Truck advertisements boast about how much a pickup can tow, with demonstrations of stunning feats such as hauling a space shuttle down a city street. But the reality is, the typical pickup at the dealership has much more humble abilities.

Consumer Reports noted that for drivers looking to tow, there are two main things to know: How much weight they’ll tow, and which truck can adequately do that job. It may sound simple, but there’s a lot to learn about engine, transmission, and equipment packages to ensure that they have the right truck for their needs. Understanding all those numbers and what they mean isn’t always easy.

Take Ford, for example. The F-150 pickup can tow from 5,000 lbs. to 13,200 lbs., depending on how the truck is configured. The F-150 most commonly found on dealer lots—an XLT crew cab 4WD with a 5.5-foot bed and the 2.7-liter turbo V6 engine—can tow a maximum of 7,600 lbs. It begs the question: How can there be such a huge discrepancy in towing ability between versions of what is basically the same truck?

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