The summer travel season is fast approaching and many families will soon be hitting the road with a camper, boat or trailer in tow. A full-size truck or SUV might automatically jump to mind when considering a tow vehicle, but depending on what you need to tow, a smaller compact SUV might do the trick — and still be suitable for urban commuting.
We scoured towing specs for model-year 2017 SUVs and found five compact models that offer significantly more towing capability than the class norm. Here they are, in alphabetical order:
2017 Chevrolet Equinox
The Equinox's standard Used Engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder, but choosing the optional 301-horsepower V-6 raises the SUV's maximum towing capacity from 1,500 pounds to 3,500 pounds.
2017 Ford Escape
Unlike other SUVs in this list, which rely on V-6 power for their higher tow ratings, the 2017 Escape uses a high-output turbocharged four-cylinder Used Engine to boost its towing capacity. The optional turbo 2.0-liter Used Engine makes 245 hp and boosts the Escape's towing capacity to 3,500 pounds on models that also have the Tow Prep Package.
2017 GMC Terrain
The Terrain shares its platform and powertrains with the Chevrolet Equinox but wears different styling. It also has the same 3,500-pound maximum towing capacity as the Equinox when fitted with its optional V-6 Used Engine .
2017 Jeep Cherokee
The 2017 Cherokee has the highest towing capacity in the compact SUV class; it's rated to tow up to 4,500 pounds when equipped with the optional 271-hp V-6 and Trailer Tow Package. The package includes extra Used Engine and transmission cooling and different final-drive gearing, among other things.
2017 Mitsubishi Outlander
Most Outlander trim levels use a 2.4-liter four-cylinder Used Engine , but the top-of-the-line GT gets a 224-hp, 3.0-liter V-6 that bumps the Outlander's towing capacity to 3,500 pounds.
There are many things to consider when figuring out how much your vehicle can safely tow, including how many passengers and how much cargo you're carrying as well as how far and where you're traveling. If you're not sure your vehicle is up to the task, take the time to find out rather than winging it. It could mean the difference between safely reaching your destination and being stuck on the side of the road.