How are hybrid SUVs at towing?

It's great that so many manufacturers are coming out with hybrid SUVs, but how good are they at towing? Does towing "tank" their vaunted gas mileage?

Darrin, Portland, Ore.

Some hybrid SUVs can tow just as much as their gasoline counterparts — the regular and hybrid Lexus RX can both tow 3,500 pounds when properly equipped — but others hybrids may take a hit. The standard GMC Yukon is rated at a maximum towing capacity of 8,200 pounds, while the hybrid is rated at 6,000 pounds. For a list of hybrid towing capacities, see the Cars.com article, “Hybrids in the Real World.”

Just like any non-hybrid car or truck, a hybrid SUV’s gas mileage will “tank” when pulling a trailer. Hybrid technology can’t defy physics, and when you have a power plant trying to pull 8,000 pounds instead of 5,000 pounds, that engine/motor is doing a whole lot more work and will thus eat up more gasoline. How much more will depend on driving conditions (uphill/downhill) and how much weight you’re towing.

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Answered by Joe Bruzek on September 14, 2007 in How Does That Work? , How Safe is This Car? | Permalink

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