One reason SUVs are so popular is the additional practicality they offer, and a big part of that practicality equation is how many kilos they can tow behind them.
While the following list shows the maximum towing capacities of different SUVs, it’s worth knowing that this doesn’t necessarily mean that is the actual weight you can tow as there are several other factors including the gross vehicle weight and maximum tow-ball weight - our story, ‘Towing weights explained’, goes into this in more detail.
As a rule though, if you want to tow anything bigger than a camper trailer you’d want a vehicle with at least 2000kg braked towing capacity, which is the maximum towing weight with a trailer or caravan that has its own brakes.
As a guide the Toyota LandCruiser Prado, a common choice among those who tow heavy loads, can lug up to 3000kg. Most dual-cab utes, like the Ford Ranger, can tow up to 3500kg braked.
So how do other popular mainstream family SUVs stack up?
The Ford Ranger-based Everest comes with either a 3.2-litre turbo-diesel inline five or 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel inline four, able to tow 3000kg and 3100kg respectively. All Everests are pre-wired for trailer connection and have trailer sway control. A tow pack which includes a tow bar and tow ball comes standard with the top-spec Titanium and is optional for the other variants.
Holden’s big seven-seater has a 2000kg braked towing capacity. The automatic gearbox has a ‘tow-haul’ mode which calibrates the gears to suit towing heavier loads, and the reversing camera has hitch guidance lines to help line the Acadia up with your trailer.
The big Colorado-ute based SUV has a 3000kg capacity and is equipped with trailer sway control.
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai’s seven-seat large SUV has a 2000kg braked towing capacity.
Like most other ladder-chassis ute-based SUVs, the MU-X can tow up to 3000kg and comes standard with trailer stability control.
Jeep Grand Cherokee
The diverse Grand Cherokee range has varying braked towing capacities depending on engine and traction. The entry-level V6 petrol 4x2 can tow just 1600kg , which increases to 2812kg with the 4x4 drivertrain. The V6 diesel 4x4 diesel versions on the other hand have a dual-cab-ute matching 3500kg braked towing capacity, while the performance-orientated V8 SRT and Trackhawk can each pull up to 2949kg. A tow preparation kit that includes a wiring harness is standard in the diesel versions and optional for the others, and a towing kit with tow bar is also available. Trailer stability control is standard across the Grand Cherokee range
All versions of the seven-seat Kia Sorento have a 2.0 tonne braked towing capacity.
The diesel seven-seater has a 2000kg towing capacity and trailer stability control.
Like the CX-8, Mazda’s SUV flagship has a 2000kg towing capacity and trailer stability control.
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport
The Triton-ute based Pajero Sport has an excellent 3100kg braked towing capacity and trailer stability control.
The V6 petrol Pathfinders have a 2700kg braked towing capacity, though if you want a hybrid version you’ll have to make do with just a 1650kg capability.
Nissan big 4X4 SUV has a 3500kg braked towing capacity, with pulling large loads made easier thanks to its big 5.6-litre V8 petrol engine.
The car-based four-cylinder petrol Outbacks can tow 1500kg, which is on par with some medium SUVs but less than many large SUVs. The six-cylinder petrol 3.6R lugs a more respectable 1800kg, while the diesel sits between them at 1700kg.
The Hilux-based 4x4 has a 2800kg braked towing capacity that’s handy but falls short of its main rivals such as the Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport. Trailer stability control is standard.
Toyota’s family-sized SUV has a 2000kg braked towing capacity. Why such a modest capacity for such a large vehicle? Put it down to the Kluger’s unibody construction, which can’t handle as much load as a more rugged ladder-frame chassis. Thankfully, Toyota has more tow-happy alternatives that fit the bill:
Toyota LandCruiser Prado
Australia’s biggest selling large SUV has braked towing capacities of 2500kg and 3000kg for the manual and automatic versions respectively, with towing made safer with trailer stability control.
Toyota LandCruiser 200
Like its main rival the Nissan Patrol, the Landcruiser 200 wagons are rated to tow a 3500kg braked trailer. Unlike the petrol-only Patrol, the 200-series Landcruiser can be had with a grunty – yet thrifty – turbo diesel V8 for even better long-distance towing capability.