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3500kg tow-rated wagons – which can tow the most?

So you want to tow a heavy trailer? Generally, you’re better off with a wagon than medium ute because the wagons typically have higher GCMs closer to max tow plus GVM, all-wheel-drive, and handle better…but which wagon?

In this video I analyse the specification of nine 3500kg-tow-rated wagons to see which ones can actually tow heavy loads within limits in the real world.

Some notes to go with the video:

  • Towing weight analysis is complex, and that’s why I created the Tow Weights Calculator. It’s very hard to define a tow limit for a loaded vehicle because it is whatever comes first, and that may be GCM, GVM, towball mass, hitch limit, axle limit or something else. This is why some of the calcuations may not make sense; different vehicles run up against different limits.
  • Not all wagons are included for reasons of video length! I didn’t look at the LC76 for example, as it’s a bit niche but well known, as are the Range Rovers and Touareg. The popular options of Nissan, Land Rover and Toyota are there, and I wanted to also look at BMW and Mercedes which aren’t often considered. I also took middle-of-the-road specs like GXL as opposed to Sahara, and diesel rather than petrol where possible. The BMW X5 has similar stats to the X7 and also requires a tow kit.
  • The best vehicles to tow 3000kg+ are the big American utes or light trucks such as the Fuso Canter or Isuzu NPS because they are big and heavy, which is really important for towing stability. So while these wagons are nominally rated for 3500kg, I wouldn’t…and when you tow heavy trailers with a bigger vehicle you’ll see why.
  • I want to stress again how important it is to check your specific make, model and trim level’s numbers as they do vary quite a bit; that’s why I showed the Defender as an example, but it’s true across all vehicles. Not all Discoverys and Range Rovers can tow 3500kg for example, as used to be the case.
  • There is no ‘best’. The BMW X7 is a great 7-seater and on-road car with capability in snow, but it’s in no way an offroader. The INEOS Grenadier looks to be the heavyweight towing king thanks to its (expected) payload and GCM, but I’m not sure how well it’ll go for safety, and it’ll never be as good onroad as say the L663 Defender. The LC300 is built for the bush, the Mercedes cars are luxurious. The Jeep Grand Cherokee has a small payload, but it’s an inexpensive vehicle compared to the rest and if it’s just two of you, the payload may not matter. So, I’ve supplied you some information, you decide what’s best for you!

3500kg tow wagons analysed for towing ratings and specifications:

  • Jeep Grand Cherokee S-Limited
  • Nissan Patrol Y62 Ti
  • Toyota LandCruiser LC300 GXL
  • Mercdes-Benz GLS450 4MATIC
  • Land Rover Defender D300 SE (7 seater)
  • Land Rover Discovery D300 SE (7 seater)
  • BMW X7 30d
  • Mercdes-Benz GLE400d 4M
  • INEOS Grenadier

Confused about weight placement? Watch this:

Show CommentsClose Comments


  • by P.A.
    Posted 16 October 2021 14:24 0Likes

    How much will / would it change when caravans become battery driven similar to the battery vehicles.
    I can wait for a Rivian dual cab ute with a 4wd caravan on behind.
    I believe there will be caravans with an individually drivin wheel at each corner of a battery driven caravan that is controlled bye the leed vehicle.
    Although a Grenadeir with a battery driven caravan would be an interesting item.

  • by Mark Stewart
    Posted 22 May 2022 09:47 0Likes

    Love your stuff Robert – clearly you are the best auto journalist in Australia ATM. One point you have missed in this video relates to the Patrol – Nissan advises a reduction in payload of 130kg if using 350kg TBM. So if you fill it with fuel plus 2 people and 350kg on the hitch, there is effectively no payload capacity left.

    • Avatar photo
      by Robert Pepper
      Posted 22 May 2022 19:48 0Likes

      Hi see my Nissan GVM video. Ignore the Nissan stuff – it’s advisory, just keep within maximums.

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