Small SUVs are becoming increasingly well-liked because of their adaptability and usefulness. For people who need to tow modest to medium-sized cargo, they provide an excellent combination of power and efficiency.
There are several crucial elements to consider when choosing the finest compact SUV for towing, including towing capacity, engine power, and stability control. In this article, we’ll talk about some of the finest compact SUVs for towing.
These vehicles offer a fantastic blend of performance, handling, and comfort, making them the perfect choice for anybody who needs a car that can handle towing responsibilities without compromising daily utility. These best selections will provide a dependable and effective towing experience, whether towing a small boat, a camping trailer, or a bike rack.
Knowledge of the Trailer’s Weight
You must know the weight of the object you plan to tow. Your loaded trailer shouldn’t weigh more than the vehicle’s towing capability. If you don’t, your safety will be compromised, and you run the chance of getting into an accident.
The vehicle’s cargo capacity is another important consideration. Remember that the vehicle’s payload includes the tongue weight of the trailer, which may make up to 15% of the total trailer weight.
You should avoid overloading the ride and maintain a low total vehicle mass. When the permitted payload is exceeded, the engine, tires, and other mechanical systems are under more stress, which may cause a sudden breakdown.
List of Small SUVs with the Best Towing Capacity
Let’s quickly review some of the finest SUVs for towing with various attributes, including cargo and towing capacities. If you want the best of all worlds, there are even a couple of all-wheel drive luxury SUVs on the list!
1. Mazda CX-50
Cx-50 most efficient one comes with the base four-cylinder engine. This optional turbocharged 4-cylinder engine is required to attain the maximum towing capability of the brand-new CX-50.
These models are roughly $37,000, and more expensive than competing small SUVs with strong towing capacities. The more durable CX-50 is the one to consider if you have a trailer because the Mazda CX-5, which has the same engine, can only pull up to 2,000 lb (907.1 kg).
|Max. Towing Capacity||3,500 lbs.|
The CX-50 is a small SUV with athletic performance; it has a powerful turbocharged engine that can produce up to 256 horsepower. CX-50 is a thrilling vehicle to drive daily thanks to its competent engine and crisp, responsive handling while towing a boat or any heavy object.
Mazda is unique for having a standard AWD, making it a smart choice for drivers who frequently deal with slippery roads from rain, ice, or snow. The CX-50 distinguishes out in its class for having one of the most luxurious cabins.
- Fuel Efficient
- Sporty driving dynamics
- Limited Cargo Space
2. Toyota RAV4
The top Adventure and TRD Off-Road trims, which start at around $34,000 and $38,000, respectively, are the only ones on the RAV4 that can tow up to 3,500 lb (1587.5 kg). You’ll need to find a suitable hitch on your own as no special towing equipment is available, although trailer sway control is standard.
|Max. Towing Capacity||3,500 lbs.|
The plug-in hybrid RAV4 Prime has a strong 2,500 lb (1133.9 kg) towing capacity. All other RAV4 trims can tow 1,500 lb (680.3 kg), whereas regular hybrid trims have a maximum towing capability of 1,750 lb (793.7 kg). The RAV4 offers a stylish interior with two rows of large seats and a huge cargo area.
Although the 203 horsepower 4-cylinder engine can be noisy, it outperforms many other compact SUVs in terms of power and fuel efficiency. What we like about RAV4 is that it has an outstanding array of safety and convenience features as standard equipment and scores well in crash testing, which is suitable for towing purposes.
- Good Fuel Economy
- Generous Cargo Space
- Limited off-road capacity
3. Honda HR-V
The Honda HR-V is a great deal since it offers as much inside space as some mid-sized SUVs while still providing buyers with a ton of luxury features as standard. We like it as it has a 1763.7 lb (800 kg) towing capacity.
|Towing Capacity||1763.7 lbs|
Strong resale values are only one of the numerous qualities the HR-V offers; they’re not always the most exciting feature to look for when purchasing a new small SUV or crossover. It has a roomy interior. The maximum load space is amazing, almost as excellent as the next-size-up Kia Sportage.
The 2020 HR-V begins at $21,915, but because the Sport level features a 7-inch infotainment display and a more sophisticated smartphone connection, it may be worth considering for $23,615 instead. However, the HR-V’s most advanced safety features are in the mid-level EX (starting at $25,065).
The 1.8-liter engine in all models produces an underwhelming 141 horsepower but averages 30 mpg. Moreover, the reliability and build quality of Honda vehicles are unquestionable.
- Good visibility for driver
- Good fuel economy
- Versatile cargo area
- Noisy cabin
4. Land Rover Discovery Sport
The entry-level Land Rover vehicle for 2023 is the Discovery Sport, the smaller sister of the three-row regular Discovery. For the optimum towing experience, we will advise selecting the $650 trailer hitch with the Advanced Tow Assist package.
|Towing Capacity||4,409 lbs|
The Land Rover Discovery Sport has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with 246 horsepower and 269 lb-ft (122.02 kg-m) of torque, renowned for its off-road prowess. The Discovery’s all-wheel-drive system and this power output allow it to tow up to 4,409 lb (1999.8 kg).
We find it a fantastic option if you’re looking for a performance-packed SUV loaded with opulent equipment and extras. This will assist in hauling a boat or give you a sense of familiarity if you travel with relatives.
- Superior off-road and all-weather performance
- Ample passenger and baggage space
- Prices with options can rise fast.
5. Jeep Cherokee
One of several compact SUVs in a very competitive category is the 2022 Jeep Cherokee. All Cherokees provide a smooth ride with excellent visibility. The Jeep has five model levels, so probably one fits your budget or desired off-road capability.
|Towing Capacity||2,000 – 4,500 lbs|
The Jeep Cherokee has one of the best towing capacities on our list. It comes with a $995 tow option that raises the towing capacity to 4,000 lb (1814.3 kg) or 4,500 lb (2041.1 kg), depending on the engine choice from the normal 2,000 lb (907.1kg).
The Cherokee’s 270 horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and the tow kit together can pull 4,000 lb (1814.3 kg). Using the 271 horsepower 3.2-liter V6 increases that capability by around 500 lb (226.7 kg). This makes it a perfect SUV to go on a vacation.
- Powerful V6 and turbocharged engines
- Great suspension
- The small SUV Trailhawk is great for off-road.
- Slow acceleration with the base engine
6. Kia Sportage
For the 2023 model year, the Sportage will transition into a new generation and offer newly developed hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. It has several driver-assistance technologies that are both standard and optional.
|Towing Capacity||2,500 lbs|
All Sportage models can tow up to 2,500 lb (1133.9kg) if the trailer has brakes. Not too shabby for a little crossover with an 187-horsepower engine. For the 2023 model year, the Sportage had a major redesign that brought about an aggressive external appearance, a dashboard with an extended, curving digital instrument display, and a touchscreen.
New hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants were added. However, these vehicles can only tow 2,000 lb (1133.9kg). The 2023 Sportage is also substantially larger than the previous model, providing greater room for people and goods. With a standard 10-year warranty, Kia matches the Sportage’s wild design with technical peace of mind.
- Spacious interior
- Excellent hybrid model
- Mediocre standard engine
7. Ford Bronco Sport
The Ford Escape-based Bronco Sport is an off-road powerhouse with a distinctive look. Like the Escape, the Ford Bronco Sport requires a Class II Trailer Tow Package, which incorporates trailer sway control, and its optional 250-horsepower 4-cylinder engine to attain maximum towing capacity.
|Max. Towing Capacity||2,200 lbs|
You’ll need to spend at least $38,000 on all of that. According to Ford, a Bronco Sport with the $32,000 Class II Trailer Tow Package and the standard 181 horsepower 1.5-liter turbo-3 engine can tow up to 2,000 lb (907.1 kg). You must evaluate if the additional 200 lb (90.71 kg) of capacity justifies paying an extra $6,000 for a larger engine.
The Bronco’s interior isn’t very upscale, but it is sturdy and quite useful. Although the backseat hasn’t much legroom, it boasts plenty of headroom, plush front seats, and a great outside view. On the downside, the Bronco Sport is expensive for a small SUV and only gets 26 mpg with its standard 181 horsepower engine, which is less than comparable small crossovers. The more powerful 250-horsepower engine gets just 23 mpg.
- Impressive off-road capability
- Great safety scores
- No off-road package for lower trims
8. Subaru Forester
The 2023 Subaru Forester is a functional and powerful small crossover that lacks style. Its large, boxy interior offers greater head and shoulder room than competitors and a huge cargo compartment that can hold many goods, making up for its lack of aesthetic appeal. You must select the Forester Wildernesstrim, which starts at about $34,000, to get Forester’s full 3,000 lb (1,360.7 kg) capability.
Related: Top 7 Trucks For Towing Fifth Wheels Effectively 2023
|Max. Towing Capacity||3,000 lbs|
We like that the 2023 Subaru Forester prioritizes functionality above aesthetics. Thanks to its boxy shape and effective space utilization, it has a class-leading cargo capacity. It has cutting-edge driver-aid technologies, comfortable two-row seating, and high crash test scores.
Like most Subaru vehicles, the Forester features standard AWD yet achieves high like most Subaru vehicles gas efficiency than AWD competitors. Limited acceleration and patchy dependability are the primary drawbacks.
- Spacious cabin
- Great off-road capability
- Excellent standard safety suite
- Shabby styling
1. Does more horsepower mean better towing?
When it comes to towing capability, torque is the most important factor. Once you are on the highway, horsepower is useful, but torque on the wheel drive is essential for a larger towing capacity.
2. Can an SUV with four cylinder engines tow a trailer?
SUVs with four cylinders can pull trailers with ratings within the GVWR limit. You should proceed cautiously since other elements, such as passenger weight and engine power, may affect the towing capability.
3. What typical towing features can you find on small SUVs?
Trailer sway control, electronic stability control, a towing hitch, a gearbox cooler, and a hill start assist are some popular features of small SUVs for towing.
4. Are small SUVs suitable for long-distance towing?
Heavy loads may be transported in small SUVs, but it’s important sometimes to stop and rest to avoid driver fatigue. Additionally, make sure the vehicle is capable of towing and that you are taking all necessary safety measures.
In conclusion, it’s critical to consider stability control, engine power, and towing capability when choosing an SUV for towing. The Mazda CX-50, Toyota RAV4, Honda HR-V, and Land Rover Discovery Sport are just a few of our top SUV picks.
We also included details on each vehicle’s towing capability and price. Understanding trailer and cargo weight, avoiding overloading the journey, and maintaining a light vehicle mass is essential for a hassle-free and safe towing experience. These recommendations will reduce breakdowns and guarantee a safe voyage.