How Much Towing Capacity Do I Need?

How Much Towing Capacity Do I Need?

If you're shopping for your next sports utility vehicle, ask yourself whether you're looking to drag a small AirStream to your local state parks or pining for a cross-country trip with your massive fifth-wheel toy hauler in tow. Although it may seem logical to consider each vehicle's weight ratings, it's actually a better idea to think about what you'll be towing and use that as a jumping-off point to choose the model that's right for you.

Lightweight Towing: Small RVs, Boats, or Utility Vehicles

Towing Capacity Boat

To tow lightweight watercraft or an economic AirStream camper, you don't need much more than a subcompact or compact SUV. These models can also handle a utility trailer packing a couple of dirt bikes or a four-wheeler. If you live in a winter wonderland, towing your snowmobile around shouldn't be an issue, either. There are a lot of small SUV options out there that will fit these needs. Look for a towing capacity between 2,000 to 3,500 pounds.

Mid-Range Towing: Mid-Size RVs

Towing Capacity RV

To tow a middling RV, you'll need a mid-size SUV. The V6-equipped SUV that can tow around 5,000 pounds is more than enough to haul a family camper to your favorite campgrounds. You'll find that many recreational boats also require the help of a mid-size crossover, weighing less than 5,000 pounds but more than what the average compact crossover can handle.

Heavy Towing: Long Camping Trailers, Large Boats, Horse Trailers, Farm Machinery

Towing capacity Horse

When you need to move real heavyweights, like two-horse trailers, you need the towing capacity that only a body-on-frame vehicle, like a truck or a traditional SUV, can provide. Traditional, three-row SUVs are an excellent choice for big families, because you can pack a family of nine into one and still have enough power leftover to bring a 25-foot camper along for the ride. Many of these types of full-size SUVs can tow up to 9,000 pounds. If you require still greater capacity, shop for a pickup truck. Light-duty trucks, like the Ford F-150, can tow more than 12,000 pounds, making them an excellent choice to transport tractors or other farming machinery. Heavy-duty trucks - like the Ford F-350 - are what you need to move major gooseneck trailers weighing up to 32,000 pounds.