2021 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD Posts Huge Max Towing Capacity of 36,000 Pounds
That’s better than the Ram 3500 HD and Ford F-350 Super Duty…for now, at least.
If you need to tow something, the tow capacity wars are alive and well—to your benefit. Chevrolet announced today that its most hauler-focused Silverado 3500 HD can tow up to 36,000 lbs. 36,000 lbs!
For now, that bests the current Ram 3500 HD dually's maximum 35,100-lb capacity by about a horse and the current Ford F-350 Super Duty dually's maximum 35,750-lb capacity by, uh, a little over one-fourthish of a horse.
To put that 36,000-lb figure in perspective, that's roughly 36 pre-hibernation Alaskan bear contenders for Katmai National Park and Preserve's Fat Bear Week, according to Reuters. It's nearly two average-weight 35 to 47-foot sailboats, per the 18,918-lb figure Sailing Waters Magazine lists. Perhaps more relevant to, uh, my interest in large trucks, the top-of-the-range Silverado could tow nearly 14 Porsche 944 race cars at the NASA Spec 944 class's minimum car-and-driver weight of 2,600 lbs. Fourteen! Get me three haulers and a 3500 HD immediately.
Chevrolet updated the hardware in the suspension and changed some of the Silverado 3500 HD's packaging to increase the 2021 model's tow capacity by 500 lbs over the 2020 model's. This big boy tow capacity is available on the Silverado 3500 HD Work Truck, regular cab, dually, two-wheel-drive models that have the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine, a 10-speed Allison transmission and the Max Tow Package. 36,000 lbs is the rating for a gooseneck trailer, but its tow-hitch rating of 20,000 lbs is nothing to sneeze at.
So, sorry, four-door-needing families of the world. Your kid's Cheerios-splosion all over the back seat does not weight 36,000 lbs. Yet those family-friendly crew cab pickups in the HD line are no slouch, either, with the lowest-spec 2500 HD and 3500 HD trucks still being able to haul 14,500 lbs on a conventional trailer—even with a crew cab. (Chevrolet has the full 2021 spec sheet up here, if you're curious.)
Chevrolet added some trick towing tech to the 2500 HD and 3500 HD this year as well, making these overkill haul-buddies even more useful thanks to tech they've already added to the Silverado 1500. Eight cameras provide 15 different views to ensure that you're lined up correctly and not about to saw the corner off of neighbor's house with a trailer. Bed hitch guidance helps you align and hook up to a fifth-wheel trailer. The rear view also features guidelines and a trailer-angle indicator when a trailer is hooked up, outlining exactly where things are going to go.
A split view of the left and right sides of your truck and trailer is now available in reverse to aid visibility for lining up a trailer. It was previously only available when the truck was moving forward.
A trailer length indicator makes sure you've got enough space to make lane changes whenever your blinker is on. The truck also has an alert for possible jack-knifing situations.
The stats game is always one of one-upsmanship, though. Sports cars have horsepower wars, and trucks have towing wars. You can almost bet on the fact that Ford and Ram will respond with some future big ol' dually in the 3500 HD's size that adds just a few extra pounds.
GM claimed this 36,000-lb figure was the best in its class as well, but this is where truck terminology gets tricky. Classes are based on Gross Vehicle Weight Ratings (GVWR), which denote the maximum weight a truck can handle, including its cargo, its passengers and the weight of the truck itself. The Silverado 3500 HD, Ram 3500 HD and Ford F-350 Super Duty are all Class 3 trucks (meaning that they have GVWRs between 10,001 and 14,000 lbs), and have model numbers that start with a 3 accordingly.
You would think that the Ford F-450 Super Duty would fall into Class 4 (where trucks have GVWRs of between 14,001 and 16,000 lbs), but au contraire—that's only the F-450 Chassis Cab, which is built to be slightly stronger than the pickup, per Diesel Hub. The F-450 pickup has a GVWR of 14,000 and is therefore only a Class 3 truck, which puts it in the new Silverado 3500 HD's class. Both the two-wheel-drive F-450 and the four-wheel-drive F-450 have higher towing capacities than the Silverado 3500 HD at 37,000 lbs and 36,400 lbs, respectively.
Three cheers for being able to haul more horses than you can fit in a trailer! These higher-capacity trucks are a dream to tow with when they're nowhere near their limits, so this, ahem, driveshaft-measuring contest is good for everybody who has to haul heavy stuff.
Correction: Thursday, October 8, 2020, 7:30 p.m. ET: A previous version of this story noted GM's best-in-class claim based on the tow capacities of the Ram 3500 HD and Ford F-350 Super Duty, however, a Ford representative reached out to The Drive to clarify that some F-450 models fit into Class 3 as well, which is the same class as the Silverado 3500 HD. This has been corrected and clarified above.
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