Can Hybrid SUVs Tow?

By Ryan Bauer

  • Overview

    For those looking to reduce their energy usage and spend less at the pump while still owning a large SUV, hybrids have become a popular choice. However, many people purchase an SUV with its towing capabilities in mind, and are cautious to buy a hybrid. These SUVs still have all of the power of a non-hybrid model, and the suspension and frame are built with towing in mind. In fact, the hyrbrid's electric motor produces 100 percent of its torque from 0 RPM, unlike a gasoline engine which must get revved up into its power band to produce peak power. This means they are able to take off from a complete stop better than many non-hybrid SUVs.
    The 2008 Chevrolet Suburban hybrid SUV.
    • Step 1

      Check your owner's manual for the towing capacity of your specific hybrid SUV. Some models can tow more than others, and it is important to know the exact limitations of your vehicle before attempting to tow a load. Add the weight of your trailer (check its documentation) and the weight of the load you are carrying to make sure it is within specifications.
    • Step 2

      Connect the trailer's wiring harness to the vehicle's trailer hookup. If your SUV didn't come with a towing package, you will likely have to install a hookup yourself. Check with your local auto parts store for a kit, and follow its instructions for installation. These usually require removal of one of the taillights, where you will be able to tap into the wiring. The finished hookup will allow the trailer's brake lights and turn signals to light up when needed.

    • Step 3

      Hook the trailer to your hybrid SUV's towing hitch. Like the electrical hookups, they are included on vehicles with a towing package. If your SUV doesn't have one, you can easily install one yourself. Any generic trailer hitch works fine, and can be installed by inserting it through the hole in the bumper and tightening it down with a wrench. Slide the top of the tow bar over the hitch, and lock it into place. Connect the safety chains to the bumper as well.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Tip: Check your SUV to see if it has an electronic "towing mode" that should be enabled when hauling large loads.
    • Warning:
    • Even though the electric motor provides a lot of torque for towing, do not take off exceptionally fast from a complete stop, to avoid damaging the other components of the vehicle.

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