Living the vintage trailer lifestyle is about more than just picking a trailer and hitting the road. If you really want to do it right, there are many factors that you have to consider before setting off. Since all vintage campers are towed by something else, unlike RVs, today we’re focusing on a very important topic; picking the right car, truck, or SUV, to tow your vintage trailer.
Between Airstreams, Shastas, Avions, Spartans, and Benroys, to name a few, there are countless vintage trailer brands and styles for you to choose from. And just like trailers come in different sizes and weights, vehicles also fall under diverse weight classes, with varied towing ratings as well. Having a reliable vehicle will make the difference between breaking down in the middle of nowhere and shelling out hundreds of dollars on two tow trucks if your trailer is big, or actually getting to your destination safely while enjoying your trip. So, at Vintage Trailer Supply we’ve researched and handpicked the vehicles we think you can count on; they are all from brands that consistently rank high on reliability charts and should give you the peace of mind you want if you maintain them properly.
Please bear in mind you should never hook on a trailer that matches the towing capacity of your vehicle exactly; you need a bit of a buffer for when the vehicle is under extra stress, such as starting uphill, driving in rough terrain, etc. And now, without further ado, we present you our top two pick of this year’s most reliable towing trucks, cars, and SUVS for towing vintage trailers.
Towing isn’t necessarily limited to large vehicles. Nowadays, cars are being made smarter and stronger than ever before. New technologies enable them to do many things they were not able to do; directing torque to a specific wheel when needed, braking automatically, and so on. Though they’re typically not built exclusively for towing trailers, there are a few sedans that can get the job done, especially if you’re just pulling a smaller trailer of up to 3,500 pounds. Since cars don’t normally include a tow hitch with electronic connections for brakes, we’d recommend using a Magnetic Tow Light Kit to properly signal your trailer. Here are the best cars for towing:
Pulling a respectable 2700 pounds, or up to 3000 pounds on the 3.6R trim, this wagon packs a powerful 3.6 liter engine capable of pulling trailers as big as the Airstream Basecamp (2850 lbs), which is the smallest size on Airstream’s lineup. It’s very roomy cabin offers great comfort on long drives, as well as an advanced safety system, Eyesight, that assists you in emergency maneuvers. Thanks to Subaru’s reputation as a trustworthy Japanese car maker, the Outback is their best selling model and is known for being a safe road-trip and, somewhat, off-road ready wagon.
Rated at an impressive 3,500 pounds, its power comes from an amazingly powerful small 2.0 liter engine that is turbocharged and supercharged simultaneously. It produces an outstanding 306 horsepower with 295 lb-ft of torque. The best part? This Swedish car maker has always been known for their cars’ top safety ratings, reliability, as well for their luxurious and comfortable interiors. You’re in for a smooth and powerful ride while pulling your trailer.
Built with a body-on-chassis construction, and designed to withstand stronger amounts of stress and body flex, trucks have been always the solid go-to for heavy duty work. With comfortable cabins, modern safety features, and beds that offer much convenience for moving large things, it’s no surprise that trucks sell so well in America. Their larger and more powerful engines also mean they’re better suited to pull up medium and some large trailers. But these days, even new compact pickups can put in the work of full-size trucks from generations ago. To make sure you’re pulling the appropriate amount of weight, we recommend a Trailer Tongue Weight Scale, which will give you a better idea of your trailer’s stability. Here are our picked reliable trucks for towing:
The brand says it all; these trucks really are built to last. Rated at 6800 pounds, the Tacoma is a popular mid-size truck mostly known for its off-roading capabilities among road-trip and overlanding enthusiasts. If taking your trailer to remote spots in nature where the trailer can travel beyond the road is on your plans, then this a great option to consider. Made with advanced crawling features, comfortable interiors, and reliability beyond 250K miles, you can’t go wrong with this one.
It’s America’s best selling vehicle for many reasons; has new technologies for assistive steering when towing in reverse, safety, and fuel economy, as well as an outstanding best-in-class towing capacity of 13,200 pounds. This spacious full-size pickup has been a heavy duty favorite for many years, and pulling your trailer on a long road-trip with one of these should be a breeze.
Most SUVs on the road are not built on top of a chassis like trucks are, meaning they may not be as suitable for the demands of off-roading as trucks. However, even with Unibody construction, some still have very powerful engines that are perfect for hooking the trailer and driving as far as the road can take you. And the convenience of this category over trucks is that your precious cargo can stay covered and safe in the back, unlike the exposed beds of trucks. Gather the family, pile up the luggage, and hook the trailer. Here are our picks to ride and pull in comfort:
Another favorite by Ford, this full-size SUV may not be as popular as the Explorer, but it still has some serious towing capacity, 9300 pounds, and has an extremely comfortable cabin. A twin-turbo 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine will yield generous fuel economy for the SUV’s massive size, helping reduce the hit of rising gas prices. If opting for the Expedition, get the Trailer Tow Package, which includes features like a heavy-duty radiator, and integrated brake controller, among others, to help you control the added weight. These make the Expedition of the best SUVs for towing.
Toyota Land Cruiser
One of the brand’s strongest players in its lineup, this full-size SUV is capable of towing up to 8100 pounds. Powered by a 5.7 V8 engine delivering 381 horsepower to all four wheels, you get exceptional amounts of power and traction while sitting on a comfortable cabin that can easily seat a family of 7. While the are rare to find in the US, its success around the world for decades has stemmed from a well-deserved reputation in durability, comfort, and depreciation value. Long road-trips pulling a trailer with a Land Cruiser will not only be easy, but also very comfortable.