(iSeeCars) — 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.
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||New Car Price||3-Year-Old Used Car Price|
|1||Ford Expedition||8.6||9,300||$50,500 – $69,775||$34,742-$55,989|
|2||Nissan Pathfinder||8.4||6,000||$35,000 – $49,870||$25,498 – $37,575|
|3||Jeep Grand Cherokee||8.3||7,200||$41,035 – $68,190||$23,997-$38,994|
|4||Chevrolet Tahoe||8.2||8,400||$48,450 – $77,400||$34,542-$53,995|
|5||Dodge Durango||8.1||8,700||$38,495 -$102,085||$23,697-$51,537|
|7||Chevrolet Suburban||8.0||8,300||$55,300 – $80,100||$33,163-$50,991|
|8||GMC Yukon XL||7.9||7,800||$65,802-$87,090||$36,807-$57,988|
|9||Nissan Armada||7.7||8,500||$50,400 – $69,720||$35,943 – $60,997|
1. Ford Expedition
Ranked first is the Ford Expedition full-size SUV, which earns an 8.6 iSeeCars Quality Score for its proven long-term reliability, safety, and value retention. Larger SUVs generally have higher towing capacities due to their size and more powerful engines, so it’s no surprise that a full-size model occupies the top of the list. 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. Its 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, the Expedition is among the Best Large SUVs you can buy and is 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 new Ford Expedition has an MSRP of $50,500 to $69,775 depending on trim levels, while a three-year-old used Ford Expedition for sale costs an average of $34,742 to $55,989.
2. Nissan Pathfinder
The Nissan Pathfinder ranks second with an iSeeCars Quality Score of 8.4 and is the best midsize SUV for towing. 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 Nissan Pathfinder costs an average of $39,000 to $49,870, while a three-year-old used Nissan Pathfinder costs between $25,498 and $37,575.
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee
Ranked third is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. 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 new Jeep Grand Cherokee has a starting price of $41,035 to $68,190, while a three-year-old Jeep Grand Cherokee for sale costs an average of $23,997-$38,994.
4. Chevrolet Tahoe
The Chevrolet Tahoe full-size SUV earns the fourth spot. The Tahoe earns an iSeeCars Quality Score of 8.2 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 new Chevrolet Tahoe for sale costs between $48,450 to $77,400 depending on trim level, while a three-year-old used Chevrolet Tahoe can be found for $34,542 to $53,995.
5. Dodge Durango
Another American SUV, the midsize Dodge Durango, ranks fifth. 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 new Dodge Durango costs an average of $38,495 to $102,085 while a three-year-old used Dodge Durango costs an average of $23,697-$51,537.
6. GMC Yukon
Ranked sixth is the GMC Yukon Redesigned for the 2021 model year, it is mechanically identical to its platform mate, the top-ranked Chevrolet Tahoe. The Yukon boasts 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, and when equipped with the Max Trailering package, the Yukon can tow a maximum of 8,400 pounds.
A new GMC Yukon costs an average of $63,330-$84,327, while a three-year-old used GMC Yukon costs between $37,624-$55,989.
7. Chevrolet Suburban
Ranked seventh 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 8.0 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 the vehicle’s 5.3-liter V-8 at 8,300 pounds for RWD and 8,000 with 4WD.
A new Chevrolet Suburban costs between $55,300 and $80,100, while a three-year-old used Chevrolet Suburban can be found from $33,163 to $50,991.
8. GMC Yukon XL
Ranked eighth is the GMC Yukon XL, which is the extended variant version of the sixth-ranked GMC Yukon. The larger XL has slightly lesser towing capacity than its smaller counterpartat 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 GMC Yukon XL costs between $65,802 and $87,090, while a three-year old used GMC Yukon XL from $36,807 to $57,988.
9. Nissan Armada
Rounding out the list is the full-size Nissan Armada, with an iSeeCars Score of 7.7. 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 Trailer Brake Controller comes standard on all trims excluding the base trim, and Trailer Sway Control is standard on the SL and Platinum trims. A tow hitch receiver is standard on all trims. A new Nissan Armada costs between $50,400 and $69,720, while a three-year-old used Nissan Armada for sale costs from $35,943 to $60,997.
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.
The Toyota Land Cruiser was discontinued after the 2021 model year. A three-year-old used Toyota Land Cruiser costs between $81,117 to $104,634.
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 9,520 pounds.
A new Toyota Sequoia costs between $58,300 and $78,300, while a three-year-old used Toyota Sequoia for sale costs between $35,058 and $53,870.
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 new Lincoln Navigator costs between $77,635 and $109,120, and a three-year-old used Lincoln Navigator costs between $50,063 and $74,408.
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 new Cadillac Escalade costs between $79,295 to $52,195 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.
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. If your vehicle has a towing capacity of 8,000 pounds, you can tow up to 8,000 pounds of trailer weight if there is no cargo or passengers in your vehicle. Towing capacity diminishes if you add passengers and cargo, so be sure to plan accordingly. Tongue weight and payload capacity should also be taken into account. 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.
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