When it comes to the best vans for towing, you’ve got a surprisingly wide range of options. There are minivans, city vans, mid-size vans, and full-size vans, all with their own unique benefits. Of course, they do have at least one thing in common: an impressive combination of both pulling power and interior space.
Just remember that, except for the minivans, most of these entries are more geared for commercial drivers. Anyone can still buy them, but they may not deliver all of the modern-day amenities you can enjoy in the minivan segment. The advantage with the bigger vans is that they also have bigger tow ratings. With this in mind, we’ve got examples from across the spectrum, including one from a top luxury brand.
2019 Honda Odyssey
The 2019 Honda Odyssey is a definite leader for minivan safety and infotainment technology. In terms of towing, however, it’s a bit lower in the rankings. The Odyssey offers a 3,000-pound tow rating in most of its trims, and that’s at the bottom of the segment. Despite this, Honda actually provides a very competitive engine choice. The standard 3.5-liter V6 produces 280 horsepower and 262 pound-feet.
What holds the Odyssey back is its standard nine-speed automatic transmission. If you opt for the two range-topping trim levels — the Touring and Elite models — a 10-speed automatic is standard. In that case, the Odyssey’s maximum trailer rating is a more competitive 3,500 pounds.
2019 Kia Sedona
We continue our look at the best vans for towing by continuing with the “mini” segment: The 2019 Kia Sedona minivan supplies a standard 3.3-liter V6 that makes 272 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque. It’s enough to pull up to 3,500 pounds. As a bonus, the Sedona’s engine is matched with a new eight-speed automatic transmission for 2019. Although this doesn’t affect towing ability, it does improve the vehicle’s overall drivability.
Also new for the 2019 model year are bolder styling elements and an upgraded rear-seat entertainment system with dual 10.1-inch screens. What hasn’t changed is the Sedona’s impressive package of optional safety content. Here you’ll find equipment like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and blind-spot monitoring.
2019 Toyota Sienna
If you prefer a Van with all-wheel drive, the best vans for towing include the 2019 Toyota Sienna. In fact, the Sienna is the only minivan in the country that’s available with that feature. The Sienna also checks in with the segment’s most powerful engine. That’s a 3.5-liter V6 that offers 296 horsepower and 263 pound-feet of torque. Matching the Sienna’s powerplant with its all-wheel-drive powertrain, along with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission, results in a maximum trailer rating of 3,500 pounds. The front-wheel-drive Sienna can also pull the same amount.
Toyota’s “Safety Sense P” package is standard in any case, complete with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, automatic high beams, and a lane-departure alert with steering assistance.
2019 Chrysler Pacifica
Though they’re from the same company, two very different vehicles are next on our list of the best vans for towing — with the same towing capacity of 3,600 pounds. We'll start with the high-tech 2019 Chrysler Pacifica. This cutting-edge minivan is available with resources like mobile Wi-Fi, an in-vehicle vacuum system, a 20-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and a nice variety of driver-assistance measures.
To assist with towing, the Pacifica counts on a 3.6-liter V6 that’s good for 287 horsepower and 262 pound-feet of torque. The Pacifica plug-in hybrid, meanwhile, isn’t rated for towing. Instead, it achieves EPA ratings of 32 mpg in combined driving with a gas-powered range of almost 540 miles. Beyond that, the Pacifica Hybrid has an all-electric driving range of 33 miles.
2019 Dodge Grand Caravan
The 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan is another one of the best vans for towing from the Fiat-Chrysler family. To be specific, the Grand Caravan provides the same 3,600-pound tow rating as the Chrysler Pacifica. That’s at least partly because they share a version of the same engine.
For the Grand Caravan, a slightly older edition of the Pacifica’s 3.6-liter V6 is standard and serves up slightly less output: 283 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. Further, the Grand Caravan may not showcase the same technologies as the Pacifica, but it does have plenty of strong points. These include Stow 'n Go seating, a stylish Blacktop appearance package, and the lowest MSRP of any new minivan on the market.
2018 Ford Transit Connect
The best vans for towing in urban locations are from the new generation of city-sized vans. Consider the 2018 Ford Transit Connect. With its nimble dimensions, the Transit Connect is some 30 inches shorter in length than some so-called “minivans” Nonetheless, Ford’s proven 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is on board for a 2,000-pound towing capacity. And that’s regardless of whether you order the Transit Connect in its cargo-Van configuration or when it’s laid out as a passenger model.
For both body styles, the engine also makes 169 horsepower and 171 pound-feet of torque. The Blue Oval also brings out its key technologies for the Transit Connect. Among them are a blind-spot monitoring system, a rear cross-traffic alert, and a Sync 3 infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
2019 Ram ProMaster City
A direct rival to the Ford Transit Connect, the 2019 Ram ProMaster City also has cargo- and passenger-van body styles. The ProMaster City then has competitive levels of power, thanks to a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It produces 178 horsepower and 174 pound-feet of torque, which allows it to match the Ford’s 2,000-pound towing limit — but only for the cargo version.
The passenger model can't tow quite as much. It has a trailer rating that dips to 1,914 pounds. Moreover, the ProMaster City doesn’t cater to passengers the way the Transit Connect does. Yet Ram can still deliver some comfort cues, such as heated front seats, mobile Wi-Fi, a navigation system, and Bluetooth.
2018 Mercedes-Benz Metris
Among commercial-grade choices, the 2018 Mercedes-Benz Metris can hit the sweet spot between the city-sized vans and the full-sizers. The standard Metris is about the size of a minivan, but it significantly raises the bar for towing power. Leveraging a turbocharged four-cylinder engine — with 208 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque — the midsize Metris can pull 2.5 tons. This is 1,400 pounds more than even the mightiest minivans. The Metris also achieves that rating in each of its cargo and passenger body styles.
Additionally, reflecting its high-end Mercedes roots, the van can be equipped with high-tech content like a blind-spot monitoring system, lane-keeping assistance, load-adaptive electronic stability control, and a special system designed to reduce steering effort in windy conditions.
2018 Nissan NV3500
The best vans for towing the most weight are the full-size heavy-duty entries. These are robust body-on-frame vehicles — like heavy-duty pickups — and can be more than 20 feet long. They also have robust towing capacities. The 2018 Nissan NV3500 HD, for instance, can pull a whopping 9,400 pounds. Certainly helping matters: an available 5.6-liter V8. Opt for that engine and the NV3500 offers 375 horsepower and 387 pound-feet of torque.
Now, just to be clear, that 9,400-pound trailer rating is for the regular-wheelbase NV3500 cargo van. The passenger-van version comes with a maximum towing capacity of 8,700 pounds. To give you a better idea of these vans' size, the cargo version has a storage capacity of up to 323 cubic feet. Meanwhile, 12 people can fit in the passenger version.
2018 Chevrolet Express
For this roundup of the best vans for towing, we saved the most powerful model for last. The 2018 Chevrolet Express 3500 cargo van, with its regular-wheelbase configuration and available 6.0-liter V8 engine, can haul up to 10,000 pounds with a conventional trailer. Put a different way, the bowtie brand’s biggest van can transform 341 horsepower and 373 pound-feet of torque into five tons of pulling power.
The Express has a transformative technology as well: Even the entry trim gets a standard mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. The Express also offers tech benefits such as a side blind-zone alert, a navigation system, a 6.5-inch touchscreen, and Bluetooth for hands-free calling and audio streaming.