Editor’s Note: Flat-towing capabilities are listed in the blueprint box of anniversary review. Brett Becker is a contributor to RV and consistently writes about towing at www.onlinetowingguide.com.
We’ve all apparent the guy at the baiter access with the big, one-ton agent he’s application to tow… a brace of Jet Skis. Or, the Suburban 2500 affairs a tiny Coleman pop-up trailer.
We adulation the functionality of fullsize trucks and SUVs, but sometimes they’re aloof too abundant tow agent for the job at hand. They are-no added way to put it-overkill. Lots of abate cartage are able to tow trailers and they do so far added calmly than any fullsize barter anytime could. What’s more, they’re a abundant bigger way to get about boondocks acrimonious up the kids and groceries. You know, what you do with your agent best of the time.
We’ve called a accumulation of 15 mid- to small-size cartage that back appropriately able are able of towing all types of trailers. You ability be afraid how abundant weight some of these daily-drivers can tow.
In truth, as we were accomplishing analysis for the story, we were, in fact, a bit afraid at some of the capacities. Advances in agitation technology, such as absolute blast and capricious valve timing, accept fabricated it easier for engineers to clasp absorbing application and torque abstracts from almost baby engines. Transmissions are stronger than ever, so abundant so that alike front-wheel-drive vehicles-once anticipation too breakable to tow-are now able to cull advancement of 3,500 pounds account of trailer.
To accomplish it easier to cross this story, we’ve burst the 15 cartage bottomward into groups of five, abiding according to the weight they can tow. We started with 1,500 pounds because there absolutely isn’t abundant to be towed that weighs beneath than that. In addition, the cartage we accept accent that are able of affairs 1,500 pounds would not be advised abstract if your bivouac alone weighs, say, 750 pounds.
We again angled the accommodation to 3,000 pounds and gave you bristles added cartage able of affairs such loads. Some alike a bit more, yet none of them too big to clasp into a bunched parking amplitude if you had to.
At the top, we highlight bristles cartage that can cull up to 5,000 pounds of trailer-again, some able of more. By this point, we are talking about midsize SUVs and trucks. But all of them get bigger than 22 mpg on the highway, and all of them are baby abundant alike for burghal driving.
Look, fullsize trucks and SUVs rock, but we anticipate it’s important for bodies to attending candidly at what they need. Sometimes, an F-150 or a Yukon XL is too much. By attractive at the numbers, you can actuate how abundant tow agent you absolutely charge and abstain overkill.
1,500-Pound Capacity1. Acura ZDXNo agnosticism that Acura’s new ZDX is one of the best different cartage on the road. Not your archetypal tow vehicle, the ZDX is a four-door auto with Acura’s super-handling all-wheel drive, a arrangement that was acquainted for real-world alive altitude on the famous-or infamous-Nurburgring alley advance in Nurburg, Germany.
The ZDX appearance a across-the-board bottle roof, hidden rear aperture handles, and advancing fender flares as allotment of a adventurous administration amalgamation created by Acura’s aboriginal changeable designer, Michelle Christensen.
Inside, the ZDX comes adapted with a hand-stitched covering dashboard, aperture panels, and a abundantly contoured centermost console. The berth additionally gets a abounding accompaniment of LED lighting, which creates an affected atmosphere at night.
More than a bald administration exercise, the ZDX is rated to tow 1,500 pounds and comes with a assembly of accumulator options. For example, Acura designers chip 2.2 cubic anxiety of accumulator beneath the floor, which is as accessible as it is secure. They additionally tucked added accumulator abaft disposable ancillary panels on anniversary ancillary of the burden compartment.
For commuter safety, the ZDX includes multiple-threshold advanced airbags and dual-chamber ancillary airbags. The advanced seats affection alive arch restraints to anticipate whiplash and knee sters on the dash. There are additionally ancillary dark airbags with a rollover sensor and automated tensioning advanced bench belts.
The ZDX additionally comes with addition different attribute: There is about annihilation abroad like it on the road.
That’s allotment of why it sells so well. In fact, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers AutoFacts, the alone agent Ford has awash added of year to date is the F-150.
For 2010, the Escape allowances from a bulk of improvements, assurance features, and another equipment. One such advance is Accessible Fuel, Ford’s capless ammunition accompaniment system, which automatically seals shut back you accomplishment fueling. Ford says it offers a added consistent, odor-free allowance than chiral caps-it lowers hydrocarbon emissions too.
For towing purposes, two new appearance bend out. One, the driver-side rearview mirror comes with an chip blind-spot mirror in the aerial alien bend for greater visibility. Two, a rearview camera arrangement is abundant for lining up the brawl and articulation and for spotting hazards anon abaft you.
With the 2.5-liter Duratec four-cylinder, the Escape is rated to tow up to 1,500 pounds. However, if you charge more, opt for the V-6 and the towing amalgamation and get up to 3,500 pounds of capacity.
In agreement of safety, the Escape is a bazaar baton in baby SUVs. It comes with ancillary dark airbags for first- and second-row cartage and AdvanceTrack cycle adherence ascendancy system. The another hands-free SYNC arrangement additionally is key to aspersing distractions, and accessible careful esplanade abetment uses sensors in the advanced and rear bumpers and the electric power-assist council to advice the disciplinarian alongside park. Yes, the above Lexus-and-champagne-glasses trick.
With the Ford Escape, it has been nice to watch a acceptable artefact get better. We can hardly delay for 2011.
So of course, the Accord Crosstour is a acute best for a light-duty tow vehicle. Powered by the ery bland 3.5-liter V-6, the Crosstour is able of affairs up to 1,500 pounds in either front- or all-wheel-drive trim. It is agnate to Acura’s ZDX-Acura is a Honda company-so it has a lot of the above architecture characteristics. It is, however, $15,000 cheaper.
For your money, you get some able-bodied anticipation out accommodation such as in-floor accumulator compartments with carpeted lids, which you can cast over to acknowledge artificial surfaces. The artificial abandon are accessible to clean, which makes them ideal for accustomed bedraggled altar like plants and accoutrements of mulch.
Inside, the Accord Crosstour appearance dual-zone automated temperature ascendancy with clamminess sensitivity. The alfresco rearview mirrors are alive so they acclimatize back you put the car in Reverse. In all-wheel-drive trim, the Accord Crosstour provides 6 inches of arena clearance, which can be accessible at arresting camping spots.
Honda additionally included some new technology in the Accord Crosstour that can accomplish towing a bit easier. For example, the automated chiral will authority the car in accessory a bit best back it detects the G-force of a turn. It additionally “rev matches” to the agent back downshifting.
As advertised, the Accord Crosstour is rated to cull 1,500 pounds, which is abundant to cull baby campers. It’s additionally amid the handiest and acceptable automobiles on the market. Honda clarification comes standard.
It comes with about 9 inches of arena approval and some appearance able-bodied ill-fitted for ablaze towing needs. For example, all models appear accepted with tire-pressure ecology systems. What’s more, five-speed models appear with Subaru’s acclivity alpha abetment system, which can briefly anticipate the agent from rolling astern back demography off from a standstill on a hill.
Then there is the engine, Subaru’s admirable boxer four-cylinder, which delivers 170 hp at 6,000 rpm. It delivers aiguille torque, 170 lb-ft, at 4,400 rpm. It additionally allowances from capricious valve timing, which broadens the torque ambit and improves agent response.
If that’s not abundant power, opt for the turbocharged engine, which churns out 224 hp. You will, however, cede a little in agreement of ammunition mileage, which drops to 24 mpg on the highway.
New appearance for 2010 accommodate an accessible aeronautics arrangement in the Limited trim curve that has Bluetooth wireless adequacy with a microphone in the aerial console, a revised apparatus cluster, and new map lights.
All but the abject archetypal affection a new collapsed rear seatback and a retractable rear centermost tray with cupholders. The rear seatback splits 60/40, and back both abandon are bankrupt collapsed the Forester offers 68.3 cubic anxiety of burden volume.
The Forester comes in bristles trim lines, which add such animal comforts as 10-way ability seats, a moonroof, and the nav system. But alike if you get the top-of-the-line model, MSRP never exceeds $30,000. And that ability be why the Forester is Subaru’s best affairs model.
5. Volvo V50More and more, automakers accept amorphous to ascertain what Volvo has accepted all along: Assurance sells cars.
In the V50, agent choices are either a 2.4-liter 168hp five-cylinder or a 2.5-liter 227hp turbocharged five. The artlessly aspirated agent is akin to an automated five-speed transaxle with front-wheel drive. The R amalgamation turbo comes accepted with a six-speed chiral or an another automatic, both of which affection all-wheel drive. With the turbo, 0 to 60 mph comes in 7.1 seconds.
As important as assurance and achievement accept become, Volvo additionally is putting out some absolutely attractive cars, and the V50 is a accomplished example. Inside, the V50 appearance aluminum inlays on the aperture panels, dash, and centermost console, which looks like article aerial from a Blast and Olufsen stereo catalog.
In agreement of towing-friendly features, the V50 comes accepted with a tire-pressure ecology system. Chic options accommodate Volvo’s proprietary blind-spot advice system, which illuminates a admonishing lamp adjoining to the adapted alfresco mirror back it detects cartage in the dark spot. If you do a lot of caliginosity driving, accessible alive bi-Xenon headlights hinge in synch with council input.
In some sense, you could say that Volvo additionally has abstruse what a lot of added automakers accept accepted all along: Acceptable architecture and achievement additionally advice advertise cars.
3,000-Pound Capacity6. Audi Q5As a company, Audi flies a bit beneath the radar. It doesn’t accept the celebrity appearance or cachet of, say, Mercedes-Benz, but as an automaker Audi’s articles allege for themselves. Take the Q5 for example.
The Q5 comes alone with one engine, but it’s a acceptable one. The direct-injected 3.2-liter V-6-proven in the A4 and A6 sedans-features capricious valve timing and produces 270 hp and 243 lb-ft of torque. The aftereffect is a 6.7-second 0-60 time and 23 mpg on the highway.
Because torque peaks at a accessible 3,000 rpm, the Q5 makes a abundant light-duty tow vehicle. Akin to the six-speed Tiptronic automated chiral and Quattro all-wheel drive, the Q5 is able of towing 4,400 pounds, which is best in chic amid alien baby SUVs. What’s more, all Q5s appear with what Audi calls “tow preparation” standard, which includes abject for a bivouac anchor controller. Receivers are accessible through Audi dealers.
Audi additionally offers as an advantage Drive Select, which tailors the adaptive suspension, activating steering, agent response, and chiral about-face characteristics to one of four settings: comfort, automatic, dynamic, and individual, which allows a custom acknowledgment profile.
In accepted trim, the 2010 Q5 comes with three-zone altitude controls, 12-way ability advanced seats-yes, 12-way-a aeronautics system, annoy burden ecology system, and 20-inch wheels.
Cachet will alone get you so far. Audi administration understands that, which is apparently why they adopt to let the articles bend on their own.
7. BMW X3Long a backer of evolutionary architecture and engineering, BMW has managed to advance the appearance and character of its articles through application the iconic elements that accomplish a coupe, sedan, or SUV a BMW.
BMWs are still instantly recognizable, due abundantly to two architecture details: the accompanying branch grille and the “Hofmeister kink,” the signature advanced carve of sheetmetal at the abject of the C-pillar. And those elements attending adapted at home on the X3.
BMW additionally fabricated acceptable use of addition mainstay: the inline six-cylinder engine. And for acceptable reason: The 3.0-liter six-about 182 cubic inches-makes 260 hp at 6,600 rpm. It additionally makes a stout 225 lb-ft torque at a low and accessible 2,750 rpm, which is addition adapted of the inline-six.
For towing purposes, that agency you don’t accept to choke the giblets out of it to absorb assimilate the freeway. Addition admirable affection of the inline-six-and BMWs in particular-is that they are ery smooth, quiet, and badly refined.
The X3 has a brace of added appearance that accomplish it a able light-duty tow vehicle. For example, its all-wheel-drive arrangement routes agent ability primarily to the rear wheels. However, back the sensors ascertain caster slip, it accouterment torque to auto with added traction, a nice affair to accept on winter camping trips.
Another key affection able-bodied ill-fitted for towing-particularly for a tow agent with advanced and rear absolute suspension-is the X3’s alive cycle stabilization system, which reduces anatomy cycle or angular while cornering.
Although BMW designs advance in an evolutionary fashion, abounding of its assurance and alive dynamics systems can be advised revolutionary, alike for those who use the X3 for towing.
8. Mazda CX-9Press advice states that Mazda advised the CX-9 to accept the anatomy of a sports car. That ability be a bit of a stretch, but it is nice to apperceive that the CX-9 additionally has the anatomy of an SUV, with basement for up to seven cartage and a towing accommodation of 3,500 pounds.
The 2010 CX-9 comes with a 3.7-liter V-6 engine, which produces 273 application at 6,250 rpm. Aiguille torque, 270 lb-ft, doesn’t action till 4,250 rpm, but the agent produces 250 lb-ft from 3,000 to 6,000 rpm, which should accommodate abundant balance for accelerating with a bivouac in tow.
In accepted trim the CX-9 is a front-wheel-drive vehicle, but buyers can opt for all-wheel drive. During accustomed driving, ability is delivered to the advanced wheels, but the arrangement uses a alternation of sensors to ascertain caster slip, council angle, yaw rate, and crabbed dispatch and routes a controlled allotment of accessible torque to the rear axle.
The CX-9 additionally can be had with a brace of accessible options for towing. One, the bivouac tow basic package, lets you cull 3,500 pounds alike in front-wheel-drive trim, but you can alone get it on the Grand Touring archetypal with the aeronautics system. The tow basic amalgamation is accepted on all-wheel-drive models, and it comes with a able chiral acknowledgment and radiator fan and a revised agent ascendancy module.
The Grand Touring archetypal comes with a new blind-spot ecology system, which illuminates a admonishing ablaze in the adapted aperture mirror back a agent enters the dark atom on that side.
We don’t apperceive how able-bodied the CX-9 will chase bottomward a country road, but we do apperceive that it can tow a nice little camper and a decent-size ancestors to their admired campground.
9. Contrivance JourneyIt ability be boxy to acquisition a baby crossover that tows 3,500 pounds, but Contrivance offers a chic archetype in the Journey. For starters, you appetite the SXT, or if you appetite article absolute adventurous get the R/T, both of which appear with a V-6 that pulls the above 3,500 pounds and is accessible in front- or all-wheel drive.
Dodge engineers eked a bit added ability out of the V-6 this year. In fact, the four-cylinder alone acme the front-wheel-drive V-6 archetypal by 1 mpg on the artery and the all-wheel-drive V-6 by 2 mpg. Application is appropriate at 235. Torque is abounding at 232 lb-ft, and it comes on at a reasonable 4,000 rpm.
For towing purposes, the trailer-tow group-which requires a “convenience group” of options-includes an agent oil acknowledgment and four-pin adapter wiring.
For seating, buyers can accept either a two-row, five-passenger bureaucracy or three rows for up to seven passengers.
Dodge’s “Tilt ‘n’ Slide” additional row seats do aloof that to acquiesce third-row cartage to hop in and out easily. For families with kids who still charge booster seats, the Journey is accessible with chip adolescent booster seats that pop up from the cushions. Those above kids will adulation the accessible rear-seat ball system, which comes with a 9-inch screen, two wireless headphones, and accessible XMSirius Backseat TV.
Another air-conditioned feature-the Chill Zone glovebox acknowledgment cooler-keeps drinks cold. There is additionally accumulator beneath the advanced commuter bench and second-row in-floor accumulator bins with disposable liners that acquiesce them to be acclimated like a cooler.
Sure, it ability be boxy to acquisition a baby crossover that does all this. That is, if Contrivance hadn’t already congenital it.
But with the Wrangler Unlimited, you get another, absolutely Jeep-like, characteristic: It goes like fetor off road.
You additionally apprehend accessible motoring. In fact, the Wrangler Unlimited is the alone four-door “convertible” on the market. Accept either the Sunrider bendable top, which provides a sunroof, or a abounding top-down advantage or the another three-piece modular auto that appearance three panels that accommodate alike added choices for top-down driving.
The 3.8-liter V-6 produces 202 hp and 237 lb-ft of torque. Aiguille torque doesn’t action till 4,400 rpm, so you’ll accept to wind it out a bit to get it up to speed. Chiral choices are either a accepted six-speed chiral or a four-speed automatic. For towing, go with the automatic. If you charge accept a chiral transmission, it’s nice to apperceive it is able with Jeep’s acropolis alpha abetment feature.
For towing, you’ll additionally charge the bivouac tow package, which includes the 3.73:1 arbor ratio-4.10:1 on the Rubicon model-and the bivouac amplitude ascendancy system, which helps the disciplinarian advance ascendancy in adverse conditions.
That it can tow a adequately abundant bivouac is a bonus. The another trailering accessories amalgamation comes with a able agent oil acknowledgment and a block receiver. GM’s Stabilitrak arrangement is accepted on the Traverse as is a annoy burden ecology system. Two added features, which are another on lower-end models and accepted on the high-end, go a continued way against authoritative the Traverse a bigger tow vehicle.
For example, blind-spot mirrors, which are chip into the alfresco rearview mirrors, were advised to enhance afterimage forth the sides. They’re accepted on the 1LT, 2LT and LTZ, but not accessible on the LS. Second, the rearview camera, which displays the video augment on the central mirror, is not accessible on the LS, another on the 1LT, and accepted on the 2LT and LTS.
It’s nice to apperceive that a ancestors with a 5,000-pound bivouac has added choices now than as little as bristles years ago. There is annihilation amiss with a Suburban, but for some families, it’s too abundant truck. And for them, a Traverse is a nice alternative.
12. GMC CanyonSUVs, abject wagons, and crossovers are great, but sometimes you’ve aloof got to accept a truck. America invented the pickup, and in abounding agency this country was congenital on its commonsensical shoulders.
For carriage things that are dirty, smelly, or oily, the carpeted borders of an SUV won’t do. A barter is the alone apparatus for the job, and we Americans buy a lot of them. Of course, back we anticipate of trucks, we tend to anticipate of F-150s, Silverados, and Rams, but sometimes those are too abundant or at atomic added than we need. We still charge article that tows a adequately abundant bivouac and has the asperous qualities that alone a barter can deliver, but we charge it in a abate package. We charge article that’s accessible to esplanade and gets a bit added afar per gallon than a 1/2-ton.
The trailering accessories amalgamation includes a Chic III block and a seven-blade closed connector. Stabilitrak, which is a accepted feature, monitors agent dynamics through a set of sensors. Back the arrangement detects a skid, oversteer or understeer, the ascendancy module, acclaim applies burden to alone brakes to advice actual the condition. A bedliner additionally is standard.
If a five-cylinder isn’t enough, the Canyon additionally is accessible with GM’s outstanding 300hp 5.3-liter Vortec V-8, which boosts towing accommodation to 6,000 pounds-all in a agent that fits into a bunched parking space.
Imagine what you could do with a barter like that.
Pathfinder’s DOHC 4.0-liter V-6 agent is distinctively acquainted and was engineered for barter and SUV applications. The agent appearance cyberbanking burke ascendancy and continuously capricious valve timing, it and boasts 266 hp at 5,600 rpm and 288 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.
If that isn’t abundant ability for you, you can get the Pathfinder with a 5.6-liter V-8, but it’s alone accessible on the four-wheel drive LE model. Aerial from the fullsize Titan and Armada, the 5.6 is a candied agent with a clear complete and 310 hp on tap.
Regardless of your agent choice, the Pathfinder comes accepted with a Chic IV block and four-pin and seven-blade bivouac abject connectors.
The S archetypal is the amount baton at $27,540, but the SE represents apparently the best buy in agreement of blast for the buck. For $3,350 added than the abject model, you get 17-inch wheels, a 7-inch birr display, ability disciplinarian bench and bottom pedals, AM/FM stereo with a six-disc banker and MP3 connectivity. You additionally get afire council caster stereo controls, covering council caster and about-face knob, altitude ascendancy with rear air conditioning. Foglamps, rear account lights, anatomy blush alfresco mirrors, and ancillary active boards annular out the amalgamation to accomplish a tow agent that’s able-bodied abundant to cull 5,500 pounds yet able abundant to alive with every day.
And if you charge a midsize SUV for towing, the Highlander is added able than it anytime has been. With a V-6 engine, the Highlander can cull up to 5,000 pounds back it’s able with the tow basic package, which is appealing stout. It includes pre-wiring, a able radiator, an agent oil cooler, a 200-watt fan coupling, chiral cooler, and a 150-amp alternator.
The Highlander Hybrid additionally comes with a tow basic amalgamation and is acceptable for up to 3,500 pounds. A advancement camera is accepted on all Sport and Limited models.
The Highlander’s approved V-6 yields some adequately appropriate ammunition economy, with 17 mpg in the burghal and 23 highway. Capricious valve timing and a aerial 10.8:1 compression arrangement advice the engine, which is alone about 214 cubic inches in displacement, aftermath a absolute admirable 270 hp. Torque is appropriate at 248 lb-ft, but because it occurs at 4,700, affairs a bivouac up a freeway on access ability crave a bit of rpm.
In accepted trim, the Highlander comes able with a chiral angle and telescoping council wheel, a annoy burden ecology system, and a fold-flat rear bench setup. It additionally includes 17-inch auto and body-color advanced and rear fascias.
True, the Highlander was included as allotment of the accelerator pedal recall, but it seems Toyota has begin the handle on the fix. However, afore the abatement of 2009, Toyota cars and trucks were admired as some of the best reliable on the road. And if the latest allurement programs are any indication, Toyota is about giving them away.
In antecedent years, agent choices were a V-8 gasoline agent that was almighty and fabricated the Touareg a lot of fun to drive, a V-6 that was able for the job, and a V-10 agent that seemed like overkill.
For 2010, the Touareg has a new 3.0-liter V-6 TDI agent agent that sounds small, but in agreement of ability is aloof adapted for the job. For example, it creates an able 225 hp, but it can cull up to 7,716. How?
Because it makes an absurd 406 lb-ft of torque from 1,750 to 2,250 rpm, that’s how.
Power gets baffled through a six-speed Tiptronic automated chiral to all auto through Volkswagen’s 4Matic all-wheel-drive system. Big trailer? No problem. Muddy campground? Bring it. Slippery baiter ramp? You’re covered.
The air abeyance arrangement does not appear standard, but accepting towed with a Touareg able with the arrangement we can acquaint you it’s account the added money, abnormally if you’re activity to be towing in the aerial alcove of its accommodation rating. The automated leveling arrangement helps accumulate the advanced end buried while towing and helps accumulate the affiliation amid the agent and bivouac parallel.
Inside, the Touareg is a lot added comfortable than you ability apprehend from a VW, but it is cushy. Covering seating, brushed metal, and chrome accents accord to its affluent feeling.
The Touareg anatomy is banausic for 2010, but don’t let that stop you from because it because that aloof agency it has undergone the clarification and fine-tuning that comes from several years of manufacturing. With the TDI diesel, it makes for one able-bodied tow vehicle. Of advance you’ll charge one added option: a bivouac hitch.
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