Can a Prius V tow a camper?

In this blog post, we will answer the following question: Can a Prius V tow a camper? We will review the towing capacity, engine performance and road behaviour of a Toyota Prius V when towing.

Can a Prius V tow a camper?

Yes, a Prius V can tow a camper, as long as you don’t exceed the towing capacity of the car. We must mention, however, that the manufacturer does not recommend towing with your Prius V, even if you manage to install a hitch. 

The car simply wasn’t designed with towing in mind and you risk damaging the vehicle. This being said, here is the actual towing capacity of a Toyota Prius V. 

Toyota Prius V Towing Capacity

Year of ManufactureTowing Capacity
20123,500 lbs
20133,500 lbs
20143,500 lbs
20153,500 lbs
20161,598 lbs
20172700 lbs

Why towing with a Prius V can be challenging

Towing with a Prius V can be challenging because the car’s payload is quite small. Toyota recommends that you do not tow anything with this vehicle as it is not designed to do so.

Still, if you want to go for it, if most of the weight of the camper is on its own axle it won’t overload the rear suspension, and as long as you are careful not to deviate too far from the towing capacity (taking into account that’s the load index useful, this car was NOT designed or rated for towing ANYTHING), it should not damage your car’s transmission or chassis beyond normal wear and tear.

If you’re going to ignore Toyota’s specs, and you could reasonably do so, failing to qualify the car for towing could have been based on a number of very different engineering considerations – there are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Vehicle payload includes the weight of the trailer tongue along with any passengers and cargo in the car.
  1. Your brakes will stop both the car and the trailer. A car rated for towing would have braking capacity to match the specifications for the trailer’s weight. A car that is not rated for towing might not have it. You will only know in extreme circumstances. While the car’s suspension only has to support the weight of the trailer tongue, the brakes must support the full weight of the trailer.
  1. The drivetrain and cooling will also be designed to load the car without the trailer, so there may not be enough extra capacity for “extreme” conditions. Again this is a decision, if you don’t climb steep hills at altitudes on hot days it may not matter at all.

At least a car designed for towing has been thought of with these considerations and the load on a trailer in mind. Your car may not have been. It almost certainly has adequate capacity to handle the trailer when the total load is within limits and conditions are moderate, but it may not perform to the extreme. The place where I would be most concerned is with the brakes.

On the other hand, the car can be built with components that are shared with other larger and heavier cars, so it can have the adequate braking capacity, not because the car was designed for that, but because it was simpler that way.

What is driving a Prius V like?

While in the city the Toyota Prius V may seem a bit slow to respond, it does particularly well on the highway. Even in the Adirondacks where curves, climbs and descents follow one another for hundreds of miles the “V” was quite comfortable. The vehicle is spacious, comfortable and ergonomically very well thought out.

During strong winds and rain, the V is particularly stable and easy to drive, easier to drive in fact than the vast majority of vehicles we had the chance to review.  We have to say, the V is really surprisingly stable, which had a very reassuring effect on our “crew”.

The only downside is that the V is noisy when accelerating because its hybrid system combined with its CVT transmission borrowed from the Prius is neither particularly fiery nor particularly quiet when accelerating. You have to get used to it.

Can a Toyota Prius actually tow a camper?

Yes, you can tow with a Prius. The fourth generation of the Toyota Prius is the first in 19 years that the world’s best-selling hybrid has been in operation to be able to equip a trailer hitch. Sold as an accessory at dealerships and can tow up to 750 kilos of weight (1598 lbs). 

This trailer hitch is found as an original accessory in the dealerships of the Japanese firm for a price of $475 without taking into account the price of the assembly. To this must be added $238 for the 7-pin electrical connection, a figure that rises to $277 in the case of needing the 13-pin connection.

Thanks to this new rear hitch, not only can it be towed from a caravan that weighs a maximum of 750 kilos, but it can also be fitted with functional supports for transporting bicycles, for example, an accessory that the Japanese firm also offers for this new Toyota Prius for $359 and that allows transporting two bicycles. There is also another folding that costs $556.

To say that this hitch can be disassembled and stored in a cover when not in use so that its support is not visible and best of all, it does not affect the refined aerodynamics of this efficient vehicle that continues to surprise us. 

Because the Toyota Prius barely has a 1.8 engine and an electrical system with which it provides a total of 122 HP of power and 120 Nm of maximum torque. They are good features, but at first glance, on paper, they do not impress too much. But he had more than enough strength to tow this car.

And it is that, when talking about cars specialized in towing, robust, imposing cars come to mind, 4×4 with huge wheels and very high torque. But no, this is a normal Prius, which weighs 1,650 kilograms and is towing a vehicle larger than it, which weighs more and is larger.

We can now add one more function to the Toyota Prius. Apart from being very comfortable, extremely quiet and practical in town and having an almost immediate response to the pedal, we now also know that we can tow another vehicle if the situation requires it.

If you have a Toyota Prius in the garage, you only have to worry about knowing how to properly hook the trailer, know the speed limits you must attend to and know that driving changes a lot with such a large weight load. What is clear is that you can tow a car with a Toyota Prius. 

Conclusions

While it is not recommended, it is possible to tow a camper with a Prius V. We recommend you not exceed 80% of the towing capacity of your vehicle. This way you will be sure that nothing can go wrong with the cargo. 

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FAQ on Can a Prius V tow a camper?

Can you tow a small trailer with a Prius?

Yes, you can tow a small trailer with a Prius. The 2015 and onwards Toyota Prius models have a towing capacity of 725 kilograms/1,598 lbs, which makes it capable of towing a lightweight caravan or small camper. 

Can you put a trailer hitch on a Toyota Prius?

You can put a trailer hitch on a Toyota Prius, but if you haven’t a clue about installing a hitch, it is best to ask help from a Toyota authorised mechanic. 

How do you put a Prius in neutral when towing?

When towing, you can shift a Prius in neutral by hitting the power button twice without your foot on the brake then put your foot on the brake to put it in neutral. 

Can you tow with a Prius?

Yes, you can tow with a Prius. The fourth generation of the Toyota Prius is the first in 19 years that the world’s best-selling hybrid has been in operation to be able to equip a trailer hitch. Sold as an accessory at dealerships and can tow up to 750 kilos of weight (1598 lbs). 

Can a Prius pull an Airstream?

No, a Toyota Prius cannot pull an Airstream trailer. The maximum towing capacity of a Prius is 1598 lbs, while the average Airstream trailer weighs between 3,000 and 5,000 lbs. The numbers just don’t add up! See the table below for more details. 

Can a Prius pull a Scamp trailer?

No, a Prius cannot pull a Scamp trailer, or it will certainly struggle. The Prius allows a light towing of less than 725 kilograms (1598 lbs). Experts in caravans and trailers agree to recommend for the moment the use of hybrids for towing, as they offer the best performance without limitations in this type of car. Still, a Scamp trailer may be just over the limit for a Prius. 

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