Are you thinking of starting your own hotshot trucking business?

We all know how important it is to have reliable vehicles in order to be successful. In fact, you’re only as reliable as your trucks, because if they break down, it will cost you in lost revenues.

So you need an efficient and dependable vehicle. But it’s not easy to choose the best ones. If you happen to ask truck people about the best trucks, they’ll have some very strong opinions. After all, brand loyalty runs deep, there is much competition, and the choices are rather small.

So to help you decide, we have gathered our ten favorite pickup trucks that provide the best value for your hotshot business. If you have heavy hauling to do — towing over 20,000 pounds and transporting 7,000-pound payloads — then this buying guide was written just for you.

10.) Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $33,610
  • GVWR: 9,500 lbs.
  • Payload: 3,233 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 28,000 lbs.

Short Description:

The Silverado 2500 is a hard-working vehicle. It has received so many awards, like from J.D. Power for being the most dependable, heavy-duty pickup three years in a row. When you look at its specs, it’s pretty impressive as well. It has a 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel V8 engine that produces 445 horsepower and 910 lb-ft of torque. With this truck, you can carry a maximum payload of 3,233 pounds and tow up to 14,500 pounds.

Pros:

  • It’s an incredibly fast truck, especially when it’s unladen
  • Handling and ride quality is good even when carrying a load or towing a trailer
  • A lot of raw power and a high tow rating

Cons:

  • It has shaky braking abilities and struggles with steering
  • While powerful in its own right, it’s still inferior to Ford’s 925 pound-feet of torque
  • There is not a lot of available towing aids

Key Features:

  • Good-looking and functional hood scoop
  • Corner step rear bumper
  • Integrated trailer brake controller with a backup camera
  • Equipped with an Allison 100 six-speed automatic
  • It comes with an exhaust brake
  • Standard suspension: 51mm twin tube shock absorbers and 33mm front stabilizer bars
  • It has a five-year drivetrain/powertrain warranty or 100,000 miles

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.35 / 10

9.) Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $35,260
  • GVWR: 13,025 lbs.
  • Payload: 5,761 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 28,000 lbs.

Short Description:

The Silverado 3500 sturdiness and robustness is impressive. It can haul large objects over very long distances. You can have your pick of either the gasoline or the diesel model: The gasoline model is a 360-horsepower Vortec 6.0-liter V8. It produces 380 pound-feet of torque and uses a six-speed automatic transmission. The diesel version is a 397-horsepower, Duramax 6.6-liter turbo-diesel V8. It generates 765 pound-feet of torque through a stronger version of the six-speed. GM also offers a four-wheel drive with both (or in this case, six-wheel drive). The dually trucks can haul up to 7,180 pounds of payload and tow 23,200 pounds. That’s 445 horsepower and a torque rating of 910 pound-feet. The dualies tow more. A crew cab with an 8-foot bed (2WD or 4WD) can tow 20,000 pounds — more than the Ram 3500 — and can carry a payload of 5,381 pounds (2WD).

Pros:

  • Several options regarding bed length, cab configurations, and trim levels.
  • A lot quieter engine (especially at idle).
  • The fuel economy of the Duramax is a little better
  • Greater towing and hauling power than the Fords and nearly as much as the Ram.

Cons:

  • The ride and seating is quite firm and not that comfortable
  • It doesn’t have a lot of towing aids when compared to the Fords
  • The body or external frame is not most massive or the sturdiest

Key Features:

  • Three cab styles offered with dual-rear-wheel configurations; all pair with 8-foot beds.
  • New cabin décor, touchscreens for infotainment functions, hands-free functionality, and a range of cutting edge safety features. Not to mention the remarkably low levels of vibration, noise, and harshness.
  • The GMC also offers an optional trailering camera system with three cameras. This is located on the exterior side mirrors, and the other one to the tailgate focused on the hitch ball. This helps when backing and hooking up.
  • It also uses the Allison six-speed automatic used in the larger 3500HD Chevy and GMC.
  • Trailer sway control, backup camera, and a standard integrated trailer brake controller.
  • It has an external transmission oil cooler to prevent the transmission from overheating and provide optimal transmission performance when hauling a load or towing trailers.
  • The diesel V8 has an exhaust brake. This reduces braking when towing a trailer or driving downhill. It works with the transmission’s tow/haul mode and auto-grade braking to help the driver maintain the desired speed when going downhill.

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.2 / 10

8.) Ford F-250 XL Super Duty Commercial

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $32,890
  • GVWR: 14,000 lbs.
  • Payload: 7,630 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 34,000 lbs.

Short Description:

The Ford F-250 generates the biggest torque — 925 pound-feet. The 4×2 configuration of the crew cab does 3,910 pounds of payload and 18,000 pounds of towing.

Pros:

  • It has a trailer reverse guidance system that provides visual cues and tips to help ease backing up a trailer.
  • A trailer tow camera system. This is made up of four cameras that offer a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of the truck.
  • A pioneer in adaptive cruise control and collision warning with brake support for heavy trailers. Drivers can now maintain speed while climbing steep grades.

Cons:

  • Hard to park in tight spots
  • No manual transmission
  • Expensive price tag, especially with more options

Key Features:

  • Aside from a tire pressure monitoring system, the truck’s blind-spot information system includes trailer length of up to 33 feet long.
  • It also includes an innovative trailer camera that can be put on a trailer to improve visibility when backing up.
  • Comes with an optional 440 horsepower 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo-diesel V-8. That engine has a six-speed automatic transmission.
  • Has new stronger fully boxed steel frame
  • (Along with the F-350) Has an aluminum body and bed, which help reduce weight.
  • Optional: Gooseneck hitch kit and 5th wheel hitch kit system
  • Gas and diesel engine models.
  • It also offers AdvanceTrac with Roll Stability Control and Trailer Sway Control, whether on single or dual-rear-wheel models. It uses gyroscopic sensors and applies engine power and selective wheel braking to maintain vehicle stability, including the trailer it is hauling.
  • Quad-dual beam halogen headlamps. These provide lower and upper beam outputs, allowing more light, and making it ideal for nighttime driving.
  • STX appearance package — bright chrome grille, chrome bumpers (both front and back bumpers), and 18-inch cast aluminum wheels. This gives it a sleek look.

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.7 / 10

7.) Ford F-350 XLT Super Duty Commercial

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $38,145
  • GVWR: 14,000 lbs.
  • Payload: 7,630 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 32,500 lbs. Lbs.

Short Description:

When properly equipped, the Ford F-350 can tow 31,200 pounds. The regular cab dually can carry 7,260 pounds of payload. A variety of gas-powered or diesel engines can also be paired with the six-speed transmission to generate up to 860 pound-feet of torque.

Pros:

  • It has plenty of payload and tow capacity
  • This truck’s comfort and capability make it one of the best all-around trucks today.
  • The truck has many options such as single- or dual-rear wheels, etc.

Cons:

  • Too big for many parking spaces
  • Price tag soars with more options
  • Traditionalists may not like or enjoy the luxurious look of the interiors.

Key Features:

  • F-350 Super Duty uses a 6.2-liter gasoline engine as its base power plant, generating 385 horsepower and a torque of 405 ft-lbs. You can also get a four-wheel drive. Both have six-speed automatic transmissions.
  • They offer three cab designs with the dual-rear-wheel axle. You can also get the eight-foot long bed.
  • They reworked the F-350’s 6.7-liter turbodiesel in 2015, getting it to muster 440 horsepower and an incredible torque of 860 pound-feet. The F-350 Super Duty dually can pull a trailer of 26,500 pounds.
  • Ford made its first complete redesign of its Super Duty pickups since 1999, and it produced the class leader in towing.
  • The towing technology available on the F-250 is also present on the F-350. This includes the trailer tow camera system, the collision warning with brake support, as well as the trailer reverse guidance.
  • It’s powered by the same 6.7-liter Power Stroke turbo-diesel V-8 with 925 pound-feet of torque and 440 horsepower. The crew cab dually 4×2 dominates in both max towing and payload. The truck’s maximum conventional tow rating is 21,000 pounds, and its max payload is 7,200 pounds.
  • A fifth wheel hitch kit and the gooseneck hitch kit are both optional. However, these trucks come standard with a bumper pull hitch. Maximum gooseneck towing is 34,000 lbs, while conventional towing is 21,000 lbs. The maximum GVWR is 14,000 lbs.
  • The Ford F-350 (2017) also has an aluminum body and bed and a new steel frame.
  • The 6.2L SOHC 2-valve Flex Fuel V8 engine is another key feature. No other full-size, heavy-duty pickup truck can match the 430 pound-feet torque of the F-350, allowing the gears to shift smoothly.
  • SYNC Basic allows you to connect mobile devices and use certain apps. You can make calls and even ask your phone to navigate for you without having to take your hands off the wheel.
  • Transmission TorqShift — the strong gears ably meet the heavy torque demands of the turbo diesel and gas engines. Due to the torque converter, fewer RPMs are needed, thereby minimizing upshifting and reducing brake pressure.
  • The F-350 XLT is like the F-250, with a few differences, mentioned above.

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.15 / 10

6.) Ford F-450 Lariat Super Duty Commercial

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $66,080
  • GVWR: 14,000 lbs.
  • Payload: 7,630 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 34,000 lbs.

Short Description:

The F-450 Super Duty is now a much better truck after Ford’s engineers have upgraded the engine and reworked the suspension. Its potential payload is now 7,260 pounds and its towing capacity is 31,200 pounds. You can choose either a powertrain, bed, or cab. The four-door crew cab comes with an eight-foot cargo bed. It’s a four-wheel drive, with dual rear wheels, and Ford’s earth-moving 6.7-liter turbodiesel — yielding 860 lb-ft of torque and 440 horsepower. A limited-slip differential and a six-speed transmission complete the powertrain. Engine exhaust braking comes standard to help the F-450 keep the load in check when going down slopes.

Pros:

  • Spacious cab has many technology and convenience options
  • Extra-wide front axle — helps it make tighter turns than the Ford models
  • Aluminum body — reduces weight and improves efficiency

Cons:

  • The high price tag, especially with more options
  • 19.5-inch tires are relatively more expensive to replace
  • Heavier weight means lower payload compared to F-350

Key Features:

  • Fifth-wheel hitch kit (optional)
  • Gooseneck hitch kit (optional)
  • Trailer hitch (standard)
  • Lockable storage box under the seat.
  • Premium leather seating
  • SYNC 3 — an easy-to-use, voice-activated touchscreen great for navigating.
  • 19.5″ polished aluminum wheels — these tires come standard on all F-450 models.

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.85 / 10

5.) GMC Sierra 2500 Denali HD

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $57,985
  • GVWR: 10,000 lbs.
  • Payload: 3,233 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 15,400 lbs.

Short Description:

The GMC Sierra 2500 Denali HD packs a lot of power and boasts a high tow rating. Its 6.6-liter Duramax turbo-diesel engine generates 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque. That’s enough muscle to tow 14,500 pounds or haul a maximum payload of 3,233 pounds. It’s certainly a fast and powerful truck when unladen, but still no match to Ford’s 925 pound-feet of torque.

Pros:

  • A more powerful diesel option
  • Powerful towing and hauling
  • Sturdy build quality

Cons:

  • The brakes are not that good
  • More bumpy ride compared to other 2500 series trucks
  • Visibility is not great due to small mirrors and thick pillars

Key Features:

  • The diesel V8 has exhaust brake and an Allison 100 six-speed automatic.
  • Rear corner step bumper and functional and good-looking hood scoop.
  • Towing aids — backup camera and an integrated trailer brake controller.
  • LED lighting on the truck’s cargo box — alternative when you don’t have a flashlight.
  • Safe brake system — a power-assisted heavy-duty brake system. Even under heavy loads or when towing a trailer, this gives you enough stopping power. Anti-lock brakes reduces wheel lockup and maintains steering when braking hard in bad weather.
  • Forward collision alert — it notifies the driver when the truck approaches another vehicle at an unsafe speed.
  • GMC’s Driver Alert Package — this includes a lane departure warning. The driver is alerted when the truck is moving out of its lane without using a turn signal.

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.6 / 10

4.) GMC Sierra 3500

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $35,921
  • GVWR: 13,025 lbs.
  • Payload: 6,112 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 23,100 lbs.

Short Description:

GMC’s Sierra 3500HD pickup truck is ideal for moving large amounts of freight. Plus, it also has luxuriously refined interior treatments, cutting-edge safety features, and easy handling. Available in both one-ton and three-quarter-ton configurations, you can be confident that it has the power and the robust capability to move your cargo with speed and ease.

You can have either a gasoline or a diesel engine. Both generate nearly 400 horsepower:

  1. The 6.0-liter gasoline engine delivers 380 lb-ft of torque and 360 horsepower.
  2. The 6.6-liter turbodiesel generates 765 lb-ft of torque and 397 horsepower.

Both engines come with six-speed automatic transmissions. You can always get the four-wheel drive option if you want. With a fifth wheel, Sierra 3500HD is able to tow up to 23,200 pounds. Maximum payload is 7,180 pounds.

You can look forward to a quiet highway ride, especially if your truck is working hard to tow a massive load behind you. Your efficiency is over 12 miles per gallon when towing 8,500 lbs.

The dualies tow significantly more than a 3500HD with single rear wheels. A crew cab with an 8-foot bed is rated to tow 20,000 pounds (at 2WD or 4WD). That’s more than what the Ram 3500 can do. Its maximum payload with 2WD is of 5,381 pounds.

Pros:

  • Modern-safety innovations
  • Attention-grabbing appearance
  • A very spacious and versatile interior

Cons:

  • Quite expensive
  • Not very fuel-efficient, especially when hauling heavy loads in stop-and-go traffic
  • Hard to park in congested places

Key Features:

  • Three cab styles (crew, double, and regular) with an eight-foot bed in dually configuration.
  • Trailering camera system — three cameras — two on the exterior side mirrors, and one focused on the hitch ball near the tailgate. This helps when backing and hooking up.
  • Towing aids — diesel V8 has a standard integrated trailer brake controller, trailer sway control, a backup camera, and an exhaust brake.
  • Exhaust braking system — keeps the truck’s speed in check when going downhill.

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.2 / 10

3.) Nissan Titan XD

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $32,290
  • GVWR: 8,990 lbs.
  • Payload: 2,080 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 12,310 lbs.

Short Description:

The Titan XD is the only truck on the list that’s not made by a domestic manufacturer. The Titan XD has a Cummins 5.0-liter V8 turbo-diesel engine, rated at 310 horsepower and 555 pound-feet of torque. It can carry 2,080 pounds and tow 12,310 pounds (2WD). Those numbers drop with the Titan’s gas-burning V8. All Titan XD trucks have 7-speed automatic transmissions.

Pros:

  • Rugged and beefy appearance
  • Great road handling

Cons:

  • No manual transmission available
  • Sluggish performance of the diesel model

Key Features:

  • Trailer light check system — it lets you check turn signals, brake lights, and running lights from inside the Titan cab.
  • Tow/Haul Mode — downhill speed control, integrated trailer brake controller, and a trailer sway control.
  • Towing aids — a monitor providing a virtual “bird’s eye” view of the truck and its surrounding area, a backup camera with trailer guides.

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.7 / 10

2.) Ram 2500 Big Horn

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $42,725
  • GVWR: 10,000 lbs.
  • Payload: 2,570 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 20,000 lbs.

Short Description:

The Big Horn has the smallest torque of the lot. But you should never underestimate its capabilities. The crew cab Ram 2500 Cummins can tow 17,060 pounds and carry a maximum payload of 2,540 pounds (2WD). That’s more than many of the other trucks can do.

The Ram 2500 is powered by a 6.4L HEMI V8 engine, giving you a responsive and powerful driving experience. If you don’t like gasoline engines, you can always opt for the proven 6.7-liter six-inline Cummins turbo-diesel used in the 3500. It produces 660 pound-feet of torque and 350 horsepower with the six-speed manual. But if you go with the more popular six-speed automatic, those numbers inch up even higher — 800 pound-feet of torque and 370 horsepower.

Pros:

  • The Mega Cab model has extra passenger room
  • 100,000-mile powertrain warranty
  • Very tough build

Cons:

  • All its functions and capabilities are “overkill” for most people.
  • Expensive for the top-trim model
  • Poor gas mileage

Key Features:

  • Towing aids — backup camera, trailer sway control, integrated trailer brake controller.
  • Unique rear suspension — it uses a five-link coil spring rear suspension like the brand’s 1-ton truck. On the other hand, the Ram 3500 uses the rear leaf spring system. The resulting ride quality is much better. It rides more smoothly than the other trucks.
  • UConnect — it has a backup camera and park assist. It is useful for navigation and can help call another member of your business. You can also sync to your phone.

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.4 / 10

1.) Ram 3500 Big Horn

Summary Stats:

  • Price: Starting at $34,225
  • GVWR: 13,910 lbs.
  • Payload: 4,080 lbs.
  • Gooseneck Towing: 24,000 lbs.

Short Description:

The undisputed 3500 series heavy duty dually pickup truck class leader in every one of those categories is the Ram 3500HD. Ram has claimed the top spot in the class 3 pickup industry.

You have three engine options that range from 400 pound-feet of torque and 383 horsepower (for the gasoline-fired 5.7L HEMI V8 engine with dual variable valve timing) to a best-in-class 865 pound-feet of torque and 385 horsepower with the 6.7-liter inline six-cylinder turbo-diesel Cummins engine. Four-wheel drive is offered too.

Its fifth-wheel towing rating and capacity is 30,000 pounds — more than Chevy, Ford, and GMC offerings in this category. No other truck actually comes close to this. The Ram also takes the top spot in terms of payload capacity at 7,390 pounds, topping the F-350.

Now, regarding transmission, it is the only truck in the class to offer a six-speed manual transmission. However, the power drops to 660 pound-feet of torque and 350 horsepower.

Pros:

  • Nice interior treatment, exceptionally quiet operation, and confident handling
  • Load leveling rear air suspension system — refined ride quality, comfortable ride
  • Outstanding towing and hauling capacity

Cons:

  • It doesn’t have a lot of driving aids or safety technologies
  • It’s hard to park (especially parallel park) because of its hefty size
  • Fuel economy is not that great since this is mainly for towing and hauling

Key Features:

  • Rambox system — sizable, drainable, and lockable bins on each side of the bed.
  • Towing aids — a basic backup camera, trailer sway control, and an integrated trailer brake controller.
  • 66RFE six-speed automatic transmission — excellent performance in all conditions.
  • UConnect — voice text reply, hands-free calling, voice command, Bluetooth streaming audio, an AM/FM radio and a 5-inch touchscreen. You can still keep in touch on the road without letting off the steering wheel.

EDITOR’S RATING: 9.8 / 10

Editor’s Pick Truck: Ford F-450

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