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GMC Sonoma Towing Capacity: Trailer, Boat, or Jet Ski?

GMC Sonoma or otherwise known as S-15, is a versatile pickup truck that has a remarkable towing capacity. But exactly how much does the second generation of GMC Sonoma have to offer? This article will discuss various models and engine configurations of this truck and their towing capacity.

In 2004, GMC offered only one 4.3L V6 auto transmission engine with a towing capacity of 5,200 pounds. The earlier models from 1996 to 2003 were offered in a wide range of configurations with a towing capacity ranging between 1600-6000 pounds.

These engines were different based on their gear transmission, power capacity, and axle ratios. The following table highlights the towing capacity of every single model built from 1991 to 2004. Afterward, we’ll also take at different types of trailers and find out if GMC Sonoma has the required towing capacity or not.

Maximum Towing Capacity By Year

Following is the table of the towing capacity of each engine configuration of GMC Sonoma’s second-generation built from 1991 to 2004. Note that the towing capacity will be influenced by the number of passengers sitting in the car.

Also, remember that pickup trucks have a large luggage area to hold and carry extensive weights. These weights can significantly decrease the towing capacities, whether they are regular cabs or extended cabs. 

YearEngineMaximum Towing Capacity (lbs)Car Type
20044.3L V6/Auto. Trans5,2004WD Crew Cab
20032.2L L4/Manual Trans1,6002WD Regular Cab
 2.2L L4/Auto Trans3,1002WD Regular Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans3,9002WD Regular Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto Trans. w/ZR25,9002WD Regular Cab
 2.2L L4/Manual Trans2,0002WD Extended Cab
 2.2L L4/Auto. Trans.3,0002WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans3,8002WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans5,6002WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans3,9002WD Long Box
 4.3 L V6/Auto Trans.5,9002WD Long Box
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans 3.43 AR4,0004WD Extended Cab
 4.3 L V6/Manual Trans 3.73 AR4,2004WD Extended Cab
 4.3 L Auto. Trans 3.42 AR5,5004WD Extended Cab
 4.3 L Auto Trans. w/ZR2 3.73 AR4,7004WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans.5,2004WD Crew Cab
20022.2L L4/Manual Trans.1,7002WD Regular Cab
 2.2L L4/Auto. Trans.3,2002WD Regular Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans4,0002WD Regular Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans6,0002WD Regular Cab
 2.2L L4/Manual Trans.2,0002WD Extended Cab
 2.2L L4/Auto. Trans.3,0002WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans.3,8002WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans.5,8002WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans4,0004WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans. w/ZR24,2004WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans.5,5004WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans. w/ZR25,5004WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans.5,2004WD Crew Cab
20012.2L L4/Manual Trans.1,8002WD Regular Cab
 2.2L L4/Auto.Trans3,2002WD Regular Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans4,0002WD Regular Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto.Trans 3.08 AR5,0002WD Regular Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto.Trans 3.42 AR6,0002WD Regular Cab
 2.2L L4/Manual Trans2,1002WD Extended Cab
 2.2L L4/Auto.Trans3,0002WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans3,8002WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto.Trans 3.08 AR4,8002WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto.Trans 3.42 AR5,8002WD Extended Cab
 2.2L L4/Manual Trans 3.73 AR1,7002WD Long Box
 2.2L L4/Manual Trans 4.10 AR2,2002WD Long Box
 2.2L L4/Auto.Trans.3,1002WD Long Box
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans3,9002WD Long Box
 4.3L V6/Auto.Trans 3.08 AR4,9002WD Long Box
 4.3L V6/Auto.Trans 3.42 AR5,9002WD Long Box
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans4,2004WD Regular Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans 3.42 AR5,7004WD Regular Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans.4,0004WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Manual Trans. w/ZR24,4004WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans4,9004WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans. w/ZR25,5004WD Extended Cab
 4.3L V6/Auto. Trans.5,2004WD Crew Cab
2000 2.2L L4 Engine 3.73 AR2,0002WD
  2.2L L4 Engine 4.10 AR2,3002WD
 4.3L V6, Auto. Trans. 3.08 AR5,4002WD “VORTEC”
 4.3L V6, Auto. Trans. 3.42 AR6,4002WD “VORTEC”
 4.3L V6, Man. Trans4,2002WD “VORTEC”
 4.3L V6 Auto. Trans. 3.08 AR4,9004WD “VORTEC”
 4.3L V6 Auto. Trans. 3.42 AR5,9004WD “VORTEC”
 4.3L V6 Auto. Trans. 3.73 AR5,9004WD “VORTEC”
 4.3L V6 Man. Trans. 3.08 AR3,9004WD “VORTEC”
 4.3L V6 Man. Trans. 3.42 AR4,4004WD “VORTEC”
 4.3L V6 Man. Trans. 3.73 AR4,9004WD “VORTEC”
19992.2L L4 Engine 3.73 AR2,0002WD
 2.2L L4 Engine 4.1 AR2,0002WD
 4300 V6 Auto. Trans 3.08 AR4,5002WD “VORTEC”
 4300 V6 Auto. Trans 3.42 AR5,5002WD “VORTEC”
 4300 V6 Man. Trans3,5002WD “VORTEC”
 4300 V6 Auto. Trans 3.08 AR4,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 V6 Auto. Trans 3.42 AR5,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 V6 Auto. Trans 3.73 AR5,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 V6 Man. Trans 3.08 AR3,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 V6 Man. Trans 3.42 AR4,0004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 V6 Man. Trans 3.73 AR4,5004WD “VORTEC”
19982.2L Engine 3.73 AR2,0002WD
 2.2L Engine 4.10 AR2,0002WD
 4300, Auto. Trans. 3.08 AR5,0002WD “VORTEC”
 4300, Auto. Trans. 3.42 AR6,0002WD “VORTEC”
 4300, Man. Trans4,0002WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Auto. Trans 3.08 AR4,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Auto. Trans 3,42 AR5,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Auto. Trans 3.73 AR5,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Man. Trans 3.08 AR3,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Man. Trans 3.42 AR4,0004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Man. Trans 3.73 AR4,5004WD “VORTEC”
19972.2L Engine 3.73 AR2,0002WD
 2.2L Engine 4.10 AR2,0002WD
 4300, Auto. Trans. 3.08 AR5,0002WD “VORTEC”
 4300, Auto. Trans. 3.42 AR6,0002WD “VORTEC”
 4300, Man. Trans4,0002WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Auto. Trans 3.08 AR4,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Auto. Trans 3,42 AR5,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Auto. Trans 3.73 AR5,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Man. Trans 3.08 AR3,5004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Man. Trans 3.42 AR4,0004WD “VORTEC”
 4300 Man. Trans 3.73 AR4,5004WD “VORTEC”
19962.2L Engine 3.73 AR2,0002WD
 2.2L Engine 4.10 AR2,0002WD
 4300, Auto. Trans. 3.08 AR5,0002WD
 4300, Auto. Trans. 3.42 AR6,0002WD
 4300, Man. Trans4,0002WD
 4300 Auto. Trans 3.08 AR4,5004WD
 4300 Auto. Trans 3,42 AR5,5004WD
 4300 Auto. Trans 3.73 AR5,5004WD
 4300 Man. Trans 3.08 AR3,5004WD
 4300 Man. Trans 3.42 AR4,0004WD
 4300 Man. Trans 3.73 AR4,5004WD
19952.2L I-42,000 
 4.3L V-66,0002WD
 4.3L V-65,5004WD
19942.2L I-42,000 
 4.3L V-66,0002WD
 4.3L V-65,5004WD
19934.3L V-66,0002WD
 4.3L V-65,5004WD
19922.5L I-42,0002WD
 4.3L V-66,0002WD
19912.5L I-42,0002WD
 4.3L V-66,0002WD

*AR is Axle Ratio

Can It Tow a Trailer, Boat, or Jet Ski?

Not all trailers have the same weight and size. Therefore, we have done an extensive research to identify the weighing limits of different types of trailers. We have then matched these weight limits against the towing capacity GMC Sonoma.

The latest GMC Sonoma 4WD Crew Cab can tow small and medium-sized trailers with a maximum weight limit of 3200 pounds. These include Canoe/Kayak, Jet Ski, Teardrop, and Small Open Utility Trailers. The 4.3L engines, whether in 2WD or 4WD configurations, can tow as much as 6000 pounds of weighing trailers.

Trailer TypeAverage Empty Weight (lbs.)Average Total Loaded Weight (lbs.)Can A GMC Sonoma Tow It?
Canoe / Kayak Trailer200                                                 400Yes, all 4.3L engines can tow this trailer along with a few 2.2L configurations.
Jet Ski Trailer300                                              1,800Yes, all 4.3L engines can tow this trailer along with a few 2.2L configurations.
Motorcycle Trailer500                                              2,400Yes, all 4.3L engines can tow this trailer along with a few 2.2L configurations.
Teardrop Trailer1,700                                              2,400Yes, all 4.3L engines can tow this trailer along with a few 2.2L configurations.
Small Open Utility Trailer700                                              2,500Yes, all 4.3L engines can tow this trailer along with a few 2.2L configurations.
A-Frame Camper1,700                                              2,900Yes, all 4.3L engines can tow this trailer along with a few 2.2L configurations.
Small Enclosed Utility Trailer1,000                                              3,200Yes, most manual and automatic 4.3L engines can tow this trailer, including 2WD and 4WD options.
Fishing Boat Trailer600                                              3,300Yes, most manual and automatic 4.3L engines can tow this trailer, including 2WD and 4WD options.
Pop Up Camper2,300                                              3,400Yes, most manual and automatic 4.3L engines can tow this trailer, including 2WD and 4WD options.
Small Travel Trailer2,800                                              3,600Yes, most manual and automatic 4.3L engines can tow this trailer, including 2WD and 4WD options.
Tow Dolly600                                              4,000Yes, most manual and automatic 4.3L engines can tow this trailer, including 2WD and 4WD options.
Large Enclosed Utility Trailer2,700                                              7,100Yes, but only empty can be towed by both 2.2L and 4.3L engines.
Small Horse Trailer2,900                                              7,200Yes, but only empty can be towed by both 2.2L and 4.3L engines.
Large Travel Trailer6,700                                              8,300No.
Car Trailer1,900                                              9,000Yes, but only empty can be towed by both 2.2L and 4.3L engines.
Large Flatbed Trailer3,000                                            10,400Yes, but only empty can be towed by both 2.2L and 4.3L engines.
Large Boat Trailer2,200                                            13,600Yes, but only empty can be towed by both 2.2L and 4.3L engines.
Dump Trailer4,500                                            16,900Yes, but only empty can be towed by 4.3L engines.
Toy Hauler7,600                                            17,900No.
Large Livestock Trailer7,300                                            18,700No.
5th Wheel Camper12,700                                            18,700No
Gooseneck Flatbed Trailer7,200                                            23,200No.
  • Kayak: All 4.3L and most 2.2L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow a kayak trailer. On average an empty kayak trailer will weigh 200 pounds. A loaded kayak trailer will weigh an average of 400 pounds with a maximum of 800 pounds which is well within the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Jet Ski Trailer: All 4.3L and most 2.2L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow a jet ski trailer. On average an empty jet ski trailer will weigh 300 pounds. A loaded jet ski trailer will weigh an average of 1,800 pounds with a maximum of 3,000 pounds which is within the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Motorcycle Trailer: All 4.3L and most 2.2L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow a motorcycle trailer. On average an empty motorcycle trailer will weigh 500 pounds. A loaded motorcycle trailer will weigh an average of 2,400 pounds with a maximum of 3,500 which is within the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Teardrop Trailer: All 4.3L and most 2.2L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow a teardrop trailer. On average an empty teardrop trailer will weigh 1,700 pounds. A loaded teardrop trailer will weigh an average of 2,400 pounds which is within the range of the  GMC Sonoma. Some teardrop trailers will weigh a maximum of 6,000 pounds which is outside of the limits of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Small Open Utility Trailer: All 4.3L and most 2.2L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow a small open utility trailer. On average an empty small open utility trailer er will weigh 700 pounds. A loaded small open utility trailer will weigh an average of 2,500 pounds with a maximum of 3,000 pounds which is within the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • A-Frame Camper: All 4.3L and most 2.2L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow an a-frame camper. On average an empty a-frame camper weighs 1,700 pounds. A loaded a-frame camper will weigh an average of 2,900 pounds with a maximum of 3,600 pounds which is within the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Small Enclosed Utility Trailer: All 4.3L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow a small enclosed utility trailer. On average an empty small enclosed utility trailer weighs 1,000 pounds. A loaded small enclosed utility trailer will weigh an average of 3,200 pounds with a maximum of 7,000 pounds which is within the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Fishing Boat Trailer: All 4.3L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow a fishing boat trailer. On average an empty fishing boat trailer weighs 600 pounds. A loaded fishing boat trailer will weigh an average of 3,300 pounds with a maximum of 6,000 pounds which is within the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Pop-Up Camper: All 4.3L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow a pop-up camper. On average an empty pop-up camper weighs 2,300 pounds. A loaded pop-up camper will weigh an average of 3,400 pounds with a maximum of 4,000 pounds which is within the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Small Travel Trailer: All 4.3L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow a small travel trailer. On average an empty small travel trailer weighs 2,800 pounds. A loaded small travel trailer will weigh an average of 3,600 pounds with a maximum of 4,500 pounds which is within the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Tow Dolly: All GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow an empty tow dolly. On average an empty tow dolly weighs 600 pounds. A loaded tow dolly will weigh an average of 4,000 pounds with a maximum of 5,000 pounds which is outside of the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Large Enclosed Utility Trailer: All 4.3L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow an empty large enclosed utility trailer. On average an empty large enclosed utility trailer weighs 2,700 pounds. A loaded large enclosed utility trailer weighs an average of 7,100 pounds with a maximum of 10,000 pounds which is outside the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Small Horse Trailer: All 4.3L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow an empty small horse trailer. On average an empty small horse trailer weighs 2,900 pounds. A loaded small horse trailer weighs an average of 7,200 pounds with a maximum of 8,000 pounds which is outside the range of the  GMC Sonoma.
  • Car Trailer: All 4.3L GMC Sonoma models will be able to tow an empty car trailer. On average an empty car trailer weighs 1,900 pounds. A loaded car trailer weighs an average of 9,000 pounds with a maximum of 15,000 pounds which is outside the range of the  GMC Sonoma.

How Well Can It Tow Compared to its Competitors?

The towing capacities of pickup trucks have been significantly increased over the years. As the GMC Sonoma has been discontinued since 2004, this vehicle doesn’t have the potential to compete in the modern competition. Below is the table of the towing capacities of some of the latest vehicles in this category. Let’s take a look:

Year / Make / ModelMin. Towing Capacity (lbs.)Max. Towing Capacity (lbs.)
2004 GMC Sonoma5,2005,200
2021 Nissan TITAN9,3109,310
2021 Toyota Tundra8,80010,200
2021 Ford F-15014,00014,000
2021 RAM 150012,75012,750