- In the popular large-SUV segment, there’s a lot of trailer-pulling ability for around $60,000, but not all models make it easy.
- Along with a 9300-pound max capacity, the 2023 Ford Expedition offers Pro Trailer Backup Assist to help novices back up without using the steering wheel.
- The 2023 Nissan Armada and 2023 Chevy Tahoe can tow up to 8500 and 8400 pounds, respectively, and they also offer tech that makes trailering easier.
Automakers know that making towing easier is a reliable way to attract customers, especially for large SUVs that can tow in the neighborhood of 8000 pounds. However, with that type of capability, as well as the influx of nifty towing tricks, shoppers can be overwhelmed when trying to decipher the differences between, say, the Advanced and Max Trailering packages. They also likely need to know which powertrain options are necessary to pull the biggest boat.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the trailering capabilities of three popular large SUVs, which all start in the mid-$50,000s. We’ll list them in order of how much they can tow, but, as you’ll see, the headline number isn’t the only consideration when deciding how to move extra stuff down the road.
2023 Ford Expedition
Max towing: 9300 pounds
Starting at $57,620
The 2023 Ford Expedition is rated to tow up to 9300 pounds, but that figure applies to rear-wheel-drive models equipped with the extra-cost Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow package. Without that $795 upgrade, which includes a trailer-brake controller and a larger radiator to handle the powertrain’s additional cooling needs, the rear-drive Expedition’s max towing capacity drops to 6600 pounds. All-wheel-drive models are capped at 6500 pounds without the trailering package and 9200 pounds with it.
Ford knows the benefit of looking backward when towing. With the Heavy-Duty Trailer Tow package, the 2023 Expedition features Pro Trailer Backup Assist 2.0, which rethinks how you move in reverse with a trailer attached to your vehicle. Some prep work is required (the SUV has to know the trailer’s dimensions), but once that’s done, drivers can slowly maneuver the trailer into position by turning a knob on the dashboard instead of using the steering wheel.
2023 Nissan Armada
Max towing: 8500 pounds
Starting at $52,495
The 2023 Nissan Armada has a maximum towing capacity of 8500 pounds, and that figure applies to both rear- and all-wheel-drive models. Unlike its Chevy and Ford counterparts, Nissan’s large SUV isn’t offered with a towing package, meaning all Armadas are ready to pull right out of the box. However, that doesn’t mean shoppers miss out on features that make towing simpler. For example, every Armada has a standard auto-leveling suspension that contributes to smoother trailering on bumpy roads. An available 360-degree camera system also makes it easier to back up to a trailer hitch.
The 2023 Armada offers a variety of towing assists too. There’s Trailer Sway Control (which does what it sounds) and a Tow-Haul drive mode, which uses Downhill Speed Control to make driving down an incline smoother. The SUV’s integrated trailer-brake controller can be used to adjust or activate the trailer’s brakes. Nissan makes getting all these towing benefits easy, as they’re standard features on every trim but the base S versions.
2023 Chevy Tahoe
Max towing: 8400 pounds
Starting at $56,095
The 2023 Chevy Tahoe can tow up to 8400 pounds, but that max capacity applies to rear-wheel-drive models with the standard 5.3-liter V-8 and the extra-cost Max Trailering package. The latter includes an integrated trailer-brake controller and an upgraded radiator for better cooling. When equipped with that package, rear-drive Tahoes with the available diesel 3.0-liter inline-six or the 6.2-liter V-8 have max towing capacities of 8200 and 8300 pounds, respectively. Choosing all- or four-wheel drive lowers all those max tow ratings by 200 pounds.
The Max Trailering package adds Hitch Guidance with Hitch View (where you see a camera view of the trailer on the infotainment screen). The Premier and High Country models also include Trailer Side Blind Zone Alert. Without the Max Trailering package, the rear-drive Tahoe’s max towing capacities with each engine are 8200 pounds (3.0-liter), 7900 pounds (5.3-liter), and 7800 pounds (6.2-liter). Choosing all- or -four-wheel drive lowers all those max tow figures by 200 pounds.
An Advanced Trailer package is also optional, but it only includes an integrated trailer-brake controller and doesn’t alter towing capacities. All 2023 Tahoe models have standard trailer sway control and a trailering hitch platform with a 2.0-inch receiver and seven-pin connectors. The Tahoe can also be equipped with trailer tire-pressure and temperature sensors.
Sebastian Blanco has been writing about electric vehicles, hybrids, and hydrogen cars since 2006. His articles and car reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Automotive News, Reuters, SAE, Autoblog, InsideEVs, Trucks.com, Car Talk, and other outlets. His first green-car media event was the launch of the Tesla Roadster, and since then he has been tracking the shift away from gasoline-powered vehicles and discovering the new technology’s importance not just for the auto industry, but for the world as a whole. Throw in the recent shift to autonomous vehicles, and there are more interesting changes happening now than most people can wrap their heads around. You can find him on Twitter or, on good days, behind the wheel of a new EV.