SUVs have become one of the most popular vehicles on the road. They are spacious, comfortable, and feature all the latest innovations and safety features, which make them a great option for families. And with their powerful engines and many times truck-based chassis, SUVs are also exceptional for towing. Whether you’re loading up a trailer with motorcycles, UTVs, hauling a boat, or packing the family RV for a weekend outing with the right SUV you can tow all your gear with ease. To help you find the best vehicle for you, we’ve evaluated the best SUVs for towing.
On our list, you’ll find the top SUVs for towing, sorted by class: midsize SUV, full-size SUV, and luxury SUV.
Best Midsize SUV For Towing
2021 Dodge Durango SRT (Towing Capacity: 8,700 lbs)
The 2021 Dodge Durango lineup features a few models to choose from, but if you’re looking for the best option for towing, we recommend going with the SRT package. This premium package has a powerful 6.4L HEMI V8 which produces 475 hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque and a maximum towing capacity of 8,700 lbs.
Of course, if you’ve got money to burn, you can always opt for the SRT Hellcat if you’d like your HEMI V8 to come supercharged. The Hellcat still has a max tow rating of 8,700 lbs, but thanks to the addition of forced induction, makes a staggering 710 hp and 645 lb.-ft. of torque.
This SUV isn’t going to come cheap, with an MSRP starting at $64,245 for the SRT and $80,995 for the Hellcat SRT, but you do get some additional upgrades for the price like performance brakes, a limited-slip differential, all-wheel drive, and an adaptive suspension.
If you wanted to spend slightly less and didn’t need quite so much power, you could opt for other models within the Durango lineup. Keep in mind though, these all come standard with rear-wheel drive. The mid-tier Durango R/T still gets the HEMI V8 and a towing capacity of 7,400 lbs. The other models get downgraded to a 3.6L V6 and a max tow capacity of 6,200 lbs.
2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee (7,200 lbs)
If you’re looking for a do-everything SUV for all your activities from driving the kids to school to towing your toys on the weekend, look no further than the Jeep Grand Cherokee. For 2021, the Grand Cherokee is available in multiple trims. When properly equipped, the Grand Cherokee is capable of towing up 7,200 lbs. On top of that, you’ll find there’s a spacious, upscale cabin and a user-friendly infotainment system that helps complete the package.
Though you can certainly opt to tow with the perfectly capable middle-of-the-road (and budget) packages, we have a feeling you might be drooling over the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk. The Trackhawk boasts a supercharged 6.2L V8 that produces 707 hp and 640 lb.-ft. of torque and can still tow 7,200 lbs. And while this track-tuned SUV may be a bit overkill for towing your boat, it does come with a dedicated tow drive mode setting.
A base 2021 Grand Cherokee runs around $34,000 MSRP while the decked-out Trackhawk comes with a starting price tag of $88,365.
Best Full-Size SUV For Towing
2021 Ford Expedition (9,300 lbs)
In terms of full-size SUV tow capacity, the 2021 Ford Expedition ranks as one of the best-in-class with a maximum towing capacity of 9,300 lbs. This puts the Expedition as the SUV with the highest tow rating on our list. Its twin-turbocharged 3.5L EcoBoost V6 engine pulls out all the stops for 375 hp and 470 lb.-ft. of torque. Plus, with seating for up to eight people and their cargo, you’ll find the Expedition is more than up to the task of hauling your family (and their gear) around.
If you want this SUV’s full towing capacity, you’ll need to tack on the optional Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow Package which runs about $1,500. This package adds on a heavy-duty radiator, integrated trailer brake controller, Pro Trailer Backup Assist, and an electronic limited-slip differential. You’ll find the Pro Trailer Backup Assist comes in handy any time you need to back up your trailer.
With lots of customizable options and nine models to choose from, the base Expedition starts at $49,995.
2021 Chevrolet Tahoe (8,400 lbs)
With the 2021 Chevy Tahoe, you get a stylish SUV with plenty of power to haul all your gear. You can opt for a 2WD or 4WD driveline powered by either a 5.3L V8 engine that produces 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. of torque or a 6.2L V8 that pumps out 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. In order to get the top-end 8,400 lb maximum towing capacity, you’ll have to opt for rear-wheel-drive paired with the 5.3L engine and the Max Trailering Package. With standard towing and either 2WD or 4WD, you are still able to tow just at the slightly reduced max of 7,600 to 7,900 lbs with the Max Trailering Package.
The Max Trailering Package adds on features like a trailer brake controller, advanced trailering system, hitch guidance with hitch view, and extra capacity cooling system. Depending on your trim package, you can also opt for an in-car app that offers additional towing-specific benefits like customized trailer profiles, pre-departure checklists, and trailer tire pressure and temperature monitoring. And with a spacious interior and room for 7-9 passengers, you can be sure this roomy SUV will handle whatever adventures you throw its way.
The 2021 Tahoe starts at $49,000 MSRP.
2021 GMC Yukon (8,400 lbs)
Chevrolet’s sister brand, GMC, brings the Yukon to the table, and this full-size SUV is a great option if you want a capable tow vehicle that doesn’t sacrifice any creature comforts. We’re talking options like heated and ventilated leather seats and an upscale cabin with seating for 8-9 passengers. Many drivers comment that the Yukon delivers such a comfortable, smooth ride that they forget they’re driving one of the best SUVs for towing.
To get the max tow rating of 8,400 lbs, you need to choose the base Yukon SLE or SLT. This comes with a 5.3L V8 engine which is good for 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. torque. You’ll need to add on the Max Trailering Package and opt for the 2WD option. If you don’t mind a slightly reduced tow-capacity, both the Yukon AT4 and Denali packages are good for 8,200 lbs with the Max Trailering Package giving you the choice to opt for AWD in the AT4 or a 6.2L V8 with 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque in the Denali.
With MSRPs ranging from $51,000 to $74,000, the Yukon can easily compete with other full-size SUVs as an all-around tow vehicle.
2021 Nissan Armada (8,500 lbs)
Similar to the Yukon and the Tahoe, Nissan’s take on the best SUV for towing is the 2021 Armada. Equipped with a 5.6L V8 engine that makes 400 hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque, the Armada has plenty of power for hauling up to its max tow capacity of 8,500 lbs. The engine is paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission that comes with a Tow/Haul mode to give you even better control behind the wheel.
If you want the most towing power, you’ll have to go with the rear-wheel-drive option. And once you’ve decked out your Armada build with all the towing features, you also get some nice add-ons like auto-leveling suspension, trailer brake controller, and trailer sway control monitoring which can help if you are towing in crosswinds or other less-than-ideal conditions.
Starting at $52,600, the Armada delivers on Nissan’s claim of premium styling and rugged capability, a great combination when you are looking for the best SUVs for towing.
2021 Chevrolet Suburban (8,300 lbs)
While you’re going to receive slightly less pulling power with the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban than the Tahoe, it still ranks as one of the best SUVs for towing. If you have a large family or a lot of gear, the spacious interior is going to be hard to beat. If you equip the Suburban with the front bench seat, you’ll have room for nine people inside. And if you prefer cargo space, you get 144.7 cubic feet of room with the rear seats folded down.
To get the max towing capacity of 8,300 lbs, you’ll have to opt for the 2wd 5.3L V8 which churns out 355 hp and 383 lb.-ft. of torque, and add on the Max Trailering Package. If you don’t mind a slightly reduced max towing capacity, you can opt for 4wd or a 3.0L Turbo Diesel for your Suburban build. Just be sure to add on the Max Trailering Package which adds an integrated trailer brake controller plus changes the axle ratio.
With six trim packages to choose from ranging in starting price from $51,700 for the LS up to $72,300 for the High Country, you can deck out the 2021 Suburban to fit your towing and budget needs.
2021 Toyota Land Cruiser (8,100 lbs)
Up until now, most of the options as the best SUV for towing required that you opt for a rear-wheel drive SUV in order to achieve their max tow capacity. If you prefer to stick to four-wheel drive and still get decent tow ratings, then you might want to consider the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser instead. This large SUV features a 5.7L V8 engine that produces 381 hp and 401 lb.-ft. of torque.
Thanks to the AWD system and Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, you can tow while having optimal winter-weather traction. Plus, once you get to your destination and unhook your trailer, the Land Cruiser is off-road capable as well. With 7-seats and a luxurious interior, the Land Cruiser is guaranteed to be a passenger pleaser.
All that does come with a hefty price tag though, as the 2021 Land Cruiser starts at an eye-watering $85,565.
2021 Toyota Sequoia (7,400 lbs)
If you’re looking for a full-size SUV from Toyota that won’t break the bank, the 2021 Toyota Sequoia might be the right one for you with prices starting at $50,200. Though you shouldn’t expect all the luxurious touches and top-end features of the Land Cruiser, the Sequoia has plenty of functional features and a ton of cargo space inside — up to 120 cubic feet of storage with the rear seats folded down.
The Sequoia comes in six trim levels and which all come standard with a towing hitch receiver and wiring harness. It is equipped with a 5.7L V8 engine that produces 381 hp and 401 lb.-ft. of torque. If you opt for the 4WD Sequoia, the max towing capacity drops slightly from 7,400 to 7,100 lbs which, depending on what your towing, might be plenty to do the job.
Best Luxury SUV For Towing
2021 Lincoln Navigator (8,700 lbs)
Lincoln outdid themselves with this SUV for towing. The 2021 Navigator gets a twin-turbocharged 3.5L V6 that puts out 450 hp and 510 lb.-ft. of torque. It comes standard with a 10-speed automatic transmission. The Navigator comes with a higher-quality interior, user-friendly infotainment system, and comfortable seating. There’s even an option to add on a rear-seat entertainment system which is ideal for long trips on the road with family.
With the addition of the Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing package, the 2WD standard Navigator’s max towing capacity gets bumped from 6,200 lbs to 8,700 lbs. If you opt for the AWD option, your max with the towing package will get decreased slightly to 8,300 lbs. Included in the Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing package you get some nice add-ons like trailer sway control, a heavy-duty radiator, trailer brake controller, and back-up camera assist.
Starting at $76,185, the 2021 Navigator is going to put a dent in your wallet, but you might find that the added features are worth spending the extra change.
2021 Infiniti QX80 (8,500 lbs)
If you want a taste of luxury, but still need an SUV capable of towing, you won’t find much better than this Infiniti. The 2021 QX80 looks like a big beast and offers a standard 5.6L V8 engine producing 400 hp and 413 lb.-ft. of torque. This pairs perfectly with the 7-speed automatic transmission for a smooth ride with plenty of towing power.
In order to max out the QX80 for its top towing capacity, you’ll need the rear-wheel-drive setup and will need to add on the Class IV trailer hitch. Inside, you get seating for up to 8 and plenty of room in the back for cargo. Plus, if it’s luxury or the latest tech that you’re after, you can easily build out the QX80 to be a top-dollar sophisticated ride.
Starting at $69,050, it’s easy to start adding on features for this luxury SUV and the price to climb substantially.
2021 Cadillac Escalade (8,200 lbs)
For drivers who want a mixture of luxury and towing capacity, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade is a fabulous choice. Look beyond the massive grille, and you’ll find a 6.2L V8 engine that produces 420 hp and 460 lb.-ft. of torque. It’s the same engine found under the hood of the Yukon Denali. Opt for the 2WD model with the Heavy-Duty Trailering Package, and your Escalade can haul up to 8,200 lbs in style.
You’ll also get an extremely comfortable drive thanks to the refined interior and features like magnetic ride control. The styling is distinct and dramatic. Plus, from the driver’s seat, you get to play with some fun tech, like the 38-inch digital display. Your passengers will be happy too, between the 36-speaker audio system and rear-seat entertainment system.
The 2021 Escalade has a starting MSRP of $76,195.
2021 Land Rover RR Sport & Range Rover (7,716 lbs)
The 2021 Land Rover Range Rover isn’t just a top-end luxury vehicle; it is also a great option as the best SUV for towing thanks to its max tow rating of 7,716 lbs. Plus you get to choose between the 3L turbocharged I6 engine producing 355 hp and 365 lb.-ft. of torque or the 5L supercharged V8 which good for 557 hp and 516 lb.-ft. of torque.
Thanks to Land Rover’s range-topping trim packages and long list of optional upgrades, you can quickly send your Range Rover build north of $100k. If you are interested in a slightly smaller package with a lower base starting price, the 2021 Range Rover Sport also has a max tow capacity of 7,716 lbs. and is an equally capable (and luxurious) SUV.
The towing technologies on both the Range Rover and Range Rover Sport, including Trailer Stability Assist and optional Advanced Tow Assist, you’ll feel more confident when towing. With the Tow Hitch Assist, you can use the reversing camera combined with the vehicle’s sensors to easily line up the hitch and trailer.
Starting at $98,oo0 for the Range Rover and $69,500, the Range Rover Sport, you’ll still have to swallow a steep price tag, but at least you know you’ll be getting a lot of bang for your buck.
2021 Audi Q7 (7,700 lbs)
You might not immediately think of the Q7 when looking at the best SUVs for towing, but it’s an option and a luxury one at that. Of course, you can’t get away with the standard 4-cylinder engine and will need to upgrade to the 3.0-L V6. This produces 335 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque for a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 lb. Be sure to add on the additional towing packaging when you’re optioning out your Q7 to add on a tow hitch receiver and connector pin.
On the interior, you get room for seven and plenty of room to haul gear. You can expect Audi’s signature luxury with sport touches and just enough modern tech to be useful without being overwhelming. The Q7 starts at $56,640 with plenty of optional add-ons to send the price north from there. When all is said and done, you’re left with is one of the best luxury midsize SUVs for towing.
2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-450 (7,700 lbs)
The 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS 450 is capable of towing a whopping 7,700 lbs. This is due in part to the twin-turbo inline-6 which makes 362 hp and 369 lb.-ft. of torque. Add on the Class IV trailer hitch to deck out the GLS 450 with a wiring harness for your brake lights and trailer brakes. The 9-speed automatic transmission is paired with an all-wheel-drive system for a smooth drive.
There’s seating for up to seven in this luxury SUV, and it comes standard with trailer stability assist. This offers some additional peace of mind while towing. True to Mercedes-Bens form, the cabin of the GLS 450 is upscale and lavish with plenty of perks that come standard for you and your passengers. Starting at $84,005, the GLS 450 carries a price tag to match.
How To Choose The Best SUV For Towing
You might have noticed that our list didn’t include any crossovers and only a couple of mid-size SUVs. In general, crossovers and some small to mid-size SUVs aren’t built on truck chassis and won’t offer the same tow ratings as full-size SUVs. At the end of the day, the best SUV for you will greatly depend on your individual towing needing, including how much and how frequently you tow. It’s still possible to find the best SUV for towing, no matter what class you’re looking in. You just have to know what to look for. Here are some guidelines to help you find the SUV that works best for you.
1. Tow Capacity
Towing capacity refers to the maximum weight that a vehicle can tow. The manufacturer sets this limit and this should be the first thing you consider before making a purchase. Max towing capacities are determined based on how much weight you can safely tow behind your SUV. Always refer to the manufacturer for your vehicle’s tow rating.
2. Curb Weight
This refers to the weight of a vehicle when the fuel tank is full, but there aren’t any cargo or passengers. Because fuel efficiency has become important, you’ll find that lighter SUVs are still capable of towing trailers these days. While this might be a good option for some, other people feel they have more control when towing if they drive a heavier tow vehicle.
A vehicle’s wheelbase refers to the distance from the front axle to the rear axle. The wheelbase is crucial for stability and control. The longer your wheelbase is the less chance you have for the towed object to weigh down your vehicle and lift the front axle.
4. Drive System
Another consideration to keep in mind is whether you want four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, or rear-wheel drive. You’ll notice in all our options for the best SUVs for towing, we specified if one or the other offered better overall towing capacity. Most of the time, to achieve the highest tow rating, you’ll want rear-wheel-drive. This allows all the power to the axle which bears the most weight. You can tow with 4wd or all-wheel-drive systems though they typically decrease the total tow capacity. It is not recommended to tow with a front-wheel-drive SUV.
Of course, opinions abound about what transmission should be in the best SUV for towing. With newer SUV models, you likely won’t have the option to go with a manual transmission as most modern SUVs are equipped with automatic transmissions. You might be able to find older models in a manual. The bottom line is that you’ll want whatever transmission — automatic or manual — that you’re most comfortable with. The more confidence you have, the easier towing becomes.
6. Chassis Design
SUVs and trucks do differ from one another. The body-on-frame design of trucks is not the same as the ladder-like design of an SUV, but both are capable of towing. On a crossover, you have a unibody design instead. This is similar to cars and puts too much stress on the body panels when towing. That’s why it’s only recommended to tow heavy objects with an SUV or truck body. You need the extra strength that the chassis provides.
7. Tow Package
You need more than just a ball hitch to tow effectively. If the manufacturer offers an optional tow package for the SUV you are considering, it is normally well worth the investment. Most times the package offers a better suspension, a bigger radiator, and better brakes, plus a transmission that sends more power to the drive wheels. All of these components work together to create a more powerful vehicle that can better handle heavy loads. In fact, without a tow package, you won’t get the same tow rating capacity as what we’ve listed for most of the vehicles.
Get One of The Best SUVs For Towing & Get Out on Your Next Adventure
There’s so much information out there related to the best SUVs for towing. You’ll have to put in some research and determine what you need before making your purchase. Whether you opt for a mid-size, full-size, or luxury SUV, it’s essential that you take the steps necessary to ensure you remain safe on the road. But once you’ve done your homework, just imagine all the places you can tow with your capable new SUV.