Flat towing is a popular method among RV and motorhome enthusiasts who wish to take their vehicles along with them during their travels. When it comes to choosing the right vehicle for flat towing, SUVs often come out as the top pick, thanks to their versatile features and off-road capabilities. However, not every SUV can be flat towed, and certain models perform better than others in this aspect.
To find the best SUVs for flat towing, it’s essential to understand how flat towing works and the factors that make a vehicle suitable for this purpose. Flat towing involves attaching a tow bar to your motorhome and the towed vehicle, allowing the latter to ride on all four wheels. This process eliminates the need for trailers, simplifying the overall towing experience.
Some key factors to consider when selecting an SUV for flat towing include the vehicle’s compatibility with tow bars, transmission type, and how it performs during towing. By understanding these characteristics and doing thorough research, you’ll be able to find the ideal SUV to accompany your RV or motorhome on your next adventure.
- Understand flat towing methods and the ideal SUV features for this purpose
- Research the compatibility and transmission type of various SUVs
- Always consult your vehicle’s owner manual for towing instructions and limitations
What Is Flat Towing and How It Works
Flat towing, also known as dinghy towing or four-down towing, is a method of towing a vehicle with all four wheels on the ground. This allows you to bring a second vehicle along on your adventures with minimal hassle.
When flat towing, a tow bar is used to connect the towed vehicle to the towing vehicle. This helps in providing ease and comfort during the towing process. Here, we’ll guide you on the essentials of flat towing and how it works.
To start with, you need to ensure that your chosen vehicle is suitable for flat towing. SUVs with manual transmission, manual transfer cases, or a transmission disconnect are generally good candidates for this process.
Moreover, the towing capacity of the towing vehicle must be sufficient to handle the weight of the towed SUV.
Vehicles with rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive can be flat towed provided they meet certain requirements. It’s essential to consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific details on flat towing compatibility.
Before you begin flat towing, ensure your towed vehicle’s transmission is in neutral. This is crucial as it allows the wheels to roll freely without causing damage to the vehicle’s internal components.
In addition, some vehicles have steering lockout overrides, which should be activated to allow the wheels to turn smoothly during towing.
When setting up your tow bar, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and properly secure the connection points between both vehicles.
Keep in mind that the tow bar should be level when attaching it to prevent any unnecessary strain on either vehicle.
In addition to the tow bar, you may need supplementary braking systems, safety cables, and lighting connections to ensure a safe towing experience.
These supplemental components are essential in guaranteeing a secure connection and improved safety while on the road.
Finally, always perform a thorough inspection of your towing setup before hitting the road.
This includes double-checking the connections and verifying that your towed SUV’s wheels are rolling freely.
Taking these precautions will ensure a smooth and successful flat towing experience for both you and your vehicles.
Now you have a clear understanding of what flat towing is and how it works.
With the right preparation, equipment, and attention to detail, you’ll be able to enjoy the convenience of bringing an extra SUV along on your trips without any complications.
Features of an Ideal SUV for Flat Towing
When selecting an ideal SUV for flat towing, you’ll want to consider several factors. Firstly, consult your owner’s manual to determine if your SUV is suitable for towing.
The manual will provide crucial information on the towing capacity and any necessary precautions.
Look for an SUV with a four-wheel drive (4WD), front-wheel-drive (FWD), or all-wheel-drive (AWD) system, depending on your preferences and intended use.
A 4WD system generally provides better off-road capabilities and towing performance.
In contrast, FWD and AWD systems are typically more fuel-efficient and offer better traction in various road conditions.
Another factor to consider is the SUV’s horsepower. A higher horsepower rating ensures that your vehicle can handle the additional load when towing.
Additionally, you should pay attention to the tire pressure, as proper inflation is essential for safe towing and maintaining control on the road.
Four-down towing (also called flat towing) is preferred when towing an SUV, as it allows your vehicle to travel with all four wheels on the ground.
This method enables better braking control and less wear on your SUV’s tires and transmission. Ensure that your chosen SUV is compatible with four-down towing, as not all models may support this method.
Lastly, check the steering lockout (if applicable) in your SUV. The steering lockout mechanism prevents the wheels from turning while the engine is off, which is crucial when towing.
Some vehicles may not have a steering lockout or have an electronic version that disengages automatically when the vehicle is in tow mode.
By considering these factors, you can ensure that your chosen SUV is ideally suited for flat-towing adventures with your motorhome.
Suitable SUVs for Flat Towing
When considering a vehicle for flat towing behind your motorhome, finding a suitable SUV that can handle the task is essential.
One of the most popular choices for this purpose is the Jeep Wrangler.
It’s great for flat towing, especially in 4×4 configurations, and preferred by drivers for its off-road capabilities.
Another excellent option for flat towing is the Jeep Grand Cherokee. This larger SUV provides ample space and comfort while maintaining its towable convenience.
Similarly, the Dodge Durango and Chevrolet Equinox are also popular choices for flat towing. Both vehicles offer a balance between comfort, size, and ease of towing.
The Honda CR-V and GMC Terrain are other options worth considering if you’re looking for SUVs to tow behind your motorhome.
Both SUVs are known for their fuel efficiency and reliability, making them practical choices for long adventures.
Additionally, the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Gladiator serve as versatile options, giving you the towing capabilities of an SUV with the added off-roading prowess.
For those seeking luxury SUVs, the Buick Enclave, Buick Envision, Cadillac SRX, and GMC Acadia offer comfort, luxury, and tow-friendly features.
These vehicles provide a more lavish experience on the road, without sacrificing their flat towing capabilities.
Lastly, a more compact alternative for flat towing could be the Mini Cooper. It might not be an SUV, but it’s small, lightweight, and can still be flat towed behind a motorhome with ease.
This vehicle gives you the advantage of having a smaller, more maneuverable car at your disposal during your travels.
To sum up, several suitable SUVs for flat towing offer unique features and advantages. From off-roading capabilities to luxury interiors, there’s an option for every preference and need.
Remember to check your motorhome’s towing capacity and ensure your chosen vehicle is compatible with flat towing requirements before setting off on your journey.
Guide to Flat Towing Various SUVs
When you need to flat tow an SUV behind your motorhome, there are specific models that can be easily towed with all four wheels on the ground.
This section will discuss several popular SUVs that can be flat towed and their unique features.
Jeep Wrangler, one of the most iconic off-road vehicles, is an excellent option for flat towing. The Jeep Wrangler JK, JL, and TJ are all great choices for both on and off-road adventures.
Always remember to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when setting up your Wrangler for flat towing.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee, known for its ruggedness and luxury, is another flat-towable SUV. This powerful vehicle combines the towing prowess of a truck with the comfort of an SUV, making it a popular choice for those who need space and style on their trips.
Dodge Durango, a versatile and reliable SUV, can also be flat towed. With ample space and capability, it is an ideal option for long road trips or excursions that require additional room for gear.
If fuel economy is essential to you, consider flat towing the Chevrolet Equinox, Honda CR-V, or GMC Terrain. These compact SUVs are popular for their good gas mileage and maneuverability.
For those who prefer mid-size SUVs, the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Gladiator are both great choices for flat towing. With features that cater to off-road enthusiasts and ample cargo space, these SUVs are well-suited for adventurous road trips.
For a touch of luxury, the Buick Enclave, Buick Envision, Cadillac SRX, and GMC Acadia are ideal options for flat towing.
These vehicles both offer style and comfort, with features designed to make your drive enjoyable.
Finally, consider flat towing a Mini Cooper for a small SUV with a fun edge. With its unique design and impressive handling, it’s a compact option for those who want to bring a smaller vehicle on their journey.
Always consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for proper flat towing setup and adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience on the road.
Flat Towing Beyond SUVs
When it comes to flat towing, there is a wide variety of vehicles aside from SUVs. Trucks and sedans can also be flat towed effortlessly.
For example, the Ford F-150 can be a reliable option for flat towing behind a motorhome. This truck offers impressive horsepower and towing capabilities to cater to your needs.
Another popular truck choice is the Chevrolet Colorado, which is known for its off-road capabilities and towing capacity.
It’s a versatile option for users who wish to have a reliable vehicle when they are away from the motorhome. Similarly, the Ford Explorer and Lincoln MKX are popular choices, providing a blend of capability and comfort.
If you are looking for smaller vehicles to tow, the Fiat 500, Chevrolet Spark, and Chevrolet Sonic are great options as well.
Owing to their compact size and light weight, these vehicles are easy to manage during flat towing. Remember to refer to their owner’s manual to ensure proper towing procedures.
For those who prefer sedans, the Chevrolet Malibu can be a suitable option. It provides ample space and driving comforts while being capable of flat towing.
As always, it’s essential to verify the specific model’s towing capabilities before using it.
In conclusion, a variety of vehicles, such as pickup trucks and sedans, offer suitable alternatives for flat towing beyond SUVs.
No matter which type of vehicle you prefer, always follow proper safety guidelines and manufacturer recommendations to ensure smooth towing experiences.
Responsibilities and Considerations While Flat Towing
When flat towing an SUV, it’s vital to understand the responsibilities and considerations to ensure the safety of both the motorhome and the towed vehicle.
First and foremost, check the warranty of your SUV. Towing a vehicle that is not recommended for flat towing by the manufacturer can void your warranty and result in costly repairs.
Before setting off, invest in a proper tow package that is compatible with your motorhome and towed SUV. Some vehicles may require a lubrication pump to keep transmission parts well-oiled during towing.
This step helps avoid damage to the transmission, which your warranty may not cover.
Regularly check and maintain tire pressure on both motorhome and towed SUV while on your journey.
Proper tire pressure is crucial for safe towing and optimal handling. When it’s not possible to flat tow your SUV, consider dolly towing as an alternative. But remember, this method might need additional equipment like a tow dolly and adaptors.
While flat towing, pay attention to steering lockout mechanisms on your SUV. In some vehicles, it may be necessary to disable the steering lockout or leave the ignition switch in the “accessory” position to allow the front wheels to rotate freely.
In some cases, removing specific fuses can prevent the steering lockout from engaging while towing.
By taking care of these considerations and staying well-informed about your specific SUV’s requirements, you can ensure that your towing experience is both safe and efficient.
Remember to double-check your manufacturer’s recommendations and adhere to them to maintain the integrity and performance of your vehicles during flat towing.
What are the Best SUVs to Flat Tow?
Broadly speaking, the smaller and lighter the car is, the best it would be for flat towing.
● Jeep Wrangler: The Jeep Wrangler is great for towing, especially 4×4 flat towing. The Jeep Wrangler is one of the most popular vehicles for towing on a smaller scale overall.
Since the Jeep Wrangler is a 4×4, it is preferred by drivers since it is great off the road.
If you like Jeep Wranglers and are thinking of using it or buying one to flat tow your car, then do consider the Jeep Wrangler TJ, the Jeep Wrangler Jk, and the Jeep Wrangler JL.
● Jeep Grand Cherokee: Next on our list is the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
To flat tow your Jeep Grand Cherokee behind your trailer, you will need a few items: a base plate, safety cables, a tow bar, lighting solution, high-low adapter, and lastly, a supplemental braking system.
Although the Jeep Wrangler is best suited for flat towing, you do not need to trade in your Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is also a great option even if it is not the ideal one; it still gets the job done.
However, you will only be able to flat tow it if it is equipped with the two-speed transfer case.
- On the other hand, if your Dodge Durango has the 6.4 L V8 Hemi engine then it cannot be flat towed. If you have this model then you would need to use a dolly tow and not just any dolly tow, but one that has the capacity tow around 6,000 lbs.
All Chevrolet Colorado models seem to come with a 2-speed transfer case which is essential to be flat-towed. With this said, you should not have any issues with this model. For the 2020 Chevrolet Colorado, it is pretty much the same story.
● Chevrolet Equinox: Another Chevrolet makes the list and this time it is the Chevrolet Equinox. Do keep in mind that not all Chevrolet Equinox can be told, unfortunately. OnLy the Chevrolet Equinox with the 1.5 L engine and 1.6 diesel engine can be flat towed.
Any unit with a 9-speed electronic transmission cannot be flat towed. If you are not sure which engine you have, please double-check by reading your owner’s manual.
However, if you have an older Ford F-150 model, as in any model made before 2012, you will need to do a bit of extra homework to see if it can be flat towed.
The Ford F-150 has to have a manual-shift transfer case in order for it to be flat towed because recreational towing is not prohibited if the SUV has an electronic-shift transfer case.
● Honda CR-V: If you are like most people, then you can understand how a Honda CR-V made it our list. It is a great and reliable SUV, and the best part is it can be flat towed!
The 2019 Honda CR-V specifically is a great model to flat tow as long as you do not exceed 65 mph.
● Chevrolet Sonic: Next on the list is the Chevrolet Sonic. A Chevrolet Sonic can be towed but you will need a few items. These items are a tow bar, safety cables, a base plate kit, and a supplemental braking system.
● GMC Terrain: Almost at the of our list we have the GMC Terrain. According to the GMC Terrain car manual (if you have lost the car manual for your GMC Terrain, you can always find this information online), GMC Terrains can be flat towed.
However, you must take a few preparational steps with your GMC Terrain before flat-towing it. The first step would be to remove the fuse of your GMC Terrain to prevent battery drainage. If this is something you are nervous to tackle on your own, there are plenty of videos online that will be able to help walk you through this step by step method.
● Mini Cooper: Last on our list, are Mini Coopers. Yes, you heard right, Mini Coopers and it makes sense right? This car is small but mighty and can easily be flat towed.
What Else You Need to Know About Flat Towing your SUVs
Although all SUVs listed can be flat towed, it does not mean they are best suited for flat towing. Some vehicles are better suited for flat towing than others and some SUVs are better suited for dolly towing.
The Takeaway | Safety First
Flat towing is such a great way to save miles on your car without ruining your tires. If your vehicle made this list, then you are very lucky. However, if yours did not, it does not mean that you cannot take it with you when you travel.
Check to see if your SUV is better suited for dolly towing instead. If you are not sure and do not want to risk damaging your car, then you should speak to your local mechanic and ask him/her on which method you should take.
Although flat towing is fun, it can also be dangerous if not done properly. Make sure to double-check that everything is secure before you hit the road; remember, safety first!
Frequently Asked Questions
Which SUV models are suitable for flat towing?
Several SUV models are suitable for flat towing, but it’s crucial to consult your owner’s manual before attempting to tow any vehicle, as specifications may vary between makes and models. Typically, 4×4 and AWD SUVs are ideal for flat towing. For example, the Buick Enclave and Chevrolet Tahoe are commonly known to be flat towable.
What are the top flat towable SUVs in 2023?
Some of the top flat towable SUVs in 2023 include the Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Tahoe, and Chevrolet Equinox. Keep in mind that this list is subject to change, so always consult the owner’s manual and the manufacturer’s guidelines to ensure the vehicle is suitable for flat towing.
How do I choose the best SUV for flat towing behind a motorhome?
When choosing the best SUV for flat towing behind a motorhome, consider factors such as transmission disconnect options, steering lockout override, weight, and size. Additionally, Blue Ox recommends checking if the vehicle requires the removal of certain fuses or has specific operational instructions for flat towing.
Are there any affordable SUV options for flat towing?
Yes, there are affordable SUV options for flat towing. Some models with lower price points, such as the Chevrolet Sonic and Chevrolet Equinox, can be found used or well-equipped for flat towing. Always double-check with the owner’s manual and manufacturer’s guidelines before committing to a specific SUV for flat towing purposes.
Do any Honda SUVs support flat towing?
Honda SUVs are generally not recommended for flat towing. However, it’s important to consult your owner’s manual to determine if your specific Honda SUV model supports flat towing or not.
What should I consider when looking for a flat towable vehicle for sale?
When looking for a flat towable vehicle for sale, consider the SUV’s towing compatibility, weight, size, and overall condition. Check the owner’s manual and manufacturer’s guidelines for flat towing recommendations. It’s also essential to take into account the towing capacity of your motorhome and any additional equipment required for safe flat towing, such as tow bars and braking systems.