With more power, more safety features and the latest in on-road technology, this year’s tow vehicles are better than ever
We’ve done a lot of talking about RVs and how to choose the right one, but if you’re purchasing, or plan to purchase, a travel trailer or fifth-wheel (or, in some cases, a pickup camper), you can’t forget about the tow vehicle. The right one can not only serve as a second family vehicle but can make your RV travels safe, reliable and comfortable.
Did we mention stress-free? Today’s tow vehicles, trucks, in particular, are not only powerful but have a variety of driver aids that make hitching and towing a virtually effortless experience. For 2020, General Motors released all-new examples of its popular Chevy and GMC heavy-duty trucks, which can not only tow up to 35,500 pounds (more than just about any fifth-wheel you’re likely to find), but are available with up to six built-in cameras (as well as an accessory rear trailer camera and trailer interior camera) to provide up to 15 camera views of the front, sides, rear and even the top of the truck. Combined with the ASA Electronics iN-Command control system (which allows owners to monitor and control a range of systems in the trailer, such as water-tank levels, HVAC controls, generator start/stop, etc.) and an in-vehicle/mobile Trailering App (trailer light test, trailer electrical diagnostics, trailer tire pressure/temperature monitoring and predeparture checklist), the new 2500 and 3500 trucks have everything covered.e’ve done a lot of talking about RVs and how to choose the right one in this guide, but if you’re purchasing, or plan to purchase, a travel trailer or fifth-wheel (or, in some cases, a pickup camper), you can’t forget about the tow vehicle. The right one can not only serve as a second family vehicle but can make your RV travels safe, reliable and comfortable.
Not to be outdone, Ford has introduced its updated Super Duty pickups, with the most powerful gasoline engine in the segment (a 7.3-liter beast with 430 hp and 475 lb-ft of torque), the most powerful diesel, and a fifth-wheel tow rating of up to 32,500 pounds. If an SUV is your thing, Ford’s 2020 Explorer has been redesigned from the ground up, and now uses rear-wheel-drive architecture (instead of the front-/or all-wheel-drive offerings of the past), which the company says allows for a sportier design, improved on/off-road capability and a 600-pound boost in maximum towing capacity to 5,600 pounds when properly equipped. A Class III Trailer Tow Package is available with the 2.3-liter EcoBoost and new 3.3-liter hybrid engine, and comes standard with the 3.0-liter EcoBoost engine. Trailer Sway Control, Terrain Management and Ford Co-Pilot360 driver-assist are among the many standard and available features.
If you’d like the legendary off-road capability of a Jeep Wrangler with the towing and cargo capacity of a pickup, look no further than the all-new Jeep Gladiator. As you might expect, the Gladiator offers real off-road capability, with equipment like Command-Trac and Rock-Trac 4×4 systems, Dana 44 axles, Tru-Lock electric front- and rear-axle lockers, Trac-Lok limited-slip differential, segment-exclusive electronic sway-bar disconnect and 33-inch off-road tires. All this, plus a tow capacity of up to 7,650 pounds and a payload of 1,600 pounds. You can also take off the roof and doors, and fold down the windshield if you’re into that sort of thing.
Toyota’s new Highlander can seat up to eight, and when equipped with the available towing package (heavy-duty radiator, engine-oil cooler, improved cooling fan performance and Trailer Sway Control), it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. Hyundai and Kia, meanwhile, have also introduced all-new, mid-sized SUVs: the Palisade and Telluride, respectively. Both models offer three-row, seven-passenger seating, a 291-hp 3.8-liter V-6, front- or all-wheel-drive and a tow rating of up to 5,000 pounds.
These are just the highlights of some of the tow vehicles available this year. Buckle up; you’ve got a lot of test driving to do.