2023 Ute Towing Capacity: How Much Can Your New Workhorse Tow?

By Alexi Falson on 03 Dec 2023
image for 2023 Ute Towing Capacity: How Much Can Your New Workhorse Tow? Utes are one of the most popular types of new vehicles sold here in Australia thanks largely to their versatile and work-ready platform that make them heroes when it comes to towing.

While manufacturers grab attention with towing figures on their spec sheets, as you’ll soon discover, the matter of finding out exactly how much weight your new ute can tow comes down to much more than just the advertised braked towing capacity.

To help you out, let’s start off with the essential things to get an understanding of first, give you the formula to find out how much your new ute can tow, then look at towing capacities for Australia's best-selling utes.

What is Braked & Unbraked Towing Capacity?

The first thing we need to understand is the difference between braked and unbraked towing capacities.

  • Braked Towing Capacity: the maximum amount of weight, be it a trailer or caravan, that your vehicle can tow, provided the trailer is fitted with a set of its own brakes.

  • Unbraked Towing Capacity: the maximum weight your vehicle can tow a trailer that has no brakes fitted.

Why Are Gross Vehicle Mass & Gross Combination Mass Important?

The amount of weight that your new ute can tow is dictated by things like the gross vehicle mass (GVM) and the gross combination mass (GCM) - but what exactly do they mean?

  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is a term for the maximum weight that the vehicle is able to move on its own, within the cabin, boot or in the case of a ute, the rear tray.

  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM) on the other hand, refers to the maximum permissible weight your vehicle can be loaded with, which includes external things like trailers and their contents, which is combined with the weight of your vehicle and its contents.

  • Gross Trailer Mass (GTM) is the final piece of the puzzle, referring to how much weight you can transfer to your vehicle with a fully-loaded trailer, including its contents.

How To Calculate Exactly How Much Your New Ute Can Tow

The simplest way to find out how much your new ute can tow is to make sure that the gross combination mass (GCM) does not exceed that of the gross vehicle mass (GVM) and the gross trailer mass (GTM) combined.

  • Available Towing Capacity = Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) - Gross Combination Mass (GCM)

While most utes come right out of the factory boasting braked towing figures of 3500kg, in reality, you might not be able to legally tow three-and-a-half tonnes.

That’s because if you have loaded up the vehicle with passengers, bags, camping equipment and any aftermarket accessories, you may be exceeding the vehicle’s gross combination mass, you’ll be unable to legally extract all of your ute’s towing potential.

It’s also worth noting that if you haven’t packed the vehicle with any passengers or heavy gear, your braked towing capacity potential increases accordingly with the empty cabin and tray.

Braked Towing Capacities for Popular Australian Utes

Below you can find the maximum braked towing figures for Australia’s most popular utes.

Keep in mind that certain entry-level grades often come powered by different engines than their range-topping siblings, meaning that braked towing figures in your new ute may actually be lower.

To be certain, refer to the manufacturer’s braked towing, payload, gross vehicle and combination mass figures for a more accurate calculation of your maximum towing capacity.

What is my SUV’s Towing Capacity?

For a closer look at how to calculate the towing power of your midsize or large SUV, check out our in-depth guide to SUV towing capacities here.

Request a Quote

If you’re looking to upgrade to a work-ready ute that can haul gear to worksites and tow a boat or caravan on the weekends, be sure to reach out to one of our car-buying experts who can help find you the best possible price.


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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