Cars with Unexpected Tow Ratings

#Buick, #200

Ford Mustang V-6/GT - 1000 lbs

It probably not going to keep the F-series up worrying, but the Ford Mustang is able to tow as well: 1000 pounds, in V-6 and GT trim. (The much more powerful Shelby GT500 and Boss 302 are not recommended for towing.) Still, it is surprising that a car designed for summertime cruising and performance can haul a trailer. No doubt the towing ability is due in part to the Ford Mustang's two powerful engines, a 3.7-liter V-6 with 305 hp and 280 lb-ft, and the GT's 5.0-liter V-8 with 420 hp and 390 lb-ft. Coupled with generously sized brakes to help slow all that mass, it's clear that the Mustang would be perfectly able to tow a small trailer.

Ford Taurus - 1000 lbs

Many people in a Ford dealership looking for a family car that also tows would gravitate to the Explorer or the Flex, but buyers who haul only small loads shouldn't overlook the Taurus. Ford's venerable sedan can pull up to 1000 pounds. As with the Buick LaCrosse, the Taurus is a large and roomy sedan that seems more adept at transporting a family on vacation than pulling a utility trailer to a lumberyard.

Ford revamped the Taurus for 2013 with a new face, some updated interior materials, better brakes and steering, and revisions to its powertrains. The base 3.5-liter V-6 has received a power bump to 288 hp and 254 lb-ft. The 1000-pound tow rating even applies to the high-performance Taurus SHO version, which has a 365-hp, twin-turbocharged EcoBoost 3.5-liter V-6 engine. That could make for a seriously potent and entertaining -- if unusual -- tow vehicle.

Toyota Corolla - 1500 lbs

"A wealth of features that won't cost a fortune" is how Toyota introduces the 2012 Corolla on its consumer website, and one of those features is a 1500-pound tow rating. That's an impressive number for a relatively small and light compact sedan. Notably, the Corolla's rating is higher than those of larger and more powerful cars like the Cadillac CTS, Chrysler 200, and even Toyota's Avalon sedan.

The fact that the Corolla can out-tow those vehicles is even more impressive when you consider that the compact sedan is one of Toyota's entry-level models; pricing starts at just $16,890 for a Corolla L with a manual transmission. The car also doesn't seem that well suited to towing given that it has rear drum brakes and a 1.8-liter inline-four engine with just 132 hp and 128 lb-ft. What's most surprising is that, within the Toyota family, the Corolla beats the 1000-pound tow rating of the full-size Avalon, while the midsize 2012 Camry is not rated to tow at all.

Toyota Matrix - 1500 lbs

The unassuming Toyota Matrix hatchback has the same 1500-pound tow rating as the Corolla, which should come as no surprise once you know that the two vehicles are built on essentially the same platform. The Matrix, though, has two key features not available on the Corolla: an larger, optional 2.4-liter inline-four engine with 158 hp and 162 lb-ft of torque, and available all-wheel drive. Because the Matrix is a hatchback, it also offers considerably more cargo room than the Corolla sedan, at 49.4 cubic feet (rear seats folded) compared to 12.3 cubic feet.

Most other similar hatchbacks, however, don't have any tow rating at all. Cars like the Mazda 3 and Ford Focus hatches, for instance, are not recommended for towing. That makes the Matrix a standout in its class, which could be a boon for buyers who need the practicality of a hatchback and the capability to tow small trailers.

Volvo C30 - 2000 lbs

Volvo considers the C30 to be its hot hatchback, but in reality the two-door model is as much of a style statement as a performance car. Targeted to younger buyers, the Volvo C30 wears styling touches like LED running lights, a honeycomb front grille, a large glass hatchback inspired by the iconic Volvo P1800, and the brand's elegant waterfall-style center stack.

That's not to say there isn't performance on tap: a turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-five engine provides 227 hp and 236 lb-ft. That's enough to rocket the C30 to a top speed of 149 mph, with the 0-to-60-mph run dispatched in 6.2 seconds with a manual transmission or 6.6 seconds with an automatic.

Still, the reason we're most surprised that the C30 can tow 2000 pounds is that the car's ability is unique among its competitors. No other sporty compact car is rated by the manufacturer to tow any load at all: the Volkswagen GTI, Mazdaspeed 3, and Honda Civic Si all earn a "not recommended" tow rating from their respective manufacturers. For buyers who want to have fun behind the wheel while retaining the ability to tow small loads, the Volvo C30 may be the only choice out there.

Volvo C70 - 2000 lbs

The Volvo C70 is a four-seat convertible with a folding hardtop, which probably summons visions of trips to the beach rather than hauling lumber on a trailer. Yet just like the C30 hatchback, the Volvo C70 can tow up to 2000 pounds. The muscle for pulling trailers comes from the same turbocharged inline-five engine as in the C30, with 227 hp and 236 lb-ft.

We're not sure that towing really matches the stylish and sporty demeanor of the C70; after all, Volvo itself touts the model's combination of "wide-open exhilaration and fresh-air freedom." More surprising still is the fact that the C70 is one of just three convertibles on sale in the U.S. market that is capable of towing.

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Very uninformed.  Just looking at the manufacturer's stated tow rating in the North American market offers little insight.  The fact that the Corolla is rated to tow more than larger and more powerful vehicles should have been the first hint to the author that more factors are at play.  It isn't ironic that the Corolla can tow more, it is actually pragmatic.   Owners of the affordable, more practical vehicle might be more likely to need to tow with it, so Toyota offers the permission.  It's a matter of calculated risk on the part of the manufacturer.   For instance buyers of the Cadillac are more likely to have high income and could buy another GM vehicle to tow with so therefore GM can minimize liability and perhaps make another sale by stating a lower tow rating.   In actuality most vehicles can tow a lot more than they are rated for.
The Toyota Corolla with 1.8 engine (2ZR-FE) is not designed for towing as per the owner's manual. However, the Corolla with 2.4 (2AZ-FE) engine can tow. Also, I have looked into Toyota's website and it shows that the 1.8 liter engine can tow (but the owner's manual says it is not recommended for towing).

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