This question comes from Carrie H.
I will be towing a 23D Airstream trailer (4,700 lbs dry, 6,000 lbs GVWR). Will the Toyota Tacoma handle this weight? We are also thinking about a Chevy Colorado that has a slightly higher towing capacity. Any advice?
This is a great question. And we will answer it in detail with the 2016 Gold Hitch Awards. We will be towing an Ike Gauntlet extreme towing tests with the midsize pickup trucks, including the 2016 Tacoma and the 2016 Colorado with the Duramax diesel.
If you look at towing and payload capacities and specifications, then the Colorado is ahead of the Tacoma. The 4×4 Crew Cab Chevy Colorado is rated to tow between 7,000 – 7,600 lbs with the 3.6L V6 gasoline of the 2.8L I4 diesel engines, respectively. It’s payload for the same configuration ranges from 1,477 – 1,580 lbs. The 4×4 Crew Cab Toyota Tacoma (aka. DoubleCab) is rated to tow 6,400 lbs with a payload of 1,175 lbs.
Carrie, your fully loaded trailer will push down on the truck’s hitch with about 600 lbs. If you are bringing several people with you and a lot more gear, then the extra payload capability of the Colorado will be needed. Also, the turbo-diesel option in the Chevy should return better fuel economy when towing on the highway. (We will verify this with our testing soon.) Of course, you need to consider the cost of extra cost of the turbo-diesel engine. If you plan to go across the country a few times and put on a lot of mile, then the diesel makes more sense.
That is not to say that the Tacoma cannot handle a good-sized trailer. We towed a 5,600 lbs horse trailer with the Tacoma at 70 MPH and it handled the task with confidence. We have a lot more truck testing to complete in the next two-three months. Stay tuned for more videos and detailed analysis.
Watch the 2016 Toyota Tacoma highway MPG towing test.
And here is a first towing review with the 2016 Chevy Colorado with the Duramax diesel.