I will be buying a car soon (new or used) and would like to know what type of cars can easily pull a small trailer?
How small are we talking? Length? Weight?
Define: small trailer? What is small to one person is a monster to another. You need to know the size of the trailer, overall weight of the trailer, and tongue weight of the trailer. In addition to weight, is it a flat bed or box type trailer. Box trailers push more air which creates more drag and makes the tow vehicle work harder.
Most cars today are FWD and FWD cars are poor tow vehicles. The transmission and gears are all small and compact to fit into one unit attached to the motor. They can only pull trailers that weight about 1000 lbs fully loaded. If you tow with a FWD vehicle you can expect to have transmission issues, which are expensive repairs.
Therefore you should focus on RWD cars. Many RWD cars are performance cars that are expensive and have lots of specialty parts that are expensive to repair. Next comes basic RWD domestic cars such as the Ford Crown Victoria. These can tow a trailer and better yet to get one with either a towing package, or the police intercepter package. RWD Crown Vic’s are out of production so now you are looking at used cars. The recent Chrysler 300 is RWD also.
Best vehicles for towing are mid sized SUV’s, or pick up trucks. If you are looking at a loaded trailer 1500 lbs and up you are best looking at an SUV.
What are the weight and size of the trailer?
The best car for towing is usually a truck. Some small four cylinder pick-ups like the Toyota Tacoma can tow up to 3,500 lbs. (at least according to Toyota), but if you are towing between 1,000 and 3,500 lbs., I would want at least a small V6 pick-up truck.
To me, non commercial small is less than 1500 lbs.; around 5k or so medium and larger weights around 7500 and above. To add to the great advice of Whitey and Uncle Turbo, regardless of what the maximum tow weights are, vehicles designed for towing do it safer.
So a minivan with an optimistic tow weight of 3500 lbs is much more of a problem than a Tacoma with 3500Lbs Even if tow weights are the same.
We debated this light weight before, and IMO if light to you is less than 500 lbs. I really don’t don’t know of any car that could not tow it “more” safely than throwing 500 lbs in the back seat and trunk. rwd,fwd,4wd, it doesn’t matter at that light weight and, fwd may be better off than any, towing that weight instead of loading it.
So, like FoDaddy asks… please define small…I have a small 8 foot ultility trailer that will take 2000 lbs of rocks, and a 15 foot composite racing sailboat and trailer and supports a 22 foot mast and all gear that weighs just 400 lbs under tow total.
Most of the domestic full size cars are rated for 1000# towing such as an Impala. Foreign ones usually don’t allow any towing. As far as FWD, I pull a small trailer up to 2000# with my FWD Riviera with no problems whatsoever. I also used to pull a 2000# camper with my Park Ave. FWD cross country, in snow and ice, as well as good roads with no handling or other problems. Even mountains were not a problem for that size trailer. Only thing is you can’t use overdrive so lose some on the MPG.
If you can find a car that has the towing package installed that would be better than one without.
If you have in mind one of those 200 lb trailer kits with a load capacity of around 700 lbs that can carry 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood when assembled, any car can pull it. The load, however, will vary to stay safe dependent on the size of the car. I have pulled one of these loaded to around 700 lbs total including the trailer for thousands of miles with front drive compact cars with no problem.
We have also pulled a lightweight (450 lb?) folding camper trailer with a rear drive car so we have seen it both ways, with rear and front drive. Either rear or front drive worked fine for us.
If you are talking about a 1000 lb. camper trailer then a larger car, I suggest medium size, and a trailer with trailer brakes will be good.
Again, front drivers make a good trailer puller. We used to go camping with people who pulled an Airstream trailer with an early front driver, an Oldsmobile Toronado. They had no problem either.
A Crown Vic will mount a decent hitch (it has a real frame) and can comfortably tow 2500 pounds.