Best SUVs for Towing: Haulers for Adventure and Recreation

two heavy duty SUVs for towing

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Shopping for the best SUV for towing? You’re in luck. We’ve lined up some of the best and most capable SUVs in the market that can get you started on your trailer adventure. Whether it’s for a weekend getaway with the family or a long haul to some remote outdoor paradise, these SUVs can take you there and back without a hitch.

Best SUVs for Towing: Full-Size Category

Toyota Sequoia

Max Towing Capacity: 9,520 lbs

Sticker Price for Towing Model: $59,800+

Toyotas are known for reliability and build quality, so seeing one on this best-of list is not surprising. The Sequoia comes fresh from the dealer with a 9,520-lb towing capacity so you can immediately plan your trailer-towing adventures. The SUV has a standard combination of a 437-horsepower hybrid powertrain and a 10-speed automatic transmission, making driving on the road and off a satisfying experience. Passengers will also love the spacious, luxurious cabin that elevates their comfort while in transit. No sore butts and cramped legroom in this SUV.

Jeep Wagoneer

Max Towing Capacity: 10,000 lbs

Sticker Price for Towing Model: $66,000+

The Jeep Wagoneer is one of the strongest contenders on this list with its impressive 10,000-lb towing capacity. However, prospective buyers must opt for the Heavy-Duty Trailer-Tow Package to reach the maximum towing capacity. The package costs an additional $1,495 and comes with features like a beefier rear axle, heavy-duty cooling and other add-ons that make pulling heavy loads a breeze. Jeep also released the lux Grand Wagoneer to compete with the Lincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade. It might be a bit richer for some people’s taste and budget, but it’s a capable hauler nonetheless with a maximum 9,850-lb towing capacity.

Midsize SUV towing an adventure trailer

Ford Expedition

Max Towing Capacity: 9,300 lbs

Sticker Price for Towing Model: $56,500+

An American household name, Ford amazes with the Expedition capable of safely pulling 9,300 pounds of trailers, dirt bikes, ATVs or anything in between. Its torquey twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine delivers a low 2,250 rpm for stable hauling of heavy loads. Motoring enthusiasts will love the stylish design with a hint of ruggedness, making the full-size SUV look good in urban and rural destinations. Prospective buyers should opt for the heavy-duty trailering package on the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) version — worth $795 — to bring the standard 6,000-lb towing capacity to the fullest. A reasonable price for the assortment of trailer-towing goodies it offers.

Nissan Armada

Max Towing Capacity: 8,500 lbs

Sticker Price for Towing Model: $50,700+

The Nissan Armada is one of the most affordable — but capable towers — on this list with a sticker price of just over $50,000. The SUV comes with an 8,500-lb towing capacity fresh from the dealership. No need to pay for additional heavy-duty packages, making it an excellent choice for drivers who just want a straightforward hauler. Some features that make the Armada a strong contender include the 7-pin wiring harness, auto-leveling suspension, Intelligent Around-View Monitor and a class IV hitch. Prospective buyers just need to add a ball receiver and they’re ready to start hauling.

Chevrolet Tahoe

Max Towing Capacity: 8,400 lbs 

Sticker Price for Towing Model: $54,400+

Chevrolet — another American automotive icon — brings a compelling offering to the table with the Tahoe. The full-size SUV is capable of pulling 8,400 pounds’ worth of trailers, boats, offroad toys, and other vehicles with ease and class. The suave exterior makes it a tempting choice for drivers who want a stylish weekday car while the engine options give buyers more freedom to customize their rig accordingly. The Tahoe can maximize its full towing capacity with the help of an additional Max Trailering Package worth $250. A minimal investment for a whole lot of extra hauling capacity.

Dark-colored pickup being towed on the road

Lexus LX

Max Towing Capacity: 8,000 lbs

Sticker Price for Towing Model: $90,800+

A premium full-size SUV with the full capabilities of a dedicated trailer puller. The Lexus LX makes it to our best SUV for towing list due to its powerful 3.4-liter twin-turbo V6 engine capable of producing 409 horses and 479 lb-ft of torque. You wouldn’t notice it from the lavish exterior but the LX is a straight-up beast on the road and the trail. With four-wheel-drive capabilities and trailer sway control, drivers will feel more confident attacking steep inclines or craggy roads. The price tag may be a little off-putting for some but the LX’s refinement, reliability and power more than make up for it in headturning style. 

Best SUVs for Towing: Mid-Size Category

Nissan Pathfinder

Max Towing Capacity: 6,000 lbs

Sticker Price for Towing Model: $38,800+

Here’s another entry from Nissan but in the midsize SUV category. The Pathfinder offers a respectable 6,000-lb maximum towing capacity with its SV model. Different higher-trim versions offer trailer-towing accessories like a class III hitch, hitch ball mount, finisher and 4-pin wiring harness. Prospective buyers will enjoy the ample space this three-row SUV offers as families can stow essential luggage conveniently inside the vehicle. Regarding styling, the Pathfinder’s rugged looks are perfect for hitting the road and some light trail with its wide, bulky body and expansive windshield. Although it looks plain compared to other haulers on this list, it’s still a worthy option, especially considering its affordable price.

Offroad rig pulling a trailer

Dodge Durango

Max Towing Capacity: 8,700 lbs

Sticker Price for Towing Model: $60,100+

The Durango’s base model — the RWD SXT — is no slouch with its 6,200-lb max towing capacity, but drivers who want to take it to the next level should look into the AWD Durango R/T. The 380-horsepower 5.7-liter V8 engine produces enough power to pull a maximum of 8,700 pounds with a little help from the Tow N’ Go Package. The add-on may feel a little steep at a little less than $6,000 but it includes an electronic limited-slip differential, a trailer brake controller, upgraded brakes and suspension and other goodies that make it an enticing addition. For drivers looking into getting a midsize hauler, the Dodge Durango comes with an exciting proposition. 

Porsche Cayenne

Max Towing Capacity: 7,700 lbs

Sticker Price for Towing Model: $72,000+

Another automotive Icon makes it to the list with the Porsche Cayenne. The Turbo GT model goes hard with its eye-catching design and eye-widening power from its 631-horsepower engine. The icing on top of that already sweet package is its 7,700-lb towing capacity. While many drivers wouldn’t consider a luxury vehicle a good choice for towing, the Cayenne makes a compelling argument with its robust chassis and reputable AWD system. It’s a looker, a performer and an icon rolled into one suave package. This option is for the enthusiast who likes to make a statement but also likes to live 

Choosing the Best SUV for Towing

Budget and needs are the most important personal considerations when choosing a vehicle, regardless of style or trim. However, choosing the best SUV for towing requires more than just those two criteria. Here are several towing tips.

  • Choose AWD or 4WD. AWD and 4WD can make towing much easier and less stressful. The extra pulling power from having all four wheels scratching on the ground is a confident booster in inclement weather and slippery roads.
  • Study the towing basics before you start loading. Look into the payload or the maximum weight your vehicle can carry, gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) or the weight of your vehicle and the additional payload and the gross combined weight rating (GCWR) or the maximum allowable weight of your vehicle plus the loaded trailer.
  • Consider the tongue weight before you hitch anything to your vehicle. The tongue weight is the amount of weight a loaded trailer exerts on a vehicle’s hitch. It should be around 10-15% of the total trailer weight. You must ensure your hitch rating can cover that weight.
  • Never go beyond your vehicle’s tow rating. Many beginner drivers think they can go over their SUV’s tow rating just a little bit. Experts strongly suggest sticking to the vehicle tow rating to prevent accidents and system failure on the road. Pulling loads beyond the towing rating can lead to catastrophic results — a no-no when you’re out on the road or remote trail.
  • Check the trim before you buy. Some models in a car lineup are better rated for towing than others. Ensure you have the right model for your needs before you pay for anything. Do your research and communicate your needs with the dealership to get the right SUV for your towing needs.
  • Get the tow package if possible. While many manufacturers offer tow-ready vehicles straight from the dealership, you may need to pay for a heavy-duty towing package to your purchase for other models. These packages are an excellent choice for achieving that maximum towing capacity since they equip your vehicle with the right accessories and upgrades.

Load Up and Tow and Responsibly

Picking the best SUV for towing can be tricky with so many options available in the market. However, it’s just one aspect of driving with a heavy load in tow. Studying the different aspects of towing to ensure your safety and others on the road is equally important. Find a mentor or join trailer-towing communities to get the necessary knowledge for a safe and enjoyable drive.

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