VW Towing Capacity & Safety Tips

Towing in a Volkswagen

It’s not a secret that most shoppers don’t choose Volkswagen because of its hauling ability or overall utility. The vehicles in the VW family are known best for their unique styling and one-of-a-kind driving experience — not towing and hauling. It’s not a core focus of the company, rather, just an added bonus found on only a handful of VW models. On the whole, towing in a Volkswagen really is not recommended. In fact, only three models are capable of towing a substantial amount, while the rest of the family is absolutely unequipped for the challenge. Despite this, since the Tiguan, Touareg, and Passat are capable of towing, we want to be sure to demonstrate exactly how much they can haul and how much of an added benefit this really is. So read on to learn more about the towing capacity of the Volkswagen Tiguan, Touareg, and Passat.

2017 Volkswagen Towing Capacity

2017 Passat Towing Capacity:

The 2017 Volkswagen Passat is offered with 7 different available trims with two different engines available. Most available trims feature a 1.8L turbocharged TSI engine that puts out 170 horsepower at 184 lb-ft of torque. The other option is the hulking 3.6L VR6 that produces a powerful 280 horsepower at 258 lb-ft of torque. Both designs allow the 2017 VW Passat a towing capacity of 1,000 lbs

2017 Tiguan Towing Capacity:

The 2017 Tiguan, Volkswagen’s crossover SUV, which handles more like a midsize sedan, is an ideal vehicle for those on the move. With its 2.0 L 4-cylinder engine that puts out over 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque, the 2017 VW Tiguan is capable of hauling up to 2,200 lbs. Ready for all seasons with its standard turbo engine and available 4Motion all-wheel drive, the Tiguan has enough space and power to get what you need to where you need it. In fact, at 2,200 lbs of towing capacity, the Tiguan is a crossover SUV segment leader. Only the 2017 Mazda Cx-5 comes close, reaching a towing capacity of 2,000 lbs.

2017 Touareg Towing Capacity:

If you are looking to tow something in a Volkswagen, the 2017 VW Touareg is the vehicle to do it in. Powered by a standard 3.6L V6 engine, the 2017 Volkswagen Touareg produces 280 horsepower and a towing capacity of 7,700 lbs! Whether you need to tow your boat, another truck, or anything else, the Touareg is the SUV for you. It is even a leader in its segment too, outshining the 2017 Toyota 4runner (the next best hauler in the segment) by nearly 2,700lbs.

Volkswagen’s Trailer Assist


Maneuvering a trailer can be a tedious, arduous, and generally, obnoxious task to complete. It’s a true test of patience, and it can make or break a family vacation. No one is in a good mood after backing up the trailer for close to an hour, just to be able to leave. That’s why Volkswagen created the Trailer Assist, famously seen in the video below. This system works by taking the guess work out of maneuvering a trailer and lets drivers simply shift gears, accelerate, and brake. Simply put your car in reverse, press the Parking Assist button and use the mirror adjustment button to enter the direction that the trailer should follow in. That’s it! The system takes care of the rest. Never again will you have to worry about the tedium involved with backing up with a trailer.

Safe Towing Tips

Towing a trailer of any kind can be very demanding on your vehicle, despite how much it weighs all together. Towing can even be tough on a driver, as suddenly there is about double your total vehicle length. It’s challenging to get started, but by using the following tips we’re sure that you’ll have no problems towing with your Volkswagen.

Weight Distribution: To make sure that your vehicle and trailer are operating at their best, it’s important to make sure that your load’s weight must be properly distributed across the whole of the trailer. Aim to keep the center of gravity low, which allows for best handling. Heavy loads should be balanced from side to side, as this will optimize handling and tire wear on your vehicle. Be sure to firmly secure your payload to prevent it from shifting around as you enter corners or during braking. A sudden redistribution of weight in your trailer can cause loss of control and potentially lead to an accident.

Backing Up: Backing up in a trailer can be very tough, even if someone is at the rear of the trailer guiding you. Be sure to back up slowly, with one hand at the bottom of the steering wheel so you can move it in the direction you’d like the trailer to go. It’s important to make very small movements as you do this — slight movements on the steering wheel can lead to a much larger movement at the rear of the trailer.

Turning: Getting used to turning with a trailer can be tough. Your vehicle is now significantly longer, so you must be sure to swing wide enough that you’re allowing the trailer to avoid hitting curbs or any other obstructions.

Braking: Another added difficulty of having extended the length and total weight of your car with a trailer is braking. You need to allow for a considerably increased distance for stopping with your trailer attached. Essentially, the braking system of your trailer will only be rated for GVWR, not GCWR, meaning is not built to adjust for your car specifically. If your trailer starts to sway, apply the brake pedal gradually.

Towing on Hills: As you prepare to climb a hill with your trailer attached, be sure to downshift the transmission for increased power and to improve braking on steep downgrades.

Parking with a Trailer: Whenever it can be avoided, be sure not to park your vehicle and trailer on a grade. If it is necessary, place wheel chocks under the trailer’s wheels, then follow the instructions below.

  • Apply the foot brakes and hold
  • Have another person place the wheel chocks under the trailer wheels on the downgrade side
  • When the chocks are in place, release the brake pedal and make sure that the chocks will hold the vehicle and trailer
  • Then apply the parking brake in your vehicle

Starting Parked on a Grade: Apply your foot to the brake and hold while turning the engine on. The transmission should be in park for an automatic vehicle and neutral for a manual vehicle. Then, shift the transmission into gear and release the parking brake. As you release the brake pedal and move the vehicle up the hill, have someone free the chocks from the trailer. As they do so be sure to apply the brakes so that the vehicle and trailer do not move.

Acceleration & Highway Passing: Trailers tend to significantly contribute to the total weight of a vehicle, which means that the towing vehicle will experience a significant decrease in acceleration, so be very cautious as you drive. When you must pass a slower vehicle, ensure that you have provided ample space between the rear of your trailer and the other vehicle. Always use your turn signal when passing another vehicle, and make sure you overtake on level terrain. If you experience trouble passing another vehicle, then try downshifting to a lower gear for improved acceleration as you overtake.

Driving with Cruise Control: Be sure to turn off your cruise control on particularly hilly terrain. You may find that the cruise control automatically turned itself off as you tow on long, steep, grades.

Tire Pressure: Be vigilant about your tire pressure, and always adhere to what your owner’s manual indicates is best for your tires. When towing, under-inflated tires can become very hot, leading to failure and possible loss of vehicle control while overinflated tires can lead to uneven wear.

Spare Tires: ALWAYS replace your tire with a conventional, identical, full-size spare tire for your trailer. DO NOT use mini, compact, or dissimilar full-size spare tires.

On the Road Tips:

After about 50 miles of driving with your trailer attached, pull over in a safe location to double check the trailer hitch attachment, all lights and electrical connections, your trailer wheel lug nuts for tightness.

Still have questions about towing with your Volkswagen? Contact White Rock VW today! Our knowledgeable staff is sure to have the answers you’re looking for.