Not everyone needs to haul a mountain from point A to point B - no matter what pickup advertisements might have you believe. Outside the world of trucks exists a huge group of drivers who regularly pull utility trailers, small campers, and the occasional U-Haul behind a vast range of cars, crossovers, and SUVs. Occasional towing is the reason that a lot of people make the vehicle choices that they do, and a few thousand pounds difference between one automobile's rating and another's often weighs heavily when deciding what to buy. Let's take a quick look at 10 of the best towing vehicles that aren't trucks.
1) 2015 Chevrolet Traverse
The 2015 Chevrolet Traverse is about as close as you can get in size to a big SUV without going over completely to a truck-based platform. That being said, despite its large size and its exceptional passenger capacity (up to eight), the Chevrolet Traverse conducts itself far more like a car than one would think from behind the wheel. This is true even when taking into account the Traverse's 5,200 lbs tow rating, which is made possible not only by its long wheelbase but also the 288 horsepower (with optional dual exhaust), 3.6-liter V-6 engine under its hood that is also rated to produce 270 lb-ft of torque.
2) 2015 Audi Q5
The 2015 Audi Q5 isn't nearly as large as the Traverse, and the premium crossover isn't exactly the first vehicle that comes to mind when one thinks about towing - so prepare to be surprised. The Audi Q5 boasts a total towing capacity of 4,400 lbs when equipped with its available supercharged 3.0-liter V-6. 272 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque are a potent combination for this entry-level SUV, and given that Europeans are more accustomed to towing without the need for a truck, it only makes sense that Audi would make sure its volume people mover was up to the challenge.
Photo Credit: Subaru Media
3) 2015 Subaru Outback
The 2015 Subaru Outback is typically known as a tall wagon with decent off-road capability. The Subaru Outback's extra ride height and permanent all-wheel drive system make it the crossover of choice for families who make regular runs into cottage country during the muddy off-season, or for those who live in more rural areas where snow removal is occasionally delayed after a blizzard. The Outback's available 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine also introduces 3,000 lbs of towing capacity to help make the Subaru a legitimate utility-trailer option. 256 horsepower and 247 lb-ft of torque come standard with the 3.6-liter mill.
4) 2015 Porsche Panamera
The 2015 Porsche Panamera is definitely not on anyone's tow vehicle short list on this side of the Atlantic, but as we pointed out earlier, Germans demand multi-role capability from most of their vehicles - including this full-size luxury sedan. The 2015 Porsche Panamera comes with a variety of drivetrains, ranging from a hybrid setup to a fire-breathing, 550-horsepower Turbo S edition, but for your towing needs we recommend the GTS model and its 440-horsepower, 4.8-liter V-8. This particular engine offers an excellent soundtrack to accompany the car's 4,850 lbs of towing capacity.
5) 2015 Cadillac SRX
The 2015 Cadillac SRX has long been a favorite luxury crossover for families who need good day-to-day practicality along with the added security of available all-wheel drive. Comfortable and relatively nimble compared to many of its mid-size competitors, the Cadillac SRX also shines when it comes to towing thanks to the fact that it features the very same 3.6-liter V-6 that is offered in the bigger Chevrolet Traverse. The SRX's 308 horsepower and 265 lb-ft of torque conspire to give the Cadillac a tow rating of 2,500 lbs, which compares well even against some eight-cylinder crossovers of roughly the same size.
6) 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan
The 2015 Volkswagen Tiguan is a compact crossover that displays a decent amount of skill in transporting a trailer. The Volkswagen Tiguan's tow rating checks in at 2,200 lbs, which isn't going to shatter any records, but it's still quite practical when hauling brush to a transfer station or transporting a motorcycle or a jet-ski to your summer hideaway. The Tiguan also offers better than average handling as well as a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that is good for 200 horses and 207 lb-ft of torque - figures that complement the relative frugality of the Volkswagen at the fuel pump without crippling its acceleration.
7) 2015 Dodge Journey
The 2015 Dodge Journey straddles the line between crossover and minivan, providing up to seven passenger seating as well as available all-wheel drive and a smaller form factor that places it firmly in the mid-size segment. The Dodge Journey is also blessed with the brand's Pentastar V-6 as an engine option, and the 3.6-liter unit puts out a healthy 283 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both are paired with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox. It’s in this configuration that the Journey can be counted on to tow 2,500 lbs - just like the larger Cadillac SRX - which elevates it well past the minivans it competes against in terms of trailer practicality.
8) 2015 Volvo S60
The 2015 Volvo S60 continues a proud Volvo tradition of producing premium sedans that can also hold their own when asked to take the family camping with a small pop-up trailer. Sweden has a long history of its citizens retiring to a secluded cottage during the summer months, and often times this means a single-axle trailer tagging along with the needed supplies.The Volvo S60 turns in its best towing performance when matched with its available 3.0-liter, turbocharged V-6 engine, a unit that churns out 300 horses and 325 lb-ft of torque and which is matched with a standard all-wheel drive system. This gives the S60 the ability to haul up to 3,300 lbs.
9) 2015 Subaru Legacy
The 2015 Subaru Legacy is based on essentially the same platform as the Outback crossover, but the mid-size sedan does away with its sibling's body cladding and off-road ground clearance in order to present a cleaner, more urban image. It does maintain the Outback's all-wheel drive capability, as well as its 3.6-liter, 256-horsepower six-cylinder engine. Also capable of generating 247 lb-ft of torque, the power is there but the Legacy's somewhat less robust chassis sees its towing capacity knocked down to a still-useful 2,700 lbs - a figure that opens up a realm of possibility when it comes to small trailer options.
10) 2015 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo
The 2015 BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo is a vehicle that few have celebrated during its brief time on the market, largely due to its not-insubstantial sticker price and its somewhat awkward looks. The car's hatchback profile conceals a substantial amount of cargo capacity, however, and that ability to swallow additional gear is compounded by the BMW 5 Series GT's inflated tow rating of 4,630 lbs. This places the car in the same neighborhood as the Porsche Panamera, and given that buyers can choose between either a 300-horsepower, turbocharged six-cylinder engine or a 445-horsepower, twin-turbo V-8 it's perhaps to be expected that the luxury model is so gifted in the trailering department.