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What are the best 4WDs for towing?  You’ve probably noticed that big 4WDs are popular tow vehicles for caravans, camper-trailers, horse floats and trailers, and there is good reason for this.  Very few passenger cars have sufficient towing capacity to legally tow heavy caravans and trailers. A lot of larger 4WDs have high towing capacities and usually aren’t subject to the speed restrictions that apply to many passenger cars operating near their maximum towing load.

While we certainly aren’t suggesting that a big 4WD is essential for towing, if you correctly match your vehicle’s towing capacity to your caravan or trailer’s towing requirements in most cases a 4WD will be your only option.

Firstly though, what makes a good tow vehicle?

  1. GVM – Can be found on your vehicle’s weight placard (generally in driver’s door opening) or in the owner’s manual. The easiest way to calculate this is to fully load up your car (driver, passengers, dog, luggage, fuel…) hitch up your fully loaded caravan (water tanks, food, clothes, chairs, tables, surfboard….) and drive onto a weigh bridge – but keep your caravan wheels off the weigh bridge.
    Your GVM includes the Tow Ball Mass (TBM) which is the weight of the caravan that has been exerted to the car via the hitch/Tow Ball. For more info on calculating weights check out this great article.
  2. Petrol or Diesel? Diesels are generally tailor-made for towing with excellent pulling power and better fuel economy than petrol.
  3. Manual or Auto? The newer automatics that have an intelligent automatic transmission will save your leg and arm muscles.

There are numerous websites that put out an annual list of the best or top 10 Towing Vehicles. We’ve summarised the three main websites below:

Rank caravanworld.com.au carsguide.com.au withoutahitch.com.au
1 Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series TDV8 Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series GXL Toyotal Landcruiser 200 GXL TDV8
2 Ranger Rover SDV6 3.0 Ford Ranger XLS Land Rover Discovery 4 SE SDV6
3 Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0 Mazda BT50 Ranger Rover Sport SCV6 HSE
4 Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 TD Toyota Hilux SR5 Ford Ranger Wildtrack
5 Lexus LX570 Nissan Patrol Ti Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.0 TD
6 Volkswagen Amarok TDI400 Isuzu D-Max LS-M
7 Ford Ranger/Mazda BT50 Nissan Navara
8 Isuzu MU-X Toyota Landcruiser 70 Series
9 Land Rover 90 Holden Colorado LTZ
10 VH Holden SV6 Sportswagon Mitsubishi Pajero GLS 3.2


There were three vehicles, which are consistently on the “Best Vehicles for Towing” lists; Toyota Landcruiser 200 Series, Ford Ranger & Mazda BT-50.  Here at Accelerate Auto Electrics we would have to agree. We regularly use our own Toyota Landcruiser & Ford Ranger for towing our Jayco and the power and handling of both vehicles when the Jayco is fully loaded and hitched up is amazing.  Andrew’s mum also has a Mazda BT-50 that is setup for carrying the weight of a slide on camper.

LandCruiser 200 GLX

The 200 Series has been in production for 8 years and really nothing compares when towing. Take a drive on the Bruce Highway or into a Caravan Park and you will see a large percentage of tow vehicles are Toyota Landcruisers.

It has a massive twin turbo 4.5L V8 Diesel with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a a GVM of 3350kg. Which means it can carry a payload of 700kg and still tow 3.5 tonnes.  There is also loads of room inside, you can seat up to 8 people and will still have room for luggage.

Ford Ranger

This Ute has a solid chassis, that doesn’t change even with a caravan hooked up. It has the longest wheelbase and shortest rear axle-to-towball measurement of the one-tonne Ute’s. It’s 3.2L in-line five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with six-speed automatic transmission has a GVM of 3200kg.

Mazda BT-50 XTR

Under the bonnet the BT-50 is the twin of a Ford Ranger, however the Ranger outsells the BT-50 three to one. The BT-50 has the same 3.2L in-line five-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with six-speed automatic transmission with a GVM of 3200kg, however it comes at a lower price.

If you do need more power when towing as your vehicle just doesn’t perform when you are trying to overtake or it struggles up the hill, you could consider a Roo Systems ECU Remap offered here at Accelerate Auto Electrics on all common rail diesels.

What’s more both our Ford Ranger and Toyota Landcruiser have had the Roo Systems ECU Remap performed and we would love to see you test drive them today.  Just call us on 1300 CAR ELEC (1300 227 353) to book a test drive.