• Image Credit: Ford

Top Crossovers For Towing

Crossovers are not trucks. This fact is key to the popularity of the segment. So if you're going to be dragging four tons of something across the nation all summer, a CUV is not for you. Fortunately most people don't need that kind of towing ability, and those that do probably already know what works for pulling their RV, boat, or enclosed trailer.

But what about the rest of us, the “occasional” towers? Can you pull one of those small moving trailers with a CUV? What about a Jet Ski? What’s the best choice for towing a couple thousand pounds comfortably without cooking your transmission? No matter which vehicle you choose, you’ll want to make sure it has the optional towing package, which besides a trailer hitch often includes upgrades to the transmission and suspension.
  • Image Credit: Nissan

The Lightweights

There's a whole group of crossovers that are suited to towing little more than a folding trailer. Some of the members of this bottom segment might be a little surprising. For instance, the Infiniti FX35 is rated at just 2,000 pounds, despite having a powerful, 303-hp V6. This is a perfect illustration of the fact that towing ability depends on more than just the size of the vehicle or the amount of horsepower on tap. That one-ton rating might now be a lot, but it’s still more than the 1,500-pound maximum of the Honda CR-V, Nissan Rogue or four-cylinder Toyota RAV-4.
  • Image Credit: Volkswagen

Our Favorite Lightweight: VW Tiguan

Though it may not be the largest of these CUV’s with modest tow ratings, the Volkswagen Tiguan acquits itself well. A mere 2,200 pounds is all you'll be able to haul behind a Tiguan, but it will do so with that solid German feeling that makes driving a happy occasion. As in the Jetta and Golf, the interior feels a class above everyone else in terms of materials and assembly quality, and its unencumbered road manners are tough to fault.
  • Image Credit: Kia

Middle Management

While there's a surprisingly large swath of the CUV market that can only tow about 2,000 pounds, there are others that put up a better fight. The next magic number is 3,500 pounds, and there's plenty of choice at that towing capacity. Lots of luxury choices occupy this space, like the Cadillac SRX and the V8-powered Infiniti FX50, both of which can shoulder 3,500 pounds. So too can the Nissan Murano. GMC's Terrain and Kia’s 2011 Sorento can handle the same load, as long as you opt for the V6 version. Sporty options are even accessible here: Mazda's CX-9 has been cited as actually fun to drive, even while having three rows of seats, and its 3.7-liter V6 makes 3,500 pounds possible.
  • Image Credit: Chrysler

Middle Class Champ: Dodge Journey

While each of the choices among the 3,500-pound crew has its own set of charms, if towing is a primary consideration, there's one vehicle that sticks out: Dodge Journey. The competition doesn’t offer the Journey’s Trailer Sway Control, which is available with its V6 and tow package. The seven-passenger Journey has a comfortable, clever interior with touches cribbed from the seminal Chrysler minivans, and it’s rated at 25 mpg on the highway.
  • Image Credit: GM

The Big Guys

There's a lot of nice iron available if you want to tow more than 3,500 pounds. Perhaps the most plebian offering is the three-row Toyota Highlander V6, which can lug 5,000 pounds. Five hundred pounds less strong, the Buick Enclave makes up for any tow rating deficiency with an interior that kicks most of the competition into the weeds. Nobody will sniff sideways at you for picking the Audi Q5 as a tow vehicle, even with a 4,400-pound capacity. It's better than most anything else with the same footprint, a strong little guy, and if you unhitch the trailer the driving experience is sports car satisfying.
  • Image Credit: GM

Best Of The Biggest: Chevy Traverse

Rated at 5,200 pounds, both the Chevy Traverse and its corporate sibling, the GMC Acadia, are capable of hauling most of the things an occasional hauler might encounter, from a moving trailer rental to a decent-sized boat. While the Traverse is not as nice inside as its other corporate cousin, the Enclave, it’s a more contemporary design than the Acadia. Its 3.6-liter, direct-injection V6 and six-speed automatic provide smooth power and 24 mpg’s on the highway for the front-drive version. Three rows of seats allow the Traverse to seat as many as eight passengers, giving it great utility whether you’re towing or not.
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