What’s the Chevy Colorado Towing Capacity – What Trailers and Campers Can it Safely Tow

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How Much will a Chevy Colorado Tow?

With the standard 200 horsepower 2.5L 4-cylinder engine, the Chevrolet Colorado can tow up to 3,500 lbs. The 3.6L V6, 308 horsepower engine allows you to further kick up your Chevy Colorado’s towing capacity to 7,000 lbs. Finally, with the DURAMAX 2.8L 181-horsepower turbo diesel engine, the Chevy Colorado reaches its maximum towing potential of 7,700 lbs. These are the official towing specifications for the Chevy Colorado for 2022. However, the towing particulars for other trim levels can vary.

What Travel Trailer Size Can a Chevy Colorado Pull?

As long as you don’t go overboard with the truck’s towing weight, relevant to your engine and equipment, your Colorado can haul trailers of various shapes and sizes.

The physical size of most travel trailers ranges between 12 and 35 feet which, and with the proper equipment, can be linked to a Colorado. Note that different size trailers have weights ranging anywhere between 2,000 and 8,000 pounds for the largest trailers.

Almost any Colorado model can tow a small teardrop camper, which weighs up to 2,000 pounds. With heftier trailers, you need to be careful not to exceed or come too close to the maximum weight your specific Colorado model can tow. The recommendable weight to tow should be around 15% lower than your Colorado’s maximum tow capacity. So, if you drive a standard Colorado with a 3,500 lb maximum towing capability, a 3,000-3100 lb travel trailer would be ideal, weight-wise.

Can a Chevy Colorado Tow a Fifth Wheel Trailer?

Fifth wheel campers are some of the heaviest towing trailers. Their average weight is around 12,000 lbs, not counting the payload. The heaviest 5th wheel trailers can reach to 17,000lbs, so the Colorado won’t be enough for a large fifth-wheeler.

Being a mid-size truck, the Chevy Colorado, even with the right hitch and towing equipment, will not be recommendable for 5th wheelers. But since it all comes down to weight, and considering there are lightweight versions of 5th wheel trailers, it is still feasible.

One of the basic differences between a 5th wheel and the average travel trailer is the means of attaching it to the bed of your truck. Most travel trailers employ ball couplers, while 5th wheel trailers usually use a special 5th wheel hitch system.

So, in order for your Chevy Colorado to safely pull a 5th wheel camper, you’ll need a 5th wheel hitch on the bed. Furthermore, you need a 5th wheeler that does not go over your truck’s towing limits. Luckily, you can come by a number of 5th wheel trailers under 8,000 lbs i.e. between 2,500 and 7,500 lbs, which should be within the towing capacity of your Colorado, depending on your engine.

The Towing Capacity of Different Chevy Colorado Models and Years

Below is a chart with Chevy Colorado models produced between the years 2016 and 2022 and their respective towing capacity ranges. All Colorado models from 2016 onwards come with three engine options with different tow limits.

Chevy Colorado yearStandard 2.5L3.6L DOHC V6DURAMAX 2.8L TURBO-DIESEL
Chevy Colorado 20164-CYLINDER200 horsepower; 191 lb.-ft. of torque3,500 lbTowing capability308 horsepower275 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,000 lb towing capability181 horsepower369 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,700 lb towing capability
Chevy Colorado 20174-CYLINDER200 horsepower; 191 lb.-ft. of torque3,500 lbTowing capability308 horsepower275 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,000 lbs181 horsepower369 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,700 lbs
Chevy Colorado 20184-CYLINDER200 horsepower; 191 lb.-ft. of torque3,500 lbs308 horsepower275 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,000 lbs181 horsepower369 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,700 lbs
Chevy Colorado 20194-CYLINDER200 horsepower; 191 lb.-ft. of torque3,500 lbs 308 horsepower275 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,000 lbs181 horsepower369 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,700 lbs
Chevy Colorado 20204-CYLINDER200 horsepower; 191 lb.-ft. of torque3,500 lbs 308 horsepower275 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,000 lbs181 horsepower369 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,700 lbs
Chevy Colorado 20214-CYLINDER200 horsepower; 191 lb.-ft. of torque3,500 lbs 308 horsepower275 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,000 lbs181 horsepower369 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,700 lbs
Chevy Colorado 20224-CYLINDER200 horsepower; 191 lb.-ft. of torque3,500 lbs 308 horsepower275 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,000 lbs181 horsepower369 lb.-ft. of torqueUp to 7,700 lbs

What Affects the Overall Towing Capacity of the Chevy Colorado

The approximate maximum weight the Chevy Colorado can pull can vary. You need to take into account different variables, such as your engine, hitch equipment, axle ratio, GVWR and curb weight, and terrain, in order to roughly estimate the size of the trailer you can safely tow.

What’s the Chevy Colorado Towing Capacity – What Trailers and Campers Can it Safely Tow 1

Engine strength

The strength of your engine, more specifically the horsepower and torque, plays a vital role in the overall towing performance of your Chevy Colorado.

To reiterate, the last 7 Chevy Colorado models, and even some models prior to 2016, come with three engine options.

As noted in the above table, the standard 2.5L 4-cylinder engine with 200 horsepower and 191 lb.-ft of torque is capable of towing up to 3,500 lb trailers.

The towing capacity increases considerably with the 3.6L DOHC V6 (308 horsepower) engine with 275 lb.-ft. of torque. With this engine, you can tow up to 7,000 lbs.

The maximum towing capacity of the Chevy Colorado is with the DURAMAX 2.8L turbo-diesel with 181 horsepower and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. Powered by this engine, the Colorado’s towing capability rises to a maximum of 7,700 lbs.

Axle ratio

Higher axle ratio indicates more towing power and more acceleration, but also worse fuel efficiency. The lower the axle ratio, the poorer the towing performance but the better the fuel efficiency.

In other words, a higher axle ratio generates more revolutions per minute (rpm) of the driveshaft and better towing handling, but the truck burns more fuel. The lower the axle ratio the better the fuel efficiency (the truck burns less fuel), but at the cost of poorer towing efficiency.

The numerical value of the axle ratio indicates the number of times the driveshaft rotates for a full spin of the wheel. For instance, a ratio of 3.42 (3.42:1 when represented as a ratio) means the driveshaft turns 3.42 times for every turn of the wheel. So, a truck with an axle ratio of 3.73 will burn more fuel but can haul heavier trailers than, for instance, a truck with a 3.23: 1 ratio.

The Length and Weight of the Truck

Apart from the trailer weight rating, the size of the truck – more specifically its weight – is a key factor in your Colorado’s towing capacity.

There are two elements pertaining to your truck’s weight that most affect its trailer towing: GVWR, and GCWR.

GVWR is an acronym for ‘gross vehicle weight rating’ and refers to the total allowed weight capacity of your truck, factoring in fuel, cargo, and passengers.

GCWR, or ‘gross combined weight rating’ is the maximum weight-carrying potential of the truck when both the truck and trailer are fully loaded.

The maximum GCWR of the Colorado (2022) with the standard 2.5L 4-cylinder engine is 8,500 lbs.

With the 3.6L DOHC V6 engine (without trailering package), the Colorado’s maximum GCWR is 12,000 lbs.

With the Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel 4-cylinder engine the GCWR of the Colorado rises to 12,700 lbs.

Payload

A truck’s payload is basically its GVWR, which is the vehicle’s total allowed weight-carrying capacity excluding trailer weight and including passengers, gas, and cargo.

The maximum payload capacity of the Chevy Colorado 2021 is 1550 pounds. The total payload for earlier models can differ and depends on the engine it comes with.

For example, the 2020 Colorado with the 2.5L I4 engine can have a maximum payload of around 1440 lbs, which increases to just shy of 1,500 lbs with the 2.8L Duramax turbo-diesel and up to 1,570 lbs with the 3.6L V6.

Tongue Weight

The tongue weight (TW) is the total allowed weight of the trailer that is placed on the truck’s trailer tongue (hitch).

The rule, according to Chevrolet, is that the trailer tongue weight should be between 10 and 15 percent of the trailer weight i.e. between 350 lbs and 770 lbs, depending on the engine.

Towing Package

A towing package is the entire truck gear necessary for hauling any load, not necessarily a trailer.

 The tow package of a truck can include everything from electronics, mechanical add-ons, cooling systems, extended mirrors, and so on.

The tow package you need depends on the type of load you plan to carry. The lighter the load, the simpler the towing package.

If you plan to haul heavy loads (which are not necessarily trailers) you need to take into account your truck’s maximum tow capacity. It would be pointless to invest in a towing package meant for loads that far exceed your truck’s maximum towing limits. You need to install upgrades that are consistent with what your truck can carry.

Some trucks come with factory towing packages, but that does not necessarily mean the factory towing upgrades are ideal for the type of load you plan to haul.

Trailer Tow Package

Trailer tow package is a term with a narrower meaning that refers to gear designed specifically for towing trailers.

Trailer tow packages are less comprehensive than tow packages and can include several basic parts like hitches and taillight wiring necessary to effectively pull a trailer or a camper.

Though a trailer package is often included in the factory design of a specific truck model, you can also purchase or install certain upgrades (like a trailer brake controller) aftermarket.

The crux of the trailer tow capacity of the Chevy Colorado lies in its engines. With minimum trailering equipment, the standard 2.5L engine has a 3,500 lb capacity which, with the right towing gear, rises to 7,700 lbs with the Duramax 2.8L turbo-diesel.

Additional features as part of the Colorado’s towing package (depending on the model year) include a tow feature button (with a trailer symbol on it), a tow/haul mode that can deliver more power when towing on steeper terrain, a receiver hitch, electrical harness, and sealed trailer light connectors, among other equipment.

Which Mid-size Trucks Provide Similar Towing Capacities to the Chevy Colorado

There are multiple trucks within the same price range as the Colorado that provide almost identical towing capacities. Some of them include:

  • GMC Canyon (2022) – from 3,500 to 7,700 lbs
  •  Jeep Gladiator – max. tow capacity up to 7,650 lbs
  • Ford Ranger – up to 7,500 lbs
  •  Toyota Tacoma – from 3,500 to 6,400 lbs
  • Nissan Frontier – up to 6,720 lbs
  •  Hyundai Santa Cru – up to 5,000 lbs

Chevy Colorado Towing Capacity FAQs

How Much Total Weight can the Chevy Colorado 2022 Tow?

The total towing capacity of the Chevy Colorado, with the proper engine and trailering gear, is a maximum of 7,700 lbs. That towing limit is possible only with the Duramax 2.8L turbo-diesel engine. How effectively you haul your load is another matter and depends heavily on having the right equipment for that particular load (camper, pop-up trailer, 5th wheel trailer, etc.).

What Trailer Sizes Can I Tow With the Chevy Colorado?

Thanks to the powerful turbo-diesel engine that offers 369 lb. –ft of torque, you can pull almost any trailer size that is within the truck’s maximum weight capacity. These include pop-up trailers, dump trailers, flatbed trailers, fishing boat trailers, large boat trailers, and even large flatbed trailers.

What Upgrades Can I Add to the Chevy Colorado to Maximize Towing Capacity?

You can start off by purchasing the model with the 2.8L Duramax engine which can extend towing capacity to 7,700 lbs. For smoother and safer towing, you can include extra gear such as a weight-distribution hitch, better axles, adding a bigger brake rotor, or otherwise enhancing the brake system.

What is the GCWR of the 2022 Chevy Colorado?

The 2022 Colorado has a maximum GCWR (gross combined weight rating) of between 8,500 lbs (2.5L 4-cylinder) and 12,700 lbs with the Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel 4-cylinder engine. You can also pull up to 12,000 lbs with the 3.6L V6 engine if you have a proper trailering package.

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About Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman is an interesting travel blogger and outdoor photographer with a great sense of humor. He owns an RV Accessories shop in New York City so he has the knowledge necessary to provide thorough reviews and give advice on how to choose the right products for RV travel. He puts all that RV knowledge and experience to good use in his sharing posts. Besides product buying guides/reviews, Chris also writes informative articles, how-to articles and RV camping guides in his own interesting viewpoint. Chris’s blog is one of the most reliable information sources for RV campers no matter if you're an expert or a determined beginner.

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