What Vehicles Make the Perfect RV Toad?


Wade Thiel

Favorite Trip

Home Base

Favorite RV

About Contributor

Wade divides his time among various outdoor activities in both urban and rural environments. An adventurer by nature, he is always up for a challenging hike, fun hunt, or day out on the water with friends and family. When he isn’t enjoying the outdoors, he’s writing, reading, or tinkering with motorcycles and cars.

Motorhome owners know that it can be a real pain to pack up their RV and go into town to get something or do something. That’s where an RV toad or dingy comes into play. A toad is a vehicle you tow behind your motorhome. Its there so you can set up camp and still have an easy way of traveling around without having to drive your RV everywhere.

While you can use a wide variety of vehicles for this purpose, you generally want to think about something small and easy to tow behind your motorhome. That will make the actual act of towing easier and have a smaller impact on your RV’s gas mileage.

When choosing a vehicle to tow behind your RV, make sure to think about its drivetrain, too. If you want to buy a car or you own a car that the manufacturer doesn’t suggest towing it behind your RV flat, consider getting a tow dolly that can lift two of the wheels off the ground and not cause damage to the drivetrain.

Small Cars That Make Good Toads

RV with a car as a toad

The best thing about using a RV toad is that you likely already own a vehicle that would work. If you have a city car, a subcompact car, or a compact car then you have what you need. If you don’t own one of these vehicles and want one here’s a short list of smart options when it comes to small cars:

These are just a few of the options out there that would be at the top of my list. Like I said above, basically, any smaller car will get the job done. Shop for a used model that’s a few years old to save money. If you’re primarily going to use the car as a RV toad, then you don’t want to spend a ton of money on it.

However, if you plan on using the vehicle you want to use as a toad as your daily driver, too, then consider getting a newer model and perhaps looking for one of the higher trim level options. Small cars can be excellent everyday vehicles and come with tons of features and amenities at a good price.

Small Crossovers and SUVs That Make Good RV Toads

RV Coach Towing an Offroad 4X4 Vehicle

If a small car just isn’t something you want to drive or you need more capability than a small car can provide, consider one of the small crossovers or SUVs that are all over the place these days. These vehicles often come with four or all-wheel drive, providing you some ability to do a little off-roading if you wish. Here are some good options:

Again, you may already own a small crossover or SUV. If you do, then you have the vehicle you need. However, if you’re going to be looking for a vehicle. Think about how you want to use it. If you’re going to be doing some serious off-roading, then you should seriously consider the Jeep Wrangler as your option.

The Jeep has a long history of being a killer off-roader. While most crossovers or SUVs with four or all-wheel drive will do well in mild off-road situations if you’re really going to be going off the beaten path, the Wrangler has the tough body-on-frame design, solid axles, and serious four-wheel-drive system to get the job done. It is overkill for most folks’ purposes, but then it’s always better to have more capability and not need it than get stuck somewhere.

Wranglers can be quite expensive, though, so as long as you plan to stick to mostly pavement and some mild off-road situations, you’ll do absolutely fine with any of the other options listed above. If you’d rather tow your RV instead of having your RV do the towing, check out our travel trailers.

Do you currently have a RV toad? What do you use? What would you like to have? Leave a comment below.

  • Comment (32)
  • KEN K says:


  • John says:

    We flat tow a 2019 Chevy Equinox with the 2.0L turbo. You must check your owner’s manual because not all can be flat towed.

  • Lee says:

    We got 2 electric assist bikes, (Lectric). We got a rack for the back but they also fold in half if you have the storage room. If you use assist lvl1 you can get about a 45 mile range. Nice to know you have the power when needed and human power for added distance and if you run out – never happened so far. Couple of saddle bags and we’re set for supply runs and sight seeing.

  • Doug says:

    We have a 26 foot class C and a 2005 PTCruiser(manual trans) that works perfect with all 4 on the ground. Small toad and seats 4 large adults. Works great with lots of room and you don’t know its even being toad. Super good and easy!!!!!

  • Clayton says:

    What about a Smart Car,or a motor trike?

  • Allan Grossman says:

    Planning on purchasing a buick encore gx awd which Buick says can be flat towed. Would like your opinion

    • Mark says:

      I owned a Ford Excape all wheel drive. The owner’s manual stated it could be towed all wheels down. I call Ford corporate office and confirmed with them to tow all four wheels down. I found out the hard way it cannot be towed all four wheels down for more than a few hours without stopping and driving the Excape to lubricate to transmission. I drove for 8 hours and burned up the transmission. The Ford corporation did not explain to me that a transmission cooler was needed to be added at an extra cost before towing an all wheel drive vehicle. So double check to see if an aftermarket cooler will need to be added. My cost to replace transmission was $3,500.00.

  • Anthony and Machelle Augusto says:

    Very good article! My husband and I are considering a C Class and have talked about what we would tow. We own a KIA Optima and a VW Jetta. Which of these 2 would you recommend? Our thought is the Jetta . We look forward to hearing from you. Enjoy your weekend!

  • Alvin says:

    Perhaps take a look at the Fiat Pop..Standard transmission. Only think to remember is to put it in neutral. Ignition does not need to be turned on, keys do not need to be in the car. Steering wheel does not lock so no need to worry.

    I’ve been towing one for years with ZERO problems..Love it, Love it, Love it.

  • Bob says:

    2018 Jeep Grand Cherokeee, 4×4 Limited.

  • John Alley says:

    We found out that the new 2021 Chevy Trailblazer AWD can be dingy towed. We are buying one. Nobody makes a base plate for it yet but a company I called will soon. The Buick Encore GX AWD (2020) can also be towed. Finally a new car that is reasonably priced !

  • Hal Paine says:

    I have towed a Honda CRV and Honda Pilot for a lot of years. I believe any Honda (except their pickup ) can be towed four down. Only need to go from park down to drive, then up to neutral, turn key to accessory, and ready to go. You also should have a battery disconnect so it doesn’t die (ask me how I know!). I also use a Brake Buddy. My only problem with towing is the inability to turnaround easily after missing an exit. Hard as I try, it still happens occasionally (And the Co-pilot pretends to be asleep.)

  • George Ryan says:

    Besides Jeep there is another 4WD/ AWD manual trans vehicle that can be towed 4 down without removing fuses or doing anything more than putting it in neutral and going. And the speedo doesn’t record miles, either. You missed the 2006 – 2014 Suzuki SX4 in this article. Been my pulling a 2011 for over 50,000 miles since it was new (speedo now shows it as a low mileage car with just 30K in the ticker). Never been in a shop, either.

  • Janice says:

    We’d like to use our current vehicle as our tow, but it’s all wheel drive. Is there a way to use it?

  • Dick Lewis says:

    You better tell your readers to read the owners manual. Not all vehicles are suited for recreational towing.

  • Clayton davis says:

    What if you don’t want to tow what are the travel options?

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Ahh, that makes sense. Thanks for the info!

  • John says:

    We’ve got the FWD model. Owner’s manual says not to exceed 65MPH and at the beginning and ending of each day, and at all fuel stops, the engine should be run 5 minutes to lube transmission parts.

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Hey Ed, from the info you shared in your comment (the link goes nowhere, sorry), I’m only seeing speed referenced. Not mileage. You should never actually go faster than the advised speed here (70mph) in an RV, so that shouldn’t be an issue. RV travel is best done at 65 mph. That’s what the tires are typically rated for, 70 mph is pushing it. So, this Buick would be fine.

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Hey John, is that the FWD one or the AWD one? I’m curious.

  • Ed Lisle says:

    I do not have this vehicle but see page 318 of the owners manual as I’m interested in this topic as this seems like a reasonable option. When asking about other AWD vehicles I’m told to be careful about consistent miles driven daily as in not to exceed ‘x’ miles per day. I see no reference to this recommendation in the manual.


    To dinghy tow the vehicle from the front with all four wheels on the ground:
    1. Position the vehicle behind the tow vehicle, lining it up with the tow bar.
    2. Leave the vehicle running. Shift the transmission to N (Neutral).
    3. Apply the parking brake to prevent vehicle rollaway.
    4. Connect the vehicle to the tow bar hardware.
    5. Release the parking brake.
    6. Leave the transmission in N (Neutral) and turn the vehicle off. You may hear a continuous chime, which is normal.
    7. Open the hood and disconnect the negative battery terminal. See Battery – North America 0 274.
    8. Cover the negative battery post with a non-conductive material to prevent any contact with the negative battery terminal.

    Caution: If 113 km/h (70 mph) is exceeded while towing the vehicle, it could be damaged. Never exceed 113 km/h (70 mph) while towing the vehicle.

    To disconnect the towed vehicle:
    1. Park on a level surface.
    2. Make sure that the ignition is off.
    3. Remove any tape, glue, or excess material from the negative battery post.
    4. Connect the battery. See “Negative Battery Cable Reconnection” under Battery – North America 0 274.
    5. Apply the parking brake.
    6. Disconnect the vehicle from the tow vehicle.
    7. Release the parking brake.

  • Dennis Sanner says:

    We towed a Smart For 2 four down for almost 10,000 miles behind a 32’ B+. Had to have a tow bar installed in Smart. There was a simple series of steps, including disconnecting the battery to prep to tow. Made checklist. Wife and I could hook or unhook in < 10 min. Perfect. Couldn’t carry much, but RV doesn’t have much storage. Drove Smart from Phoenix to San Diego (& back) while RV in shop. Fun little car. Took two roller bags, two backpacks, two computer bags and our boots. AOK.

  • uweb says:

    Solera 2015/Mercedes Sprinter towing a 2009 Smart Car 4 down. Front wheel tire wear have been a MAJOR problem; alignment did not help a bit. I’m carrying 2 spares – destroyed 2 new ones on a less than 1000 mile trip driving approx. 55 Mph !! One tire down to the metal destroying plastic underneath; bodyshop parts and labor was $401 in AZ.

  • Dennis Sanner says:

    Electric bikes are becoming more affordable and have greater range.

  • Patti B says:

    You would have to find public transportation or pack up your rig and drive it where you want to go.

  • Laura says:

    Or you can put a bike rack on the back of your motorhome. The more fit you are, the better range you have for your outings. If you’re in a large city, it might be easier just to use the bus/train/lyft.
    I’ve also seen hitch racks that can hold a motorcycle (not a Harley, but a smaller bike), then you have a much large range.

  • Gail says:

    Buy a small rv and revel in the fact that you can back up and turn around easily. Rent a car when you need to. Uber and Lyft are expanding widely too. I’ve fulltimed in my 21’ Phoenix Cruiser with no car and it’s quite doable. Yes, there are disadvantages and compromises, but there are disadvantages and compromises to towing as well.

  • Wade Thiel says:

    If the manufacturer says it can be flat towed, then go for it.

  • Bill says:

    Thanks for that TIP

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Hey Janice, it depends on the vehicle. Start with the owner’s manual. If you can’t find an answer there, talk with your local mechanic or service center to see if it’s okay to tow without damaging it. If you can’t tow your vehicle with all four wheels on the ground, a towing dolly might help, but again it depends on the vehicle.

  • Wade Thiel says:

    Excellent point. I’ve added in some information about that.

Leave Your Comment

Shop By RV Type

Your Adventure Awaits

Join our email list and stay up-to-date on the latest news, product innovations, events, promotions, and lots of other fun updates.
By checking this box, you expressly authorize Camping World to send you recurring automated promotional marketing text messages (e.g. cart reminders) to the telephone number entered, which you certify is your own. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. Msg. frequency varies. Msg. & data rates apply. View Terms & Privacy.
By checking this box, you expressly authorize Camping World to send you recurring automated promotional marketing text messages (e.g. cart reminders) to the telephone number entered, which you certify is your own. Consent is not a condition of purchase. Reply HELP for help and STOP to cancel. Msg. frequency varies. Msg. & data rates apply. View Terms & Privacy.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Scroll to Top