Buying Guides

5 Best SUVs for Towing a Travel Trailer

Escape to the great outdoors with these brawny SUVs

Jane Ulitskaya, Digital Content Specialist

As the COVID pandemic makes air travel unpopular, families have turned to outdoor recreation such as RVing and camping for socially distant vacation alternatives. In fact, RV rentals have increased by 650% since the pandemic began, and 46 million Americans will be taking an RV trip this year. Roadtripping with a travel trailer allows for a flexible way to enjoy nature and avoid crowds, but not every vehicle is up to the task. Although pickup trucks are usually the top choice for heavy towing, SUVs can be just as capable while providing comfort and seating for the whole family. The following five SUVs are ideal for family getaways with ample passenger space, power, and towing capacity.

2021 Ford Expedition

Best

for Heavy towing

  • PROS: Powerful Ecoboost engine, large passenger and cargo space, remarkably easy to maneuver, best-in-class towing capacity.
  • CONS: High price tag for its class, large size can make it hard to navigate tight spots.

Topping our list of best SUVs for towing a travel trailer, the Ford Expedition offers best-in-class maximum towing capacity, a spacious interior, and seating for up to eight. This family hauler comes with a 3.5-liter Ecoboost V6 that makes 375 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The Expedition can tow up to 9,300 lbs when equipped with the Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing Package. To help with towing confidence, the Expedition offers safety tech including trailer sway control with Roll Stability Control, standard Blind Spot Information System with trailer coverage that lets you watch your blind spots around the trailer, and available Pro Trailer Backup Assist. For added peace of mind, the Integrated Trailer Brake Controller synchronizes the vehicle and trailer brakes for effortless braking when towing a large travel trailer.

2020 Dodge Durango SRT 392

 
  • PROS: Aggressive muscle car looks, easy infotainment system, powerful V8 offers impressive acceleration, sporty interior with seating for seven.
  • CONS: Gets really thirsty at the pump, cabin ergonomics could be improved, firm ride can be harsh over bumps.

The Dodge Durango SRT 392's muscle car exterior hints at the vehicle's capability, and drivers won't be disappointed when they get behind the wheel for a family getaway. The spacious 7-seater packs a punch with its 6.4-liter HEMI V8 that makes 475 horsepower and 470 lb-ft of torque. The Durango SRT 392 can tow trailers weighing up to 8,700 lbs and offers safety features like Trailer Sway Control which applies brake pressure to alternating wheels and makes engine throttle adjustments to keep the trailer steady. For a heavy three-row SUV, the Durango SRT 392 offers excellent daily driving performance with its quick acceleration and precise steering and handling.

2020 Chevrolet Tahoe

Best

for Large families

  • PROS: Powerful engine choices, excellent predicted reliability ratings, great steering, excellent interior ergonomics, manueverable for a sizeable vehicle.
  • CONS: Tight third row, jarring ride over bumps.

Families who prefer the great outdoors to hotel rooms will find the Chevy Tahoe to be the perfect travel sidekick. The Tahoe seats up to eight passengers and offers a comfortable ride, cavernous interior space, and powerful engine options with a max towing capacity of 8,600 lbs. The base engine for the Tahoe is a 5.3-liter V8 good for 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. This engine can tow travel trailers weighing up to 8,600 lbs with Chevy's Max Trailering package. The Chevy Tahoe RST comes with a 420 horsepower, 6.2-liter V8 engine which can tow up to 8,400 lbs.

2020 Nissan Armada

 
  • PROS: Powerful V8, superb optional Zero Gravity front seats, lower price point than the competition, less pretentious than the QX80.
  • CONS: V8 drinks gas, interior ergonomics could be improved, outdated infotainment.

If you're looking for an SUV that will pull its weight on a cross-country road trip, the Nissan Armada delivers. Under the hood, the 3-row Nissan Armada holds a potent 5.6-liter V8 that makes a healthy 390 horsepower and 394 lb-ft of torque. Although it's no match for the Dodge Durango's 0-60 time, the Armada has quick acceleration with a 0-60 under six seconds. The Armada's generous towing capacity of 8,500 lbs is complemented by a tow/haul mode to make trailering easier for families. With seating for seven or eight passengers, the cabin is surprisingly upscale for the Armada's reasonable price point.

2021 Infiniti QX80

Best

for Vacationing in style

  • PROS: Monstrous V8 engine, truly luxurious ride, nicely done model refresh adds refinement, seriously cushy seats make you feel like an exec.
  • CONS: Small third row, lackluster mpg, improved infotainment system still feels a bit dated.

As the cousin vehicle to the Nissan Armada, the Infiniti QX80 offers the same towing capacity in a luxury package. The QX80 also gets a much-needed tech upgrade for 2020 with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration (neither of which are offered on the Armada). The QX80's 5.6-liter V8 makes 400 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque which is brawny enough to tow a travel trailer weighing up to 8,500 lbs. Inside, the upscale interior is clad in high-quality materials including genuine leather and open-pore ashwood trim. The QX80 seats seven or eight passengers with generous space in the first two rows, but the tight third row is best left for kids.

What Makes a Capable Trailering SUV?

  • Potent engine options
  • Passenger space for the whole crew
  • Minimum towing capacity of 8,500 pounds.
  • Towing assist technology

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