How to choose the right towing vehicle for towing your trailer

Is it time to upgrade your towing vehicle? Deciding on a new car or ute can be a tough decision.

It can be even tougher if you require it to tow a trailer, boat, or other heavy loads.

The available options are extensive and there are certain requirements that can make selecting a towing vehicle more complicated.

So, how do you know which is the right towing vehicle for your needs?

Well, we’ve put together the key things we think you need to know when choosing a vehicle for towing your trailer. Here they are:

How to choose the right towing vehicle for towing your trailer

Towing limits

All vehicles have an upper weight limit that they can safely tow. This is referred to as the towing capacity or Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM). You will need to make sure that whatever vehicle you end up purchasing has a high enough towing capacity for your trailer plus whatever it is you are hauling.

Towing is tough work for a vehicle and especially so if the trailer is close to the max capacity of the vehicle. The transmission and clutch are especially susceptible to wear and tear if you are frequently towing near or over the vehicle limit.

You should select a towing vehicle with a tow capacity that is greater than the weight of the trailer, and leave plenty of weight in reserve to account for the load.

Depending on the vehicle, the manufacturer may also provide speed restrictions for safe towing above certain weights. This is often around a maximum speed of 80 kmph. This might be something for you to consider when purchasing a vehicle, especially if you plan to tow longer distances.

The vehicle manufacturer or owner manual will have the towing specs you require to inform this decision.

Drive Options

Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive, or four wheel drive – what is better for a towing vehicle?

While it does depend on the load, rear or four wheel drive are typically considered better than front wheel drive. They provide better traction and stability, especially in wet weather conditions, or on shingle or inclined roads. They will however cost a bit more in terms of maintenance and fuel consumption.

Front wheel drive vehicles tend to be more fuel efficient, but are also known to be more sensitive to uneven weight distribution, and therefore less stable while towing.

Dows transmission matter?

Most drivers have a preference when it comes to automatic versus manual transmission, but is one better than the other when it comes to towing?

Automatic transmission vehicles are generally considered preferable for towing and tend to have higher towing capacities. On steep inclines or uneven ground, an automatic vehicle is often more reliable as the risk of rolling backwards or stalling is significantly reduced.

Manual vehicles tend to have lower towing capacities. This is due to the clutch being susceptible to damage when shifting gears with heavy loads in tow.


If you were to consider the safety requirements alone, it might sound like you have to go out and purchase the heaviest and most durable towing vehicle on the market in order to get the best out of it. But for a lot of vehicle buyers, this won’t be the most practical decision.

So, what do you actually need from your vehicle? What is your budget? How often do you need to be towing something? Does it need to double as a family or lifestyle vehicle?

Buying a huge four wheel drive that spends most of the time driving around town and only tows a small trailer once every few months is not going to be the best use of your money. A lighter weight passenger vehicle might be suitable for occasional light towing, but for heavier and more frequent towing use you will need something more durable.

You also need to be conscious of ongoing fuel and maintenance costs, especially on larger vehicles, and factor this into your budget. All of these practical considerations should be part of your end decision when purchasing a towing vehicle.

Take your time

Before you commit to a new towing vehicle, ask if it is possible to test drive the vehicle with a trailer in tow, so you can really get an idea of the feel of the vehicle. Take your time to do some research and ask those in the know for advice.

Hint, hint, we are those in the know! At Lucca, trailers are our life. It’s what we do. And, our expert team will happily give you recommendations on the right towing vehicle for your needs. We’ll also give you plenty of information on the right trailer options if you are looking to upgrade that as well!

Get in touch with the team today.

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