SUVs are so popular due to their abundance of passenger space and versatility, but if you're looking to get the most utility out of your sports utility vehicle, then check out this list of the best heavy hauling SUVs. While this list breaks down the top overall towers on the market for 2021, there's a healthy mix of SUVs ranging from midsize to large and from entry-level to luxurious.

Midsize SUVs

Midsize SUVs have grown significantly in recent years to offer more power and space than ever before, so it's no surprise that these midsize offerings have no problem keeping up with their full-size counterparts when it comes to towing capabilities. Today's landscape of midsize SUVs is extremely diverse, but if you're looking to get a family-friendly vehicle with all-wheel drive that can tow without having to step up to a large SUV, then here are the best options available.

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee

2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee 80th Anniversary Edition

The 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee is a solid family hauler and a very good off-roader – but it’s also pretty good at towing, too. The base model with the standard 3.6-liter V6 tugs just 3,500 pounds, while the Grand Cherokee with the optional 5.7-liter V8 pulls up to 7,200 pounds, but only if you add the Trailer Tow Group IV package and four-wheel drive. Adding that towing option is an extra $895 on top of the Grand Cherokee’s starting price. Get pricing on the 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 7,200 Pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 17 MPG
  • Starting Price: $34,395

2021 Audi Q7/Q8

6. 2019 Audi Q8

Whether you're looking for style or passenger space, Audi has a solid one-two punch when it comes to towing with the three-row Q7 and coupe-like Q8 (as well as the sportier SQ7 and SQ8 models). To hit the max towing capacity of 7,700 pounds, the $750 towing package is required, and the Q7 also needs to be equipped with the optional V6 engine. Get pricing on the 2021 Audi Q7 and the 2021 Audi Q8.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 7,700 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 20 MPG
  • Starting Price: $69,295

2021 Porsche Cayenne/Cayenne Coupe

2020 Porsche Cayenne S Coupe front quarter

The Porsche Cayenne is one of the first midsize SUVs developed by parent company Volkswagen AG, and its success has led to additional performance and luxury SUVs including the Audi Q7/Q8, Bentley Bentayga, and Lamborghini Urus. The 2021 Porsche Cayenne is available as the Cayenne and the sleeker Cayenne Coupe, and both versions offer a towing capacity of 7,716 pounds when equipped with the $660 tow package. Get pricing on the 2021 Porsche Cayenne.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 7,716 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 20 MPG
  • Starting Price: $68,850

2021 Land Rover Range Rover Sport

Land Rover Range Rover Sport (2021)

Despite being the more performance-oriented version of the Range Rover, the 2021 Range Rover Sport still just as capable when it comes to towing with a max rating of 7,716 pounds. For max towing, the Range Rover needs to be equipped with the $1,100 Towing Pack that adds a hitch receiver and the self-steering Advanced Towing Assist (as well as other features). The Range Rover Sport's maximum towing capacity is available with all powertrain configurations except for the plug-in hybrid model, which maxes out at 5,511 pounds. Get pricing on the 2021 Range Rover Sport.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 7,716 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 24 MPG
  • Starting Price: $70,850

2021 Land Rover Range Rover

2021 Range Rover

The Range Rover is one of the earliest examples of a rugged SUV, and even though today's Range Rover is seen as more of a luxury vehicle, it is still ready to tow just about anything you need it to with a tow max of 7,716 pounds. For max towing, the Range Rover needs to be equipped with the $1,100 Towing Pack that adds a hitch receiver and Land Rover's self-steering Advanced Towing Assist (as well as other features). This capacity is available on both standard or long-wheelbase models and all powertrain configurations except for the plug-in hybrid model, which maxes out at 5,511 pounds. Get pricing on the 2021 Range Rover.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 7,716 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 24 MPG
  • Starting Price: $93,350

2021 Bentley Bentayga

2021 Bentley Bentayga Accessories - front quarter shot

While there is no shortage of luxury SUVs that are fully capable of towing, the 2021 Bentley Bentayga definitely tops the list as the most luxurious. Bentley offers the Bentayga with two towing options with choices of a retracting tow bar as well as a fixed tow bar, and both give the Bentayga a maximum towing capacity of 7,716 pounds. Get pricing on the 2021 Bentley Bentayga.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 7,716 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 18 MPG
  • Starting Price: $179,725

2021 Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender 2020MY

The 2021 Land Rover Defender is a retro-inspired off-road SUV, and it's ready for just about any adventure with a hefty towing capacity of 8,201 pounds. This maximum tow rating is only available on the four-door Defender 110 equipped with the $1,100 Towing Pack that adds a hitch receiver and self-steering Advanced Towing Assist; the two-door Defender 90 still hauls as much as a Ranger Rover, though, with a max capacity of 7,716 pounds. Get pricing on the 2021 Land Rover Defender.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,201 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 19 MPG
  • Starting Price: $51,250

2021 Land Rover Discovery

2021 Land Rover Discovery Sport Front

If you want a Land Rover that delivers the most towing capacity, then the 2021 Land Rover Discovery is the way to go. Equipped with the available turbocharged V6 and the $1,150 Towing Pack with hitch receiver and the self-steering Advanced Towing Assist (as well as Terrain Response and All Terrain Progress Control), the Discovery is able to tow up to 8,201 pounds. Get pricing on the 2021 Land Rover Discovery.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,201 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 21 MPG
  • Starting Price: $53,650

2021 Dodge Durango

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat

Despite its midsize classification, the 2021 Dodge Durango is one of the best SUVs for towing with a maximum capacity of 8,700, which is tied for the second highest overall towing capacity of all SUVs for 2021. This tow max is across all three of the Durango's three V8 engine options including the new-for-2021 Durango Hellcat, which packs a 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 and gives the SUV the ability to run a 0-60 mph in 3.5 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 11.5. Most importantly, the Dodge Durango is the most affordable SUV on this list. Get pricing on the 2021 Dodge Durango

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,700 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 21 MPG
  • Starting Price: $33,490

Large SUVs

If you want even more towing capabilities from an SUV, here are the top large SUVs that offer the highest tow ratings. These large SUVs are sometimes based off full-size pickup trucks, and they maximize towing and payload capabilities with more powerful engines and sturdier frames than midsize SUVs.

2021 BMW X7

Alpina XB7 based on the BMW X7

If you thought tow vehicles were going to be boring, guess again. The three-row BMW X7 is fully capable of hauling seven passengers comfortably, and buyers who opt for the Alpina XB7 are rewarded with a maximum capacity of 7,500 pounds. This Aplina-tuned X7 packs a 4.4-liter bi-turbo V8 that makes 612 horsepower, but you obviously won't be able to enjoy the stated 0-60 mph time of 4.0 seconds when towing a trailer. As much power as the XB7 delivers, it isn't even the most powerful SUV on this list. Get pricing on the 2021 BMW X7.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 7,500 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 21 MPG
  • Starting Price: $75,895

2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class

2020 Mercedes-Benz GLS: First Drive

As the flagship SUV of the Mercedes-Benz lineup, the 2021 GLS-Class boasts the brand's top towing capacity with a rating of 7,700, which outperforms the more rugged G-Class by 700 pounds. This rating is listed for the GLS 450 and GLS 580 variants, but no tow rating is available for the Mercedes-AMG GLS 63 or the Mercedes-Maybach GLS 600. To get the maximum tow capacity, the GLS offers an optional Class IV trailer hitch for an extra $575, and all GLS models come standard with Trailer Stability Assist to reduce trailer sway. Get pricing on the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 7,700 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 21 MPG
  • Starting Price: $77,050

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser

2021 Toyota Land Cruiser Front

The Toyota Land Cruiser is a global icon for off-road performance, and this full-size SUV is capable of countless adventures with a maximum towing capacity of 8,100 pounds, which is an extra 1,100 pounds more than what the closely related Lexus LX 570 offers. Toyota offers a limited number of options on the Land Cruiser so all models are equipped with a powerful V8 engine, four-wheel drive, and the Trailer Towing Package. Get pricing on the 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,100 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 14 MPG
  • Starting Price: $87,030

2021 Cadillac Escalade

2021 Cadillac Escalade

Like the Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Yukon, the 2021 Cadillac Escalade has been completely redesigned. The all-new Cadillac Escalade is available with two engine options including a diesel inline six-cylinder, and the standard-length Escalade returns 8,200 pounds of tow capacity with the longer Escalade ESV maxing out at 8,100 pounds. All versions of the Escalade come standard with the Trailering Package, and the Trailering Integration Package is optional on base trims (Luxury and Premium Luxury) and standard on higher trims bringing an integrated trailer brake controller, hitch assist guidelines on the backup camera, and a trailering app. Get pricing on the 2021 Cadillac Escalade.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,200 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 23 MPG
  • Starting Price: $77,490

2021 GMC Yukon

2021 GMC Yukon AT4

As the corporate sibling to the Chevrolet Suburban and Tahoe, the 2021 GMC Yukon lineup delivers identical towing capabilities. The all-new GMC Yukon is available with the same three engines as the Tahoe/Suburban, and the standard-length Yukon gets a max tow capacity of 8,400 pounds with the longer Yukon XL maxing out at 8,300 pounds. Like its Chevy counterparts, there's a Max Trailering Package available for an extra $465 adding an integrated trailer brake controller, Advanced Trailering System, special hitch guidance from the backup camera, and enhanced cooling from the radiator. Get pricing on the 2021 GMC Yukon.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,400 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 23 MPG
  • Starting Price: $51,995

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban

2021 Chevy Suburban

The Chevrolet Suburban is the original SUV as this family-hauling nameplate dates back to 1935, and the Suburban (along with the closely related Tahoe) was redesigned for 2021. The Tahoe and Suburban SUVs are available with three engine options including a diesel inline-six, but it's the base V8 that delivers the best tow capacity with a max rating of 8,400 pounds for the Tahoe and 8,300 pounds for the longer Suburban. For an extra $465, the optional Max Trailering Package adds an integrated trailer brake controller, Advanced Trailering System, special hitch guidance from the backup camera, and enhanced cooling from the radiator. Get pricing on the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and 2021 Chevrolet Suburban.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,400 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 24 MPG
  • Starting Price: $50,295

2021 Nissan Armada

2021 Nissan Armada Towing

Although it has been heavily updated, the 2021 Nissan Armada has the same maximum tow capacity of 8,500 pounds as the previous model year. Unlike other SUVs, the Armada's max towing is the same whether you choose the two- or four-wheel drive models, and Nissan offers a Class IV weight-distributing hitch for an extra $370. A Trailer Brake Controller is standard on SV, SL, and Platinum trim levels, while the Trailer Sway Control is standard on SL and Platinum. Get pricing on the 2021 Nissan Armada.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,500 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 16 MPG
  • Starting Price: $52,500

2021 Infiniti QX80

Refreshed 2021 Infiniti QX80

The 2021 Infiniti QX80 is the more luxurious version of the Nissan Armada, so it isn't surprising that both of these large SUVs are identical when it comes to trailering. The three-row, eight-passenger QX80 delivers 8,500 pounds of tow capacity in two- or four-wheel drive form, and buyers can get even more towing capabilities with the optional Class IV weight-distributing hitch for an extra $370. Get pricing on the 2021 Infiniti QX80.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,500 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 16 MPG
  • Starting Price: $70,445

2021 Lincoln Navigator

2020 Lincoln Navigator

Closely related to the Expedition, the 2021 Lincoln Navigator is the top luxury SUV when it comes to hauling with a max towing of 8,700 pounds when equipped with the optional Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing Package. This tow rating is for the standard length Expedition, while the stretched Navigator L drops slightly to 8,400 pounds. Get pricing on the 2021 Lincoln Navigator.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 8,700 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 18 MPG
  • Starting Price: $77,480

2021 Ford Expedition

Ford Expedition

When it comes to towing, the 2021 Ford Expedition is the top dog. Equipped with the optional Heavy-Duty Trailer Towing Package, the Expedition has a maximum tow rating of 9,300 pounds, while the longer-wheelbase Expedition MAX still outperforms all other SUVs with a rating of 9,000 pounds. This affordable package (just $795) adds a heavy-duty radiator, integrated trailer brake controller ,and the innovative Pro Trailer Backup Assist that allows for easy backing up of a trailer with the turn of a knob. Get pricing on the 2021 Ford Expedition.

  • Max Towing Capacity: 9,300 pounds
  • Combined Fuel Economy: 19 MPG
  • Starting Price: $54,505

Top Towing Features for SUVs

When it comes to modern SUVs intended for towing, many offer helpful features such as an integrated trailer brake controller and trailer sway control, but some are available with high-tech features to make towing a trailer even easier.

GMC offers its ProGrade Trailering option that includes an automatic electric parking brake, hitch area lighting, and an integrated trailer brake controller, while the new 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L has a driver-selectable Tow mode that alters the engine's torque delivery and suspension tuning. The most advanced towing feature available in 2021, though, is Ford's Pro Trailer Backup Assist that eliminates all of the anxiety that goes along with backing up a trailer.

FAQs

What SUV has the best towing capacity?

The 2021 Ford Expedition has the highest tow rating of any SUV right now with a maximum towing capacity of 9,300 pounds for the standard model (the long-wheelbase Expedition MAX is rated at 9,000 pounds). This class-leading towing figure surpasses the Expedition's more luxurious counterpart, the Lincoln Navigator, by a whopping 600 pounds, and it dominates its main competition, the Chevrolet Tahoe, by 900 pounds.

What midsize SUV has the best towing capacity?

After the full-size Ford Expedition, the midsize 2021 Dodge Durango is tied (with the Expedition's closely related Lincoln Navigator) for the second-highest towing capacity of an SUV with a maximum rating of 8,700 pounds. This figure allows the Durango to outperform larger SUVs such as the Nissan Armada and Chevrolet Tahoe.

Can you tow at max capacity?

The short answer here is "yes, but be careful." If your SUV has a tow rating of 8,000 pounds, and you have no passengers or cargo inside the vehicle, then you can tow 8,000 pounds of trailer weight. Once you add passengers or cargo to the SUV or trailer, then the maximum weight of the trailer you can tow drops accordingly. Additionally, you will also want to pay close attention to payload and tongue weight capacities when shopping for SUVs and/or trailers.

Is a 4x4 better for towing?

Yes and no. While having four-wheel drive is more advantageous for pulling your boat from the launch ramp or navigating a muddy camp site with your camper, most SUVs deliver their peak towing capacity in two-wheel drive configurations due to the lower Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. Four-wheel-drive SUVs also command a price premium over their two-wheel-drive counterparts.

What class tow hitch do I need?

Tow hitch ratings are broken up into five general classifications, but the maximum towing capacity is still limited by the individual vehicle. Aside from the weight ratings, the main differences in the five classes are the size of the receiver hitches: Class I and II hitches use a 1.25-inch receiver, Class III and IV use a 2-inch receiver, and the Class V uses a 2.5-inch receiver. Below are the pounds per class:

  • Class I tow hitch - Up to 2,000 pounds
  • Class II tow hitch - Up to 3,500 pounds
  • Class III tow hitch - Up to 6,000 pounds (up to 10,000 pounds w/ Weight Distributing hitch)
  • Class IV tow hitch - Up to 10,000 pounds (up to 14,000 pounds w/ Weight Distributing hitch)
  • Class V tow hitch - Up to 12,000 pounds (up to 17,000 pounds w/ Weight Distributing hitch)

 

Best SUVs for Towing

  • 2021 Ford Expedition: 9,300 pounds
  • 2021 Lincoln Navigator: 8,700 pounds
  • 2021 Dodge Durango Hellcat: 8,700 pounds
  • 2021 Nissan Armada: 8,500 pounds
  • 2021 Infiniti QX80: 8,500 pounds
  • 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe: 8,400 pounds
  • 2021 GMC Yukon: 8,400 pounds
  • 2021 Chevrolet Suburban: 8,300 pounds
  • 2021 GMC Yukon XL: 8,300 pounds
  • 2021 Land Rover Discovery: 8,201 pounds
  • 2021 Land Rover Defender 110: 8,201 pounds
  • 2021 Cadillac Escalade: 8,200 pounds
  • 2021 Toyota Land Cruiser: 8,100 pounds
  • 2021 Bentley Bentayga: 7,716 pounds
  • 2021 Porsche Cayenne/Cayenne Coupe: 7,716 pounds
  • 2021 Land Rover Range Rover: 7,716 pounds
  • 2021 Land Rover Range Rover Sport: 7,716 pounds
  • 2021 Audi Q7/Q8: 7,700 pounds
  • 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLS: 7,700 pounds
  • 2021 BMW X7: 7,500 pounds
  • 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee: 7,200 pounds
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