SUV'S that will tow a utility trailer

Mrs. Gap and I are looking to buy an SUV that will tow a 5 x 9 utility trailer. We plan to buy one a couple of years old to avoid the depreciation and price of new. We had an '03 CRV Honda back in the day, and it was a tad gutless, but I know they’ve improved them in the eons since then.
Any of you all have advice for us?

My brother hauls two quads on a trailer behind his Subaru with ease.

According to Google, the 2018 Forester is rated to tow 1500 pounds.

The Subaru Outback is rated to tow 2700 pounds.

The Toyota Rav4 is rated at 1500 to 3500 pounds.

My FIL routinely tows a boat and sometimes a 16’ utility trailer with his Toyota RAV4, though neither is very heavy. I think anything you get that has the ‘tow package’ will be fine for a little 5x9 trailer. If you end up with only a bumper hitch you’ll probably need to watch your tongue weight closely, but it’s definitely doable.

How much weight are you going to tow? It would be easier to make a recommendation if we knew that.

Yep, there’s a big difference between a trailer full of camping gear and a trailer full of sand.

That’s because it’s only available with a normally aspirated 2.5L boxer four banger, now rated at 181hp.

That’s with the available 3.6L V-6 that makes about 260hp.
Subarus may not tow the most weight in their respective classes, but they are far superior cars to just about anything for ruggedness/durability, an awesome AWD system, safety, resale value, etc.

And the new Subaru Ascent can tow 5,000lbs…with a four cylinder, turbocharged boxer engine.

One piece of advice : depreciation slows down a lot after 6 years. 6 years old seems to be the sweet spot - 1 year younger vehicle will cost a big chunk of money more (probably 4k-5k more for an expensive base vehicle like an SUV) with the same mileage on it.

While going from 6 to 7 years old only saves you 1-2k.

Wife and I are on subaru #6. I know they are good vehicles. 3 were Legacy wagons one was a Legacy sedan, last two are Foresters.

Ok, so some ignorance fought here. I can see my choices are going to be better than I thought, that’s good. I’m not looking to tow a lot of weight, but maybe a couple of dirt bikes and gear. Other than that, stuff like plywood sheets, dimensional lumber and so on.

I hadn’t considered Subaru, but that’s not out of the running.

As far as age goes, and the price thereof, we’re going to go through our business credit unions car buying service. AFAIK they tend to offer newer cars. We bought her Caddy CTS in 2007 and it was a 2005 with 24945 miles. It now has 251K+ and is a champ, but getting long in the tooth. It’s been absolutely fantastic in every regard, and I only hope the next car/truck/suv lives up to it. Big shoes to fill.

Thanks for your input to all, and I’ll check in to see if anyone else has a recommendation. :smiley:

I once put a trailer hitch on a Ford Escort hatchback. I towed a lightweight utility trailer as well as an aluminum fishing boat with a 9.9. I never towed very far.

When I traded that car in, the dealer did a walk around, saw the hitch and asked, “so . . . what’s the towing capacity of an Escort?”

Towing capacity on most crossovers is about the same as a sedan. A Ford Focus will haul 1000 lbs. Most crossovers are between there and 1500. More ‘truck’ SUVs lile say a Ford Explorer will haul somewhere between 3000 and 5000. The real big boys will haul somewhere between 5000 and 10000.

A 5x9 non-enclosed trailer is about 250 lbs. A dirtbike is also 250, so two dirtbikes and a trailer with a small amount of gear can be hauled by pretty much anything. If it’s something you do commonly, I’d look for something in the mid range like an Explorer, Highlander or Traverse. If it’s a couple times a year over short distances, then even a crossover is fine.

I went through the same thing last year when I wanted to get a pop up camper. I ended up with a 2015 Mazda CX-5 which was rated for 2000 pounds. The camper is on the smaller size and the CX-5 pulls it just fine.