By Garth Cane.
The automotive industry continues to upgrade and enhance the towing characteristics of the full-size SUVs and pickup trucks with an eye to lighter, more fuel efficient tow vehicles for travel trailers and fifth wheels. Many family sedans and light to medium duty trucks and SUVs are capable of towing the smaller and lighter models of travel trailers, and the full-size and mid-size pickup trucks remain an excellent choice for use with a range of truck campers.
Our RV Lifestyle road test teams have been busy driving and tow-testing some of the most popular tow vehicles on the Canadian market. Here is a summary of the models we have checked out – please note that you should always consult your RV dealer to be sure that your tow vehicle and trailer are fully compatible, and that the hitch, electrical system, cooling system, brakes, and suspension components are appropriate for the combined rig.Please note that any vehicle modifications for towing may affect your automotive warranty coverage – consult with your automotive dealer to determine how towing may affect your vehicle warranty – and have the dealer provide written verification that the tow vehicle is suitably equipped and will be covered by warranty when used to tow your trailer. Note that some of the new trucks and SUVs are equipped with dedicated trailer towing systems and components, and these should be specified when ordering a tow vehicle.
Enclave is powered by a 3.6L V-6 engine featuring fuel-saving direct injection technology and continuously variable valve timing, matched with a six-speed automatic transmission. Direct injection helps the engine produce power comparable to a V-8 – SAE-certified 288 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque.
The 2017 Silverado is available with your choice of a trio of EcoTec3 engines, including a 4.3L V-6 rated at 285 hp, a 5.3L V-8 rated at 355 hp and the 6.2L V-8 rated at 420 hp. The 3.6L with the towing package is rated to tow 3,500 pounds, the 6.2L V-8 can tow up to a 12,000-pound trailer or fifth wheel. Each of the engines features direct injection, Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) and continuously variable valve timing to make the most of power, torque and efficiency across a broad range of operating conditions.
Silverado HDs’ trailering ratings are aligned with SAE J2807 standards, with maximum available capacities for the various models as follows: 2500HD conventional trailering rating of 14,500 pounds; fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailering rating of 18,000 pounds; 3500HD single-rear-wheel conventional trailering rating of 15,000 pounds; 3500HD single-rear-wheel fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailering rating of 17,500 pounds; 3500HD dual-rear-wheel conventional trailering rating of 20,000 pounds; 3500HD dual-rear-wheel fifth-wheel or gooseneck trailering rating of 23,200 pounds.
After 80 years of setting the bar high, the Chevrolet Suburban underwent a complete redesign in 2015, offering a more contemporary take on the full-size SUVs legendary functionality, performance and convenience features. The 2017 model features a 5.3L V-8 engine with direct injection and other technologies that support nearly 10-percent greater highway efficiency compared to previous models. Fold-flat second- and third-row seats enhance cargo convenience – including an available power-folding feature. Standard eight-inch colour touch screen radio with next-generation Mylink connectivity, OnStar with 4G LTE, and standard built-in WiFi hotspot (includes 3GB/three-month data trial) are popular features. The Suburban has up to 121.1 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded. Maximum trailering capacity is 8,100 pounds (2WD).
For 2017 the GMC Yukon adds an available rear seat entertainment system with upgrades that include HDMI/MHL connector, additional USB port, digital headphones and device projection; new video voiceover feature benefits visually and hearing impaired. The Yukon is offered in LS, LT and Premier models, in 2WD and 4WD configurations. A standard 5.3L V-8 engine with direct injection and Active Fuel Management provides 355 horsepower and the segments best fuel efficiency: 10.4L/100km highway. Forward Collision Alert, Safety Alert Driver Seat, IntelliBeam headlamps with automatic high-beam control, Lane Keep Assist and Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking are standard on LT and Premier. They are included on LS with the available Enhanced Driver Alert Package.
The Dodge Durango’s combination of uncompromised utility, advanced technology, class-leading towing and driving range, confident driving dynamics and aggressive styling make it the Dodge Charger of the SUV segment. 360 horsepower, Durango offers standard seven-passenger seating and new 20-inch wheels with high-gloss Granite Crystal finish. With the 3.6L engine, Durango can tow 6200 pounds, with the 5.7L engine and 3.09 axle ratio it can pull 7400 pounds.
America’s best-selling truck for 39 years continues to innovate for 2017 with a second-generation 3.5-liter EcoBoost® V6 engine and all-new 10-speed automatic transmission. The combination delivers more torque and horsepower and an improved driving experience to make the 2017 F-150 the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 ever. This includes a new twin port and direct injection fuel strategy, lighter and stronger crank and valvetrain components, and redesigned turbocharger system. Improvements include the all-new 10-speed automatic transmission available for both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models.
Powered by optional 6.7-liter Power Stroke® turbo diesel V8 producing best-in-class 925 lb.-ft. of torque and 440 horsepower, Ford’s Super Duty delivers maximum gooseneck towing of 32,500 pounds for F-450, class-leading 27,500-pound fifth-wheel towing and class-leading conventional towing of 21,000 pounds; maximum payload rated at up to a best-in-class 7,630 pounds.
GMC Denali 1500
The Denali Ultimate Package includes 6.2L engine, 22-inch aluminum wheels, power sunroof, trailer brake controller, tri-mode power steps and chrome recovery hooks. Low Speed Forward Automatic Braking is added to the standard Enhanced Driver Alert Package. It is available with a 5.3L V8 355 hp or 6.2 L V8 420 hp engine. Magnetic Ride Control delivers more precise body motion control. Its sensors “read” the road every millisecond, triggering damping changes in as little as five milliseconds Automatic locking rear differential reacts almost immediately in low-traction situations to improve safety and confidence on wet, snowy or muddy surfaces.
The 2017 Jeep Cherokee completely redefines the mid-size SUV segment, delivering legendary Jeep 4×4 capability, superior on-road ride and handling, world-class craftsmanship, clever functionality and versatility. A 3.2-liter V-6 engine is now available on Cherokee Sport, and there are three available four-wheel-drive systems that raise the standard for mid-size SUVs. Jeep’s Selec-Terrain traction control system provides up to five customized modes (Auto, Snow, Sport, Sand/Mud and Rock) for best-in-class V-6 towing capability 4,500 pounds, for off-road use, there is up to a 56:1 crawl ratio for low-range traction.
For the 2017 model year, the Nissan full-size pickup lineup expands with the arrival of the all-new Titan half-ton. Powered by Nissan’s new 390-horsepower 5.6-liter Endurance® V8 engine, the Titan half-ton will initially be offered in a roomy Crew Cab body in 4×4 configuration and in five well-equipped grade levels. The 2017 Titan half-ton’s new 5.6-liter Endurance® V8 engine shares its displacement with the previous-generation V8, that is where the similarities end. The new engine features 390 horsepower @ 5,800 rpm (up 73 hp from the previous 317 hp) and 394 lb-ft of torque (up from the previous 385)
Like the TITAN XD itself, the new Cummins 5.0L V8 Turbo Diesel fills the gap between earlier engine options and more expensive big bore diesels. The TITAN XD Cummins diesel with the new M2 two-stage turbo system helps reduce traditional turbo-lag through precision balancing between high-pressure and low-pressure turbos. It offers the effortless towing and hauling of the larger, more expensive heavy-duty trucks – including an available maximum towing capacity of more than 12,000 pounds and maximum payload capacity of 2,000 pounds (when properly equipped) – yet has the fuel-efficiency and affordability of a half-ton pickup.
Ram 1500 is America’s most fuel efficient full-size pickup with exclusive 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine rated at 29 miles per gallon (mpg). The truck features a state-of-the-art infotainment system with Uconnect 8.4. On the road, the exclusive link coil suspension with four corner air suspension option delivers excellent ride and handling. Best-in-class aerodynamics, with a coefficient of drag (Cd) at 0.360. The Ram 1500 uses a number of fuel-saving features to lead the segment in efficiency with 29 mpg. Although a standard eight-speed transmission and exclusive EcoDiesel yield double-digit efficiency percentage improvements, other efforts to upgrade components, such as accessory drives, reduce parasitic loss, and advances in thermal dynamics engineering all contribute to America’s most fuel efficient full-size truck. Engine options include: 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine, featuring 29 mpg, 240 horsepower and 420 lb.-ft. of torque , 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine features 25 mpg, 305 horsepower and 269 lb.-ft. of torque, and a 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 with variable-valve timing (VVT) provides up to 22 mpg, 395 horsepower and 410 lb.-ft. of torque. Best-in-class gas towing – 16,320 pounds with Ram 2500.
Toyota Tundra TRD
The Toyota Tundra TRD Off-Road model that is the foundation of the Pro Series trucks is incredibly well-equipped, with Bilstein shock absorbers, fuel tank protector plates, clearance and backup sensors, heated front seats including a power-adjustable driver’s seat, an anti-theft system and more. This is on top of the SR5’s already impressive features and specifications including a 381 horsepower 5.7L V8 coupled to a six-speed super ECT transmission with Sequential Shift Mode, Active Traction Control, an auto limited slip rear differential and one-touch 4WD to seamlessly switch into and out of 4WD mode. The Tundra TRD is equipped to tow 9,700 pounds.