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A gray 2024 Nissan Pathfinder is shown driving on a city street.

Five SUVs with Solid Fuel Economy and Solid Towing Figures (Yup, They Make Those)

The balance between fuel economy and towing prowess has always been precarious. Drivers tend to find that if they choose the engine and frame required to tow a boat or camper, that’s going to mean sacrificing fuel economy. But that’s one of the largest inherent flaws in tow-friendly vehicles because, if you think about it, people who need to tow boats and campers almost definitely plan on traveling far from home. Rarely do people go camping just up the street from where they live. While a very fortunate handful of people live within blocks of a dock, most boating enthusiasts have to cover some miles before getting to their preferred body of water.

When your tow vehicle has poor fuel economy, it might discourage you from ever partaking in camping, boating, and similar activities. The gas bill kills the fun. That’s why we wanted to compile a list of SUVs that bring some real towing power to the table while maintaining solid fuel economy figures. Here are our top five picks for 2024.

#1 – Nissan Pathfinder

The Nissan Pathfinder is a three-row SUV with seating for up to eight passengers. With 6,000 lbs of towing capabilities, it’s ready to bring everyone to the fun and bring along the toys you need to really enjoy yourselves. The EPA gives the 2024 model figures of 21 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway, making this an SUV that won’t put you at the gas pump too frequently.

One of the standout features of the Pathfinder is the selectable drive modes. Using a simple dial near the gear shifter, you can choose between modes for snow, rain, sand, dirt, and gravel. The Pathfinder will instantly make adjustments to get you the optimal traction for each condition so you can enjoy more command wherever you go. Since the best boating and camping trips tend to take you away from paved roads and onto less predictable terrain, we think these selectable drive modes are just right for the Pathfinder’s target audience.

We also love the under-floor storage, giving you more places to stash valuables away from prying eyes. Even if prying eyes aren’t a concern, maybe you just don’t want the cabin to feel cluttered. The under-floor storage can help clear up in-cabin space for a tidier feel.

A white 2024 Honda Passport Black Edition is shown towing a trailer off-road.

#2 – Honda Passport

The Honda Passport is a midsize SUV, so if you’re looking for the easy-to-handle dimensions you just can’t get from a large SUV, check out the Passport. It boasts spacious seating for five, so second-row passengers should feel comfortable on long drives. With towing powers of up to 5,000 lbs, the Passport is ready to drag your boat or camper out to your remote destination for some outdoor fun. It has a hefty 3.5L V6 engine under the hood to thank for its prowess.

The Passport is truly made for adventure, with its one-touch power moonroof that lets you take in the sights even better from within the cabin. It also enjoys tri-zone climate control, so nobody has to argue over what to set the temperature to. Plus, as an all-wheel drive vehicle, it gets you excellent traction when you leave paved roads. The EPA gives the 2024 model figures of 19 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway, so enjoying the Passport shouldn’t run you up too high of a gas bill.

#3 – Chevy Traverse

For the redesigned 2024 Traverse, Chevy dropped the old V6 in favor of a turbocharged four-cylinder, which is even more fuel-efficient. The EPA rates the new powertrain at 18 MPG in the city and 26 MPG on the highway. The Traverse can seat up to eight passengers and tow up to 5,000 lbs, so it’s ready to transport your friends and family, as well as your boat or camper. Arguably, the standout feature of the Traverse has to be its new Z71 trim, the off-road variant that Chevy has blessed several models with. It gets you an off-road suspension, hill descent control, skid plates, tow hooks, and all-terrain tires. Between those features, you should be able to explore some rough roads in the Traverse.

#4 – Toyota Grand Highlander

The Grand Highlander delivers hybrid technology in an eight-passenger SUV that’s comfortable and powerful. With its optional 2.4L i-FORCE MAX turbocharged I-4 engine beneath the hood, it gets you impressive fuel economy figures of 26 MPG in the city and 27 MPG on the highway, making it the most fuel-efficient model on this list by quite a bit. This all-wheel drive model also gets you great traction in a range of environments and can tow 5,000 lbs.

The magic of the Grand Highlander is found throughout its cabin. Here, you’ll find a generous 13 cupholders, meaning your passengers can bring more than one beverage along for the ride. You shouldn’t hear too many complaints over a lack of USB chargers since this SUV has seven USB-C ports. Another thoughtful feature is the large third-row windows. In most three-row SUVs, third-row passengers have to accept sitting in a dark, enclosed space. But all rows of passengers can enjoy natural light and a nice view in the Grand Highlander.

A burgundy 2024 Mazda CX-90 is shown driving on an on-ramp.

#5 – Mazda CX-90

This eight-seat, three-row SUV comes with what is known as a mild hybrid powertrain. Put simply, that means its powerful turbocharged inline-six engine is supplemented by an electric motor, but it cannot drive in all-electric mode, as pure hybrids can. Still, the EPA gives it figures of 24 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway, so you can save some money on gas in this vehicle. The CX-90 comes standard with all-wheel drive, getting you terrific traction like the other models on this list. It also enjoys a towing capacity of 5,000 lbs.

Configurability is the standout feature of the CX-90. You can opt for second-row bench seats or second-row captain’s chairs that provide seating for seven. You can even choose to add a second-row center console for more interior storage and an armrest for second-row passengers. With both rear rows foldable, you can create tons of cargo space when you need it, and it has even more cargo space under the floor. Drivers can also opt for the available hands-free power liftgate with programmable height. That means you can decide how high the trunk opens to keep it from hitting the ceiling of your garage or carport.

Tow Your Boat or Camper Wherever You Desire in a Fuel-Efficient SUV

What’s the use of having towing capabilities if it costs too much in gas to get where you want to go? Hopefully, amongst the five SUVs we’ve listed above, you can find a model that provides the towing power you need while still keeping fuel costs low. The whole point of having a boat or camper is to get away from it all and have more ways to enjoy outdoor destinations. You shouldn’t be punished with a big gas bill for wanting that. Luckily, the manufacturers we covered here designed SUVs that offer the best of both worlds—solid towing figures and solid fuel economy figures. So feel free to explore where you want, how you want.