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Best SUVs for Towing [Ranked for 2021]

Best SUV for Towing

Best SUV for Towing

There are several options when it comes to towing, including pickup trucks, sport utilities, and crossovers. Even most minivans and cars have some sort of tow rating. But when it comes to sport utility vehicles, towing is one of the top criteria for owning one.

All of the vehicles we’ve chosen are midsize or larger in the SUV category. We skipped luxury models but will mention them where relevant to their non-luxurious stablemates.

Check out all our picks for the best SUVs >>

Read about how we rank our vehicles >>

Best SUVs for Towing Comparison

Best Towing SUVFord ExpeditionDodge Durango SRTChevrolet TahoeNissan ArmadaToyota Land Cruiser
Size Category
Full-Size
Midsize
Full-Size
Full-Size
Full-Size
Max Towing
9,300 lbs
8,700 lbs
8,600 lbs
8,500 lbs
8,100 lbs
Max Cargo
104.6 cu. ft.
85.1 cu. ft.
122.9 cu. ft.
95.4 cu. ft.
82.8 cu. ft.
# of Seats
8
7
9
8
7
Base Price
$51,690
$64,570
$50,295
$49,895
$85,665

What Is Being Considered?

Checklist Good Crossover for SnowWe are considering tow rating (capacity), towing comfort, and size category for our rankings. Pricing is another consideration, of course, as are seating capacity and cargo volume.

For towing expectations, we’re taking the maximum towing capacity and comparing that to the most commonly towed items people own: small fishing boats (3,000 lbs with trailer), large lake boats (5,000 lbs with trailer), UTVs and ATVs (2,000 lbs with trailer), RVs, etc.

So to choose the best, we went with tow ratings first and then our first-hand experience actually towing with these rigs to gauge how comfortable that towing experience was. After all, a big part of towing safety is how comfortable the driver feels while guiding that trailer.

1. Ford Expedition

Ford Expedition Best TowingThe full-size Ford Expedition is available in both a standard and a long wheelbase (Max) configuration. The Expedition Max adds more cargo space by lengthening the vehicle a few inches. The Expedition has an independent rear suspension, making it ride like most car-based crossover-SUVs despite having a pickup truck’s underpinnings.

The Expedition’s maximum tow rating is phenomenal for the segment and rivals some pickup trucks for capability. When towing heavy trailers, the Expedition, especially in its Max form, feels strong and capable and does not get overwhelmed by the trailer’s weight. We did note that the transmission’s shifting can feel rough when in trailering mode, but this did not affect trailer control or braking. The rough shifting mainly affects ride quality.

At the top of our list, the Expedition features a lot of cargo space, seating for up to eight people, and the highest towing capacity of its rivals. We would also recommend the Lincoln Navigator for those looking for the Expedition’s capabilities in a luxury format.

Current Ford Expedition Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021FordExpedition$1,000 1.90%$560/month for 39 months, $5,789 due at signing11/1/2021

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Ford deals here.

2. Dodge Durango SRT

Dodge Durango Best TowingThe Durango SRT lands on our list as the only non-truck-based sport utility here and as the only “muscle car” variant found. The Durango SRT is also one of the more expensive on our list, but comparatively, it comes with more standard features in the SRT model than most of the other base models listed.

The powerful 6.4-liter V8 in the Durango SRT produces 475 horsepower and gives this crossover-SUV its powerful towing capacity. Going with that, the Durango SRT has solid chops for pulling that weight in terms of its feel while doing so. The only downside to this rig is the mirrors, which will require some strap-on or clamp-on extensions to see past a long trailer.

As a midsize crossover SUV, the Durango has a very comfortable interior, drives very well as an everyday vehicle, and offers more on-road comfort and convenience than many of the other options on this list. The SRT model is especially fun to drive, thanks to the grumble of the exhaust and muscle car sounds when the throttle is pressed hard.

Current Dodge Durango Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021DodgeDurango$3,700 0.00%$371/month for 36 months, $3,999 due at signing11/1/2021

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Dodge deals here.

3. Chevrolet Tahoe

Chevrolet Tahoe Best TowingThe Tahoe, like the Expedition above, has made several of our SUV lists. Its redesign brings an independent rear suspension, a lot of interior space, and powerful capability. We chose the Tahoe over the larger Suburban based on the Tahoe’s slightly higher towing capacity; its tradeoff for having a slightly smaller cargo area.

Next to the midsize Durango SRT above, the Tahoe has the most car-like feel in our lineup here. It’s comfortable, drives easily, and has great ergonomics. Its towing capacity is huge, and it confidently pulls that weight thanks to its truck base.

There are several options for those looking at the Tahoe, including the Chevrolet Suburban if larger cargo space is needed and the more upscale GMC Yukon if more premium appeal is desired. The Cadillac Escalade is an excellent choice as well.

Current Chevrolet Tahoe Deals & Incentives

You may qualify for deals and incentives, check out this month's Chevy deals here.

4. Nissan Armada

Nissan Armada Best TowingLong in the tooth in terms of design, the Armada remains a stalwart SUV choice. The Armada is bulky and muscular, having a persona much akin to the heavier SUVs of the past. Rooted in that are its tow rating and capability while pulling a load.

However, the Nissan Armada’s interior is less accommodating than the above three choices, and its age shows when it comes to that previous-generational layout. Hence the smaller cargo space and tighter third-row quarters.

The full-size Armada makes up for those shortcomings with a seemingly underrated tow rating (it has high confidence) and equally underrated off-road chops. Save for the next SUV on our list, the Armada is the most off-road-ready of the bunch so far.

Current Nissan Armada Deals & Incentives

YearMakeModelCash Incentives (up to)Best Avail. APRLease OffersExpiration
2021NissanArmada0.00%$469/month for 36 months, $7,169 due at signing11/1/2021

You may qualify for additional deals and incentives, check out this month's Nissan deals here.

5. Toyota Land Cruiser

Toyota Land Cruiser Best TowingPossibly the most luxurious of the options on this list, the Land Cruiser is also the most off-road capable with the iconic background to prove it. Of the group, however, the Land Cruiser is also the least confident when towing and seems happiest when the load being pulled is well under its topmost rating.

Cargo capacity is middling in this full-size SUV, largely because of the way the third row stows. Rather than folding into the floor as with most SUVs, the third row of the Land Cruiser folds up and to the sides, narrowing the load space as a result. This accommodates the full-sized spare, and bulky off-road gear found underneath the Land Cruiser but is a big downer when it comes to cargo hauling.

That being said, the Toyota Land Cruiser is a monster of a machine capable of more than many can muster. It rides relatively well, comparatively, but lacks the appeal of the first three options on our list when it comes to on-road refinement. At its beginning price point, the Land Cruiser is formidable in both cost and accouterments.

Current Toyota Land Cruiser Deals & Incentives

You may qualify for deals and incentives, check out this month's Toyota deals here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best SUV for towing?

Going simply with towing capability, it’s the Ford Expedition. However, if other metrics are also important to you, such as unladen ride quality, number of seats, etc., then all five of those listed here are worth shopping to find the right match.

Are other midsize options like the Durango SRT good for towing?

Yes, though most have a limited capability by comparison. The average tow rating for a midsize crossover-SUV is about 6,500 pounds. That’s enough for a lake ski boat, a medium-sized camper trailer (RV), or a trailer with a couple of ATVs or UTVs on it. However, most car-based crossovers struggle to control a heavy trailer compared to the bigger SUVs that dominate our list.

How did you rate cargo space for this list?

We took the largest available cargo space (second and third rows stowed) in the largest available production model (longest wheelbase option). For some, like the Expedition, that meant the Expedition Max. For most, however, the space listed is what’s available on most models.

What is the best off-road-ready SUV for towing?

Possibly the most luxurious of the options on this list, the Land Cruiser is also the most off-road capable with the iconic background to prove it. Of the group, however, the Land Cruiser is also the least confident when towing and seems happiest when the load being pulled is well under its topmost rating.

What can an SUV tow?

Most full-sized sport utilities can, for example, tow a fairly large boat and trailer--the type of boat most would take to a lake. Most can also tow a six- or seven-person camper trailer (RV, roughly 8,000 pounds). Most midsize SUVs are capable of much of this as well, though the weight limits are lower.