Whether you’re talking boats or trailers, towing is an American tradition. To get the job done, you need a vehicle with the sort of muscular towing capacity that will make short work of the task.
There are quite a few used vehicles that fit the bill. But the downside is that many of these choices come with fuel economy that will leave you wailing at the gas pump.
However, a few used models manage to balance robust towing capacity with mileage that’s reasonably efficient. These are the picks you’ll want to consider if you’re interested in a vehicle that provides hearty towing abilities and fuel economy mindful of your budget.
Below are four relatively fuel-efficient used vehicles that tow more than 4,000 pounds.
2008-2013 GMC Yukon Hybrid
Full-size SUVs are the go-to choice for car shoppers seeking maximum power. This brawn, however, typically comes at the expense of fuel economy. Manufactured from 2008 to 2013, the GMC Yukon Hybrid addressed the fuel-economy problem by slapping in a hybrid powertrain.
The end result is a vehicle that straddles old-school SUV stalwartness and new-school hybrid frugality. The Yukon Hybrid pairs a V8 engine with an electric motor to provide a combined output of 379 horsepower. It’s capable of towing up to 6,200 pounds. Fuel economy comes in at 20/23 mpg city/highway.
The Yukon Hybrid seats eight passengers and is available with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive.
2008-2013 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybrid
Like the Yukon Hybrid, the Tahoe Hybrid is a good choice for those seeking a full-size SUV that’s more efficient than segment norms. This Tahoe is a corporate twin of the Yukon, so while its cabin and sheet metal are different, it shares the same platform.
This means that, like the Yukon Hybrid, the Tahoe Hybrid comes with either rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive and utilizes a gas/electric powertrain that serves up a total output of 379 horsepower. You can expect fuel economy of up to 20/23 mpg city/highway. The Tahoe Hybrid can haul as much as 6,200 pounds.
It’s worth noting that the Tahoe Hybrid was hobbled by steep prices on the new-car market (the same is true for its twin, the Yukon Hybrid). This SUV never took off with consumers, likely due to its hefty price tag. However, affordable used-car prices for the Tahoe Hybrid make it a much more palatable choice than it was when sold as a new model.
2014-2016 Toyota Highlander
The Toyota Highlander serves many masters, offering roomy capacity and strong towing power while remaining relatively nimble and fuel efficient. This midsize crossover SUV comes with three rows of seating and accommodates up to eight passengers. It’s available with useful driver-assistive technology. Adaptive cruise control, frontal crash mitigation and blind-spot warning all are on the options list.
Toyota’s third-generation Highlander was launched in the 2014 model year. To maximize towing capacity, choose the available 3.5-liter V6 engine. This power plant provides 270 horsepower and can tow up to 5,000 pounds. The Highlander achieves mileage of up to 20/25 mpg city/highway.
2010-2016 Porsche Panamera
The Porsche Panamera proves SUVs don’t have a monopoly on towing prowess. This full-size luxury hatchback comes with an array of engines offering up to 570 horsepower. It can tow up to 4,850 pounds.
Of course, the Panamera also comes with all the accoutrement you’d expect from a flagship premium car. It’s available with goodies such as heated and ventilated front seats, deluxe leather upholstery and a 16-speaker Burmester sound system. The list of upgrades includes a refrigerated rear compartment stocked with drinking glasses engraved with the Porsche logo.
The Panamera is offered as a plug-in hybrid and as a gas-only model, but you’ll need to stick with the gas-only version to reap the best rewards when it comes to towing. Fuel economy for gas-only Panameras climbs as high as 18/28 mpg city/highway.
You don’t have to scrap fuel economy to find a used vehicle that delivers big towing skills.
The models listed above have the muscle to haul sizable loads, and they get the job done without wiping you out at the gas pump.