SUVs and crossovers continue to grow in popularity, but most of these vehicles are based on car platforms and don't offer the towing capacity that their robust-looking appearances would suggest.
Toyota RAV4 Trail
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
So we’ve gone through the specifications of vehicles available in showrooms today to find some of the best values for tow vehicles, from subcompact crossovers right up to light-duty full-size pickups. We set a price limit of $40,000, so you won’t find heavy-duty trucks to rival the towing capacity of a semi-truck in this list.
Subcompact crossovers are slowly gaining on compact cars in terms of popularity in Canada, but few manufacturers recommend towing with them. Ford says its EcoSport is also good to tow up to 907 kg, but only when fitted with the most powerful engine available, which is a 2.0-litre. The cheapest way to get that motor is in the S trim, where it goes for $26,389 with AWD, which is required with that larger engine.
Jeep’s Renegade is rating for trailers up to 907 kg, but only with the optional 2.4-litre engine and 4×4. With those extras, the price comes to $27,750.
Here’s one of the marketplace’s biggest surprises. The Toyota RAV 4 can tow the most of any of its compact crossover competitors thanks to a Trail trim package that boosts trailering capacity to an impressive 1,590 kg. That just about matches the car’s curb weight, so we’re not sure we’d want to test that capacity too often given the RAV4’s 176-hp engine. And the RAV4 Trail is not cheap, coming in at more than $35,000.
When talk turns to trailering, pickup trucks inevitably join the conversation as they tend to be the least expensive way to tow large mid- to large-size trailers. Chevrolet’s Colorado is a well-sorted mid-size model. It also boasts a 3,175-kg tow rating when equipped with the optional V6 engine, available from about $25,500.
A surprising second option is the Nissan Frontier, an old design that lags far behind its mid-size pickup competitors in many regards. But what it does boast is a 2,958-kg tow rating in its SV King Cab trim, also priced around $25,500.
Moving into full-size trucks, the Chevrolet Silverado represents the best value in its regular cab, long bed configuration with 2WD and the 5.3L engine. Kit a truck out that way and you get a tow rating of 4,445 kg for $31,195.
From Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Ram division comes the Ram 1500, whose regular cab, standard bed model with 2WD and the 5.7-litre Hemi V8 can haul 4,155 kg for $32,470.
Ford’s aluminum-bodied F-150 comes in a $32,949 model with regular cab, standard bed, 2WD and a 5.0-litre V8 that’s rated to tow 4,128 kg.
Sliding in under our $40,000 line is the Nissan Titan, whose regular cab, long bed model comes with 2WD, a 5.6-litre V8 and a 4,418-kg tow rating for $35,998.