Cars That Can Tow Travel Trailersby Tonya Yirka
Roaming Times.com, the world's number one RV review site, says that an average 24 foot travel trailer weights about 4,000 pounds. Even though the newer models are becoming lighter, the weight of fully loaded trailers must still be taken into consideration when considering a car’s towing capacity. Most full-size sedans, minivans, sport-utility vehicles (SUV) and wagons can accommodate towing travel trailers when they feature load-distribution bumpers or frame hitches.
The tow-friendly Ford Crown Victoria is a rear-wheel-drive, body-on-frame full-size sedan. Its towing capacities correlate to the size of hitches. For Ford Crown Victoria models from 1983 to 2009, Ford offered a medium duty Class II Receiver hidden hitch for trailers rated to tow up to 3,500 pounds GTW, or Gross Trailer Weight. Curt Manufacturing, specializing in towing products, offered a heavy-duty Class III hitch receiver for 1979 to 2010 models for the Crown Victoria, allowing them to tow up to 5,000 pounds GTW. For the ultra-light travel trailers which weigh around 2,500 pounds GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating, the maximum trailer weight including all passengers, equipment, cargo and fluids), the 2011 Ford Impala with a Class II hitch can tow up to 3,500 pounds. Another full-size sedan, the 2010 Mercury Grand Marquis, with a Class II frame receiver hitch, has a 3,500 pound GTW towing capacity. Although just a compact sedan, Hyundai’s Elantra tows up to 3,086 pounds GTW which is about 1,000 pounds more than the Cadillac Deville can tow.
Toyota's 2011 Rav4 has a tow prep-package option for the V6 model that includes an upgraded radiator, alternator and fan coupling, with a 3,500 pound towing capacity. It also comes with a towing receiver hitch, a wiring harness and a specially designed towing ball mount. With 9935 pounds of maximum towing capacity, the 2011 Land Cruiser has frame-mounted tow hooks on both front and rear, and a one 7/8 inch- or a two 5/16 inch-diameter towing ball mount and trailer ball. Another Cruiser, the FJ Cruiser, with an optional Class IV receiver hitch, can tow up to 7,500 pounds GTW. The Land Rover Range Rover can haul over 7,700 pounds GTW. Its sisters, the 2010 Range Rover Sport and the Defender, can haul up to 7,716 pounds GTW and 7,715 pounds respectively. Those SUVs with even more towing capacity include: the Nissan Armada which has a towing capacity of just over 9,000 pounds, the Dodge Durango with up to 8,950 pounds GTW and the Chevrolet Suburban which tows trailers weighing up to 8,400 pounds.
Models of the Chrysler Pacifica made after 2004 have a 3,500 pound GTW towing capacity, while the all-wheel-drive system in the Subaru Outback allows it to tow up to 3,000 pounds.
Toyota offers the Sienna SE Minivan with a towing prep-option that includes a heavy-duty fan, engine oil cooler and a heavy-duty radiator and allows towing up to 3,500 pounds. It also features a trailer ball especially for use with Toyota tow hitches. The 2010 Chrysler Town and Country has a standard towing capacity of 1,800 pounds, but with the addition of a towing package including additional engine cooling and load-leveling suspension, it can tow up to 3,800 pounds. The trailer hitch receiver, ball and hitch cost extra, and must be installed by the dealership. The 2010 Dodge Grand Caravan also has a maximum towing rate of 3,800 pounds. Minivans having a maximum rating of 3,500 pounds include 2010 Honda Odyssey, 2009 Sedona and the 2009 Nissan Quest.
- John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images