Tow vehicle has to come first - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-14-2017, 10:23 AM   #1
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Name: Bob
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Tow vehicle has to come first

Thanks to someone running a red light - and air bags (my first car had a lap belt and a lot of metal in the cabin; good age we live in) - I need a new
vehicle. It was going to happen anyway, but I had thought I'd zero in on the trailer first. Oh well.

I have a decided preference for an SUV; just like getting fly fishing gear, etc., together out of the back of a full lift. Still haven't seen too many trailers in person, but think I'll max out in the 17' Casita/16' Scamp range; could be smaller. I guess a 19' Escape could be in there too, but that seems to be in a different towing class (that's all impressions from web sites). Four-wheel drive for bad USFS roads and mountains that will want me to have a cushion on tow limits. Replacing a 2014 Subaru Forester; enjoyed the creature comforts of a large sun roof, heated seats, and satellite radio, but that kind of stuff is secondary.

Suggestions? Pros and cons? New or used, but reliable no matter what; will be my only driver.

Thanks for any advice.

Bob
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Old 03-14-2017, 10:47 AM   #2
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Bob, what would be your budget? I would like to have a Jeep Grand Cherokee with the same diesel that the RAM 1500 uses, but the price is so difficult to justify.
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Old 03-14-2017, 10:59 AM   #3
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Sorry to hear about your accident, but glad you're okay!

The Kia Sorento is highly rated by Consumer Reports and has several drivetrains with towing potential. You probably don't want the base 2.4L, but either the 2.0L turbo-4 (3500#) or the 3.5L V6 (5000#) would enable you to pull a number of mid-sized molded fiberglass trailers.

Perennial SUV favorites include Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot. Both are rated for up to 5000#.

If you want a little more offroad capability, a Jeep Grand Cherokee will tow up to around 7000#, and a Toyota 4Runner up to 5000#. As you would expect with more traditional SUVs, expect poor fuel mileage from either (except maybe the diesel GC, but I think it's under investigation by the EPA and sales have been halted).

Going the other way size-wise, one of the few compact SUVs with a decent tow rating is a Ford Escape Ecoboost (3500#).

For a 16' Scamp a 3500# rated vehicle is sufficient, but for the heavier 17' Casita I would want something rated at least 5000# (and you may need a weight distributing hitch to manage the tongue weight).

Given that you're considering a larger trailer, and in view of their outstanding reliability, I think a 4Runner would be my first choice.
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Old 03-14-2017, 11:23 AM   #4
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I would add the Ford Exporer (5000lbs capacity) and the Grand Cherokee's longer-wheelbase cousin, the Durango (7000lbs+ capacity).
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Old 03-14-2017, 12:38 PM   #5
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2001 Nissan Pathfinder was a great tow rig. 4x4 3.5 v6 and 5000 lb tow with an automatic. i have since changed to a 1016 Tacoma pick-up. Almost the same as the Nissan but not better. Mileage slightly better than the Nissan around town.
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Old 03-14-2017, 12:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by FishingBob View Post

Suggestions? Pros and cons? New or used, but reliable no matter what; will be my only driver.

Thanks for any advice.

Bob
Bob,

I found that I could sort the Consumer Reports online vehicle ratings by towing capacity.

Start with the 2017 Porsche Cayenne with a 7,716 lb rated tow capacity and work your way down the list until you start to see price tags that allow you to start breathing again!
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:03 PM   #7
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Bob,

I found that I could get the Consumer Reports online interface for vehicle ratings to sort by towing capacity.

Start with the 2017 Porsche Cayenne with a 7,716 lb rated tow capacity and work your way down the list until you start to see price tags that allow you to start breathing again!
Might be better to start from the bottom of the list and work your way up.
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:24 PM   #8
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Might be better to start from the bottom of the list and work your way up.
Naw, a man's got to have a dream.
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Old 03-14-2017, 01:36 PM   #9
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I towed extensively with a 2008 Toyota Highlander 4wd (more of an all wheel drive system, but full time like the Subie). 5000 lb tow rating if equipped with tow package, and 500 lbs hitch weight. The latter might rule out a 17' Casita front bath if you really loaded it up, though.

I currently have a 4Runner-twin, 2008 Lexus GX470 that I picked up preowned. True 4WD. Leather, adjustable air suspension and all the goodies. But I miss the carlike ride of my HL.
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Old 03-14-2017, 02:04 PM   #10
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I would make my decision on a tow vehicle based on the model trailer you want to tow , how much gear / cargo you want to haul , number of passengers you need to accomodate , what style of camping you plan on doing , the area you live in or plan on towing / camping in , and comfort level .Then you can decide on a tow vehicle based on tow rating , tongue weight rating , payload capacity , rear axle weight rating .engine size , rear end ratio , interior vehicle room , styling ,desired options and cost ,Etc.
The simple solution is to buy a 1/2 or 3/4 ton V8 , eco boost or diesel , 4 wheel drive , crew cab truck with the tow package .
I personally do not like towing near or at my vehicle's max tow rating but others consider it a non issue and are only concerned about fuel mileage.
There is no " ONE" correct tow vehicle that fits everyone's standards The choice is too personnal for anyone to answer except you.
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Old 03-14-2017, 03:20 PM   #11
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Let me throw my bias into the mix - don't leave out the Scamp19. The overall length of your rig is identical whether you connected a Scamp 19 or Scamp 16, so if you would like a truck, here is a way to justify it. Just a thought.
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Old 03-14-2017, 03:47 PM   #12
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I couldn't be happier with my F150 Supercrew 4X4 with a bed cap. We can sit on the tailgate to put on waders and boots and no worries about carrying wet stuff. It tows the 17' Casita well, is comfortable and gets decent mileage. It's definitely not as easy to park as a regular car.
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Old 03-14-2017, 10:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Civilguy View Post
Bob,

I found that I could sort the Consumer Reports online vehicle ratings by towing capacity.

Start with the 2017 Porsche Cayenne with a 7,716 lb rated tow capacity and work your way down the list until you start to see price tags that allow you to start breathing again!
How did you do that? I can't find a sortable list. (Access through my library to CR.)
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Old 03-14-2017, 10:35 PM   #14
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Bob,

I found that I could sort the Consumer Reports online vehicle ratings by towing capacity.
Consumer Reports might be the last place I'd go for vehicle recommendations. I can't imagine spending my hard earned money based on their reports. They might be handy for comparing capacities, but even then, not a good idea to get something just strong enough. It's always better to have more truck than you need, than not enough.

Then consider towing packages, all wheel drive or not, factory brake controller, cargo volume, seating capacity, reliability statistics, type of engine. Always get something with much more capacity than the trailer weight for a wide safety margin.

What if you bought a tow vehicle only large enough to haul a 13' trailer and then fell in love with a 17'? Get enough truck, or wait until you have the trailer.
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Old 03-15-2017, 06:53 AM   #15
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First or last, I have found Consumer Reports useful. They have their biases for sure - the performance tests are all about ordinary daily highway driving, so vehicles designed for high performance, hauling, towing, or heavy off-road use rarely score well. For that reason I take the overall ratings with a grain of salt, especially with special purpose vehicles.

However, I have found their performance and reliability data on target for the last three vehicles I have purchased. In the case of my Sienna, they identified body hardware as the most trouble-prone area. Sure enough, the only unscheduled repairs I made in 10 years and 180K miles were to door and hatch mechanisms and a jammed seatbelt mechanism.

On my current Pilot, they identified weak brakes in the performance testing as well as a reliability trouble spot. So far, I haven't had any brake repairs, but I have to agree with CR's assessment of their performance.

My sister bought an SUV without consulting CR or any other source of information. Big mistake. CR was right about that one, too.

Consumer Reports won't tell you everything you need to know, especially as regards towing, but the data they collect is worth including in your decision matrix, in my experience.
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Old 03-15-2017, 09:15 AM   #16
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CR does have some helpful reliability ratings, as you say; they survey CR subscribers and find out actual repair problems and repair rates among those owners. Let me add one more source of info: online owners' forums for the particular brand one is considering. A couple years after I bought my Highlander, I joined a Toyota forum and it was a valuable source of info. For example, owners discussed TSBs (technical service bulletins) which revealed problem areas I should watch or could query the dealership's service department about having done. One such TSB recommended that a certain rubber oil cooler line be replaced with a metal line; despite my regular 5000 mile oil change visits at the dealership, I don't think they ever once mentioned, let alone suggested replacement, of this line. I should have had it replaced right away, but I rationalized and procrastinated. When the line eventually blew out at around 150,000 miles, at least I knew exactly what the problem was. It took 10 quarts of oil to limp the HL to my repair shop.... oh well.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:05 AM   #17
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I agree, Mike. Owner's forums are often the best place to identify emerging issues. They don't usually reveal how widespread a problem is, because there is no systematic data collection, but a TSB obviously points to something more than an isolated failure.

Consumer Reports publishes aggregated data, so it helps you see the forest. Forums focus on single issues, so you can see the trees. Both are helpful resources.

In the end, buying a vehicle is not always a 100% rational decision, as much as we like to rationalize our decisions in public.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:44 AM   #18
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I own a 2012 Dodge Ram 3500 SRW which is way overkill over your needs, but if I was going to tow what you have in mind then I would look at the Toyota 4Runner.
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:47 AM   #19
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[QUOTE=Jon in AZ;631084]Sorry to hear about your accident, but glad you're okay!

The Kia Sorento is highly rated by Consumer Reports and has several drivetrains with towing potential. You probably don't want the base 2.4L, but either the 2.0L turbo-4 (3500#) or the 3.5L V6 (5000#) would enable you to pull a number of mid-sized molded fiberglass trailers.


I'm surprised that no one mentions the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0L. It was second only to the Kia Sorento in CR ratings. I bought one last year and I'll tell you this - it's the best vehicle I've ever owned and comes with a TON of features.

We towed the 13' Scamp through a whiteout snow storm in the Montana Rockies and again coming out of Yellowstone NP. No issues whatever! Electric brakes are a must-have. The vehicle is a turbo and we did not have a single issue on the back mountains roads of Idaho and South Dakota.

I highly recommend taking the Santa Fe for a test drive. I think you'll agree that it is a comfortable and powerful TUG (up to 3,500 lbs.).
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Old 03-15-2017, 10:51 AM   #20
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You're absolutely right about the Santa Fe. They're corporate siblings and share the same drivetrains. I will admit a bias toward the Kia's styling and interior, but either would make a great tug for a Scamp 13 or 16, no larger. I suspect you could find a Santa Fe Sport 2.0T for less money than a Sorento 2.0T.

With Hyundai, to get the V6 and the larger 5000# tow rating, you have to step up from the Santa Fe Sport to the larger Santa Fe. Kia offers it in the same body style. Both V6 versions are only offered with 3-row seating.
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