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What Is the Best SUV for Towing?

how to choose the best suv for towing in Indianapolis
2018 Ford Expedition Limited

Choosing the Best SUV for Towing

SUV or a sport utility vehicle is a symbol of self-confidence, a guarantee of reliability, and just a vehicle convenient for everyday use. But what if you need more? How to choose the optimal SUV for towing?

SUV manufacturers often advertise the maximum towing capacity for a particular vehicle. But this does not mean that all models in this line are designed for the same weight. It can be confusing which engine to choose and which option packages should be integrated into the vehicle to obtain the highest traction load. Our guide will help you sort things out and define what SUV will be the best choice for you.

The Best Full-Size SUVs for Towing

best full-size suvs for towing, Indianapolis
Jeep Cherokee pulling a Sonic travel trailer

Whether you are going to tow your boat to the lake or take your family out of Indianapolis for camping, any car from this list of the top 10SUVs for towing will easily handle such challenge:

  1. Ford Expedition
  2. Nissan Armada
  3. Chevrolet Tahoe
  4. GMC Yukon Denali
  5. Toyota Land Cruiser
  6. Dodge Durango GT
  7. Cadillac Escalade
  8. Jeep Grand Cherokee
  9. Lexus LX 570
  10. Toyota Sequoia

Find the main characteristics of our top-five SUV models below.

Ford Expedition

2016 Ford Expedition XLT

When it comes to towing, the Ford Expedition leads the full-size vehicle class. The twin-turbo 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine develops 470 lb-ft of torque. This is ideal for moving a lot of weight.

Standard 4×4 models can tow 6500 lbs. To get the highest tow rating, look ​​for the Ford Expedition with Trailer Tow Package. These models are equipped with additional technologies, including an integrated brake controller and a professional trailer backup assistant.

Nissan Armada

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2018 Nissan Armada Platinum

The Nissan Armada is honored to offer the highest traction standard in a full-size SUV class: 8,500 lbs. The SUV is based on the Titan pickup truck from which the Armada inherited a steel frame, impressive dimensions, and weight under 2.5 tons.

Under the hood, each Armada model has a 5.6-liter V8 with 400 hp (413 lb-ft) paired with a seven-speed automatic transmission.

Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon

used Tahoe for sale
2014 GMC Yukon Denali

Although the Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon have their style and features, they are based on the same platform. Both SUVs have the same towing capacity of 8,400 lbs.

You may find used Chevy and GMC with an in-car towing app and a trailer blind-spot alert system. Without these packages, the SUVs have towing capacity reduced by about 500 pounds. Yukon AT4 and Tahoe Z71 have air suspensions with adjustable load height, which makes towing the trailer easier and smoother. The longer wheelbase Yukon XL and Suburban models offer the same pulling power – just 100-200 pounds less.

Toyota Land Cruiser

suvs for sale
Toyota Land Cruiser Prado 120 at the dusty gravel road.

Every Toyota Land Cruiser is almost fully loaded, and the Land Cruiser AWD system comes standard, so is the trailer towing package. This means that each Land Cruiser is designed to carry a large trailer weighing 8,100 pounds.

A 5.7-liter V8 engine (381 hp) transmits 401 lb-ft of torque through an eight-speed automatic transmission. These SUVs are known for their reliability, powerful drivetrain, and durability.

Dodge Durango GT

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2017 Dodge Durango R/T

The Dodge Durango is the best towing SUV in the middle class. Even the cheapest 6-cylinder model of this 3-row 2-wheel drive SUV can tow 6,200 pounds.

With a 475-horsepower 6.4-liter V8 and 710-horsepower supercharged Hellcat Durango, the SRT 392 Durango can tow 8,700 pounds. These are two SUVs that can accelerate like muscle cars and outperform most full-size SUVs.

What SUV Is Capable of Towing?

best suv for towing

When choosing an SUV for towing, you should be aware of the two most important points: the towing characteristics of the SUV and the weight of the loaded trailer intended to pull. If your trailer weighs more than the SUV can tow, you won’t be able to move that load safely.

However, you need to know not only the maximum allowable towing weight of a trailer. Some other important parameters are listed on the sticker you find on the SUV’s door frame:

  • Payload – the maximum weight an SUV can carry, including people, cargo, and trailer draw bar.
  • Gross Vehicle Weight (GVWR) – the weight of the empty SUV plus the payload.
  • Gross Combined Weight (GCWR) – the GVWR plus the total weight of the pulled trailer.

It is critical to know the payload of the towing vehicle because it includes the weight of the trailer draw bar – how much weight the trailer is pushing onto the hitch. This amount should be 10-15 percent of the total weight of the trailer.

Thus, an SUV towing a 6,000-pound trailer should have about 600 pounds of tongue weight on the hitch. Let’s say the payload of an SUV is 1200 pounds. This means you can carry 600 pounds of people and cargo when towing this trailer without exceeding the vehicle’s rated payload.

Most vehicles have sufficient capacity to carry people and goods while being towed. But if you plan to transport a lot of loads, make sure the SUV’s carrying capacity is adequate for the task at hand. When faced with a demanding task, East Coast Towing is at your service, ready to supply light, medium, or heavy duty tow trucks.

The Vehicle Tow Rating

It may be tempting to attach a trailer that weighs slightly over the towing capacity of your SUV. Despite manufacturers ensuring that their vehicles meet the Society of Automotive Engineers standard for towing mass for passenger cars, every mechanical system works harder when towing. And exceeding the towing power rating will result in excessive heat and stress on those systems, which can eventually lead to failure.

Tall Tires

If you’re planning on towing, don’t buy a new set of tires without researching it first. If the diameter of the wheel is larger than the factory setting, the height difference will affect the performance. Depending on the model, the taller tires may require more engine torque to kick off from a standstill and force the drivetrain to work harder to keep the engine in the highway’s power range. Add a heavy trailer to that, and the effects can multiply by loading everything from the engine to the drivetrain and brakes.

Rated Load on Tires

Even if new wheels are the same height as the factory ones, they must be rated for the same weight. So make sure to choose a tire with the same load capacity as standard tires. They also should be inflated to the correct pressure to support the extra weight. The recommended inflation pressure is often indicated on a sticker inside the door frame. However, a vehicle loaded with people and cargo may require higher air pressure. Incorrect pressure can mean overheating of the tires and lead to a breakdown.

Four-Wheel Drive

To get maximum towing capacity, you need 4WD. Traction on all four wheels can make towing much less stressful in bad weather conditions. A 4WD towing SUV can help maintain traction on a slippery road or add confidence when driving with an ATV trailer on uneven dirt roads.

Which SUV Has the Best Towing Package?

Sometimes additional hardware is required. Choosing the towing kit can be helpful if you are going to hitch to a trailer. Some manufacturers recommend a factory-fitted hitch to get the maximum towing capacity. Many of these towing kits include the trailer hitch itself and also specialized wiring and equipment designed for towing conditions, such as a transmission cooler or a larger alternator. Some models, such as Ford Expedition or Cadillac Escalade, have trailer swing control and cameras to help guide you when hitching.

How to Make the Right Choice

A truck pulling a trailer

The choice of an SUV is based not only on the selection of a high-quality vehicle with the best towing ability but also on more subtle criteria and individual factors.

If you want to make the right decision in a couple of hours, just visit Indy Auto Man in Indianapolis. At our car lot, you will find a variety of high-power used SUVs for any taste and budget. Our dealership’s staff is always ready to help you make the best choice and guarantee a flawless car buying experience.