Have you ever thought about using SUVs for towing instead of trucks? They’re actually a good, economical option. Sport utility vehicles offer many luxury features, and some have great gas mileage, too. In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the top 11 SUVs with the highest towing capacities on the market today.
Is It Better to Tow With a Truck or SUV?
When it comes to towing, both trucks and SUVs can be used effectively. However, the better option for towing will depend on various factors, such as the weight of the load, the distance you need to tow, the terrain you’ll be driving on, and your personal preferences.
Trucks are typically the preferred choice for heavy-duty towing tasks because they are built with more robust frames, more powerful engines, and larger towing capacities than most SUVs. They also tend to have a longer wheelbase, making them more stable when towing larger loads. Plus, trucks have more space for cargo in the bed.
On the other hand, SUVs can be a good option for smaller to medium-sized loads, especially if you plan to use the vehicle for everyday use as well. They tend to have more comfortable interiors and often come equipped with more advanced safety features. Additionally, many SUVs have a higher ground clearance which can be useful for off-road towing.
While an SUV might not be your first choice for towing an RV camper, you might be surprised at how rugged and capable they can be. With towing capacities of up to 10,000 pounds, the SUVs on our list can handle most bumper pull camping trailers. If you need more seating than a truck can offer, keep reading!
Pro Tip: SUVs are great for traditional tent camping, too. Take a look at the 7 Best SUV Tents for Camping to find one that fits your vehicle.
11 Best SUVs for Towing
In addition to their impressive towing capacities, each SUV on our list offers high-tech features to make pulling your RV safer and easier. So, without further ado, here are the 11 best SUVs for towing.
1. Dodge Durango
The towing capacity for the Dodge Durango ranges from 6,200 lbs to 8,700 lbs when fully equipped. With seating for up to seven people and an optional third row, this economical SUV is great for families on the go.
The Dodge Durango is a reliable vehicle that’s optimal for towing and looks sleek, too. This SUV gets 19 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway, making it a great choice for towing long distances.
2. Ford Expedition
The Ford Expedition is a well-known and reliable family SUV that can seat up to eight passengers with plenty of interior space for cargo. With a max towing capacity of 6,000 pounds, it’s a great tow vehicle for many travel trailers on the market today.
The Ford Expedition comes standard with advanced driver-assist technologies like a rearview camera, active park assistance, and adaptive cruise control.
3. Chevy Tahoe
The Chevy Tahoe can tow a max of 7,900 pounds, making it a fantastic choice for hauling a travel trailer. This reliable SUV can fit up to eight people with three rows of seats and plenty of cabin space for a comfortable ride, even during long road trips.
This SUV has a best-in-class mpg rating of up to 21 mpg city and 28 on the highway. For a vehicle this large, this gas mileage is excellent. The Chevy Tahoe comes packed with safety features, including automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, front pedestrian braking, and more.
4. GMC Yukon
The GMC twin to the Chevy Tahoe is the Yukon. Like the Tahoe, this SUV can tow up to 7,900 pounds and comfortably seat up to eight people. The gas mileage for this sport utility vehicle is 21 city and 27 highway, just one mpg less on the highway than the Tahoe.
Safety features for the Yukon include lane departure warnings, forward collision alerts, and an off-road inclinometer. “Inclinometer” is just a fancy way of saying this car measures your tilting angles when off-roading.
5. Lincoln Navigator
The Lincoln Navigator is a beast for towing with a max tow rating of up to 8,700 pounds when fully equipped. This full-size SUV can seat up to seven people comfortably.
It doesn’t have the best gas mileage on the list, with an estimated 16 city and up to 22 on the highway. To make up for the poor gas mileage, the Lincoln Navigator offers luxury features like a power liftgate, one-touch folding third-row seating, and more.
6. Nissan Armada
The Nissan Armada can tow an impressive 8,500 pounds and seats up to eight people comfortably. This full-size SUV has an average mpg of up to 14 city and 19 on the highway.
Notable features of the Armada include its blind-spot warning, all-mode 4WD, and tri-zone entertainment system.
7. Jeep Wagoneer
The Jeep Wagoneer is a trustworthy SUV with a best-in-class maximum towing capacity of up to 10,000 pounds when fully equipped. This vehicle can handle most travel trailers with ease. It can also comfortably seat up to eight people, with three rows of seating.
The mpg on the Wagoneer comes in at 17 in the city and 23 on the highway. It features a backup camera with Trailer Hitch Zoom, so you’ll never struggle to hitch up your RV. Additionally, it has integrated trailer brake control and a traction management system for driving safely on various terrains.
8. Land Rover Defender
The Land Rover Defender has a max towing capacity of 8,201 pounds when fully equipped, and it can seat up to five people. With an mpg of up to 18 city and 23 highway, this SUV is a middle-of-the-road option among the others on our list.
Land Rover offers the Defender with more than 170 different accessories like roof racks, a tow hitch, steel wheels, a rinse system, an armrest cooler, and so much more. What it lacks in mpg, it makes up for in looks and features.
9. Land Rover Discovery
Another sport utility vehicle from the Land Rover family is the Discovery. It has a max towing capacity of 8,200 pounds. This vehicle has a better mpg rating than the Defender, coming in at up to 19 city and 25 highway.
The Land Rover Discovery can seat seven people and makes a great towing SUV that looks good, too. Cool features of the Discovery include 21 storage options on the interior, a one-piece tailgate for seating, in-car Wi-Fi, off-road cruise control, and a lot more.
Pro Tip: Land Rover has made a name for itself in the overland community. Interested in hunting down a used rig for your adventures? Here’s How to Find Used Overland Vehicles for Sale (And Where We Found Ours)
10. Cadillac Escalade
The Cadillac Escalade might not be at the top of your mind when you think of a great SUV for towing, but it should be. This classic vehicle can tow up to 7,700 pounds, making it a good contender for towing most lightweight campers.
The Escalade can seat up to seven people and fetches an mpg rating of up to 21 city and 27 highway. Noteworthy features of the Escalade include a touchscreen control panel and entertainment system. Another cool feature is the augmented reality-enabled navigation in the dashboard.
11. Infiniti QX80
The Infiniti brand of cars is another brand you wouldn’t expect to see on a “best SUVs for towing” list, but the QX80 boasts a maximum towing capacity of up to 8,500 pounds. This vehicle gets an estimated mpg of up to 14 in the city and 20 on the highway. While it doesn’t have the best gas mileage, it still has a great towing capacity.
The QX80 has seating for up to seven people. You’ll also enjoy a 10-way power driver’s seat, heated front seats, remote engine start, a surround-view parking camera system, and rear-cross traffic alert.
What Is the 80/20 Rule for Towing?
While many of today’s SUVs have impressive towing capacities, it’s important not to max out the vehicle’s capabilities every time you tow. This is when the 80/20 rule for towing comes into play. You never want to tow above 80% of your vehicle’s maximum towing capacity. This also leaves 20% wiggle room for human error. By safely pulling within your limits, you reduce wear and tear and extend the life of your vehicle.
Pro Tip: If you would rather drive a van than an SUV, these are the 7 Best Vans for Towing RV Campers and More.
SUVs Make Great Towing Vehicles for Any Family
These SUVs prove that you don’t have to have a large truck to pull a small- to medium-sized RV. With surprising towing capacity and decent gas mileage, an SUV for towing is a smart and economical choice for many families. You can rest assured that you’ll have plenty of room for every family member and pet and plenty of cargo space, too.
Teardrop campers are becoming increasingly popular among RVers seeking out lightweight travel trailers to tow with their SUVs. Find out if one of these cute little campers would meet your needs: 7 Super Teardrop Campers with Bathrooms that Will Blow Your Mind
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