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Which Ford Explorer Has the Highest Towing Capacity?

Which Ford Explorer Has the Highest Towing Capacity?

The Ford Explorer has several features that make it a desirable vehicle for consumers. One of the biggest draws is the Ford Explorer’s towing capacity. A higher towing capacity is a major bonus for many car owners as the vehicle may have a particular versatility and power built into it that other standard passenger vehicles might lack.

Today, we’ll pay special attention to the Ford Explorer’s towing capacity across its different SUV models to see how much this vehicle can do. Let’s dive in and find out which model might work best for you. 

How Much Will a Ford Explorer Tow? 

Depending on the model of the Ford Explorer, the towing capacity can vary. The size of the engine and axle gear ratio within the SUV will indicate the vehicle’s GCWR and towing capability. You will need to look at the specific vehicle because towing varies between 3000 and 5600 lbs.

If the vehicle did not come with a factory-installed kit you will be limited to 3000 lbs with an aftermarket dealer-installed hitch. With the factory-installed hitches, the tow rating is between 5300 and 5600 lbs.

Watch Before You Buy a 2022 Ford Explorer

Pro Tip: Unsure if a Ford Explorer is right for you? Check out these 11 Best SUVs for Towing RV Campers.

About Ford Explorer

The Ford Explorer first hit the market in 1991 as the company’s first four-door SUV. This mid-size SUV has been a popular choice for American consumers since its introduction. It’s also the go-to make and model for many modern police cars. Because of this, Ford offers three engine models exclusively to law-enforcement departments. 


The Ford Explorer has had several models since its introduction. The 2022 line-up has eight primary models available: the Base model, XLT, ST, ST-Line, Limited, Timberline, Platinum, and King Ranch. Each model varies in price and features but maintains about the same towing capacity within a 600-pound range. 


Let’s take a look at a few of the specs of the Ford Explorer line. The average model can seat seven. Fuel tank capacity ranges from 18 to 20 gallons, and the average weight comes in just under 4,500 pounds. The models feature a 10-speed automatic transmission and several hybrid engines. 

Blue Ford Explorer in show room.
The Ford Explorer has multiple models to fit your needs.

Standout Features

The Ford Explorer has several standout features included in its standard build. Rear parking sensors offer better visibility and alert the driver to unseen obstacles. 

Rear-wheel drive allows the car to perform better in the city and on off-road paths. Additionally, it enables a sport-like performance and adds to the towing capability of the SUV. 

Furthermore, many 2022 models come equipped with Lane-assist, Tri-zone Electronic Automatic Temperature Control, internal WiFi, and a 4G hotspot. 

Which Ford Explorer Has the Highest Towing Capacity?

While each of the Ford Explorer models boasts impressive towing capacity, one engine model in particular stood out above all the others. When tested against the other engines in the line, the SUVs equipped with the Class III Trailer Tow package and the 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine provided the best towing capacity. This Ford Explorer had a towing capacity of 5,600 pounds. 

Black Ford Explorer parked in mountains
Travel off the beaten path in a new Ford Explorer SUV.

What Are the Benefits of Towing With a Ford Explorer?

When considering towing with a Ford Explorer, look at features in addition to towing capacity. A few features stand out, including the rear-wheel drive. Since Ford added rear-wheel drive to its Explorer model, the towing capacity increased by 600 pounds from previous models. 

The newer models also come equipped with Towing and Trailer Sway Control. This means that the vehicle automatically adjusts to the added weight and will brake or increase the engine power needed to make the trip as safe as possible. Similarly, the Sidewind Stabilization feature automatically adjusts the position of the tow depending on the strength of the wind around the vehicle. 

Pro Tip: Take your Ford Explorer out on big adventures by using these tips on How to Hook Up an RV Camper to an SUV.

What Are the Disadvantages of Towing With a Ford Explorer?

There are very few disadvantages to towing with a Ford Explorer. The strength of the engine and durability of the vehicle are great assets that make hauling a breeze. However, this is still a smaller SUV with a short wheelbase compared to a longer truck. This will increase sway concerns when towing very long trailers.

Ford SUV pulling travel trailer
Tow your trailer with ease with a Ford Explorer.

While the Ford Explorer boasts one of the most impressive towing capacities on the market, it still may not accommodate everything you want to tow. If this is the case for you, assess your vehicle needs and see if another make and model will fit better for you. 

What Year Ford Explorer Has the Most Problems? 

While most of the Ford Explorers developed over the years have been stellar vehicles, there have been a few missteps along the way. It is important to note that if you want a used Ford Explorer, you should probably avoid Explorers made from 2002 to 2006. 

Though the models released from 2003-2005 mostly had cosmetic issues, the models issued in 2002 and 2006 were more dangerous. Both models reported serious problems with the Explorer’s transmission. While not every Explorer from before 2006 will have issues, consider looking for a model from 2007 on. 

2020 Ford Explorer - Review & Road Test

Is a Ford Explorer Good for Towing? 

The Ford Explorer is an excellent option if you want to tow smaller to medium-sized loads. The towing capacity and impressive features of the model are hard to match. And with over 30 years of experience, the Explorer knows how to deliver. If you think the Ford Explorer would work best for you, check out the more specific details of each model and engine type; there’s a lot to explore.

Do you have a Ford Explorer? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
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