Many Americans are fortunate enough to own boats and recreational vehicles. According to GrowBoating.org, there were 11.9 million registered boats in the U.S. in 2015. The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association estimates that 8.9 million U.S. households own a recreational vehicle.
If you have one of these toys, you’ll need to get it from one place to the next, and doing so requires a vehicle with a hefty tow rating. Hauling a boat or recreational vehicle can place huge demands on your daily driver. For example, an empty boat can weigh 3,000 pounds, and the accompanying gear can increase that weight by hundreds of pounds. Also, you need a trailer, and it can weigh as much as 1,200 pounds.
With this in mind, it makes sense to seek out transportation with the most heroic towing capacity, and the best vehicles for the job are midsize and large SUVs.
If you’re shopping for a used SUV to tow your boat or recreational vehicle, it’s a safe bet to look for one that can pull more than 7,000 pounds. Your vehicle’s tow rating should always exceed the weight of the items being towed. And vehicles with the highest tow ratings tend to offer the best performance, ensuring that hauling doesn’t fall victim to diminished acceleration.
Below are three great used SUVs that can tow more than 7,000 pounds, listed in alphabetical order.
2015-2017 Chevrolet Suburban
Chevrolet rolled out its most recent generation of the Suburban for the 2015 model year. Suburbans from this generation offer seating for up to nine, and both rear-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are available. This full-size SUV is motivated by a 5.3-liter V8 that generates 355 horsepower and 383 pound-feet of torque, and it’s capable of towing up to 8,300 pounds.
With the Suburban, you get a spacious cabin that’s loaded with modern amenities, and the list of standard features includes a rearview camera, tri-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity. Driver-assistive features such as lane-departure alert, front parking sensors and a blind-spot warning system are available.
This Chevy offers a huge amount of cargo capacity. With all three rows in place, you’ll enjoy 38.9 cubic feet of cargo space. Maximum storage space (with the second and third rows lowered) comes in at a whopping 121.1 cubic feet.
2011-2017 Dodge Durango
The third generation of the Dodge Durango was launched for the 2011 model year, and this Dodge is capable of towing up to 7,400 pounds. This midsize crossover SUV can seat up to seven passengers, and it may be equipped with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Both a V6 and a V8 are offered, but to maximize the vehicle’s tow rating, you’ll want to go with the V8. This 5.7-liter powerplant delivers a robust 360 horsepower and 390 pound-feet of torque.
Dodge’s Durango handles itself with poise and composure on the road. It feels tight during turns, and it does a good job of shielding passengers from pavement imperfections. The Durango’s cabin offers lots of space for passengers, with generous second- and third-row legroom. And this Dodge provides ample room for your gear, providing 47.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity behind the second row. With the second row folded, cargo space swells to 84.5 cubic feet.
2015-2017 Lincoln Navigator
Available in regular and extended-wheelbase variants, the Lincoln Navigator is notable for offering three-row seating that comfortably seats adults in all rows. Though the third generation ran from 2007 to 2017, we’d recommend getting a Navigator made during or after the 2015 model year, since these newer models come with an upgraded powerplant. In 2015, the Navigator’s aged standard V8 was replaced with a turbocharged V6 offering improved performance and fuel economy. This engine is good for 380 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, and it can tow up to 9,000 pounds.
The Navigator may be equipped with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and it’s an excellent choice for those who want a towing workhorse that delivers impressive levels of luxury. Base models feature premium content such as xenon headlights, leather upholstery and heated and ventilated front seats. There’s also a generous array of driver-assistive technology, and front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on all models.
Navigator passengers enjoy ample cargo capacity. With the second and third rows folded, the regular-wheelbase Navigator provides 103 cubic feet of cargo space. For extended-wheelbase models, this figure is 128 cubic feet.
Heroes of Hauling
With the right SUV, towing a boat or recreational vehicle can be a breeze.
The models discussed above have the brawn to deliver superb towing capability and performance.