When it comes to towing smaller boats or trailers under 2,500 pounds, you don’t need a full-size pickup truck or sport utility vehicle. There are many smaller, fuel-efficient crossovers and pickups for pulling loads in the 1,500- to 2,500-pound range.
Not only will opting for a smaller truck save you money on gas, it will also save you on the purchase price and car insurance premiums.
Although avoiding a larger truck than what you need makes good financial sense, buying the right truck or crossover requires knowing exactly how much weight you will be towing.
Experts at “Trailer Life” magazine say the figures that truck manufacturers provide for total weight limits are hard limits. Exceeding them will impact your truck’s reliability and reduce stability when towing, increasing the chances of an accident.
If you’re buying a new truck for towing, check out the car loan rates at Bankrate.com before shopping.
Bankrate considered only 5-passenger trucks and crossovers from 2016 costing less than $30,000 when equipped to tow their maximum weight.
Each pick also must deliver at least a government-estimated 23 miles per gallon on the highway when not towing. All of these picks are rated for pulling at least 2,000 pounds.
Listed base prices include the engine, transmission and any towing package required for the posted towing weight limit.
The Sportage takes a, well, sporty approach to its assigned duties, including towing. Its aggressive exterior lines translate into less passenger and cargo space than its size seems to suggest. But even with its fuel-thrifty, 182-horsepower, 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine, it can pull up to a ton.
A 6-speed automatic transmission delivers engine production to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is available. The LX is the entry-level grade. It comes with goodies such as Bluetooth connectivity, remote keyless entry, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel.
Shoppers should consider ponying up $1,000 for the Popular Package with rearview camera, an upgraded audio system with color touch screen and more.
Launched in 2015, Renegade is Jeep’s 1st toe-dipping into the segment for small SUVs. It’s also the 1st Jeep built in Italy. What?! Don’t get too excited, though — all the planning and engineering were done in the U.S.
To qualify, its $17,995 entry-level Sport for towing requires adding 4-wheel drive and upgrading the engine and transmission to a 180-horsepower, 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder engine and 9-speed automatic transmission.
The Renegade seats 5, but 3 adults in the back seat is tight. It offers 70 advanced safety and security features. All Renegades offer Bluetooth connectivity and some form of Chrysler’s Uconnect system interface.
Good news for anyone looking for German engineering in a pint-size towing crossover: Volkswagen lowered the price of the entry-level Tiguan 2.0T S by $1,400 for 2016.
It still comes with the same peppy 200-horsepower, 2-liter, 4-cylinder, turbocharged engine. A 6-speed automatic transmission transfers engine power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is available.
Despite the lower price, Volkswagen added standard features such as a rearview camera and a 5-inch color touch screen to the already long list of standard gear. Rain-sensing wipers, Bluetooth connectivity, heated front seats and side mirrors, and an infotainment system with USB interface are also standard. “Upscale” sums up the passenger experience.
No matter the car’s price, you’ll want the best car loan for the money, and you’ll find that at Bankrate.com.
It’s not the most affordable towing vehicle on this list, but with all-wheel drive and a list of other standard features, it is a real value. And the only one of these picks that can tow more is the lone pickup truck.
Redesigned for 2015, the Outback claims bragging rights to being the 1st sport utility wagon. Its 175-horsepower 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine uses a continuously variable transmission to turn the wheels.
Steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters can provide the illusion of manually changing gears. Among these picks, only the Mazda CX-5 delivers better fuel economy. Included on the list of standard features is Subaru’s Starlink with Bluetooth connectivity.
You can outfit the entry-level CX-5 Sport to tow the maximum limit for several hundred dollars less than the Touring, but with some extra features such as its 7-inch touch-screen display and Mazda Connect infotainment system as well as blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert and rearview camera, moving up to the Touring grade makes sense.
A 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine sends 184 horsepower through a 6-speed automatic transmission. The CX-5 comes with the works in terms of Mazda’s SkyActiv technologies that increase performance and fuel efficiency. With nearly as much cargo space as the Dodge Journey, the CX-5 is among the more versatile crossovers on this list.
There is much to like about the Dodge Journey — not only its towing capability, but also its impressive cargo-carrying capacity.
Folding all the seats flat, including the front passenger seat, creates a whopping 67.6 cubic feet of cargo room. There are even hidden cargo bins ahead of the 2nd-row seats for concealing valuables.
Towing its 2,500-pound limit requires the Journey to be powered by its available V-6. The SE grade also comes with all-wheel drive. A 6-speed automatic transmission funnels the V-6’s 283 horsepower to the wheels.
Journey SE has lots of standard goodies such as Bluetooth connectivity, Uconnect touch-screen systems interface and keyless Enter-N-Go.