Think back to the launch of the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado. At the time, General Motors happily trumpeted that its fullsize pickup could tow up to 11,500 pounds when properly equipped – impressive stuff, no doubt. But now, revised tow rating practices have been put into place, called SAE J2807. And with these new methods of testing, GM can now officially rate both the Silverado and its GMC Sierra twin as being able to tow up to 12,000 pounds.
Of course, not all Silverado and Sierra models are capable of this feat. In fact, because of SAE J2807, most of the truck models have actually had decreases in tow ratings from the 2014 to 2015 model year. For example, a 2014 Silverado Crew Cab with the 5.3-liter V8, 5.7-foot box and 3.73 rear axle was rated at 11,200 pounds in 2014, but has since been reduced to 10,800 in 2015. Same goes for the Sierra.
But for 2015, both the Silverado and Sierra can be had with a more powerful 6.2-liter V8, as well as a Max Trailering Package that includes a 9.76-inch rear axle, heavy-duty rear springs, revised shock tuning, improved cooling and a new trailer brake controller. There are also four- and seven-pin, bumper-mounted connectors, a trailer hitch (duh), and a G80 locking rear differential. This configuration, with either model, is the only way you can actually tow 12,000 pounds.
That said, when we first drove the Silverado in 2013, we were cautiously optimistic about that tow rating. “We put 8,600 pounds of trailer and skid steer behind the new Silverado, and while the truck could confidently pull the load about, we’d think twice about knocking on that 11,500 number’s door,” former Autoblog editor Zach Bowman wrote in his First Drive story. Still, the fact that these trucks are capable of hauling such heft is mighty impressive.