Taking road trips in a motorhome is convenient, but once you get to the campsite getting around may be a hassle if you don’t tow a car.
So, which cars are best to tow behind an RV? Can you tow a larger vehicle or truck?
For answers, check out this list of the top 10 cars for towing behind a motorhome or recreational vehicle. Inside, I detail why each car works well as a “toad” and explain whether it can be flat-towed or need a dolly or trailer.
RVers with years of experience find that specific car makes and models are perfect for towing, letting you get around with ease at your camping destination. So take a peek at the list and learn more about what RV towing entails!
Why Towing a Car with Your RV Is a Good Idea
Toad. Dinghy. Why do RVers refer to their tow vehicle by these names?
The origin of these slang words for a tow vehicle you pull behind a recreational vehicle is unclear, but in the RV world, you’ll hear these terms again and again.
A toad is so popular because it allows people with motorhomes or large travel trailers, or fifth-wheels an easier option to get around at their camping destination.
Cutting camp to pull out your motorhome to run to the grocery store is a hassle. Likewise, using a fuel-guzzling heavy-duty truck to go sightseeing can blow your camping budget quickly.
Being able to set up your RV at the campsite, pull the awning, and settle in for some relaxation and fun is why you take RV trips in the first place.
Constantly moving your camper is stressful, and a tow vehicle is the best way to alleviate the issue of how to visit local attractions easily and affordably.
Flat Towing vs. Dolly Towing behind an RV
If you’re looking into a toad for your RV, you’ll need to understand the basics of towing a car or truck.
Each vehicle manufacturer will indicate the best way to tow a specific model.
Some vehicles need all four wheels on the ground for safe towing, which is known as “flat towing.”
Other vehicles will need two wheels up on a dolly so you can tow it without causing damage.
Is RV flat towing better and easier than using a dolly?
Benefits of Flat Towing behind an RV
Many RVers who pull toads swear that flat-towing is the better of the two options as it provides better stability for the vehicle, and therefore your camper, as you pull it down the highway.
Once you reach your campsite, you only have to unhook the vehicle and don’t have to take the extra time to unload it from a dolly.
Storing a dolly at some campsites can also be challenging. Space on your lot may be tight, and the dolly may get in the way, or theft may be a concern.
On the downside, flat towing a car or truck behind an RV requires you to alter the front of your toad, and your camper will need the appropriate equipment to make a secure connection.
Flat-tow installation kits are a small investment, with most costing over $1,000.
Here are the components you’ll need for flat towing behind a camper:
The great news is once you install these components, hooking up and removing your flat-towed vehicle with your RV is straightforward and quick.
The bad news is that each vehicle will require a different setup with particular ratings, so you can’t always reuse the kit if you change the make or model of the toad in the future.
Benefits of Dolly Towing behind an RV
A dolly trailer lifts the front wheels of your toad off the ground and secures them to the trailer.
Since most modern vehicles are front-wheel drive, towing on a dolly keeps the driveshaft from moving during transport. In addition, when the driveshaft is stationary, it prevents wear on the parts and won’t add mileage to the odometer.
Another benefit of using an RV tow dolly is if you buy one with the correct ratings, you can reuse it for many different types of vehicles if you change toads in the future.
On the downside, you’ll need to purchase a tow dolly for RV. With the average cost around $2,000, it’s more expensive than the kit for flat towing.
You can find a new dolly as low as $1,200, but some reach $4,000+ in price. Many RVers choose to save money by purchasing a used dolly found through local online marketplace ads.
Another pitfall of a tow dolly is that you cannot use it for rear-wheel-drive vehicles, and it can be challenging to back up with it attached.
Lastly, finding a place on your campsite to store it may be a problem, and certain states require you to plate and register a tow dolly which is an added expense.
Benefits of Flat Trailer Towing behind an RV
The final method to bring a toad along on your RV trip is to tow your vehicle using a flat trailer.
You drive your toad up onto the trailer and secure it for transport.
Putting the entire toad up off the ground prevents the wear and tear on the tires and drive train that occurs with flat or dolly towing. This style of towing also stops the odometer from turning and adding mileage to your vehicle.
Once you become comfortable with towing a trailer, you’ll find it’s much easier to back up versus the other two toad-towing methods. A flat trailer also gives you the ability to bring along a golf cart, motorcycle, ATV, kayaks, or small boat if the trailer is large enough.
The big disadvantage of using a flat trailer to tow a toad is the size and the need for yearly registration and plating.
Many campground RV sites will not have space to fit your trailer, the tow vehicle, and a camper.
Some RV parks forbid flat trailers, and others may require you to store them offsite during your stay. Therefore, it’s best to call the campground directly to inquire about their rules on tow trailers to avoid an unpleasant surprise.
What to Know before Choosing a Vehicle for RV Towing
Before you rush off to buy a toad or equipment to tow a vehicle you already own, you must do some research to avoid wasting money or damaging your car or RV.
TOW CAPACITY OF RV OR TRUCK
The initial step is to learn the towing capacity of your motorhome or truck. Some states allow triple-towing, and it’s not uncommon to see a heavy-duty truck pulling a large camping trailer with a toad behind it.
You must ensure you can hitch a toad to your camper without worry it will fail during travel. You should be able to find tow-capacity information in your owner’s manual or online by looking up your vehicle’s make, model, engine/transmission type, and year.
IS THE TOAD RATED FOR TOWING
Pay attention to the specs of each car or truck model you plan to tow, including the engine size or type and year, as some are towable and some aren’t. For example, certain makes of cars may be towable if the transmission is manual, while others may need it to be automatic.
This step is crucial for learning which type of towing equipment you’ll need.
If you choose a toad that isn’t towable, you’ll need to put it on a flat trailer to bring it along on RV trips.
WHAT INSTRUCTIONS TO FOLLOW TO TOW THE TOAD SAFELY
Each toad may have specific towing instructions, such as pulling a certain fuse or disconnecting the battery before starting a flat tow or the correct way to strap down the vehicle on a dolly or flat trailer.
Don’t assume you know what to do, because if you don’t follow the instructions exactly, you may seriously damage your toad or cause an accident.
10 Best Vehicles for Towing Behind an RV
Now that we have the basics of RV toad towing out of the way let’s explore the top ten best cars or trucks for recreational vehicle towing.
1. Chevrolet Spark
How to tow: Flat or Dolly
The subcompact Chevy Spark is super lightweight, affordable, and gets excellent gas mileage, making it ideal for RV towing.
With the hatchback, this vehicle gives you additional space for camping gear or groceries.
Flat towing is only safe for Sparks with manual transmissions.
Note that models from 2013 have a 55 MPH limit on towing speed, but models from 2014 and up are safe for speeds up to 70 MPH.
A great bonus is that the Spark comes standard with a mobile Wi-fi hotspot and 4G LTE connectivity for internet access wherever you roam.
Roadmaster Nighthawk All Terrain Tow Bar Installation – Chevrolet Spark (Video)
2. Jeep Wrangler
How to tow: Flat
The Jeep Wrangler models from 1997 to 2021 are some of the most popular RV toads for flat towing.
The vehicle’s mid-size and rugged off-road flexibility makes it a good all-around sightseeing choice and fits within the towing capacity of Class C and Class A motorhomes.
The Wrangler has no restrictions on distance or speed during towing, and both manual and automatic transmissions allow flat towing.
How to Flat Tow a Jeep Wrangler Behind an RV (Video)
3. Honda Civic
How to tow: Dolly
The Honda Civic is a reliable car with good gas mileage, which puts it in the top ten for best cars for RV towing by dolly.
The dolly towing attachment process is very straightforward for Civics, and pulling the car at highway speeds feels secure.
4. Honda CR-V
How to tow: Flat
An older-model Honda CR-V (2007-2014) is ideal for flat towing behind a recreational vehicle. The smaller size of the CR-V makes it lighter and easier to control, yet as an SUV, it gives you more space for family day trips to see the local sights.
You will have to maintain speeds under 65 mph during towing for this toad. For long trips that exceed eight hours, you’ll need to stop and take the car out of tow mode and idle for several minutes before putting it back into tow mode and proceeding on your journey.
5. Ford F-150
How to tow: Flat
The Ford F-150 from 2009 to 2021 is another widespread toad for RVers because it doesn’t have restrictions for speed or distance, making it ideal for long-haul trips.
The truck needs a four-wheel drive, and models before 2012 will require a manual-shift transfer case for RV towing.
How to Flat-Tow: Ford F-150 (Video)
6. Ford Focus
How to tow: Flat
If you want to tow a smaller car, the 2016-2018 2.0L Ford Focus provides a bit more interior room for your travel party, yet is light enough for towing behind most motorhomes or camping trailers and can handle speeds up to 70 MPH.
Be aware that you should not flat tow specific Focus models, such as the ST, RS, Electric, 1.0L EcoBoost, and I5 2.0L Automatic.
How to Flat Tow a Ford Focus! (Video)
7. GMC Canyon or Chevy Colorado
How to tow: Flat or Flat Trailer
If you want a truck for your RV adventures, the GMC Canyon or Chevrolet Colorado are good options as they have no towing restrictions for distance or speed.
You can flat-tow these trucks as long as it has a four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case, a 4WD low setting, and a neutral position.
8. Jeep Cherokee
How to tow: Flat
Jeep Cherokees from 2014-2021 allow flat towing behind RVs and is an excellent option for families or those who like to bring along gear for hitting the beach or putting in bikes to visit local trails.
Models must be four-wheel drive and have a 2-speed power transfer unit, but they allow full travel speeds with no restriction on distance.
Earlier models from 2014-2018 will need a flat-tow wiring kit installed from a reputable dealer/mechanic before use.
9. Smart Fortwo
How to tow: Flat
The 2009-2015 Smart Fortwo is another top choice for RVers who want a run-about vehicle while camping and don’t require much space for gear or supplies. Standard Fortwo models allow flat towing with no distance or speed restrictions.
The small size is a big selling point for this toad, as it’s under 10 feet and is easy to fit on your site. At only around 1,800 pounds, the weight is another reason it’s a favorite for towing.
How to Flat Tow a Smart Car (Video)
10. Chevrolet Equinox
How to tow: Flat or Flat Trailer
You can flat tow the front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive Equinox models from 2010-2021, but do be aware your speed needs to remain under 65 mph.
The larger size of this SUV gives you room for family day trips without feeling cramped.
Specific model years have restrictions on the engine/transmission type for flat towing, so double check before selecting it as a toad, as other models may require flat trailer towing.
Towing a car is a great solution for having more freedom to sightsee or run errands while on RV trips.
When you have the right combination of toad, towing capacity, and towing equipment, you’ll find pulling a vehicle behind your RV worth it.
I really hope you check out the best cars for RV towing on this list and look into which towing equipment will fit your needs if you’re considering a toad.
Exploring new destinations is part of the joy of RVing, and the easiest way to do that is by having a car to get around. With the right toad, you can experience safe and happy travels!
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How to Flat Tow Behind an RV (Video)
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