The best pickup trucks for towing

  • All pickup trucks ranked for towing
  • Which can pull the most and which are less suited to a heavy trainer
  • Technology also considered in the verdict

Pickup trucks will carry a fair bit of stuff on their own, but sometimes the c.1.0-tonne payload isn’t enough and you need to hitch a trailer onto the back to haul even more – you can’t transport a horse in a loading bay after all.

Every pickup on sale in the UK does a decent job of pulling a heavy load, but not all trucks are equal and some are more capable than others. The maximum amount you can legally tow with a truck is 3.5 tonnes. Some come close to that, and some permit you to make the most of that allowance and tow the full 3,500kg.

We recommend only using manufacturer-approved wiring kits, as low-cost universal wiring will not activate trailer stability programmes when towing.

These are the best pickups in the UK, ranked by overall ability.

The Parkers guide to towing

9) Fiat Fullback – up to 3.1 tonnes

Fiat Fullback towing

The Fiat Fullback might share many of its constituent parts with the Mitsubishi L200, but it has not had the same updates as the Mitsubishi, so it isn’t able to match its new and improved towing abilities.

The Fullback is only capable of towing up to 3.1 tonnes, whereas the L200 can take up to 3.5 tonnes. Like the L200, though, trailer stability assist is standard. It's worth noting that there are some conditions applicable to the L200's increased weight, too, so for twin-axle trailers both the Fiat and Mitsubishi can be considered equals.

Fiat include a locking rear differential (in addition to the selectable full-time four-wheel drive and lockable centre differential) on the Fullback Cross, which may make towing trailers on muddy or loose surfaces a little easier.

Read the full Fiat Fullback review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

8) Volkswagen Amarok – up to 3.1 tonnes

VW Amarok towing

Every version of the VW Amarok comes equipped with a hefty V6 3.0-litre diesel engine, including the mighty 580Nm, 258hp Aventura, but that doesn't make it the strongest hauler.

The maximum you can tow with an Amarok is just 3.1 tonnes, and the entry level Trendline versions with a manual gearbox don’t even manage that – they are limited to towing 3.0-tonnes.

If weight isn't everything, standard trailer stability assist and the Amarok's overall refinement make it a fine choice, albeit expensive. 4Motion permanent all-wheel drive means there's no switching modes when towing between loose and tarmac surfaces; it's about as effortless as you can get.

Read the full VW Amarok review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

7) Isuzu D-Max – up to 3.5 tonnes

Isuzu D-Max towing

Despite its relatively diminutive engine (it only has a 1.9-litre engine) Isuzu is keen to point out that the D-Max still offers the full 3.5-tonne towing capacity of its bigger-engined rivals, plus a robust 225kg nose weight capacity.

That’s certainly the case if you go for the 4WD version, but if you are one of the few that goes for a two-wheel drive D-Max (we imagine you’d be in a small minority if you do), then you’d be limited to 2.5 tonnes.

Read the full Isuzu D-Max review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

6) Nissan Navara – up to 3.5 tonnes

Nissan Navara towing

Almost every version of the Nissan Navara is capable of towing the full 3.5-tonne weight permitted in the UK. In fact, there is just the one that dips below that maximum and offers a maximum towing capacity of 3,035kg. Thankfully it is a model that many buyers won’t go for as it is the 2WD King Cab in Visia trim.

Given that there is also a 4WD version of the King Cab that is capable of pulling 3.5 tonnes you don’t have to go for a bigger model than you need if you don’t need a full Double Cab.

Nissan's surround camera to check for obstacles, plus the availability of an optional lockable rear differential, could make the Navara the ideal pickup for towing in tricky off-road situations.

Read the full Nissan Navara review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

5) Mitsubishi L200 – up to 3.5 tonnes

Mitsubishi L200 towing

January 2018 was an important month for the Mitsubishi L200’s towing aspirations, as Mitsubishi gave the truck some extra strengthening around several key areas of the chassis. This then boosted the amount the L200 could tow from 3.1 tonnes to a maximum of 3.5 tonnes. As one of the few pickups with full-time four-wheel drive, the Mitsubishi is also particularly capable when manouevering from fields to roads, or in slush and light snow.

However, before you go out and buy a huge trailer, it is worth bearing in mind that this 3.5-tonne rating only applies to braked three-axle trailers – you are still limited to 3.1 tonnes if your trailer is a two-axle braked affair, and just 2.0 tonnes if it is a one-axle trailer.

Trailer stability assist is fitted as standard, and designed to work in conjunction with the factory-approved heavy duty towing package.

There is a heavily revised version of the L200 on the way in 2019, but there are not yet any details on whether this will change or not on the new model.

Read the full 2015-2019 Mitsubishi L200 review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

Read our first impressions of the 2019 Mitsubishi L200

4) Ford Ranger – up to 3.5 tonnes

Ford Ranger towing

The majority of Ford Rangers are capable of towing 3.5 tonnes, but about a third of the double cab versions are only up to towing 2.5 tonnes, which means you’ll need to check the details carefully before committing.

The 2019 Ford Ranger can tow 3,500kg on all 4x4 models, and Trailer Sway Control (Ford's version of Trailer Stability Assist) is standard on all models. Combined with the option of adaptive cruise control, this makes the Ranger one of the safest options for relaxed long-distance towing.

Read the full Ford Ranger review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

3) Toyota Hilux – 3.5 tonnes across the board

Toyota Hilux towing

The Hilux has had a recent update, which means that all of its versions are now capable of towing 3.5 tonnes, but this wasn’t the case until recently.

Previously, the double cab was only capable of hauling 3.2 tonnes, while the single and extra cab models were able to take the maximum 3.5 tonnes. Therefore, if you are buying a used Hilux, check what it is legally able to tow and don’t assume it can take the maximum.

The full Toyota Hilux review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

2) Mercedes-Benz X-Class – 3.5 tonnes across the board

Mercedes-Benz X-Class towing

Mercedes-Benz has gone a step further with the X-Class, aiming to produce the most capable pickup in Europe. Standard four-cylinder X 220 d and X 250 d models share engineering with the Nissan Navara, but with a strengthened chassis, new bodywork and a dramatic new interior. Distinct from anything Nissan can offer technically, the X 350 d has a 258hp V6 diesel and true 4Matic permanent all-wheel drive.

Budget does count against the X-Class; the V6 starts where the Amarok range ends, and the extra cost over the Navara makes the four-cylinder models a matter of taste, rather than outright ability when it comes to justifying the purchase. However, Mercedes has an ace in the small print - the excellent Mobilo Van roadside assistance package, which provides Europe-wide support in the event of a breakdown for up to 30 years, as long as the X-Class has been serviced by a Mercedes-Benz dealer.

Mercedes also include comprehensive safety equipment as standard, including trailer stability assist, counting towards the X-Class being one of the best pickups tested by Euro NCAP.

Read the full Mercedes-Benz X-Class review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

1) SsangYong Musso – up to 3.5 tonnes plus a full 1.0-tonne payload

SsangYong Musso towing

All of these pickups have a blend of abilities, but if the ability to tow is your priority, the Musso automatic is the one to have. Rebel, Saracen and Rhino models are well equipped with some unique features, such as a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats on the higher specifications, but all automatic-tranmission Mussos have a GTW of 6,750kg.

This means the 2.2-litre, 181hp pickup can pull 3,500kg and still have 1,085kg in the bed. The downside? It's a small bed, just 1,300mm long. Body engineering and interior styling is shared with the refined Rexton SUV, and it's one of the most civilised four-cylinder pickups on the road as a result, with a huge passenger cabin.

Manual models have a reduced GTW of 6,450kg, and correspondingly lower towing limit of 3,200kg, but can still tow and carry to the max.

Read the full SsangYong Musso pickup review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

Also read:

>> Best pickup trucks in the UK

>> The Parkers guide to towing capacity

>> The best vans for towing

>> The best pickups for payload