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What is the best SUV with a 1500kg towing capacity?

Asked by Yvette

I want an SUV with at least 1500kg towing capacity. Must be manual, fuel efficient and have good vision inside the car. Any recommendations?

Answered by CarsGuide

25 Jul 2020 David Morley

The real wild card you’ve thrown at me here is the must-have manual transmission caveat. Not all manufacturers still offer a manual gearbox option, and if they do, it’s nearly always on the very base model which will often be two-wheel-drive when the all-wheel-drive models are better for towing. The Toyota RAV4, generally thought to be the pick of the current mid-sized SUVs, is a great example. While there is a six-speed manual option, it’s only available on the entry level car which is also front-drive and has a towing limit of 800kg. Move up to the bigger Toyota Kluger SUV and you can suddenly tow 2000kg, but there’s no manual-gearbox option.

Speaking of which, it’s generally agreed that an automatic transmission is better for towing these days anyway. The way the automatic delivers its power and torque more smoothly, makes for better towing and less mechanical stress on the whole car.

Mitsubishi’s base-model Outlander ES is available with a manual and can tow 1600kg. Mazda’s CX-5 Maxx front-drive can also be had with a manual (six gears versus the Outlander’s five) and can tow 1800kg. Either of those should do the job, but insisting on a manual transmission will be the thing that really limits your choices.

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