The 8 Best SUVs for Towing a Travel Trailer

Best SUV for Towing Travel Trailer

Camping is fun in a tent. However, it becomes even more fun when you can pack the comforts of home into a trailer and finish your fun day of hiking and s’mores in a comfy bed. This leads many people to look into purchasing some sort of travel trailer.

Of course, in order to take a travel trailer camping, you need to have a way to tow said trailer. Because not everyone wants to drive a gigantic truck around town on a daily basis, and because most trailers simply cannot be pulled by cars, an SUV is often the best answer.

The question is, what is the best SUV to pull a travel trailer?

Best SUV for Towing an RV? How to Choose the Best SUV to Tow

Before we tell you what we believe to be the best SUV for towing trailer campers, let’s discuss what one might look for in an SUV that they intend to pull something with. By knowing what kinds of specs to look out for, you’ll be better equipped to head out into the world and do some shopping before you decide what works best for you.

Towing Capacity

The first thing you’ll want to look at is towing capacity. Your towing capacity is the amount your vehicle can safely tow. Therefore, it must be more than the loaded weight of your trailer plus the weight of any luggage and even the people you intend to carry in the SUV.

For this reason, SUVs that can tow a camper well are the ones with the highest towing capacities.

Keep in mind that the fact that an SUV can tow a certain trailer doesn’t mean that it should. Some vehicles might be capable of getting a certain load going, but this doesn’t mean the driver isn’t doing damage to the vehicle. Additionally, it doesn’t mean the vehicle will be able to stop in a reasonable amount of time.

Engine Type

Engine type can also play a role.

Generally speaking, a diesel engine will tow better than a gas engine. This is because the diesel engine has more torque—the type of power that is most important when it comes to moving heavy loads, especially on inclines. However, this is not to say that a gas engine is unable to tow. In many cases, a gas engine is perfectly fine.

What you probably will want to avoid for the time being is an electric or hybrid vehicle. As much as we love the idea of more electric vehicles on the road, these engines simply aren’t strong enough for towing yet.

Drivetrain

Most SUVs come standard with front-wheel drive. Unfortunately, this isn’t the best option when it comes to towing. Instead, the best SUV for towing RV trailers will likely have rear-wheel drive or even all-wheel drive.

Trailering Package

Finally, it’s always best to look for an SUV with a trailer package. This will give you a factory-installed trailer brake controller, as well as other features that make towing a bit easier on both your vehicle and you.

Image source: Lincoln

What is the Best Full-Size SUV for Towing a Travel Trailer?

Want the very best SUV for camping? Our recommendation is to go big, especially if you plan to pull a decent sized travel trailer.

The SUVS below are ideal for those who wish to tow a family camper. They have decent towing capacities and can comfortably fit plenty of passengers and gear. Due to their gas mileage, they may not be the best daily drivers out there, but they aren’t the worst either.

  • 2020 Lincoln Navigator — Towing Capacity: 6,200- 8,300 lbs
  • 2020 Chevrolet Tahoe — Towing Capacity: 6,400-6,600 lbs
  • 2020 Ford Expedition Max — Towing Capacity: 6,000-6,300 lbs
Image source: Dodge

What is the Best Midsize SUV for Towing a Travel Trailer?

Those wanting something smaller than the big vehicle listed above, but with more power than the small SUVs below, need a midsize vehicle. These are a great middle ground, offering the best of both worlds.

For 2020, the best midsize SUV for towing a travel trailer has to be one of the following:

  • 2020 Dodge Durango — Towing Capacity: 6,200-8,700 lbs
  • 2020 Land Rover Discovery — Towing Capacity: 7,716-8,201 lbs
  • 2020 Land Rover Range Rover Sport — Towing Capacity: 5,511-7,716 lbs
Image source: Jaguar USA

What is the Best Small Size SUV for Towing a Travel Trailer?

Want to go small but aren’t sure what type of SUV can pull a camper and still be considered small? Believe it or not, as long as you’re willing to pick out a small teardrop or “canned ham” camper, there are options out there.

The SUVs below are the 2020 small-sized SUVs with the best towing capacities. They are little enough to drive around town comfortably, offer decent gas mileage, but still work well for those weekend camping getaways.

  • 2020 Jaguar F-PACE — Towing Capacity: 5,291 lbs
  • 2020 Porsche Macan — CCC: 4,409 lbs

How to Calculate Travel Trailer Weight

No matter how big and strong your SUV is, it will still have a limit in terms of how much it can tow, and that limit will be lower than the weight of a large number of trailers out there.

For this reason, it’s incredibly important that you check and double-check the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of any trailer you purchase to be sure that number is lower than your vehicle’s towing capacity.

On top of checking that GVWR, you will also want to keep tabs on the actual weight of your trailer to ensure you don’t overload it. The easiest way to do this is by paying a visit to a nearby truck stop and following these instructions.

How to Calculate Tongue Weight

In order to tow safely, you will also want to know the tongue weight of your trailer. Your tongue weight should always fall between 9 and 14 percent of your total trailer weight. Adjusting this weight is super simple, and maintaining it is important because it helps prevent sway, something many people have problems with when towing a travel trailer, especially in a smaller vehicle.

To find the tongue weight of your trailer, follow the instructions on this page.

As you can see, there’s not a one-size-fits-all approach, nor is there a single best SUV for towing travel trailer campers. However, there are SUVs that won’t work at all, along with SUVs that are better than others. Therefore, we recommend doing your homework and shopping smart to ensure you purchase the best vehicle for your situation.

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