and mud. And the truck bed has a lockable trunk to stow your gear even when you’re towing. 

The Ridgeline has a 280 horsepower, 3.5L V6 engine with 262 pound-feet of torque. It has a 24-valve SOHC i-VTEC, an eco-assist system, a hill start assist, and a high-capacity radiator with two high-power fans. With a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds, the truck can handle towing a small travel trailer and allow you the freedom to go off-road.

Towing Capacity: 5,000 pounds

#3. Jeep Gladiator

About: The Jeep Gladiator is a four-door Jeep with a truck box on the back. The box is small but provides some extra space for storing gear or a couple of motorbikes.

This 4×4 vehicle has all of the off-road capabilities you would expect from a Jeep. For example, it has heavy-duty Dana 44 front and rear solid axles with extra thick tubes and forgings. 

It has a 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine with 285 horsepower and a maximum of 260 pound-feet of torque. The Gladiator can tow up to 7,650 pounds, which allows for pulling a wide range of small travel trailers or toy haulers. It also gets fairly good gas mileage with 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.

Towing Capacity: 7,650 pounds

#4. Toyota Tacoma

A tan Toyota Tacoma parked on a dirt road with fence and woods behind.
Toyota Tacoma

About: The Toyota Tacoma comes in five different models. While this is a small truck, each model has mighty capabilities. For starters, the Tacoma has a suspension lift. It has a 1.5-inch front lift and a 0.5-inch rear lift so that you can go over rocky terrain. And it has machine-forged upper control arms for additional stability.  

The Tacoma has a 3.5L V6 direct-injection Atkinson-cycle engine with 278 horsepower at 6,000 rpm/265 pound-feet at 4,600 rpm. It has a six-speed, automatically controlled transmission and a 4WDemand part-time 4WD. The towing capacity is 6,400 pounds. And when unloaded, this small truck gets about 18 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. 

Towing Capacity: 6,400 pounds.

#5. Ford Ranger

A 2021 Ford Ranger pick up truck in red parked on a dirt road with dust rolling up behind it.
New Tremor Off-Road Package available on 2021 Ranger

About: The Ford Ranger is a classic mid-size truck. There are three models on the market, and they get some of the best gas mileage of the trucks on our list. They get about 21 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. 

Ford’s Ranger has a 2.3L EcoBoost engine with auto start-stop technology and a 10-speed SelectShift automatic transmission. The 4×4 has neutral towing capability and independent front suspension. With the ability to tow 7,500 pounds, there are a lot of RVs that you can pull behind this truck.

Towing Capacity: 7,500 pounds

Do we have you convinced that a small truck is the way to go for towing your RV? They can be practical for towing and fun for off-road play. And they’re easy to park and get you around on day trips and into cities.

But you’ll want to make sure a small truck will fit your needs before signing on the dotted line. So consider the towing factors and your daily driving needs when shopping around for your tow vehicle.

Do you think a small truck is right for you?

If You Want the Latest Travel News, Join Our Mailing List

Don’t rely on biased RV industry news sources to keep you informed. Stick with Nomadic News. We publish articles and breaking stories that matter to you every weekday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Article
Close up of woman wearing shorts in the driver seat of a truck.

How to Tow a Trailer with Respect

Next Article
Graffiti in Arizona that reads "Britney Spears Made Me Do It" on a colorful striped wall.

Britney Spears' Dad Is Supposedly Full-Time RV Living

Related Posts