Check out our list of the best SUVs for towing to see which vehicles will serve you best when it’s time to pull a trailer.
There is no shortage of automaker marketing depicting mammoth trucks hauling tens of thousands of pounds of gear without breaking a sweat. But not everyone needs a fifth-wheel setup to pull a family of horses around, so we put together this list of best SUVs for towing. If you’re new to the adventure of pulling gear behind your vehicle, this Trailering 101 article we put together is a good place to familiarize yourself with the basics.
Maybe you have a wee pop-up camper that fits you and your significant other for weekend fun. You can get by with a reasonably priced, small SUV. If you’re taking the whole Boy Scout troop and ski boat to the lake, on the other hand, you’ll need something larger. Point being, there are plenty of SUVs that have the capacity, systems and latest technology to make your towing adventures fun and manageable.
The smallest vehicle on our list of best SUVs for towing is also the lightest on your wallet and has the lowest towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. This may not sound like much but it’s enough for a small teardrop trailer or a couple of snowmobiles. New this year, the Tucson starts at just $26,000 and when you’re not lugging gear, it earns 33 mpg on the highway to keep your fuel bill down. The striking new looks help it stand out in a crowded parking lot but if you can’t find it, Hyundai offers such high-end tech as Remote Smart Parking Assist, so the Tucson can do the parking for you.
At the other end of the size and ability spectrum is Ford’s Expedition, a detailed review of which you can read here. “Normal” size models can seat eight and tow as much as 9,300 pounds, making it one of the most capable SUVs for towing on the market. If you’re hauling needs extend to cargo, tick the MAX box that – for $2000 – turns the Expedition into a land yacht with 36 cubic-feet of storage space behind the third row. Ford offers a trick piece of tech in their Pro Trailer Backup Assist that allows drivers to control trailer maneuvering with a simple rotary dial. And if you’re looking for more lux, check out our review of the 2022 Lincoln Navigator that shares running gear with the Ford.
General Motors’ counter to Ford’s Expedition is the Yukon lineup. The Yukon bests the Blue Oval offering with up to nine seats but gives up a bit on the towing contest, topping out at 8,400 pounds. Then again, if you want as much cargo and seating space as possible to accompany your travel trailer, the XL model will swallow 41 cubic-feet behind the third row, five more cubic-feet than the Expedition. Check out our full review of the 2022 Yukon for more details.
Porsche’s Cayenne may not be the first SUV that comes to mind when thinking about towing, but this sports car on stilts is actually rather stout with a 7,700-pound trailering capacity. Features born of performance like the active front and rear stabilizer bars and rear axle steering are boons to maintaining control while pulling a load. And if you’re towing adventure includes going off the beaten path, the Cayenne can wade through 21-inches of water with nearly 10” of ground clearance. Base models start just shy of $70,000 and have plenty of grunt plus strong braking. However, the 567 lb-ft of torque on tap with Turbo models makes towing effortless, though it costs a breathtaking $130,000 – to start.
Falling into the small SUV segment, a Jeep Cherokee comes with the automakers’ legendary off-road prowess, which is handy when you’re lugging a side-by-side into the woods. That includes available low-range and locking half-shafts front and rear, unusual in this segment. Towing tops out at 4,500 pounds with the V6 engine but requires the $995 towing package to do so. It includes a revised final drive ratio, 4/7-pin wiring harness, heavy-duty engine cooling to vent excess heat and a Class III receiver.
All-new for 2022, Nissan’s Pathfinder regains the butch good looks of its forebears, can seat eight people and handle a hearty 6,000 pounds of towing. Entry sticker price is a reasonable $34,000 and it can be fitted with Downhill Speed Control to lend a hand while pulling a trailer in the mountains. An Intelligent Around View Monitor offers a virtual spotter for lining up your hookup and watching for obstacles. All those passengers will appreciate the triple-zone climate control and the Driver Alertness feature is a smart safety measure for the exhaustion that can accompany long hauls with a few tons behind you.
Somewhat under the radar for the towing crowd, this big Benz is rated for 7,700 pounds of trailering capacity with no special features required aside from a hitch receiver. Heavy-duty cooling for the transmission, beefier cooling system and oil cooler are all included as is Trailer Stability Assist. Useful touches like an alert on specific trailer lights not working and automatic disabling of the Lane Keeping System while towing are also on hand. With a base price of $79,000, the GLS 450 is in the same ballpark as a Yukon Denali or Lincoln Navigator, but its unibody construction means a cushier ride than those body-on-frame SUVs.
Slightly smaller than its Tahoe stablemate, the Traverse is still plenty big, boasting 98 cubic-feet of cargo volume which comes in handy when your trailer is full. Standard V6 power skips the turbo-lag crowd in favor of 310 horses of naturally aspirated smoothness. Standard driver-aids like a following distance indicator helps to gauge braking time while towing, especially considering the 5,000-pound max rating with the Traverse. Hitch Guidance with Hitch View is just one of the many tow-centric features, all of which you can read about in our deep-dive review of the Chevrolet Traverse here.
Land Rover’s smaller offering, the Discovery Sport brings 4,400 pounds of towing to the table along with useful tech and outdoor features. It is relatively pricier, starting at $43,000, but this seven-seater can handle 165 pounds on the roof when the trailer is tapped out and has auto-leveling headlights to balance out a loaded rear end. If arriving at your destination requires crossing water, the Wade Sensing feature alerts you if said water is deeper than its 23.6-inch capability. There is also a chargeable, waterproof and shockproof wristband that Land Rover calls the Activity Key. It lets you work the locks and start the car without having to worry about carrying the key, a smart feature when you’re trailering involves outdoor fun.
This midsizer from Dodge punches above its typical segment trailering weight with an 8,700-pound rating. Now, this requires one of the two available V8 powertrains, but that’s part of the allure of a Dodge Durango. Particularly the SRT 392 model with its rip-roaring 6.4L motor turning out 475 hp. Standard equipment like rear load-levelling suspension, Rain Brake Support and an engine oil cooler keep you safe and ready to tow, but you will need the $1195 trailer package to hit the max rating. It includes a trailer brake controller and 4/7-pin wiring harness.