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It’s 2021; towing isn’t only for trucks anymore. In fact, some smaller vehicles are great for towing, which many people don’t think about. Pickup trucks are big, cumbersome, and can be intimidating for some drivers. Sure, the 2021 Ford F-150 will beat any of these, but that isn’t the right vehicle for many people. Here are the five best small vehicles for towing that tend to get overlooked. 

A red 2002 Citroen C5 hdi crossover towing a boat by a harbor
2002 Citroen C5 HDI towing a boat | National Motor Museum/Heritage Images via Getty Images

Can Smaller Vehicles Tow?

Over the years, body construction and advances in smaller powertrains have come a long way. Because of these advances in the automotive industry, smaller vehicles have been given great towing ability. As crossovers’ and wagons’ popularity grows, so too does their towing ability. 

This matters because while pickup trucks are still massively popular, millions of people want a utility vehicle that is also more fuel-conscious and wants to drive something smaller and more nimble. Crossovers, wagons, and minivans have been overlooked for too long in the towing conversation. 

How much can you tow with a Subaru Outback?

2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Edition driving down a dirt trail
2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness Edition | Subaru

Subaru is on a roll. The Japanese manufacturer has moved from only boring economy cars and spine-rattling sports cars with nothing in between to an automaker with one of the most practical lineups in the game. 

According to Forbes, the 2021 Subaru Outback can pull an impressive 3,500 lbs when properly configured. Considering the 2021 Honda Ridgeline has a 5,000-lb towing capacity, this is pretty stellar. 

The Subaru line is all about providing wheels for adventurous people. The ability to tow a small camper or toy hauler really sharpens this focus to a fine point. Not only is it one of the best small vehicles for towing, but it can also handle up to a 1,200-lb payload. 

How much can the Chrysler Pacifica tow?

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica isn’t exactly a “small vehicle,” but it definitely falls into the category of best vehicles for towing that you wouldn’t guess. For a while now, SUVs and crossovers have gotten closer to minivans than the tough, boxy SUVs of the olden days. Does this mean minivans are getting tougher to compensate for? 

The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica can tow 3,600 lbs. This is amazing, given the level of comfort and styling that has gone into the Pacifica. Granted, you won’t be towing the horse trailer with the Pacifica, but you also won’t find nearly as plush of a ride in damn near any pickup truck on the market. It can also handle a payload of 1,725 lbs. 

Can the Chevrolet Bolt tow? 

A red 2021 Chevy Bolt, a best-selling EV
2021 Chevrolet Bolt EV | Chevrolet

Yep. The Chevy Bolt is maybe the most surprising model on the list. The Bolt has an unofficial towing capacity of about 2,000 lbs. This is not the strongest of the best small vehicles for towing, but it is far more than most would guess. 

It is “unofficial” because the Bolt is a unibody design that is very clearly not meant for towing. However, its plucky grunt earns it a spot on this list for no other reason than sheer surprising performance from an otherwise bland car. 

How much can the 2021 Honda Pilot tow?

The 2021 Honda Pilot driving down a curvy road
2021 Honda Pilot | Honda

One of Honda’s most popular crossovers is here to lay a surprise on the towing world. Like some of the others on this list, the 2021 Honda Pilot can drag 3,500 lbs, no problem. These crossovers are firmly in the  “mom-car” camp, but that is a foolish and outdated mindset. 

The Honda Pilot is dry, sure, but they are filled with handy driver features, they are comfy and can flex the utility muscle when needed. Small boats and trailers are no longer safe when the Honda Pilot is near. Hook them up and drag them out for the weekend and surprise the HD trucks at the boat ramp. 

How much can the 2021 Kia Telluride tow?

A Kia Telluride SUV at an event
The 2020 Kia Telluride SUV production model on display | Sean Proctor/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Kia is another automaker that has been on a killing spree. The 2021 Kia Telluride has all but taken over the modern SUV segment. Kia’s most popular SUV can pull up to a whopping 5,000 lbs. That is rubbing up against actual pickup trucks’ towing capacity. The Kia Telluride is truly one of the best vehicles for towing that you might not have thought of. 

Not only is the Telluride’s V6 a strong pulling motor, but it also has AWD and an optional trailer brake. Kia actually built this bad boy with towing in mind. However, towing doesn’t seem to be on many customers’ minds when it comes to the Telluride. 


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