When it comes time to tow a camper, trailer, or anything over 5,000 lbs, most people think they need a pickup truck to get the job done. So, do you need to make a move to a pickup truck and ditch the SUV sitting in the driveway? Before you make any rash decisions, we have taken the time to investigate what full-size and mid-size SUVs can tow at least 5,000 lbs.
Mid-size SUVs have a smaller body and engine than their full-size cousins, resulting in less towing capabilities. However, this doesn't mean they can't get a 5,000 lb job done.
Here is a list of mid-size SUVs that can handle a heavier load:
Before you continue reading, let us say we hope you find the links here useful. If you purchase something through a link on this page, we may get a commission, so thank you!
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
- Porsche Cayenne
- BMW X5
- Dodge Durango
- Audi Q7
If towing is a common occurrence in your life or you foresee upgrading to a bigger camper or water toy, then it might be worth checking out a full-size SUV. Full-size SUVs are built on a more robust frame and are equipped with higher performance engines, making them an excellent choice for towing while still accommodating the whole family.
Here are five full-size SUVs to check out:
- Ford Expedition
- Toyota Sequoia
- Chevy Tahoe
- Lincoln Navigator
- Nissan Armada
That's a lot to choose from, we know! That is why we dive deeper into each of these vehicles. So, hop in and ride along with us as we break down the advantages and disadvantages of both types of SUVs for towing.
Mid-Size or Full-Size SUV? What's the Difference?
Before going to a dealership to dealership test driving SUVs, it may be wise to factor in your needs and wants. How many seats do you need? How much towing capacity is enough? What do SUVs cost? These are all common questions that will factor into deciding if a mid-size or full-size SUV is right for you. But what is the difference?
The apparent difference is that full-size SUVs are larger, commonly offering more seating and max towing capacity. Mid-size SUVs typically provide only five to seven seats, whereas a full-size can seat as many as nine passengers. Nonetheless, the mid-size may lack passenger accommodations and towing capabilities, but they gain an edge when it comes to fuel economy and being more budget-friendly.
How Much Towing Capacity Do I Need?
Now you know the difference between the SUV types, how much towing capacity do you really need? Knowing how much towing capacity to have ultimately comes down to how heavy the load is. For small campers, rafts, drift boats, and trailers alike, a mid-size SUV is more than adequate. On the other hand, when it comes to hauling over 7,000 lbs, such as construction equipment, large boats, and 5th wheel campers, a full-size SUV is a safer choice.
There's a lot to consider before buying an SUV that has the right towing capabilities. Looking at a towing guide can help you to see exactly what your vehicle can tow. Read on to learn more about different types of SUVs, towing capabilities, and features.
Mid-Size SUVs That Can Tow 5,000 lbs
Jeep Grand Cherokee
This smooth-riding vehicle is excellent for a day drive or locking it into four-wheel drive and going offroad. With a standard 3.6L V6 engine, the Jeep Grand Cherokee can tow up to 6,200 lbs, making it a great mid-size SUV choice. The Jeep Grand Cherokee also comes standard with a backup camera and trailer view to help enhance the towing experience. If you are wondering if the Jeep Grand Cherokee will be big enough for your family, check out "Does the Jeep Grand Cherokee Have A Third Row?" this link for more information on the seating capacity.
A Porsche for towing? I know this luxury vehicle might not be the first topic of choice for a towing vehicle but don't be fooled by the glam because this thing can haul a load. With a towing capacity of a whopping 7,700 lbs, this mid-size SUV is a good choice for larger outdoor toys. The Porsche Cayenne has the luxury and towing power, but it also has a steeper price tag. Starting at $66,800 will get you into the Porsche Cayenne base model.
Another mid-size SUV that makes an excellent choice for towing is the BMW X5. Strong acceleration and stable handling make the X5 a vehicle to put on your test-drive list. Note that the base level trim comes in a rear-wheel-drive, while the higher trims offer an all-wheel-drive system for enhanced traction. So, if you live in an area that has snowy winters, consider checking out the all-wheel-drive package.
Equipped with the same 3.6L engine as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Dodge Durango has plenty of towing capabilities for a load of over 5,000 lbs. It also offers a third-row increasing the seating or stow away the seats for increased cargo space. One thing to keep in mind is the decrease in fuel economy going with this vehicle versus its mid-size competitors.
Last but not least, presenting the mid-size Audi Q7. Equipped with a towing package, this mid-size SUV is capable of towing up to 7,700 lbs! Not only does it have the power to haul heavier loads, but the Audi Q7 also boasts excellent fuel economy of EPA-Estimated 19 city/25 highway mpg.
Full-Size SUVs That Can Tow Over 5,000lbs
The Ford Expedition is an excellent choice if you need truck-like towing capabilities while still fitting eight passengers comfortably. Not only does it tow up to 9,300 lbs, but for people who are just learning how to tow, Ford's trailer backup assists guide helps get you into more challenging spaces. If you often find yourself cruising the backcountry roads, then including Ford's off-road package might be a good choice on the Expedition.
If you want to go up in luxury but maintain excellent towing capabilities, then the Lincoln Navigator might be the one to test drive. As easy as turning a knob, the driver can switch between five driving modes that accommodate conservative and sports enthusiasts. However, the Navigator does come up short against its cousin, the Ford Expedition, with its towing capacity maxing out at 8,700 lbs.
This full-size SUV is a combination of a rugged off-road companion and a family road trip vehicle. The Chevy Tahoe is offered in two different engine sizes, the 5.3L V8 offering a max towing capacity of 7,600 lbs and the 6.2L V8 with 8,400 lbs.
The Armada is spacious, rugged, and family-oriented all in one. With its body-on-frame construction, the Nissan Armada is ready to go whenever and wherever. Not only does it have 8,500 lbs of max towing capacity, but it also comes at an affordable price amongst its full-size competitors. One thing to be aware of is its poor fuel economy compared to similar full-size SUVs.
Two common compliments the Toyota Sequoia gets usually have to do with reliability and holding their market value. While these are flattering, this full-size SUV also has strong towing capabilities. The Toyota Sequoia won't haul as much as our first pick, but with a 7,400 lbs towing capacity and a 5.7L V8 engine, it has the power to get the job done.
Does a towing package increase towing capacity?
What is a towing package? A tow package includes everything on a vehicle necessary for towing safely. Using only a trailer hitch can be dangerous and could cause detrimental damage to your vehicle.
A towing package can increase towing capacity because of the upgraded equipment that can be included such, as performance brakes, transmissions, and heavy-duty suspensions. Full-size SUVs and trucks that are regularly used for heavy loads might need to upgrade to a trailer towing package. You might also have the option of a trailer package, specific to hitching a trailer versus influencing the vehicle's towing capacity.
Some vehicles already come equipped with a tow package, so be sure to refer to your owner's manual and dealership for more information on your vehicle prior to towing.
What can you tow with a 5000 lbs towing capacity?
Looking to get an outdoor toy or trailer but not sure if 5,000 lbs towing capacity is enough? Surprisingly, there are several campers, water toys, and trailers that will fit the bill. Camping enthusiasts can explore a variety of ultralight campers under 1,800 lbs!
Water sports lovers are in luck because they can find various jet skis, boats, and white water rafts, all under 5,000 lbs. The grey area is when you are considering what boat to go with. Finding a watercraft that can accommodate your group of friends while avoiding having to upgrade vehicles can be a frustrating hunt but there are many great boats from which to choose!
How To Back Up a Trailer
You found the right SUV for your towing needs, but if you are new to towing, you might find yourself up against a challenge when it comes time to back up the trailer. If the vehicle doesn't include a backup camera or trailer parking assist, then backing up might seem like an impossible mission.
Don't get frustrated and give up hope; it will take some time before you are a pro at backing up a trailer, and remember, practice makes perfect. Check out "11 Tips for Backing Up A Travel Trailer or 5th Wheel."
There Is No One Size Fits All
Overall, finding the right SUV for towing can be stressful and involves a lot of research, so hopefully, this article helps get you started with your shopping process. SUVs aren't going to leave anytime soon, so if you aren't in a hurry, take the time to find what fits your needs.
For more tips on towing, check out these towing guides:
If you have any suggestions of SUVs towing over 5,000 lbs, then leave a comment below!