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Question DetailsAsked on 3/4/2014

What best small SUV for towing a small trailer weigh 3000 lb.

I have a Chalet Arrowhead camper that weighs 3000 lb. It has the plastic big box, 2 gas tanks and 2 batteries in the front, on the hitch.

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4 Answers


There could be quite a few to fit that bill.

Do you have a particular leaning to one brand or another. If you are towing 3,000 lb, I would look for a capacity that is at least 4,500 lb.

Answered 6 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions


What kind of car manufacturer are you partial too?

They all make capable SUVs the last I checked. Might have to go on the bigger side if you are worried about the weight and stress on the car so perhaps some of the folks that don't make a medium sized one or larger will work but there are a bunch of them out there.

I would also potentially look at some of the smaller diesels out there. They will do much better towing.

Answered 6 years ago by Davidhughes


3000# is not a small trailer - that is as much or more than a small SUV weighs - almost as much as a Jeep Cherokee !

Knowing how a large SUV and a 3/4 ton pickup behave towing a 3000-3500 pound trailer, I would recommend an oxen or draft horse. Seriously, a small SUV, even though maybe legally rated for 3000 pounds, is not really large enough for that weight in my opinion, and you are sure to regret it if you get into mountainous terrain, or on slippery roads. Another thing to remember is the trailer rating on vehicles is with 1 person onboard and no cargo and usually only 5 gallons of gas on board - but if you are towing a camper, you are likely have camping gear, several people, full fuel tank, etc on board - so a potential overload situation. Many SUV's also specifically state that no passengers can be in the rear seat when towing to avoid overloading the rear end - so not realistic for a camping trip. Another consideration - tail end sway and lightness - many SUV's and unloaded pickups are too light in the rear end, so need some weight over the axle to prevent them from wanting to swap ends on slick roads. Our Durango, for instance, needs about 200 pounds in sand in the rear to control this tendency, and trailer tongue weight does NOT count for this becuae it is variably side to side (promoting this sort of bad behavior) or lightened by road bumps, so you want some leeway in capacitiy. I would strongly recommend, as one other commenter already said, at least a 4000 to 4500 pound rated towing capacity vehicle if you intend to tow this any distance or with any frequency. Personally, I wouldnever volunatrily tow anything over about 1500 pounds behind an SUV - I would go with a large two seat pickup with topper to provide secure storage for gear. The last thing you want is too small a towing vehicle, making your trips unpleasant or driving difficult and tiring you out before you ever get there.

Be sure to go to the trouble, after it is loaded to go the first time, to weigh the tongue (with full gas cans and batteries) if you can - too much tongue weight pushes the tail of the vehicle down, lifting the nose and making steering unsafe - see the picture inthe following article. Too little tongue weight can make the trailer "hunt" - weave from side to side, which can very quickly cause rapidly increasing oscillations that result in a rollover or pushing the vehicle off the road - I have seen this several times on the road. Cars have recommended percentages of trailer weight to put on the tongue, and trailer manufactuers have rating charts for their trailers showing tongue weight you should have for a given gross weight. Here is an article on tongue weight -

I was regretably witness and first responder to a towed house trailer which started uncontrolled oscillations due to improper tongue weight - ended up rolling the towing pickup (with family) and the trailer several times on I90, immediately involving a cross-country bus going about 90 and another couple of cars, resulting in several deaths and numerous severe injuries in a remote area - NOT a pretty situation.

One other thing - note that all manufacturers recommend a break-in period on new vehicles before towing - commonly about 2-3,000 miles, so count on that in planning your purchase and trip. You do not want to damage your drive train putting trailer load on it while it is still in the break-in period.

One last recommendation - do some research on horsepower - for 3000# trailer, either at highway speeds or in hilly country, you will want a significant 6 cylinder or 8 cylinders, not a 4 banger or small 6.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD


I am looking at a Toyota Highlander Hybrid. I am concerned about feul consamption as well as towing power.

Answered 6 years ago by Guest_9755881

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