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10 Best Trucks and SUVs for Towing

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Having a truck or SUV capable of towing means you’re everybody’s best friend when they’re moving, pulling toys out to the lake or planning a summer RV road trip.

Have a load you need to transport? Whether it’s for fun or for work, there’s probably a truck or SUV for towing out there that can do the trick. But it’s important to match the job with the right vehicle. You don’t want to try pulling something that’s too heavy for your truck or SUV, so trailering a load requires that you have working knowledge of your vehicle’s towing capacity and trailer hitch requirements.

We grouped vehicles by towing capacity, but it’s always a good idea to consult your manufacturer’s towing guidelines or owner’s manual for more. These trucks and SUVs also received high marks from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) experts, consumers on Edmunds and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, when available. We ranked vehicles by KBB score.

Best towing vehicles — 3,500 pounds or less

If you need to pull jet skis or a small boat out to the lake this might be the right sized vehicle for you. These versatile, light-duty towing vehicles are made for city streets and a quick jaunt down the backroads.

2019 Acura MDX

MSRP $44,300
4.6 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.6 out 5 by consumers on Edmunds (7 reviews)
3,500 pound towing capacity
5 stars NHTSA; IIHS Top Safety Pick

This sporty crossover with a notable highway mileage of 27 MPG is capable of towing 3,500 pounds with the standard, front-wheel drive model. The Super Handling All Wheel Drive System, which bumps the price tag up to $46,300 before any packages are added, is rated for 5,000 pounds, which should likely cover your towing needs for small toys like a jet ski or small boat, as well as some lawn equipment or small campers. For the tech lovers, adding the tech package bumps the FWD model to $49,300, but gives drivers an upgraded sound system and the Acura navigation system with traffic rerouting navigation assistance and turn-by-turn guidance.

Still, at almost double the cost of other vehicles in this list, the MDX is on the pricey side. Research the best auto loan rates to make sure you’re getting a good deal when it comes to affording this SUV.

2019 Chevrolet Equinox L

MSRP $23,800
4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (19 reviews)
1,500 pound towing capacity
5 stars NHTSA

With available switchable all-wheel drive and an available 1.6-litre turbo diesel engine, this crossover is ready for adventure. The towing capacity is scaled back from the Acura MDX (discussed previously) but could be enough for lighter loads such as bikes or kayaks. Upgrading to the LT 2.0L Turbo edition, at an MSRP of $29,700, increases the towing capacity to 3,500 pounds. Additional upgrades to Premiere unlocks features such as heated leather seats with driver memory plus rear traffic and blind zone alerts.

2019 Ford Escape Titanium

MSRP $32,620
4.1 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)
3,500 pound towing capacity
5 stars NHTSA

A 2.0L EcoBoost engine and the Class II Trailer Tow Package give the Titanium model of this SUV the 3,500 pound towing capacity it boasts, but it also boosts the price by about $495 for a total of $33,115. The model’s safety technology features are largely add-ons — the Safe and Smart package gives you automatic emergency braking and monitoring of your blind spot. Despite this, the Titanium (and every Escape, down to the base model) is equipped with Roll Stability Control, which uses two gyroscopic sensor to monitor roll rates, helping you maintain control in slips on ice or gravel.

Best towing vehicles — 7,500 pounds or less

Towing a larger camper, boat or a snowmobile? A truck or SUV in this class might just do the trick to help you get from work to play.

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Regular Cab Tradesman

MSRP $27,395
4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 5.0 out 5 by consumers on Edmunds (2 reviews)
4,770 pound towing capacity
4 stars NHTSA

While Dodge has introduced the “all-new” Ram 1500, it’s also selling a “classic” version, which we focus on here. This versatile truck is rated for a maximum towing capacity of 10,620 pounds when properly equipped. The Ram gets points for its smooth ride despite a reputation as a work truck. The top-of-the line Big Horn, as a 4×4 crew cab has a starting price above $45,000, while the top-of-the-line “new” 1500 is the Laramie Longhorn 4×4 crew cab starting around $54,000. The Ram received good ratings in crashworthiness by the IIHS.

2019 Honda Ridgeline

MSRP $29,900
4.3 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.7 out 5 by consumers on Edmunds (39 reviews)
3,500 pound towing capacity
5 stars NHTSA

This truck definitely has the safety advantage over its close competitors. An IIHS Top Safety Pick in 2018, in addition to good ratings in 2019, the 2019 model misses sweeping the top marks only in the child seat anchors category, where it scores “acceptable” instead of “good.” The Ridgeline’s towing capacity is lower than others on this list, but earns a name for itself with overall value — not to mention Edmunds experts are enthusiastic about its independent suspension, which makes it ride more like a car than a truck.

2019 Chevrolet Colorado

MSRP $26,285
Review unavailable by KBB experts; 4.8 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (4 reviews)
7,000 pound towing capacity
4 stars NHTSA

The 2019 Chevrolet Colorado features engines with three distinct towing capacities. The 2.5L 4-cylinder can tow 3,500 pounds, the 3.6L V6, which we’ve focused on here and is noted in the price above, can tow 7,000 pounds while the Duramax 2.8L Turbo-Diesel can tow 7,700 pounds. The tow mode, available in upper models, provides more power by raising transmission upshift points to accelerate and downshifts in the transmission to slow without braking. New for 2019 the line boasts a high definition rear view camera, though Edmunds consumers note one drawback, that the front seats can feel uncomfortably tight for larger people.

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

MSRP $32,200
Review unavailable by KBB experts or consumers on Edmunds
7,700 pound towing capacity
No yet rated by NHTSA or IIHS

General Motors rolled out a redesigned version of its popular full-size Chevy Silverado 1500 for 2019. Available in eight trim levels and as a crew cab or double cab, the base version has a maximum trailering of 7,700 pounds, but if you upgrade to the 6.2-liter V8, it can tow more than 12,000 pounds. It also boots the price significantly, to about $50,000 with the max trailering package. A diesel engine will also be offered on higher trim levels of the Silverado, which could offset a truck’s traditionally poor mileage, but towing and fuel economy figures have not been released as of this writing. Upsides of working your way up the trim ladder include access to the following safety features: lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. However, forward collision warning, lane keeping assist and pedestrian detection are only available on the highest two trims.

Best towing vehicles — 13,000 pounds or less

For bigger loads such as large boats, some livestock or multiple snowmobiles on one trailer, you might want to consider heavy-duty trucks or large SUVs such as these.

2019 Ford Expedition XLT

MSRP $52,130
4.7 out of 5 by KBB experts; 4.5 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (2 reviews)
9,300 pound towing capacity
5 stars NHTSA

Though this SUV has a smaller towing capacity than others in this class, at just 9,300 pounds when equipped with the Heavy Duty trailering package, it rates highest in safety and satisfaction by experts and consumers alike. Plus, the trailering package makes towing a breeze, even though it adds about $1,500 to the base price above, to $53,700. Stop worrying about jackknifing with its Pro Trailer Backup Assist™ technology, which helps you steer in reverse. The Trailer Sway control technology also helps you keep control on the highway. (Note, however, that these features may not be considered standard, and may cost extra.)

2019 Chevrolet Tahoe

MSRP $48,000
4.5 out of 5 by KBB experts; consumer reviews unavailable on Edmunds
8,600 pound towing capacity
Not yet rated by NHTSA and IIHS

The Tahoe boasts an impressive towing capacity with the two-wheel drive base model and 5.3L V8 engine, but upgrading with the Max Trailering Package brings the tow capacity up to 8,600 pounds. The three trim options for the Tahoe mean you can customize your vehicle to be very luxurious, but even if you stay with the base trim you’re still getting a few nice touches, like a leather-wrapped steering wheel or a teen driver monitoring system.

2019 Ford F-250

MSRP $33,150
4.4 out of 5 by KBB experts; 5.0 out of 5 by consumers on Edmunds (1 review)
13,000 pound towing capacity
Not yet rated by NHTSA

This full-sized truck comes with a variety of customizations that can raise the towing capacity all the way up to 18,000 pounds of conventional towing, along with the Trailer Tow Package. It’s the diesel V8 that generates so much power for the vehicle, so just be aware to get to those upper reaches of towing capacity you’ll likely have to forgo gasoline for diesel fuel. Blind-spot monitoring can be programmed for the length of the trailer, which is certainly helpful when you start getting into these heavier loads. Another big bonus is that you can mount a rear view camera to the back of your trailer and connect it to an in-truck screen, which simplifies parking.

Ways to finance the best trucks and SUVs for towing

Vehicles capable of towing often come with higher price tags than other types of trucks and SUVs, but an auto loan can help get you behind the steering wheel. Before you shop for a vehicle, shop for an auto loan. Dealers are often able to raise your APR and make profit off your loan, not just your car, so the best way to avoid this is to go in with a pre-approved for a car loan.

How we chose the best trucks and SUVs for towing in 2019

We chose vehicles that ranked best overall by KBB experts and Edmunds consumers, with a nod to NHTSA and/or IIHS safety rankings as well. No vehicle made it on to our list unless they were ranked 3 out of 5 or above by KBB experts and Edmunds consumers and had at least a 4-star safety rating, when available. Unless otherwise indicated we used the lowest MSRP for the standard trim. In cases where MSRP was highly influenced by towing capacity we indicated a range. We excluded from our list super duty trucks with gooseneck and fifth wheel capabilities. MSRPs listed in this article are accurate as of the date of publishing.


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