Chevrolet ups ante in towing war, gives 2021 Silverado HD 36,000-lb capacity

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The 3/4 and 1-ton versions of the Ford, Ram, and GM light-duty trucks that Americans love so much are all absolute brutes when it comes to towing. With diesel engines that produce 400+ hp and transmissions that boast deep low gears for getting loads moving and overdrive ones for calm cruising, they’re all capable of hauling tremendously heavy loads. Chevrolet, Ford, and Ram have been lobbing improved power, torque, and tow ratings back and forth at each other for decades, using every opportunity to make a best-in-class claim.

The latest salvo comes from Chevy, who announced that the 2021 Silverado 3500 is capable of towing 36,000 pounds. That beats Ram 3500 by 900 pounds and Ford F-350 by 250 pounds, at least for now.

2021 Silverado 3500 HD LTZ

As is typical with max towing figures, that number only comes in a single configuration, and it’s not a particularly popular one: regular cab, long-bed, dual rear wheel, two-wheel drive. That rating requires the Max Tow Package along with the most powerful engine offered, the 445-hp, 6.6-liter Duramax turbodiesel. The increase, up 500 pounds from the 2020 model, comes thanks to updated suspension and wheels.

That tow rating is certified to SAE J2807 standards, which Ford and Ram have also been using. Among other requirements, the SAE standards use punishing tests that require the vehicle to repeatedly move its load up a grade from a standstill, both forward and reverse.

Of course, these bragging rights are only worth so much. A Ram fanatic isn’t going to jump ship because their High-Output Cummins 3500 can only tow a paltry 35,100 pounds. Ford lovers can also point to the regular-cab F-450, which brings up to 37,000 pounds of towing to the table. As with all of these quests automakers take in order to make claims of having the quickest, most efficient, or strongest vehicle available, buyers end up with automotive choices that are better and better. Perhaps it’s overkill, but if the truck can handle 36,000 pounds, it follows that it would hardly flinch when hauling half as much.

Chevrolet also used their towing number news to introduce towing tools for all 2021 Silverados, highlighting up to 15 camera views that make tasks safer and easier. When the turn signal is activated, the center console screen will display a red overlay twice the length of the trailer to help indicate when it’s safe for a  lane change. A new trailer-angle indicator will help when backing up horse and cart by providing guidelines and also work with Jack-Knife Alert to “alert if a potential jack-knife situation is imminent.” The center console display can also be used with the rear-facing camera at the back of the cab to aid in gooseneck/fifth-wheel trailer hook up.

Finally, Chevrolet announced new packages for the 2021 HD, including the Midnight Edition, Z71 Sport Edition,  Z71 Chrome Sport Edition, and Carhartt Special Edition.

Z71 Sport and Z71 Chrome Sport take the popular Z71 suspension package and pair it with varying amounts of chrome trim.


Midnight Edition goes monochrome with black Silverado emblems and black 20-inch wheels, while the Carhartt Edition adds Carhartt brown and black perforated leather seats, unique wheels, pinstriping, and a Carhartt embossed tonneau. The Carhartt edition will be available shortly, with the remaining three packages coming later in 2020.

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