Big, powerful pickup trucks aren’t for everybody. And yet, almost everyone, at some point, finds themselves in the need of the ability to tow and haul heavy stuff around.
Well, there are plenty of options for people in just such a pickle.
One of the biggest selling points for pickups is the raw power they bring to the table, and the capabilities that come along with it. But there is also a wide world of smaller vehicles, including SUVs, wagons and even some luxury cars that all are capable of producing enough horsepower and torque to give even full-size pickups a run for their money. Naturally, it may be a bit odd to see a Porsche towing a U-Haul trailer, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
The folks over at Autobytel put together a list of ten vehicles that are more than capable of holding their own when it comes to towing. These vehicles are perfect for towing the occasional small trailer, camper, and an assortment of other things. Their list was developed by looking at each vehicle’s power in terms of horsepower and torque, thereby allowing drivers to tow the most weight. The list is a couple of years old, so we have taken the liberty of updating it with the latest figures for the spotlighted vehicles.
Read on to see ten of the best vehicles for towing that aren’t pickup trucks, ranked in no particular order.
10. BMW 5 Series GT
We know what you’re thinking: “A BMW, for towing? Really?”
Yes, really. To be specific, the 2015 BMW 5 Series GT, also known as the Gran Turismo. Naturally, this is a luxury car that comes with a rather high barrier to entry, starting at a price north of $60,000. For that kind of coin, you can expect some guts under the hood, however. Outfitted with a six-cylinder engine, the GT puts out more than 300 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque, more than enough to get a heavy load on the move. The GT is also noted for its large amount of trunk and cargo space, relative to many other cars in its class.
9. Subaru Legacy
A car with a long-lasting… well, legacy, the Subaru Legacy is not only a great sedan for the everyday commute, but can also handle hauling some cargo on moving day. The latest Legacy models — which are available in a variety of trims, by the way — start at a vastly lower price than the BMW 5 Series, ringing up at around $21,000. For that price, the Legacy arrives with a 2.5-liter Subaru Boxer four-cylinder engine. But move up a level, and a 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine is available. That engine produces 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque, plenty of power for a sedan.
8. Volvo S60
If there’s one thing Volvo is known for, it’s certainly not towing capacity. Yet, the 2015 S60 — known for being sleek, functional, and elegant — can still bring enough power to get the family on the move, with a camper or trailer in tow. As Autobytel notes, “the Volvo S60 turns in its best towing performance when matched with its available 3.0-liter, turbocharged V6 engine, a unit that churns out 300 horses and 325 pound-feet 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.”
Not exactly the figures of a Ram 2500HD or Ford Super Duty, but impressive nonetheless.
7. Dodge Journey
The first SUV on the list, the 2015 Dodge Journey provides a few advantages of a much larger vehicle, all in a relatively compact chassis. Not only can the Journey seat up to seven passengers, it can lug along everything the family needs for a trip to the lake as well. An available 3.6-liter V6 engine provides drivers with 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, enough to get on the road and go. By Autobytel‘s calculations, the Journey can handle towing up to 3,600 pounds.
6. Volkswagen Tiguan
One of Volkswagen’s under-the-radar vehicles, the Tiguan offers the strength of a small pickup with the comfort of a crossover SUV. Although it can’t match up to the towing abilities of some of its counterparts, Autobytel figures the Tiguan can handle up to 2,200 pounds on the hitch. But it does offer some advantages, despite the fact that it can’t match up with other SUVs in the amount of weight it can haul. “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 pound-feet of torque – figures that complement the relative frugality of the Volkswagen at the fuel pump without crippling its acceleration,” Autobytel says.
5. Cadillac SRX
When counting the top luxury SUVs on the market, you have to include the 2015 Cadillac SRX. Not only does the SRX provide drivers with the luxury they would expect from a Cadillac, but they can also put it to work as well. As Autobytel notes, the SRX can even outperform many other vehicles that are equipped with stronger powertrains. “The SRX’s 308 horsepower and 265 pound-feet of torque, conspire to give the Cadillac a tow rating of 3,500 pounds, which compares well even against some eight-cylinder crossovers of roughly the same size,” Autobytel writes.
4. Porsche Panamera
Perhaps the biggest surprise to show up on this list, the Porsche Panamera has demonstrated that it can be so much more than simply a luxury sports car, and can be put work. Ever seen a Porsche hauling a trailer or camper? Not many people have, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. There are numerous trim levels available, but sticking with the GTS variant in particular, drivers will be able to harness the power of 430 horses from a 4.8-liter V8 engine. Behind that power, the Panamera can tow more than 4,800 pounds. That’s speaking softly and carrying a big stick for you.
3. Subaru Outback
Subaru’s Outback wagon is known for being incredibly versatile and capable, so it should really come as no surprise that it can also be used to tow just about anything. Seemingly born and bred for outdoor adventures, the 2015 Outback is available with a 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine that can make up to 256 horsepower and 247 pound-feet of torque. Those figures present a rather surprising ability to tow up to 3,000 pounds, making the Outback even more capable than previously thought.
2. Audi Q5
Another luxury SUV that isn’t afraid to get down and dirty, the Audi Q5 can haul up to 4,400 pounds, by Autobytel’s calculations. There may be some solid logic behind that ability, however. Autobytel writes, “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.” A 3.0-liter six-cylinder engine supplies plenty of power to make it all happen, with figures of 272 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque pounding the work out.
1. Chevrolet Traverse
Autobytel puts it rather plainly, stating that “the 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.” Along with that size comes power, and the Traverse can produce 288 horsepower and 270 pound-feet of torque from a 3.6-liter V6 engine — enough to hit the road with 5,200 pounds in tow. The Traverse also enough room to pack in the entire family and cargo, making it one of the best choices for the family on the go.