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First Look at Top Truck Trends in Trailer Towing (2020)

It's that time of year again—that is, the time when the buzz around the newest trucks kicks into high gear. Every fall, truck manufacturers tease us with tantalizing details before finally debuting their shiny new models, updated technology, and enormous towing capabilities...not to mention their chiseled good looks (here's looking at you, Ram Night Edition).Each year we break down the top trucks of the year for fifth-wheel towing, gauging the winners based on their overall capacity, engine power, fuel efficiency, technology, ride quality, and more.While it's still too early in the game to take a deep dive into 2020's best trucks, we can pour over the details we do have about the big players of the new year. Check out the top trends we're most excited about in 2020.*NOTE: The following is based off of information available at the time of publishing and is subject to change at the whim of truck manufacturers.
**UPDATE: Our Best 2020 Heavy-Duty Truck and Best 2020 Half-Ton Truck articles are now live!

1. New Powertrains = More Torque, Less Time at the Pump

Ram was the first to break the 1,000 lb-ft torque barrier in 2019 with its 6.7L High Output Cummins® Turbo Diesel engine. Of course, given that Ford and Ram have a tradition of one-upping each other with just-barely-better specs, it's no surprise that Ford is jumping into the ring with its 1,050 lb-ft torque 6.7L Power Stroke diesel engine in 2020.Is this 50 lb-ft jump going to change the world of towing as we know it? No. But the ever-increasing torque levels and general engine power means that if you want the ability to tow heavier loads, you'll want to look for a newer vehicle.What's more, Ford, Ram, Chevy, and GMC are all offering half-tons with diesel options this year, with more fuel-efficient options than ever before. In this arena, Chevrolet has edged out the competition with a staggering 33 hwy, 23 city mpg. Of course, diesel will cost you more upfront, but the idea of surpassing 30 mpg in a truck will make the initial cash drop worth it for many drivers.
2020 Half-Ton Diesel Engines
EPA-Estimated Fuel Economy
Ford F-1503.0L Power Stroke® Turbo Diesel30 hwy/22 cityRam 15003.0L EcoDiesel V6 32 hwy/22 cityChev. Silverado 1500Duramax® 3.0L Turbo-Diesel33 hwy, 23 cityGMC Sierra 1500Duramax® 30.L Turbo-Diesel30 hwy, 23 city
Ford, Ram, and GM are bringing their A-game in terms of fuel-efficient diesels in 2020
Red 2020 GMC Sierra Truck
Did you know?
Most factory trailer hitches are Class III and are rated to haul a moderate amount of wait, such a boat trailer or medium-sized camper. If you plan on heavy-duty towing with a half-ton, you'll probably need an upgraded hitch.

2. Trailer-Friendly Tech

It's a great time to be a truck-lover with a trailer. We all know that power is important when towing a trailer from point A to point B, but it's not the only thing that makes the ride. Truck manufacturers understand this, and that's why the 2020 truck lineup is equipped with more trailer-friendly tech than ever before.Here are a few highlights to look forward to:
  • Pro Trailer Backup Assist & Trailer Reverse Guidance Systems (Ford Super Duty)Previously only available on the half-ton F-150 models, Ford's Pro Trailer Backup Assist is coming to the big leagues. The system makes backing up your trailer as easy as adjusting a knob (much like a radio volume knob) rather than cranking the whole steering wheel, and Reverse Guidance expertly guides you when backing up. What's more, Ford is the only manufacturer whose bag of back-up tricks works with all trailer styles, including fifth wheels.
  • 15-Camera Views (Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD)Never suffer a blind spot again when you hop behind the wheel of Chevy's Silverado or its cousin, the GMC Sierra. Multi-camera systems are available from all manufacturers these days, but GM is the only one who offers a total of 15 camera views around your vehicle, including 4 hitch views, 6 driving views, and 5 parking views.
  • Smart Trailer Towing (Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Sierra HD)Save customized trailer profiles either in-vehicle or on your phone with Chevy's myChevrolet App or GMC's myGMC Mobile App. These profiles can be used to set maintenance reminders, create predeparture checklists, run lighting diagnostics, monitor tire pressure, set your rig's AC from your cab, look up towing terminology, and more. It's like having a personal assistant for your trailer right in your pocket.
Chevrolet Silverado Truck
Trailer Technology
Did you know?
New tech isn't limited to the trucks themselves. Gadgets like the HaulGauge Mobile Tongue Weight and Payload Scale display your tow load info right on your phone screen, so it's perfect for fifth-wheel, gooseneck, or traditional trailers. Or, add your own aftermarket backup camera/alarm system with a device like the Eyeball Camera Add-On for Custom 3rd Brake Light.

3. Bigger and Better Payloads

Part of receiving the new truck specs every year is seeing just how far manufacturers can go in terms of pushing their sleek workhorse trucks. Payloads and tow capacities are at an all-time high, and they only seem to be increasing with each passing year.Whether you really need a 7,000+ lb payload or you just want the bragging rights associated with having the beefiest truck (which, after all, the manufacturers have worked hard to deliver), you'll find what you need in the 2020 heavy-duty lineup.

2020 Full-Ton Heavy Duty Trucks

Ford F-3507,850 lbs Payload32,500 lb 5th-WheelRam 35007,680 lbs Payload(N/A 5th-Wheel)Chev. Silverado 35007,442 lbs Payload32,000 lbs 5th-WheelGMC Sierra 35007,442 lbs Payload(N/A 5th-Wheel)*
*The GMC Sierra 3500's 5th-wheel towing capacity has not yet been released. However, it's likely to be similar to the Chevrolet Silverado 3500's.
Truck Towing Fifth Wheel
Did you know?
If you opt not to include a fifth-wheel prep package in your new truck, you can always add your own hitch afterward. Many even provide uninhibited use of your truck with below-bed installation kits.

4. The New Standard in Safety/Convenience

Built-in safety and convenience options have been around for a while, but only if you were willing to fork over the cash for an upgraded trim level could you enjoy all the perks of a luxury work truck. Some trim options climb over $80k these days, which means for many of us, all those highly advertised features have long been out of reach.However, like all technology, truck tech is becoming more common, even expected. Toyota was the first to offer significant safety features as standard on all trim levels in 2019 with Toyota Safety Sense®. In 2020, even more manufacturers are packing their base trim levels with more standard and available features than ever before.For the first time, enjoy these features on 2020 trucks of any trim level:
  • Ram: Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Path, and Trailer Detection standard on every Ram 1500 model
  • Ford: 4G LTE connectivity options available in every vehicle
  • Nissan: The Safety Shield 360 is Nissan's standard safety technology package, which offers six features including automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, and more
GM Truck
Did you know?
Upgraded suspension enhancement is a simple, affordable upgrade to increase a truck's safety and stability when towing.
Of course, only time will tell which truck in the 2020 lineup will stand above the rest. Keep an eye out in the new year for our detailed breakdown of these trucks, including their towing specs, their driveability, their awards, their recalls, and more.In the meantime, if you enjoy nerding out with us over truck specs, you can check out this past year's guide, Best 2019 Trucks for Towing a 5th Wheel.Still have questions?Give our experts a call at 800-298-8924, or contact us online. We're happy to assist any way we can!
Amber S.
About the AuthorAs a content writer for etrailer, I might spend my morning loading and unloading a bike on five different bike racks to figure out which is easiest to use. I might be in the parking lot, taking pictures of an impressive RV battery setup our techs came across in the shop and discussing the benefits of the setup with the owner. I might spend an afternoon in a manufacturer training classes for some hands-on experience with new products, and then sit down to assemble all this information into a coherent article.At etrailer, one of our core values is that we are always learning, and I learn something new every day. I start each morning with the goal in mind of taking all of this information and figuring out the best way to answer the questions people ask us (and the ones they don’t know to ask yet), and helping people get the solutions they need to make their lives easier, safer, and more fun. I’m a DIYer at heart, so it brings me great joy to help a fellow DIYer find what they’re looking for, whether that’s a product, an answer, or a community.
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Related ArticlesRelated ProductsWritten by: Amber S.Updated on: 11/25/19

Bill A.


how come no mention of foreign trucks?

Chris R.


Since we primarily deal and work with the US, we decided to showcase the top trends within the US market. That's not to say that great features and trends don't exist elsewhere!



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