How Much Can a Ford Explorer Tow?

Power and capability take top priority among the characteristics you consider while looking for 3-row SUVs. The vehicle must be capable of transporting your entire family long distances, and occasionally you might want to hitch a trailer to the back. But just how much can a Ford Explorer tow?

The maximum towing capacity of the Ford explorer ranges between 5,000 to 5,600 pounds, depending on the model. The 3.3L Hybrid V6 can tow 5,000 pounds, while the 3.0L V6 engine can go up to 5,600 pounds. The maximum weight a 2.3L 4-cylinder engine can tow is 5,300 pounds.  

Buying your dream SUV can be a difficult decision to make. So much to look for and so many models to consider. If towing capacity is one thing you are concerned about, this article will discuss the maximum towing capacities of the Ford Explorer models to help you decide.

green 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline parked in the woods with dust in the air

How Is Towing Capacity Defined?

Towing Capacity is essential for most SUV lovers because it determines their car’s abilities. SUVs are especially useful for a family outing with extra cargo.

So if your SUVs have a high towing capacity, you can take a camper or other belongings with you.

The highest amount your vehicle can safely tow depends on how it is formed, how much weight it is already carrying, and how you distribute and manage the load you need to tow.

This capability is known as your vehicle’s towing capacity.

Avoid towing more weight than your vehicle is capable of. There is quite a lot of analysis that goes into determining the towing capacity of a car, so follow what the manufacturer has recommended to avoid avoidable and unnecessary damage. 

Evolution of the Ford Explorer

Towing capacity for the Ford Explorer has stayed consistent over the years. It always depended on the engine size, and the towing capacity was then calculated depending on the engine and other factors. 

Looking at similar engines from different years, the Ford Explorer’s towing capacity was comparable. 

The four and 6-cylinder engines could tow between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds, while the more powerful eight-cylinder engines could tow roughly 3,500 and 7,100 pounds or just a little more.

To put into context how little the towing capacity of the Ford Explorer has changed, the 2000 model of the Ford Explorer had a towing capacity of 5620 – 6820 pounds on a 5.0L engine.

At the same time, a 4.0L engine had a towing capacity of 4740 – 5940 pounds

The average towing capacity for the 2020 and 2021 Ford explorer was between 3,000 – 5,600 pounds

1. Ford Explorer 2011

The 2011 version of the Ford Explorer had a great amount of towing capacity.

The traditional 3.5L V6 engine provided the exact 2,000 or 5,000 pounds capacity rating for towing/trailers and was the only engine available for the Explorer in 2011. 

With only roughly 30 pounds of difference, the Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR) was identical to the 2012 models.

2. Ford Explorer 2012

The 2.0L and 3.5L engines were the only options for the 2012 models; EcoBoost engines from previous years were unavailable.

However, the 2,000 or 5,000 pounds rating for the maximum trailer weight (towing) capability for the 2012 models remained the same as in past years. 

The 3.5L engine had the 2,000 and 5,000 pounds ratings, but the 2.0L engine only had the lower 2,000 pounds rating; the higher rated capacities had upper-end GCWR figures.

3. Ford Explorer 2013 – 2015

The towing capacities of Ford Explorers produced between 2013 and 2015 were remarkably close to those of the 2016 model year.

There were minor changes in the gross combined weight ratings and a bit of variation in the 2.0-liter engine’s overall towing capacity.

In principle, the range was between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds. However, in reality, there was only a range of two numbers: a 2,000 or a 5,000 pounds tow rating with nothing in between. 

Apart from the lack of a four-wheel drive variant for the 2.0L engine, the specs of the 2013-2015 vehicles and the 2016 models were remarkably identical.

4. Ford Explorer 2016

The 2016 Explorers were also almost comparable to the 2017–2019 versions in specs, except the four-cylinder engine was a 2.0L rather than a 2.3L engine. 

The 2016 models’ respective towing capacities varied from 2,000 to 5,000 pounds. Their GCWRs from 6,900 to 10,400 pounds.

5. Ford Explorer 2017 – 2019

The Ford Explorer had a towing capacity ranging from 2,000 to 5,000 pounds from 2017 to 2019; the six-cylinder engines could only have greater power. Three possible engine setups for the 2017–2019 versions: one four-cylinder engine and two six-cylinder engines.

6. Ford Explorer 2020 – 2021

For the 2021 and 2020 Explorers, there were four different engine options. However, the overall towing capability was similar among the engines.

The GCWR ranged from 7,700 to 10,800 pounds, while the typical towing capacity was between 3,000 and 5,600 pounds.

Final Thoughts on Towing Capability of a Ford Explorer 

Ford Explorer is a fantastic choice for a vehicle when choosing an SUV for yourself.

Amongst other great reasons for selecting Ford Explorer, the fact that it has a towing capacity of close to 5,000 pounds stands out compared to other SUVs. 

The Ford Explorer is a leading choice for SUV lovers who love an occasional camping trip.

green 2021 Ford Explorer Timberline with adventure trailer and bicycles at tow


What Increased the Explorer’s Towing Capacity?

The 2021 Explorer’s dynamic, muscular outward design benefits from introducing a new rear-wheel-drive architecture, which also increases its maximum towing capacity by 600 pounds over earlier incarnations.
As a result, the conventional rear-wheel Explorer is more capable than the previous Explorer models with front-wheel drive.

Which Is the Latest Ford Explorer Model?

The latest model came out in 2022.
The all-new Ford Explorer 2022 includes Rear-wheel drive, Towing, and Trailer sway control which brakes selectively and adjusts engine power to ensure trailer control and stability.

What Is Included in a Ford Explorer towing package?

A Class III frame-mounted hitch, an engine oil cooler, a seven-wire harness, and four- and seven-pin trailer connectors are all included in the towing package.

Photo of author
Article by


Leave a Comment