Best Towing Vehicles for 2023
The best vehicles for towing are determined based on analyzing all vehicle models and their maximum towing capacities.
Listed below are the best vehicles for towing in 32 vehicle categories, as ranked by their maximum towing capacity. A vehicle’s maximum towing capacity is determined by its automaker, and is based on a combination of chassis strength, suspension tuning, braking capability, engine cooling capacity, and horsepower.
In instances where two or more vehicles have the same maximum towing capacity they are ranked by their iSeeCars Quality score, which represents the combination of a vehicle’s reliability, resale value and safety rating. You can see how cars are ranked by their quality score across 33 vehicle categories on our Best Cars pages.
Within the automotive world, full-size pickup trucks in heavy duty configuration offer the best towing capability. And while heavy-duty trucks can often tow over 20,000 pounds, this page only lists light-duty, half-ton trucks, such as the GMC Sierra 1500 and Toyota Tundra. These models can still tow 12,000 or more pounds and should serve nearly all consumer needs. Most of these trucks, including the Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500, offer multiple powertrain options, including both gasoline V8 engines and turbo diesel engines. Full-size SUVs like the Chevy Suburban, and midsize trucks like the Ford Ranger, are also capable tow vehicles. While their maximum towing capacities will be lower than full-size pickups, large SUVs offer up to three rows of passenger capacity, while midsize trucks deliver better fuel economy from their smaller, but still powerful, four-cylinder and V6 engines. As with full-size trucks, SUVs and midsize trucks will usually need to be configured with an optional tow package to achieve their maximum tow rating. Additional categories of tow vehicles, including minivans, cars, and electric vehicles, are ranked below. Many of these vehicles offer all-wheel drive and substantial off-road capability, giving them much of the same utility and flexibility found in trucks and SUVs. Minivans and traditional cars also provide even better mpg ratings, while electric models tend to have the latest technology, such as comprehensive driver-assist systems, adaptive suspensions, and advanced infotainment systems.
Best Towing Features
While cars and minivans can be equipped with a tow hitch, and may technically have trailer weight ratings and towing ability, only trucks and SUVs are likely to have the most helpful towing features and technology. Some key features to look for when buying a vehicle for towing include:
Electronic Trailer-Sway Control: Similar to stability control for cars, trailer-sway control can sense when a trailer is sliding sideways (maybe during a sudden evasive maneuver) and counter it by adjusting the brake and throttle of the tow vehicle
Four- and Seven-Pin Trailer Connector: You need to hook up taillights and brake lights to your trailer, which use either a four- or seven-pin wiring harness; having both connectors on a tow vehicle means you’re covered for every trailer type
Integrated Trailer Brake Controller: Coordinates the tow vehicle’s brake system with the trailer’s brake system, and lets drivers adjust them to ensure the two systems work together for balanced braking between both vehicles
Tow/Haul Mode: This changes the programming for a tow vehicle’s automatic transmission settings, altering when upshifts and downshifts occur to reduce strain on the engine, transmission and brake system
Trailer Hitch Camera: Hooking up a trailer is pretty straightforward when you can see both the trailer and the hitch; some new models offer advanced guidance systems that make aligning the hitch and trailer very easy
Calculating Your GVWR When Towing
Once you’ve confirmed your towing needs consider which vehicle categories can serve them and browse the rankings below. In addition to each vehicle’s maximum towing capacity we’ve included (when available) the maximum payload, the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) and the curb weight for all models.
With these figures you can calculate how much total weight you can add to your vehicle, which is essentially the difference between its curb weight and GVWR. You should never exceed the GVWR, which includes the curb weight plus the weight of all passengers, cargo, and the tongue weight of your trailer. Tongue weight is approximately 10 percent of the trailer’s total weight, and it must also not push a vehicle's total weight past its GVWR.
Best Trucks for Towing
Best SUVs for Towing
Best Hybrids for Towing
Best Cars for Towing
Best Electrics for Towing
How We Rank These Cars
The best towing vehicle lists rank vehicles by their maximum towing capacity.
The maximum towing capacity is the highest towing rating across all trim levels for a given vehicle model. In the event there is a tie, we use iSeeCars proprietary rating of the overall quality of the car (iSeeCars Score) to break the tie.
The overall iSeeCars Score is an analysis of three factors: reliability, resale value and safety. It is calculated based on the latest research and analysis by our data science team. The data analysis comes from over 12 million new and used vehicles in our Longest-Lasting Cars and 5-Year Depreciation Studies, combined with NHTSA and IIHS Safety Ratings.
Vehicles are scored in three categories:
Reliability | 33.3%
The reliability score represents an analysis of iSeeCars' proprietary research on the longest-lasting vehicles.
Value Retention | 33.3%
The value retention score is based on our data science team's statistical analysis and prediction of 5-year depreciation from MSRP to determine which cars hold their value best, using US Bureau of Labor Statistics data to adjust for inflation.
Safety | 33.3%
The safety score is calculated based on the last five years of crash test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and incorporates the latest Top Safety Pick information from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).