Best SUV for Towing: Our 12 Top Picks
SUVs are not only ideal people movers with large cabins and loads of cargo space, but they can serve up ample towing capacity as well to handle any hauling duties. Here are some of the top-rated, as follows:
- Best Premium Mid-size SUVs for Towing
- Best Mainstream Mid-size SUVs for Towing
- Best Full-Size SUVs for Towing
- 16 Other SUVs that can tow a minimum of 7,000 lbs
No pressure, but you can find most of the SUVs on this list in our used SUV inventory here. All our vehicles arrive at your door with a full inspection – and you have a week to decide if you really love it, coupled with a no-charge 30 Day / 1,500 km warranty.
A lot of drivers think you need a big truck for towing, but that isn’t always the case. You’ll still need a pickup to pull the heaviest trailers, but some full-size SUVs go as high as 10,000 lbs, and there are mid-size ones that can top 7,000 lbs – which can be a 30-foot-plus camper.
The four highest-rated midsize SUVs are all premium models, so we’ve also included the top four haulers among midsize models, plus the four highest-rated full-size SUVs.
While they’re all impressive numbers, a lot of factors go into towing capacity, and these are the highest numbers for the model lineup overall. Some trims or engine choices may tow less. To get the highest capacity, you may need an optional towing package, which can include transmission and oil coolers; and the trailer may need to have its own brakes. Never exceed your vehicle’s capacity, which will affect its braking and handling.
Best Premium Mid-size SUVs for Towing
If a luxury, medium-sized SUV with towing capacity is on your radar, here are the four models to keep in mind.
1. Land Rover Defender – 7,716 lbs
The Land Rover Defender comes as the two-door 90 and four-door 110, both of which rate that highest number. The three-row Defender 130 tows to 6,613 lbs. The 90 and 110 offer a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder, making 296 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque; turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six for 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque; or supercharged 5.0-litre V8 at 518 horsepower and 461 lb-ft of torque. All come standard with four-wheel drive and legendary off-road prowess.
2. Mercedes-Benz GLE – 7,716 lbs
There’s a dead heat, so we’ll put the Mercedes behind the Land Rover in alphabetical order. Both the GLE 350 and GLE 450 tow that; the 350 uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder for 255 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque, while the 450 has a turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six with mild hybrid drive, for 362 horsepower and 369 lb-ft of torque. Both come with all-wheel drive, which the automaker calls 4MATIC, and two or three rows of seats.
3. BMW X5 – 7,200 lbs
BMW’s X5 tows its maximum as the xDrive 40i, with turbocharged 3.0-litre inline-six, making 335 horsepower and 330 lb-ft of torque, and the M50i with turbocharged 4.4-litre V8 for 523 horsepower and 533 lb-ft of torque.
There’s also the xDrive45e plug-in hybrid, with 3.0-litre inline-six that combines with an electric motor to make a total 389 horsepower and 443 lb-ft of torque. Plug-ins include a heavy battery and so this model can tackle up to 5,952 lbs.
The X5 xDrive45e plug-in hybrid made our list of the Best Plug-in Hybrid SUVs in Canada.
4. Lexus GX 460 – 6,500 lbs
The GX 460 is a large, three-row vehicle but it’s considered midsize, powered by a 4.6-litre V8 that makes 301 horsepower and 329 lb-ft of torque, with a six-speed automatic transmission and full-time four-wheel drive.
It includes a rear air suspension which helps keep it at the right height when towing. It comes in a single trim line with available packages that add only tech or appearance features, so all versions are capable of that capacity.
Best Mainstream Mid-size SUVs for Towing
These four mid-size SUVs offer top towing, and while not in the luxury category, still hold their own in terms of premium features and details at a price that’s a little more attainable than their glossier counterparts.
1. Dodge Durango – 8,700 lbs
Two configurations of the Durango can pull that top weight of 8,700 lbs. One is equipped with a 6.4-litre V8 in the SRT 392 trim, which makes 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque.
The other, with 5.7-litre Hemi V8 making 360 horsepower and 390 lb-ft of torque, hits the high mark when equipped with a towing package. The third choice, a 3.6-litre V6 making up to 295 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, can tow up to 6,200 lbs. The Durango can seat up to seven people across its three rows of seats.
The Dodge Durango made our list of the Best Mid-Size SUVs in Canada.
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee – 7,200 lbs
A cousin to the Dodge Durango and sharing some of its engines, the two-row Grand Cherokee we reviewed here and longer, three-row Grand Cherokee L hit the 7,200-lb mark with the 5.7-litre V8, and up to 6,200 lbs with the 3.6-litre V6.
The Grand Cherokee also comes as a plug-in hybrid, called 4xe, using a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that makes 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. It can tow up to 6,000 lbs. Check out our full review of the hybrid-powered Grand Cherokee 4xe.
3. Nissan Pathfinder – 6,000 lbs
The Pathfinder, which was redesigned into an all-new model for 2022, uses a 3.5-litre V6 that makes 284 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque, with a nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The base S trim can pull up to 3,500 lbs, but all other trims – SV, Rock Creek, SL and SL Premium, and Platinum - can tow up to 6,000 lbs. All have three rows of seats and can carry up to seven or eight passengers.
4. Ford Explorer – 5,600 lbs
The Explorer starts out with a turbocharged 2.3-litre EcoBoost four-cylinder, making 300 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque, which can tow up to 5,300 lbs with an available towing package. To get to that 5,600-lb capacity, you need the ST or Platinum trims, which use a twin-turbocharged 3.0-litre EcoBoost V6 that makes 400 horsepower and 415 lb-ft of torque.
The Explorer is also available as a hybrid, with 3.3-litre V6 making 318 horsepower and 322 lb-ft of torque, and it can tow up to 5,000 lbs.
Here’s a look at all the Ford SUV models in Canada.
Best Full-Size SUVs for Towing
If a larger, more capable SUV is in the cards for towing duties, here are four full-size models to consider.
1. Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer – 10,000 lbs
These Wagoneer models hit that maximum when equipped with a 5.7-litre V8 making 392 horsepower and 404 lb-ft of torque, or with a 3.0-litre twin-turbo inline-six for 420 horsepower and 468 lb-ft of torque.
There are two other engines: a 6.4-litre V8 for 471 horsepower and 455 lb-ft, towing 9,850 lbs; or a 510-horsepower version of that twin-turbo six that can tow 9,800 lbs. Both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer come in long-wheelbase models that exclusively use the two inline-six engines, and can tow a maximum of 9,850 lbs.
The Jeep Grand Wagoneer made our list of the Best Luxury SUVs in Canada.
2. Ford Expedition – 9,200 lbs
The three-row Expedition uses a turbocharged 3.5-litre EcoBoost V6 that makes 400 horsepower and 480 lb-ft of torque, with standard four-wheel drive. The regular-length model achieves 9,200 lbs, while the longer Expedition Max can pull up to 9,000 lbs.
These top numbers require a towing package, which includes Pro Trailer Backup Assist. This makes it easier to guide the trailer to the left or right by turning a dial on the dash.
3. Toyota Sequoia – 9,120 lbs
The Sequoia is redesigned for 2023 and it’s based on the hybrid version of the Tundra pickup. It combines a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6, making 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque, with an electric motor/generator and ten-speed automatic transmission.
All Sequoia models have three rows of seats and standard part-time four-wheel drive. That highest rating is for the TRD Off Road trim, while other trims range from 9,010 to 9,020 lbs.
4. Nissan Armada/Infiniti QX80 – 8,500 lbs
Even when a mainstream and a luxury model share the same platform and driveline, the upper-end version usually has a lower number because its extra features add capacity-sucking weight.
In this case, the Nissan and Infiniti versions of this three-row full-size can pull the same amount. Both use a 5.6-litre V8 that makes 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, with seven-speed automatic transmission and standard four-wheel drive.
Other SUVs that can tow a minimum of 7,000 lbs
There are plenty of other great SUVs with ample towing capacity. Here are some others that did not make our list above, but all offer at least 7,000 lbs of pulling power.
- Chevrolet Tahoe: 8,400 lbs
- GMC Yukon: 8,400 lbs
- GMC Yukon XL: 8,100 lbs
- Chevrolet Suburban: 8,300 lbs
- Lincoln Navigator: 8,300 lbs
- Cadillac Escalade: 8,000 lbs
- Lexus LX: 8,000 lbs
- Audi Q8: 7,770 lbs
- Range Rover/Range Rover Sport: 7,716 lbs
- Range Rover Discovery: 7,716 lbs
- Audi Q7: 7,700 lbs
- Porsche Cayenne: 7,700 lbs
- BMW X7: 7,500 lbs
- Mercedes-Benz GLS: 7,500 lbs
- Rolls-Royce Cullinan: 7,275 lbs
- Mercedes-Benz G-Class: 7,000 lbs
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