Eight Light Duty Trucks With Great V8 Engines

January 12th, 2024 by

A black 2023 Chevy silverado High Country is shown towing a boat after viewing used trucks for sale in Cincinnati.

Are you looking for a little extra torque for towing but prefer a light-duty truck? It might seem tricky to find a V8 engine in a standard-sized truck, but there’s actually no need to sacrifice your under-the-hood power just to get a high-performance, light-duty pickup. In fact, nearly every major automaker offers this combination—often in some of their best-selling, highest-rated models.

As you look at used trucks for sale in Cincinnati, these are eight great options to keep in mind, each of which can offer the benefits of a V8 engine and the utility expected of a light-duty pickup. Paired with the quality-of-life features they each provide, you’ll find a wide range of options for finding your ideal high-performance, light-duty truck.

GMC Sierra 1500: Luxury Beyond Expectations

The GMC Sierra 1500 offers a 5.3L V8 with either an eight- or ten-speed transmission as part of the Denali trim. The pairing of power and luxury is a common theme in the GMC lineup, with many models available in the Denali trim, and the Sierra 1500 showcases the very best of this blend. In addition to the V8 engine, this combo offers luxe details such as a chrome grill and chrome accents, colors exclusive to the trim, interior features such as seat coverings and steering wheel design upgrades, and a wider range of technology options to elevate your driving experience. On the practical side, the Sierra 1500 can tow up to 13,300 lbs in 4WD, and it comes with a six-way tailgate that makes accessing the bed easier and safer.

Ford F-150: An Award Winning Legacy

In 2023, the Ford F-150 won two Edmunds “Top Rated” awards, furthering the glowing legacy of one of America’s most well-known pickups.[a] The F-150 Lightning won the “Top Rated EV Truck” while the F-150 proudly claimed the “Top Rated Truck” for the third consecutive year. With a twin independent variable camshaft timing, this model’s 5.0L V8 offers a generous 3,235-lb payload, which is an impressive amount of hauling power for a light-duty truck. Depending on your engine, your maximum towing capacity may top out at an impressive 13,500 lbs. With seating for six and quality-of-life features such as heating seats and available SiriusXM, this truck is every bit as good for road trips as it is for job sites. The F-150 continues to prove time and again why it’s been a favorite of pickup drivers for decades.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500: Towing With Confidence

Does the hard-hitting duo of 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque sound like just what you need to get the job done? A Chevrolet Silverado 1500 might be the optimal choice for you. The 5.3L V8 in this sleek yet beefy pickup has an impressive maximum towing capacity of 11,300 lbs. As with all Chevy models, the Silverado 1500 comes with Chevy Safety Assist, a suite of six driver assistance features that improve awareness and reaction time. In 2023, Cars.com named the Silverado 1500 its “Top Pick” for Light-Duty Towing—a title well-earned, with top-of-the-class towing specs and a long history of blending performance with reliability.[b]

Ram 1500: Work Trucks Built for the Long Haul

Well respected for their durability, Ram trucks have a reputation as ideal working vehicles, and the Ram 1500 light-duty pickup is no exception. The HEMI V8 in the Ram 1500 goes the distance, providing a rugged 410 lb-ft of torque powered by 395 hp, which should give you more than enough ponies to get the most out of your Ram 1500. The interior is as luxurious as the outside is rugged. With the most available speakers in its class, a panoramic sunroof, and standard perforated leather seats, you can lean into indulgence with the Ram 1500. Whether it’s work or play that you’re doing behind the driver’s wheel, there’s enough muscle under the hood of this iconic pickup to master a wide range of tasks.

A brown 2023 Toyota Tundra is shown parked off-road.

Toyota Tundra: A Pre-Owned Premium Option

While the Toyota Tundra stopped coming with a V8 option as of 2022, it is an attractive choice for drivers willing to do a bit more seeking for their ideal V8. There are over a decade of model years to choose from with this engine, which was employed from 2007 to 2021 in the second-generation Tundra line. If you’re in the market for a premium pre-owned truck, the Tundra is highly reviewed by current and past owners alike. With its eye-catching exterior and range of options, it’s a handsome truck with a lot to offer, including a towing capacity of 8,800 to 10,200 lbs, depending on trim. Kelley Blue Book considers it to have the best resale value of its class and named it one of the top ten overall resale values for 2023.[c]

Nissan Titan: Heavy-Hauling Horsepower

If your goal is to haul some heavy loads or tow a trailer, you’ll love the robust 400 hp that the Nissan Titan offers with its V8 5.6-liter engine. Its towing capacity tops out at 9,290 lbs, with 413 lb-ft of torque to get the job done. The Titan also offers a range of driver assistance features as part of their Safety Shield 360 suite, including Blind Spot Warning, High Beam Assist, and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. With a roomy interior that seats up to five and an 8.0-inch infotainment screen that can sync to your smartphone, you can sit back and enjoy a little well-earned relaxation every time you get behind the wheel. The Titan has one of the highest horsepower ratings for a light-duty truck and has the beauty to go with its brawn, making it an all-around satisfying vehicle.

Chevrolet Colorado: A Rare V8 Gem

The V8 option on the Chevrolet Colorado has been discontinued in newer models as of 2013. The engine was only available for four years, from 2009 to 2012, but don’t let this rarity put you off from this pickup because it is well worth consideration as a light-duty V8 truck. This engine will get you 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque, which is a lot for those who are willing to do a little searching. The limited availability of this V8 will add to its resale value if you decide to retire it for another truck down the road.

A red 2023 GMC Canyon AT4X is shown driving off-road.

GMC Canyon: A Touch of Luxury

The GMC Canyon also had a short period with the V8, from 2009 to 2012. It offers 300 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque—a solid amount of power geared toward getting the job done. The best part of the Canyon, however, is that it can become a driving experience with even greater luxury if you go for the Denali trim, which provides multiple quality-of-life improvements, technology upgrades, and stylish additions such as exclusive colors and tight wheel rims. It’s an attractive pickup that can be well worth the wait if you don’t mind doing your homework to track it down.

Finding the Perfect V8-Powered Light-Duty Truck

The combination of power, maneuverability, and fuel efficiency has made light-duty trucks an excellent solution for drivers who need to haul loads or tow trailers. Once you throw in a V8 engine and get that extra boost of torque, you’ve got a pickup that has all the elements to get the job done—and while staying within the dimensions of the average vehicle. For many drivers, that combination is perfect for their needs and lifestyles.

Ultimately, choosing the most suitable pickup is a personal decision. The trucks listed above each have their pros and cons, so it really depends on your individual needs and what features you prefer, as well as what’s available in your local pre-owned market. The most important thing to know is that light-duty pickups with V8 engines are out there, and they can help make your journey not only easier but more enjoyable, too.