RVing is now very popular and becoming a trendy lifestyle among Americans. If you already have an RV and are looking for an effective and overall safe way to tow cars behind your RVs, this is the article to read.
Flat towing is having all four wheels of your cars on the asphalt, and cars that meet its requirements are the focus of this article.
Lightweight, suitable transmission systems installed, 4WD, etc. are all you need for a relaxing trip with your wife and children.
If you are still deciding on a car, then this list will provide 15+ best cars that have incredible driving experience, along with the additional perk of being flat-towable behind RVs.
After that, I will describe a safer alternative to flat towing a car, and address some frequently asked questions. Information is key to everything these days, even something as simple as guaranteeing a safe driving environment on the roads.
How To Know If Your Vehicle Can Be Towed Behind An RV?
What are RVs?
If you happen to be a movie geek, especially those well-versed in today’s famous Hollywood flicks, then you might have seen RVs before. From the kids favorite The Incredibles to R.V.’s outrageous family trips, RVs are even featured in love stories.
RVs are recreational vehicles. “Why would you need to get an RV?”, you might ask. Well, there are a lot of reasons, but the keyword must be “recreational”. Originally, RVs were made by Americans themselves. The RV is a very versatile vehicle, which typically includes a kitchen, a bathroom, and one or more sleeping quarters.
A lot of broke people or “enthusiasts” even go as far as to live in an RV for a whole week or more. These RVs are designed for ample accommodation that rivals your average household, although I wouldn’t recommend living in such a cramped area for an extended period of time.
There are three classes of RVs which can tow vehicle behind.
- Class A includes the biggest RVs on the market, they look like buses and are most suited for full-time living due to their excessive storage.
- Class B features the smallest of the three types of RVs and are most recommended for parking and ample mileage.
- Class C is mid-sized, yet these cars are the least expensive and go well with most people’s needs and budgets.
What should you do when an RV is not enough?
So, enough about RVs themselves, what I’m actually here to show you today is a totally different aspect about RVs. As you already know, an RV is a rather enormous vehicle that gives you an analogous driving experience to that of steering a small bus (especially class A).
Imagine you are on the way to a sightseeing destination in your RV. A certainly breathtaking view from top to bottom, but then you see a lot of trees and people who came here for the same exact reason, and to top it off, the whole area is too vast to travel on foot, what should you do then?
All you need is a smaller car to navigate through the destination’s landscape, so wouldn’t it be cool if you can tow them with the RV on your next sightseeing trip? If you are still wondering whether it is possible, or what cars can be towed behind an RV, then I can assure you that with a little bit of research you can hit the ground running in no time.
There are some of the best cars to tow behind an RV that we will cover shortly and after that, we shall guide you through the process of towing a car.
What makes a car suitable for flat towing?
Flat towing, also known as dinghy towing or four-down towing is the towing method It involves attaching a tow bar to a suitable car (usually an SUV or a pickup truck) and letting the vehicle roll along behind the RV with all four wheels on the ground. It’s often called dinghy towing because the towed car looks a lot like a small dinghy being pulled along behind a large yacht.
A car that is suitable for flat towing meets the following requirements. They must have a transmission that is self-lubricating when the engine is off, also one of the indicators of a good candidate for flat towing is for that car to have manual transmission and operate using rear-wheel drive.
For a vehicle to be properly flat towed by an RV, it must have a transmission disconnect option — not only putting the vehicle in neutral. The transmission has to be disconnected.
A steering wheel lockout override is necessary as well.. With this override, wheels are able to move freely with the towing vehicle, instead of swerving in different directions.
Vehicle manufacturers will elaborate in the car manual if your vehicle is suitable to be towed by an RV. In most cases,, all-wheel-drive and 4×4 vehicles are best suited for RV towing.
The term for towing a car without the need for any major towing platform is called flat towing. In other words, you will tow these cars with all four of their wheels on the road. Cars that fit the prerequisites for this type of towing have one thing in common: they are lightweight.
You can find a whole list of cars that can be flat towed, but nothing beats highly informed choices, which we can certainly provide down below. We will now get to the list of best vehicles to tow behind an RV.
Best SUVs to Tow Behind An RV
The perennial favorite in the contest of most popular car to flat tow behind RVs, must be the Jeep Wrangler. The SUV family introduces many incredible off-road vehicles that will simply blow your mind on how easily they can be flat towed.
You just have to buy the right models, which are mostly four-wheel-drive SUVs with the two-speed transfer case, which you can set on neutral and low settings for the four-wheel drivetrain. Let’s see why some of these SUVs are the best vehicles to tow behind an RV.
1. Jeep Wrangler (1997-2022)
Price: From $28,000
For those who are looking for an off-road vehicle to please their own desired “uncharted” adventure, here is your answer. The Jeep Wrangler is famous among SUV followers, it has top-notch reliability as well as the ability to overcome the roughest of landscapes and has a reputation as one of the most durable drives in the world.
Good looks? Checked. Durability? Checked. Affordable price? Checked as well.
There won’t be any other car that can make you look that masculine on the road. This enormous machine gets you anywhere with style. Above all, its drivetrain is particularly suited to RVs flat towing mechanism. There is nothing you can’t have with this army-style Jeep Wrangler.
2. Jeep Grand Cherokee (2011-2022)
Another one from the Jeep family. A recent model, it is the most popular among flat-towing enthusiasts, with the exception of the Jeep Wrangler.
Featuring a new plug-in-hybrid variant that is the 4xe, there are no less than three all-wheel-drive systems to tick all the boxes in your daily lifestyle requirements. In other words, whether it is the rocky hills, snowy terrain, or a regular drive to work, the Grand Cherokee’s performance guarantees a decent experience and then some, but only some 4WD models can be flat-towed.
The diesel-powered class A motorhomes are best suited to tow it, since they both use diesel and diesel-powered RVs provide better towing capacity. The Jeep Grand Cherokee certainly lives up to its reputation, you will never regret buying one.
3. Jeep Cherokee
This one shares the name with the Jeep Cherokee, and they both are great alternatives to the Jeep Wrangler when it comes to flat towing behind an RV. The Jeep Cherokee provides decent off-road capability, although its handling is a bit rough.
It also features a turbocharged engine for smoother driving experience, and an excellent infotainment system, you will find the easy-to-use 8.4 inch touchscreen on most versions.The added trailhawk will only make your next off-roading trip the best time of your life.
4. Chevrolet Equinox
This model is a contender in one of the most competitive markets, which is the compact SUVs segment. For the 2022 model, Chevrolet is giving the Equinox an upgrade, and we are all looking forward to it. It is rated as a comfortable ride with lots of seating space, yet comes with a rather tight cargo space.
It also receives praise for its precise handling and its infotainment system. The Equinox has an automatic transmission, but is actually perfectly suitable for flat towing, you just need the right instructions.
5. Honda CR-V (1995-2014)
Price: From $25,000
A Honda CR-V fits your budget, wherever you are. It is certainly a family favorite. A great SUV that delivers excellent energetic acceleration and ensures a comfortable ride, the Honda SUV also features impressive passenger and cargo space. A Japanese-themed car that naturally provides a substantial number of driver-assist features, this compact SUV is the way to go for the average family.
Besides, the current CR-Vs manual describes a very descriptive procedure that allows you to flat tow the vehicle to ensure that the car be towed properly, eliminating chances of inflicting damage between the RV and CR-V. For example, you cannot tow the Honda CR-V anywhere beyond 65mph. Strictly follow the rules and you are good to go.
6. GMC Terrain (2010-2017)
GMC always makes easy-on-the-eye compact SUVs, and the GMC Terrain is one of their teenest, freshest looking products on the market. It has a roomy cabin, average fuel economy.
Despite its high starting price and small cargo capacity compared to the Toyota RAV4, it has a turbocharged engine to ensure comfortable rides, and an user-friendly infotainment system.
It will certainly meet the requirements for daily driving and recreational activities. When it comes to dinghy towing, 2017 or older models can be flat towed by RVs. If you are asking yourself what cars can be towed behind an RV while looking incredibly handsome, then this is the answer.
However, please note that a 2018 or later GMC Terrain is not flat towable. According to Owner’s Manual, these GMC Terrain year models was not designed to be flat towed with all four wheels on the ground. The electronic transmission shift control in the 2018 or later Terrain precludes dinghy towing. If the vehicle is towed that way, the drivetrain components could be damaged and this repairs will not be covered by the vehicle warranty.
Best Trucks to Tow Behind An RV
A car segment that features some of the best cars that can be flat towed is trucks. Let’s admit it, trucks are largely underestimated when it comes to flat towing, especially as I have mentioned above that most RV towable vehicles are lightweight. Depending on your needs, you don’t necessarily have to opt for the lightest cars to flat tow, since truck towing is a real thing. You don’t know when you will need one on your next trip to town.
The size is much larger compared to other vehicles on this list, but they are very much flat towable. rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive manual transmission trucks make the best trucks for flat towing, and as secondary cargo holders, they make your life much easier.
7. Ram 1500 (2010-2021)
Ram 1500 is, undoubtedly, one of the most popular pickup trucks in the US nowadays, with an impressive number of cars sold that filled by tons of good feedback from motorhome owners around the world. This model is so well-received thanks to its famously outstanding advantages, such as the unique and versatile rear coil springs that provide a smooth yet powerful driving experience and high performance.
Just some of the impressive features mentioned above are enough to make it a perfect choice to flat tow behind an RV. However, to ensure the vehicle will be used properly and flat-towed safely during every long ride, you should pay attention to certain specifications. With Ram 1500, you can only flat tow the four-wheel-drive models, while the two-wheel-drive one can be dolly-towed with its rear wheels off the ground.
If you still struggle to decide whether to get a Ram 1500, you can rest assured that all of its models are equipped with outstanding features, from the interior to specifications. From 2010 to 2018 and 2021 models, you can always count on the high quality they will bring to your flat towing experience behind the RV as there are no speed or distance limitations.
Moreover, this pickup that provides a smooth and comfortable ride can also become a friendly daily vehicle thanks to its added conveniences within the cabin. As you can find a full-specs report of Ram 1500 on every car news site these days, we guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with what it can bring to your RV trips later on.
With a design that highlights both sporty and classic features combined with a powerful horsepower engine, the Ram 1500 will be a stunning and powerful assistant on every road of your adventures in the future.
8. Ford F-150 (2009-2022)
Price: from $28,900
This full-size truck is perfect to go camping in with your family. Since this is a full-size truck, you should have a class A motorhome to tow only, although if you have one, things turn out pretty easy. Only 4WD versions of the Ford F-150 can be towed.
Another thing to consider with this truck is that trucks released prior to 2012 must also have a manual-shift transfer case, since no recreational towing is permitted for vehicles with electronic-shift transfer cases. The 2021 F-150 trucks have no fewer than six powertrains, including a hybrid, so one of these can tow around 14,000 pounds themselves. This is a powerhouse in its own right. That’s why this Ford F-150 is one of the best trucks to tow a fifth wheel.
9. Ford Ranger (2019-2022)
Price: From $25,000
The Ford Ranger is Ford’s midsize pickup truck. As opposed to the F150 Raptor that got released around the same period of time, the Ford Ranger is smaller and provides a feasible alternative to the full-size pickup trucks.
Best yet, the new models feature a brand new curvy, sleek, easy on the eye look along with components designed specifically for flat towing.
The latter characteristic allows for an excessively simple way to tow your Ranger. Just hook it up and take them out for a spin. If you have money to spare, why not be a little extravagant for a change?
10. GMC Sierra (2016-2022)
Price: from $30,000
The GMC Sierra is one of the most popular ½ ton trucks to flat tow. The Sierra allows you to hold cargo in the truck bed. It has a spacious cabin, a full complement of driver aids, and a wide range of available engines, from a four-cylinder to a 6.2-liter V8.
However, it loses out to another name on this list – the Ford F-150 – in its interior designs as well as engine power and is overall a less comfortable ride. It also comes up short in the price segment to its corporate twin – the Chevrolet Silverado.
11. GMC Canyon (2015-2022)
Price: From $41,000
Next up on our list of best cars to tow behind an RV is the GMC Canyon. The Canyon’s starting price can be overwhelming, but it is certainly worth the labor. The GMC Canyon, again, works best for diesel powered motorhomes. Pickups are for those who demand all the benefits granted to a full-size truck for a more affordable price.
The truck is mid-sized, family-friendly and can be towed behind class A and class C motorhomes. There are no limits on speed or distance, so you can definitely tow it for a prolonged period. However, if you are planning on buying this, make sure you opt for the 4WD that has a Neutral position and Low setting (which gives you more torque on harsher terrains).
12. Chevrolet Colorado (2003-2022)
Price: from $25000
The 2022 Chevrolet Colorado has a tow rating at the top of its class. It offers a smooth ride with elegant handling and comfortable seats. The Colorado features a base four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic transmission, a 308-hp 3.6-liter V-6, and a 2.8-liter diesel four-cylinder, so if you are willing to look over the sub-par interior, which looks like cheap plastic, then this car will get you anywhere in a speedy yet comfy fashion.
You should only flat tow 4WD models of the Colorado that have a Neutral position and 4WD Low setting. This one definitely deserves a spot on the list of best vehicles to tow behind RVs. Fun fact: the Chevrolet Colorado is a counterpart to the GMC Canyon.
Best Compact & Subcompact Cars to Tow Behind an RV
Maybe you’ve been told before that compact and subcompact cars are the best when it comes to being flat towable.
Sometimes you don’t feel like going off-roading, or you are just a guy who loves going around sightseeing on a trip; that’s when more compact, versatile, lightweight cars with manual transmission like the Ford Focus comes into play. Let’s take a look at some of the best toad vehicles that are compact or subcompact.
13. Ford Focus (2016-2018)
Price: from $19,000
Another compact vehicle on this list of RV-towable cars is the Ford Focus. Small, lightweight, this car is desirable for its maneuverability among cars that can be flat towed by RVs. You can park this car anywhere; I’ll tell you that. Don’t judge the book by its cover, take a look inside and you will see, similar to the Honda CR-V, it is quite roomy.
If your RV happens to run out of space, then that’s where the car comes in. You can put groceries, outdoor grill components, gears, you name it. Look up some towing components, and you are good to go.
14. Volkswagen Beetle (1949-1979)
Price: From $20,000
This car is among the most recognizable cars one can find on the roads. Not only do they have a unique design, but they are also of historical importance. You don’t have to be a hardcore petrolhead in order to put a finger on this one. Well, this is the 1949-1979 Volkswagen Beetle we are talking about. These models are rather affordable even now, in 2021, for such vintage vehicles.
One of the best cars you can buy to tow behind a motorhome, it is super lightweight and can even be modified into what is called an “overlander” to buckle up some more luggage on your trip. This Beetle is perfect for class B and class C RVs to tow due to being lightweight.
15. Mini Countryman (2010-2021) (Mini Cooper)
Price: from $29,000
The Mini Countryman is a subcompact luxury crossover SUV. The Mini Countryman is a car that enthusiasts of the original Mini love to hate, but buyers can’t get enough of them.
The design is what you don’t normally see in a Mini Cooper, but the spirits are all there. A family-friendly vehicle, the Countryman has two versions: Cooper and Cooper S, with two- and four-wheel-drive variants available.
There is also the Cooper plug-in hybrid that allows for various uses of the vehicle. A Mini Countryman with a manual transmission can be flat towed without damage to the transmission system and you need not make any major modifications. This small, lightweight Cooper is definitely one of the best toad vehicles for you and your family.
Note that only the best flat tow vehicles are featured here, for a good reason. The other towing option, trailer towing, is actually suitable for any type of car.
16. Chevrolet Spark (2013-2021)
Chevrolet Spark is probably a name that is no longer too strange to the RV community and car enthusiasts in general. There are many special characteristics that are worth mentioning about this hatchback. However, the most outstanding thing that makes it that urged-hunting is an equipped manual transmission Spark model, dubbed the lightest car in North America for flat-towing behind an RV in recent times, with a curb weight of only 2,226 lbs.
Not just lightweight, it also has a reasonable price. When it comes to owning a car widely known for having the best weight features out of hundreds of options, along with a good price tag, it’s never going to be a bad investment.
A light car like the Chevy Spark will not consume too much RV fuel on the road, especially when dragging up hills. In addition, this car is super compact, just under 11.9′ and 5-feet in width and height, very suitable for drivers who do not like the cumbersomeness of the vehicle they are controlling. Because in the end, an RV trip is always considered by drivers as a time-out trip, not a rush and heavy ride full of belongings.
As for the flat-towing, only the LS model with a 5-speed manual can be safely used. With an installed base plate to provide a sturdy attachment and a high-quality tow bar, the Chevrolet Spark will follow you wherever you go.
When traveling long distances, you won’t need to worry too much about the vehicle’s reliability and comfort. Models in the same class, since 2012, are all guaranteed for up to 10 years and 100.00-150,000 miles in terms of powertrain.
Not to mention, this car has a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, which is convenient for you to enjoy your leisure and work time in the car without having to stop. It also comes with impressive gas mileage, making it perfect for every long trip away with your RV.
You may want to take a closer look at this friendly 4-door hatchback, though having limitations to keep eyes on, it can probably win your flat-towing choice with a surprisingly different charm.
Best Sedans To Tow Behind an RV
Sedan type cars are mostly lightweight. However, most cars of this segment are not recommended for flat towing. Still, if they happen to have options for flat towing, then these must be among the lightest cars to flat tow.
If you are a loyal follower of sedans, then there is an alternative to flat towing that seems rather intuitive: using tow dollies, and two or four of the wheels are lifted above ground. If you wish to have your favorite sedan towed by your RV on your road trips then we highly recommend this method. Here are some of the best sedans to choose from: Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Toyota Prius.
Note: Please make sure to go through the owner’s manual of your vehicle to see you can flat tow or dolly tow your car model or not.
The Towing Guide for Your Next Holiday Trip
As explained above, it is recommended that you tow your regular car with you to the destination for ease of transport at said destination in case your RV isn’t compact enough. The hazards of improper towing can be seen immediately. Improper towing can lead to massive damages to accumulate over the course of the tow..
If you plan to flat tow and don’t have the proper tools or your car just isn’t suitable for flat tow, then the journey will become hellish for your car. Most of the time, the car transmission will break, while other components might jump all over the place since your car is on the asphalt and is only towed along. The two most popular towing mechanisms are:
For those who prefer 4 wheels down (or flat-towing, an increasingly popular choice among RV-ers), the reason there are only some types of cars suitable for this towing mechanism is due to severe transmission problems that can occur if not properly lubricated.
If you choose lightweight cars like the ones recommended (and which have a system built for towing), the mileage won’t go up and neither will the wear and tear.
Different cars call for different manual settings when it comes to flat towing. For example, for the Jeep Wrangle, the detailed manual is as follows:
- Depress and hold the brake pedal.
- Set Parking Brake
- Shift an automatic transmission into NEUTRAL (N) or depress clutch pedal on manual transmission.
- Shift the transfer case level into NEUTRAL (N).
- Start the engine.
- Shift the automatic transmission into DRIVE (D) or the manual transmission into gear.
- Release the brake pedal and ensure that there is no vehicle movement.
- IMPORTANT: Shut the engine off and place the ignition key into the unlocked OFF position.
- Shift the automatic transmission into PARK (P).
- Apply the parking brake.
- Attach the Jeep to the tow vehicle with a tow bar.
- Release the parking brake.
If the flat tow is not an option, or you just prefer to tow your car 2 or 4 wheels up, then it is best that you have a tow dolly or a trailer. This will allow you to tow not just your car, but also practically any cars that you can find. The main downside to this method is the trailer itself being so hard to put away after usage.
These dollies are really heavy and take up a lot of space, not to mention the inconveniences of having to get your car off the trailer as well. You will need 2 people to help you get the tow dolly out of the way. That said, they are durable and reliable once you get used to it. Safety is the keyword associated with this type of RV-towing.
FAQs About Towing Vehicles
1. Is it bad to tow an automatic car in neutral?
Instructions to flat tow the Jeep Wrangler apparently includes this option, however, as a matter of fact, this is rather damaging to your car. In this case, you should consider using the manual transmissions. Towing in neutral means no lubrication, so having the manual transmissions allows for lubricant to be circulated by the movement of the gears, so manual transmissions turn out to be safer for towing the car.
2. Can you tow an electric car behind an RV?
A quick Google search will show you that you must not in any case attempt to flat tow any types of electric cars. The reason for this lies in the electric car motors – which is vastly different from regular cars. These cars lack a true neutral gear, and since the motors are directly attached to the wheels, towing is obviously disastrous for EVs.
3. Do I need a tow car shield?
This one is an absolute must-have since your car – despite the looks of it – is actually very vulnerable. Mother nature can be harsh on cars as well, and when the trip is over, all that is left will be cracks on your windshields, scratches, chips and dings, etc.
If you have plans to tow your car next time, be sure to look for a shield first. The shield will prevent physical damages as well as prevent exhaust residue from getting all over the front of your car and windshield. You will want to preserve your vehicle’s resale value, and this is how you do it.
Blue Ox BX8870 KarGard Protective Shield is a great option to keep your towed car looking like brand new. Or if you just want to cover your towed car’s windshield, then Camco 45401 Vinyl Tow Car Windshield Protector could do the job well protecting the car windshield from chips and cracks with a much more affordable price!
4. Does towing a car behind an RV put miles on it?
For tow dollies, if your car is rear-wheel-drive then do expect your car to pick up on mileage. This is due to the axel and tires which are moving, so the opposite should be true for front-wheel-drive vehicles. If you plan to tow on all fours, then it will definitely add miles to the car.
5. Will flat towing a vehicle behind an RV damage it?
The main cause of damage to a vehicle while flat towed lies in the wheels, so if you perform the flat tow in an improper manner then it will cause your car’s transmission and drivetrain to break, as it calls for unnatural movements that lead to the wheels losing connection with the transmission. This is certainly a cause for concern so try to get it right the first time.
As a final word, I will give you a piece of advice. There are a lot of things to think about when buying cars and RVs so as to maximize the ease and comfort on the road, here is only a guide to buying cars that fits the flat towing requirements.
Always decide what vehicle works best for your needs (maybe not even a car) since there might be other factors that eclipse this minor perk that is being flat-towable; if needed, bring your family into the discussion as well.
Also, don’t simply go with the flow when you go on a vacation, that is, you shouldn’t follow other RV-ers’ choice of cars just because you see them towed on the road. What looks to be suitable for flat towing might not necessarily be so. Happy car-hunting.
Note: RVing Trends always consider ourselves lifelong learners. So if you ever have feedback on how we can improve the content, we’re more than happy to hear from you to complete the list of Best cars to tow behind an RV!