What kind of "car" is good for towing a boat?

I am looking into getting a boat. The boat weighs around 900 lbs. Probably a few hundred more with fuel, etc. My question is simple… What kind of car will be able to tow it up and down a boating launch ramp without having a problem?

I currently have a 97 Mustang and was told it’s a definite “no” for the ramp… I’d probably spin my wheels. Not to mention I’m only rated for 1k lbs.

The other factor is money… How much do I have to spend for a used car that can do this?

The best car for this job is an AWD truck. Anything with RWD will spin out on the low end of the ramp where traction is poor, and any FWD car could have too much weight on the rear and not enough on the front.

Perhaps you should check out an AWD Toyota Tacoma with a V6.

Do I have to get a truck? I really dislike pickups. I was looking at the Subaru Outback.

You need more information. Are you planning on using just one boat ramp (OK 90% of the time). Hang out at the boat rmp and take a look at what vehicles are handling the job well and what vehicles are having trouble.

Go into the marina and ask the people operating the ramp what problems they see and what cars they would like you to use to launch a boat at their ramp.

In short you will get better answers from people that are more closely involved with doing what you want to do.

So the Mustang is a wheel spinner,ask yourself what specification puts the Mustang in wheel spinner class and avoid this quality in your perspective boat launching vehicles.

RWD is great for towing and recommended especially for boats. It used to be that framed vehicles were better, but that’s blurred now. The cheapest I can think of that would work on a slippery boat ramp is a 2wd/rwd compact truck with a limited slip rear differential which I used for years carting boats of the weight you stated. It will give you all the traction you need and the added safety you can’t get with fwd. An AWD Subaru/RAV4/CRV for occasional towing would be acceptable. 4 wd drive is better traction wise, but unless you really need it otherwise, is an unnecessary expense. Limited slip is actually better than part time 4 wd in some traction situations, especially climbing hills. Locking two rear wheels when the center of gravity shifts to the rear going up hill is sometimes better then engaging one wheel on front and one on back which is the case with part time and most AWD w/o traction control. I know this with experience driving trucks and vans and Tractor/truck makers knew this for years.

A used performance rwd car with limited slip is another option; with the right tires of course. A RWD Mustang has potential with that add on.

On this site it says a 2005 Subaru Outback would be fine for towing… What about a year 2000 model?


I don’t know how much trailers weigh, but the boat is 900 lbs I believe.

You’re now stretching the capability of the car when you include trailer and gear…I’d go the 2wd truck route and not worry. They’re cheap used.

The outback can tow 3 lbs.

So I guess it’s between the Honda crv and outback.

Great advice , as the wet end of the ramp is often covered with moss and other wet-all-the-time goo.
Maybe the TIRES are key with rear drive cars under these conditions ?

Ok afar kind of pick ups are there for under 10k?

Lots of them. :stuck_out_tongue:
A v8 F-150 would be ideal since it’d have more power than you’d need, which is a good thing with towing. Can probably pick up a fairly new one for under 10k. A v6 Ranger would also be a good choice.

I’m starting to really like the Dodge Dakota 4x4 Quad Cab… Looks awesome

And after market rear limited slips for much cheaper 2wd models if they didn’t come with it, make a much more comfortable vehicle you could get in used extended cab versions for much less money used. 4wd is a useless add on if you’re not really dependent upon it regularly, for use that a limited slip can handle with ease without added operating expense and loss of ride comfort in compact to moderate trucks (like a Dakota/Ranger). These trucks are very carlike in ride, comfort and handling in two wheel drive.

My dad had a Dokota pickup v8. Towed a 30 foot camping trailer effortlessly.

I only said I wanted 4x4 for snow. Im in NJ. Im sick and tired of winters without a good snow vehicle.

I see some for 8k but they have 100k miles on it… Little high for me.

Hmm Dakota is hard to find under 100k miles.

What’s the mpg?

NJ…is not real snow ctry IMHO. Most there can do fine with winter tires. The biggest mistake people make, is buying 4x4s for winter instead of snow tires. All that will do is “accelerate” your chances of having an accident. 4x4s need good winter tires MORE than 2wd drives because of the higher speed people take them in snow.

Yes, 4x4 s look cooler and for me, that’s a good enough reason to buy them if properly used for other purposes.

Good luck. NJ should have plenty of little used 4x4s out there.

I had a rwd 4cyl 2003 ranger for a 1400 lb boat and trailer, 17’, fiberglass 90 horse. I think it was 2.3 or 2.6 engine, manual tranny. Tongue weight is a factor that you should consider. A few times I’d have 4 or people sit in the bed for traction at pea gravel or sand launches, but never had a problem at a concrete launch in spite of weeds and algae.

I think I’m going to do my best finding a Dodge Dakota. They have sold for around 6-8k with very decent mileage on it… Quad cab as well. So, I think I should keep looking.

Look on craigslist…Look on Phoenix, AZ craigslist if you want a rust-free one…For around 3-4 grand…

My Crown Vic pulls a 1500 pound sailboat up a steep, slippery ramp no problems. Never spins a wheel…