Know What You Need
If you hit the Powerball, congratulations: Go ahead and buy a vehicle purely dedicated to towing your new yacht. But if you're like most boaters, your tow vehicle will also be your commuter vehicle, family hauler and pet transporter. So choose a truck or SUV that can assume the necessary identity when it's not in front of that boat. If you're looking for suggestions, we have a list of 12 2016 SUVs and trucks that will do the job.
Large full-frame pickup trucks such as the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 (and its bigger kin), GMC Sierra, Nissan Titan and Toyota Tundra are a natural choice for towing. Their full-steel ladder frames mean they have the strength to lug most anything. Their engines — whether they're V8s, turbo V6s or diesels — are optimized for the low-end torque that's vital for towing. And every manufacturer has engineered its pickup trucks to be good at towing.
But a full-size pickup is big. It may not fit in your garage. It means that when you pull into a parking spot, the door may swing open into the car next to your beast. The fuel economy will only be so-so, and most of your storage space is outside. All of those disadvantages, and a few more, are only amplified when the truck is a 1-ton-rated dually.
Pull quote: Large, full-frame pickup trucks are a natural choice for towing. Their full-steel ladder frames mean they have the strength to lug most anything.
If you need a tow vehicle that will double as a commuter vehicle, consider an SUV. Full-frame, large SUVs — such as the Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Suburban, Ford Expedition, GMC Yukon and GMC Yukon XL and Toyota Sequoia — offer tow ratings comparable to those of the pickups to which they are closely related. And that's usually far more than what's necessary for recreational boating.
A Chevy Tahoe or Toyota Sequoia is still a big thing to drive every day. But smaller SUVs with or without full frames — particularly those with V6 or V8 engines mounted longitudinally in their nose like a truck — can still handle most towing jobs. A properly equipped Jeep Grand Cherokee, for instance, is rated to tow up to 7,400 pounds. That's a lot of boat.