The best SUVs for towing

When it comes to vehicles with heavy hauling capabilities, pickup trucks usually come to mind. However, there are many SUVs that, when properly equipped, can tow nearly as much or more than most compact pickup trucks. That means if you need a vehicle for towing a boat or camper, but don’t require a pickup truck for day-to-day hauling, there are many reliable SUVs to suit your needs.

To determine the cream of the heavy-hauling SUV crop, iSeeCars looked at the best SUVs for towing over 6,000 pounds. For context, the Toyota Tacoma has a maximum towing capacity of 6,800 pounds. These vehicles at the low end of this list can comfortably tow medium camping trailers and large ski boats, while those on the high end can handle larger travel trailers. After identifying these heavy-haulers, iSeeCars ranked them by the iSeeCars Quality Score, which ranks the best used cars and takes into account long-term reliability based on its longest-lasting cars data, safety scores, and which cars best hold their value.

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Best SUVs for Towing

It’s important to note that for a vehicle to achieve max towing capacities, you will likely need to opt for a tow package installed by the factory or dealership at the time of purchase. These tow packages include not only a trailer hitch, but also wiring and special equipment that help ensure your vehicle can handle the added stress of towing. This includes transmission coolers, a higher capacity alternator, and cameras to improve visibility.

Best SUVs for Towing – iSeeCars
Rank SUV iSeeCars Quality Score (Out of 10) Max Towing Capacity Average New Car Price 3-Year-Old Used Car Price
1 Chevrolet Tahoe 7.9 8,400 $53,758-$,79,489 $34,542-$53,995
2 Ford Expedition 7.8 9,300 $47,681-$76,432 $34,742-$55,989
3 Jeep Grand Cherokee 7.7 7,200 $33,035-$54,154 $23,997-$38,994
4 Dodge Durango 7.7 8,700 $31,500-$56,559 $23,697-$51,537
5 GMC Yukon 7.6 8,400 $63,330-$84,327 $37,624-$55,989
6 GMC Yukon XL 7.5 7,800 $65,802-$87,090 $36,807-$57,988
7 Nissan Pathfinder 7.4 6,000 $26,148-$44,961 $17,895-$28,998
8 Chevrolet Suburban 7.4 7,800 $53,448-$83,158 $33,163-$50,991
9 Nissan Armada 7.0 8,500 $42,502-$66,441 $26,651-$40,997

Chevrolet Tahoe

The Chevrolet Tahoe full-size SUV earns the top spot and is the Best Large SUV for towing. Larger SUVs generally have higher towing capacities due to their size, so it’s no surprise that a full-size model occupies the top of the list. The Tahoe earns an iSeeCars Quality Score of 7.9 out of 10 due to its long-term reliability, value retention, and above average safety scores. It has a powerful V8 engine that achieves acceptable fuel economy estimates given its size and capabilities.

Fully-redesigned for 2021, the Tahoe can tow a maximum of 8,400 pounds with rear-wheel-drive and its standard 355-horsepower V-8 engine, when equipped with its Max Trailering Package. For four-wheel-drive, the max towing capacity drops to 8,200 pounds. Used versions from the 2015-2020 model years tow slightly more, topping out at 8,600 pounds.

A 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe for sale costs an average of $53,758 to $79,489 depending on trim level, while a three-year-old used Chevrolet Tahoe can be found for $34,542 to $53,995.

 Ford Expedition

Ranked second is the Ford Expedition full-size SUV, which earns a 7.8 iSeeCars Quality Score for its proven long-term reliability, safety, and value retention. Despite having a twin-turbo V6 engine, it has more power and can tow more than many of its rivals offering more powerful V8 engines. It’s V6 also affords better fuel economy than competitors in the large SUV class, with 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway. Available as a two- or three-row SUV and with abundant passenger and cargo space, it’s a popular choice for a family hauler.

Every Ford Expedition comes standard with a trailer hitch and the ability to tow a minimum of 6,000 pounds. By adding the Heavy Duty Trailer Tow package, the towing capacity increases to 9,300 pounds. The package includes a heavy-duty radiator, a brake controller, backup assist, and a limited-slip differential.

A 2021 Ford Expedition costs an average of $47,861 to $76,432 depending on trim levels, while a three-year-old used Ford Expedition for sale costs an average of $34,742 to $55,989.

 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Ranked third, and the first midsize SUV to make the list, is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. As the best midsize SUV for towing, this versatile hauler comes in a wide variety of trims across many price points to appeal to a wide range of audiences, including the automaker’s off-road enthusiasts and luxury car shoppers. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a starting towing capability of 3,500 pounds, but it can reach a maximum of 7,200 when properly equipped with its Trailer Tow Group IV option and one of its V8 engine choices. The package includes powertrain upgrades like engine cooling and road-leveling suspension as well as a hitch receiver and wiring harness. The same package can be added to the vehicle’s V6 engine to tow a maximum of 6,200 pounds.

A 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee costs an average of $33,095-$54,154, while a three-year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale costs an average of $23,997-$38,994.

Dodge Durango

Another American SUV, the midsize Dodge Durango, ranks fourth and earns an iSeeCars Quality Score of 7.7. The Dodge Durango offers three rows of seating with ample cargo and passenger room. It comes with multiple engine choices including a base 290 horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine or multiple V8s for those who want a more powerful family vehicle. The V8 engine options include a 5.7-liter, 360 horsepower Hemi, a 6.4-liter Hemi V8 with 474 horsepower, and the chart-topping 710-horsepower V8 offered in the Hellcat trim.

The Dodge Durango boasts the highest towing capacities in the  midsize SUV class. The base V6 model has a tow rating of up to 6,200 pounds, while the R/T trim’s 5.7-liter V8 increases capacity to 7,200 for AWD and 7,400 for RWD. By adding the Tow N Go package, the R/T can tow up to 8,700 pounds. The more powerful SRT 392 and Hellcat trims can tow the maximum of 8,700 pounds without the added towing package.

A 2021 Dodge Durango costs an average of $31,500-$56,559 while a three-year-old used Dodge Durango costs an average of $23,697-$51,537.

5-6. GMC Yukon, GMC Yukon XL 

Ranked fifth and sixth are the full size GMC Yukon and its extended length variant the GMC Yukon XL. Redesigned for the 2021 model year, it is mechanically identical to its platform mate, the top-ranked Chevrolet Tahoe. The Yukon and Yukon XL boast a more upscale exterior, and their Denali trim targets luxury SUV buyers. Standard versions of the Yukon tow 7,900 pounds for rear-wheel drive models, while the larger XL has slightly lesser towing capacity at 7,800 pounds. When equipped with the Max Trailering package, both the Yukon and the Yukon XL can tow a maximum of 8,400 pounds with its 5.3-liter V-8 engine in RWD. The Max Trailering package features an enhanced radiator cooling, hitch guidance with hitch view to increase visibility, a trailer brake controller, and blind zone monitoring.

A new 2021 GMC Yukon costs an average of $63,330-$84,327, while a 2018 used GMC Yukon costs $37,624-$55,989. For the slightly larger GMC Yukon XL model, a new 2021 GMC Yukon XL costs between $65,802 and $87,090, while a used GMC Yukon XL from $36,807 to $57,988.

7. Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder ranks seventh with an iSeeCars Quality Score of 7.4.The Pathfinder midsize crossover is praised for its spacious cabin, which seats up to seven passengers, and its fuel-efficient V6 engine. It also ranks on iSeeCars list of best crossovers.

All trims can tow up to 6,000 pounds when properly equipped with its towing package. A new 2021 Nissan Pathfinder costs an average of $26,148 to $44,961, while a three-year-old used Nissan Pathfinder costs between $17,895 and $28,998.

8. Chevrolet Suburban

Ranked eighth is the Chevrolet Suburban full-size SUV. The Suburban’s extended wheelbase gives it the most cargo room of any SUV (except its mechanical Yukon XL twin), with a spacious third-row of seating as well as many available standard tech and safety features. It earns an iSeeCars Quality Score of 7.4, for its high safety scores and long-term reliability. Its value retention brings down its score, as the expensive vehicle depreciates at a pace similar to a luxury vehicle.

Due to its larger size, the Chevy Suburban has a slightly lower towing capacity than its GM siblings, the Tahoe and the Yukon. Maximum towing capacity for the Suburban can be found with theA1žvehicle’s 5.3-liter V-8 at 8,300 pounds for RWD and 8,000 with 4WD.

A new 2021 Chevrolet Suburban costs an average of $53,448-$83,158, while a three-year-old used Chevrolet Suburban can be found from $33,163 to $50,991.

9. Nissan Armada

Rounding out the list is the full-size Nissan Armada, with an iSeeCars Score of 7.0. It has a powerful V8 engine, a spacious cabin, and a suite of standard features including blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, and standard leather upholstery across all trims. When properly equipped, the Nissan Armada can tow 8,500 pounds across all trims.

A 2021 Nissan Armada costs from $42,502-$66,441, while a three-year-old used Nissan Armada for sale costs from $26,651 to $40,997.

Honorable Mentions

Toyota Land Cruiser

The Toyota Land Cruiser large SUV was not included because it doesn’t have a safety rating and couldn’t receive an iSeeCars Quality Score. The iconic Land Cruiser is known for being indestructible and is the longest-lasting vehicle on the road. It has a powerful V8 engine and off-road capability, and all models come standard with a towing package that provides a towing capacity of 8,100 pounds.

A new 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser costs between $80,691 and $91,541 and a three-year-old used Toyota Land Cruiser costs between $58,834 and $73,994.

 Toyota Sequoia

A second Toyota full-size SUV, the Toyota Sequoia earns an honorable mention and was omitted from the main list due to its unavailable safety score. The Sequoia is a capable off-roader that offers three spacious rows of seats with Toyota’s earned reputation for long-term reliability. The Sequoia comes standard with a hitch receiver and wiring harness and offers a maximum towing capacity of 7,400 pounds for two-wheel drive models, while four-wheel drive models can tow up to 7,100 pounds. The Platinum trim offers a slightly lower towing capacity at 7,200 for two-wheel drive and 7,000 for four-wheel drive.

A 2021 Toyota Sequoia costs between $55,241 and $71,779, while a three-year-old used Toyota Sequoia for sale costs between $35,058 and $53,870.

Lincoln Navigator

The Lincoln Navigator full-size SUV is worth considering for drivers who want a heavy hauler in a luxury package. The Navigator is the luxury version of the second-ranked Ford Expedition. The Navigator has a maximum towing capacity of 8,700 pounds for two-wheel drive and 8,300 pounds for the four-wheel drive system. The L trim level offers slightly less towing capacity at 8,400 pounds for the two-wheel drive system, and 8,100 pounds for four-wheel drive.

A 2021 Lincoln Navigator costs between $81,972 and $99,101, and a three-year-old used Lincoln Navigator costs between $50,063 and $74,408.

Cadillac Escalade

An additional American large luxury SUV gets an honorable mention, the Cadillac Escalade. Redesigned like its platform-mates from General Motors, including the Yukon, Suburban, and Tahoe, it has an upscale interior and an impressive touchscreen infotainment system. The Escalade has a maximum towing capacity of 8,200 pounds for its two-wheel drive models while four-wheel drive versions can tow 8,000 pounds. If you opt for the slightly larger ESV version, two-wheel drive versions tow 8,100 pounds and four-wheel drive models tow 8,000 pounds. These numbers can be achieved with the available Heavy-Duty Trailering package.

A 2021 Cadillac Escalade costs between $76,443 to $110,972 and a three-year-old used Cadillac Escalade costs between $46,901 and $65,000.

How To Determine Towing Capacity

If you are looking at used vehicles, a VIN decoder like the iSeeCars VIN check can tell you a vehicle’s maximum towing capacity.

Bottom Line:

Heavy hauling is not just reserved for pickup trucks, thanks to these capable SUVs. These SUVs don’t just have high towing capacities, but also high reliability, safety, and value retention scores to match. It’s important to understand your max towing capacity, because exceeding this weight can put you and your vehicle in danger. Towing packages can vary from just a factory installed hitch to a comprehensive system with advanced controls, cooling systems, and safety aids. You should do your research to decide which will best meet your towing needs. For example, if you regularly tow a boat or camper, an advanced towing package is likely a smart investment. Conversely, if you just plan on towing a small boat from time to time, you may not require maximum towing capabilities.

If you’re interested in purchasing an SUV, you can search over millions of new and used pickups with iSeeCars’ award-winning car search engine. We help shoppers find the best car deals by providing key insights and valuable resources, like the iSeeCars free VIN decoder report and Best Cars rankings.  You can filter by towing capacity to help you find the right SUV at the right price.


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