Tow vehicle options - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-03-2006, 12:13 AM   #1
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Trailer: 17 ft Escape
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We are picking up our new Escape on 14th October. Bought Reace's Demo trailer, and we are having it raised 2 1/2 inches - he is also removing the gaucho bed as there are just the two of us planning to travel starting next year.

We are presently driving an ancient 89 Trooper 2.6 litre 4 banger 4x 4 automatic, which will pull it to the ferry on level roads and probably not too much further, we live near Victoria.

We have looked at several tow vehicles: The Ford Escape/Hyundai Santa Fe/Kia Sorento/ Suzuki Grand Vitara - all with 2.7 - 3.5 litre V-6's and rated at 3500# towing capacity. We are hoping to cut back to one vehicle and would like reasonable fuel economy for ski trips and other use beyond camping.

The Escape trailer weighs about 2100 pounds dry, perhaps a bit less after pulling the gaucho. So after gear, say 500# and towing with empty or nearly empty tanks we would be pushing 2600#, well below the #3500 limit of the above vehicles.

Several people have suggested we move up in size to the Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder or Xterra which have a 5000# tow rating or a Toyota-Mazda-Nissan mid-size pickup.

Perusing this and the Casita isite, most members with 16-17' Casitas/Scamps/Escape's are driving full size 4x4 SUV's. pickups , "Egg Vans", Ford Explorers, Chevy Blazers or similar vehicles. The Liberty CRD diesel looks interesting, but they are hard come by and they are not being sold in 2007, learned they are putting a bigger more advanced diesel in for '08.

I am quite accustomed to a lower powered vehicle, we always get there. Does anyone tow 17" trailers with the smaller 4 x 4 SUV's? Your input please.
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Old 10-03-2006, 01:07 AM   #2
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Quote:
I am quite accustomed to a lower powered vehicle, we always get there. Does anyone tow 17" trailers with the smaller 4 x 4 SUV's? Your input please:
Buy a Toyota. My last Toyota pick up, which I gave to my oldest grandson last year, has over 400000 miles on it. I put one clutch in it, several brake jobs and timing belts in it. The only other expenses were oil changes and tune ups.
The Toyota Tacoma with the V-6 will more than do the job for you. You may pay a little more as Toyota very seldoms has rebates, they do not have to bribe you to buy their vehicles, but you will more than make up for it in the resale value of the vehicle.
John
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Old 10-03-2006, 07:50 AM   #3
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Gerry, there are a number of things to consider, among them: what kind of travelling do you do? Lots of off-road adventures after you park, or just an occasional sight-seeing cruise down the boulevard? Recognize that you may actually get better gas mileage towing with a mid-size V8 than a 6 cylinder because the engine doesn't work as hard. How many people will you need to seat in your vehicle? Do you ever take friends to dinner? How much and what kind of cargo will you carry? Messy, smelly things are better carried outside in a covered pickup bed. To what use will you put your tow vehicle when you're not towing? Is it the family car that you haul the grandkids around with?

Smaller is better when you're buying a commuter car. Bigger is better buying a tow vehicle. Wheelbase is everything, the longer the better when towing, and there's no substitute for cubic inches when travelling to parts unknown. You really need to consider all of the issues I talked about above when deciding what body configuration best fits your needs.

I tow my 17' Bigfoot with my 6cyl Toyota Tundra access cab 4x4. I need a pickup to carry 'stuff' for working on an apartment building, and it's also my daily driver. I specifically bought a 6cyl Tundra for the fuel economy, but if I had it to do again, I'd probably have bought a crew cab V8 model. The mileage between the two isn't that different. The Tundra is the best riding vehicle we own. I tow my Bigger Bigfoot (a 25') with our Excursion, which serves as the family truckster when we need to go somewhere with lots of folks. My wife commutes 40 miles each way daily and drives a Honda Civic. Needless to say, it doesn't have a hitch!

Roger
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Old 10-03-2006, 10:32 AM   #4
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I had the very same dilema when deciding on a new vehicle recently. I tossed around the same small SUV ideas like you (Escape/CRV/Grand Vitara etc) Similar to you, I was looking for a daily driver as well.

I currently tow with a Honda Element and a 13 footer, but am looking to upgrade the trailer in the future.

I still have the Element, but I ended up with a new Jeep Liberty. It has a 5k rating when properly equipped. Very comfortable as a daily driver and rock solid (It's a Jeep) I am not really thrilled with the milage, but other than that, I think I found a good compromise for all.

Haven't towed with it yet. Thats what the Element is for currently. The Jeep is too new and I won't use it unless I get a bigger rig, or the Element is no longer a good reliable tug. (With a Honda, that should be next century sometime)

Have you considered the Pilot? If you are rich, a Ridgeline?
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:34 AM   #5
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Hello,

I'm pulling my Escape with a Honda Pilot. It's rated for 4500# and I'm certainly not having any problems. I think it's a 'mid-size' SUV.
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Old 10-03-2006, 01:19 PM   #6
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Buy a Toyota. My last Toyota pick up, which I gave to my oldest grandson last year, has over 400000 miles on it. I put one clutch in it, several brake jobs and timing belts in it. The only other expenses were oil changes and tune ups.

John
My favorite ad, "If you buy a Toyota you had better like the color, cuz you'll have it for a long time". I've owned 5 of them and all over 200,000 miles and a 1991Previa that I gave to my son with 335,000 miles on it, not $2500.00 bucks repair in the 5 total other than expected maintenance. I have a 2001 V-8 Tundra now and not nuts about the mileage but it has 93,000 and no problems, I've never known the service manager on a first name basis at any Toyota dealership and to me that means a lot.
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Old 10-03-2006, 02:53 PM   #7
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Are four wheel drive or "SUV" (whatever that means to you) requirements? Most vehicles classified as "minivans" also have 3500 lb towing capacity, and lots of use with 16' to 17' eggs tow with them. My Boler B1700RGH is about 3000 lb loaded for travel, and we tow it quite satisfactorily with a Toyota Sienna.

If all the wheels need to be driven, the Sienna (and some others) are available that way.

Fuel consumption will be higher with a typical "minivan" than with some of the smaller vehicles which were listed, but likely still better than with many mid-size SUVs, and the van-style vehicles typically have longer a wheelbase, which is good for towing.
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
We have looked at several tow vehicles:
The Ford Escape/Hyundai Santa Fe/Kia Sorento/ Suzuki Grand Vitara - all with 2.7 - 3.5 litre V-6's and rated at 3500# towing capacity.

[b]We are hoping to cut back to one vehicle and would like reasonable fuel economy for ski trips and other use beyond camping.

Your input please.
When I was looking at Vehicle Purchase in spring of 2003, Suzuki was on my list...but back then the Short Wheel Base Grand Vitara with V6 was rated at 1500 Lbs and the Long Wheel Base Grand Vitara [b]XL-7 with V6 was rated for 3000 Lb. The short wheelbase Grand Vitara advertized better fuel economy at that time than the long wheelbase Grand Vitara [b]XL-7. All with the same engine.

I could recommend the Suzuki, but only the [b]XL-7 version for a trailer as big as the Escape.
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Old 10-04-2006, 09:03 PM   #9
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I pull a 17' wide body Burro with a Honda pilot. It tows beautifully. It gets much better gas mileage than my previous Jeep Grand Cherokee and is much more reliable. For skiing or boat trips, it has a handy storage space under the back area and the seats fold down to hold 5 or 7 comfortably. It's a 6 cyclinder but it runs on 3 unless it needs the extra pull.
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Old 10-04-2006, 11:47 PM   #10
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hmnn.. I had a 67 Impala V8 that had 8 cylinders, but did the grapevine on 3..

but enough about the stupidity of my youth...
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Old 10-05-2006, 07:02 PM   #11
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If I hada lighter trailer, such as an Escape, I would consider a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, with a 3,500 lb tow capacity.
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Old 10-06-2006, 10:48 AM   #12
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Gerry,
Have you picked Reace's brain? It seems that he would be the authority of choice.
Consider your family needs both towing and not, then relay those needs to Reace.
I believe you'll be most satisfied with a decision arrived at in that manner.
Beyond that route, you can wallow around and maybe find success but I prefer to narrow the odds when gambling with the lives of my family and others and the financial investment of trailer and tug.

May your hunt be successful and we hope you'll soon be camping,
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 10-13-2006, 05:19 PM   #13
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Consider a Toyota FJ Cruiser. 4.0 litre V6. 21mpg city and 28mpg hwy, tow rating = 5000lbs. Cheaper than a Tundra or a Highlander I think.
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Old 10-13-2006, 06:10 PM   #14
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From www.toyota.ca, just to consider the options at Toyota...
  • Highlander
    • 4WD "B" Package C$40,745 list
    • other models C$38,470 to C$53,670
    • wheelbase - 2715 mm (106.9")
  • Tundra
    • 4WD Double Cab automatic C$36,940 list
    • other models C$26,010 to C$48,105)
    • wheelbase (Double Cab) - 3570 mm (140.6")
  • Tacoma
    • 4x4 Double Cab V6 automatic C$34,070 list
    • other models C$22,635 to C$38,955)
    • wheelbase (Double Cab automatic) - 3570 mm (140.5")
  • FJ Cruiser (all 4WD)
    • automatic "B" Package C$34,620
    • other models C$29,990 to C$37,260)
    • wheelbase - 2690 mm (105.9")
Yes, the FJ is cheaper than the Highlander and Tundra (but comparable to the Tacoma) and likely stronger (structurally, and in in suspension, as well as drivetrain) than the Highlander. I wonder if it is worth picking one of the trucks (instead of either SUV) for the towing advantages of long wheelbase, although they have a less sophisticated rear suspension than the SUVs?

Toyota has a towing guide (still showing 2006 specs) available on-line. It covers a selection of trucks and SUVs (but not the Sienna), and has a some surprising details, such as suspension spring rates (but only for the pickup trucks).

There are a couple of other recent threads here on the FJ Cruiser, if anyone is interested in more about this option.
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