Do you have a SMALL SUV with a factory towing package? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 03-31-2008, 04:21 PM   #1
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Ok, I had my Envoy picked out (I spent the weekend looking), and today Casita tells me I do not need a car that big to pull my Casita, 16 ft.
I have seen class 3 hitches on the bigger SUV but not the small ones. I want the factory towing package, and am now going to start my homework all over again trying to find a smaller TV.
Will I save that much on gas getting a smaller SUV?
Suggestions anyone?
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Old 03-31-2008, 04:39 PM   #2
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Ok, I had my Envoy picked out (I spent the weekend looking), and today Casita tells me I do not need a car that big to pull my Casita, 16 ft.
I have seen class 3 hitches on the bigger SUV but not the small ones. I want the factory towing package, and am now going to start my homework all over again trying to find a smaller TV.
Will I save that much on gas getting a smaller SUV?
Suggestions anyone?
I may be wrong, BUT if engine is too small it will have too work harder and burn more fuel. The only savings will be when not pulling trailer.

I had a Rav4 and i put tow package on myself, (Had local garage do it) It was a class3.
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:46 PM   #3
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I may be wrong, BUT if engine is too small it will have too work harder and burn more fuel. The only savings will be when not pulling trailer.

I had a Rav4 and i put tow package on myself, (Had local garage do it) It was a class3.
In other words, are you saying, if it were you, you would stick with the Envoy?
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Old 03-31-2008, 08:52 PM   #4
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In other words, are you saying, if it were you, you would stick with the Envoy?
You have put me on the spot What i like is having a tow rating so that i can have a safety factor.EG-----My trailer will weight about 3000lbs loaded. I would like to have a tow rating of at least 5000lbs.This will give me a safety rating of about 2000lbs. I really don't like to tow to close to limit. This is just me. I hope others will jump in with their ideas.
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Old 03-31-2008, 11:05 PM   #5
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I am hoping others will jump in here too with their opinions. I am thinking on the same lines as you are Chester.
However if others will share their opinions, I sure would appreciate it as I want to hear what the majority are feeling comfortable with and why.
I don't want to make a mistake in buying to close to weight limit, or, buying a gas hog I did not need.
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Old 04-01-2008, 04:43 AM   #6
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Karalyn,

I think you are on the right track wanting a Class III/5000# tow rating and a factory tow package. I've never had an Envoy, but if you like it, buy it. Our neighbors like theirs. Buying a car is such a personal choice. A 6 cyl will save gas, both towing and not towing. My Jeep Grand Cherokee I-6 got about 15 mpg towing the 17' Casita and up to 21 not towing. I still have that Jeep, BTW. Since you mentioned torque, the Jeep I-6 has 235, 190HP. Newer Jeeps have a different engine (V-6). I don't know the numbers for the Envoy/Trailblazer I-6 engine.

The Toyota 4Runner (Tacoma platform) is hard to beat for a tow vehicle. The V-6 has good power and reasonable gas mileage. It's a good standard for comparison. OTOH, some have complained about the mileage for a Tundra V-8 and my Jeep V-8 is probably worse, about 13-14 mpg towing the Casita. Happy car shopping!
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:21 AM   #7
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Even after having the Casita for almost 5 years I still consider myself a novice tower and as such I like what I believe to be the safety of excess tow capacity. But I also have a relatively short commute to work so the gas penalty isn't a burden.
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Old 04-01-2008, 05:52 AM   #8
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When gas was cheap it was easy to be part of the old school crowd and have tons of excess towing capacity, but with record high gas prices and "carbon footprints" on everyones minds I think we should be looking towards the minimum needed to tow our trailers. Afterall, this is a website dedicated to small, lightweight trailers not gargantuan 30 foot living rooms on wheels. We should be setting an example of how to travel lightly and celebrate the fact that we can tow our little trailers with smaller vehicles.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:34 AM   #9
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We just completed a 3500 mile round trip to Florida and towed our 17 ft. Spirit Deluxe with a 4 cylinder 2004 Toyota Tacoma, manual transmission. The tow package was added on later. We averaged 18 mpg. Actually with two of the tankfuls we got 20 mpg.
Our trailer weighs 3400 lbs. loaded. We did slow down a bit on some steeper uphills, but we took the eastern route (I-95) and avoided mountainous WVa and PA.
For those people who are doing short trips and don't live in a mountainous area, this Tacoma is adequate for towing the Casita. It would do even better with a 16 foot. Just think what a 6 cylinder would do.... Our previous trip had been with a V-8 Ford Explorer. We did not avoid the hills and averaged 14 mpg.
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Old 04-01-2008, 07:52 AM   #10
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I think buying excess towing capacity is unnecessary. If the automotive engineers say a vehicle will tow 3,500#, enough for any Casita, then it will safely tow that. A lot of people like the "75% rule", but I don't get the advantage. Of course, if you can get 5,000# for the price (gas mileage, size, seating, features, etc.) of a 3,500#, then why not?

I think mini-vans are a good solution to the "universal" vehicle problem, if you can accept the idea of actually owning one (took me years of therapy!).

Here's the list of MPG that various people reported on the Casita forum. Diesels do very well, but diesel fuel is more expensive so it may be a wash these days.
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:13 AM   #11
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There are several ways to look at this. What is the intended purpose for the vehicle 90% of the time? How many miles do you actually plan to tow annually? If you look at the number of towing miles as a percentage of total miles driven, the process becomes fairly simple. If you only tow a thousand miles a year out of twenty thousand you drive, then the "gas penalty" for towing is pretty small; however, the daily cost penalty for driving a gas-guzzler is pretty significant. If you tow most of the time, then getting a tow vehicle with a larger engine makes sense as it gives you that safety factor, then drivetrain doesn't have to work as hard long-term resulting in less maintenance, and the mileage penalty of a vehicle set up to tow while towing isn't much over driving it while not towing. If you mostly drive in-town short trips and get poor gas mileage whatever you drive, then it truly doesn't make much difference as the cost of 15mpg is the cost of 15mpg no matter what vehicle you get it in (emissions issues aside).

Case in point, the Ford Excursion I had got about 13 mpg towing my 17' Bigfoot. It got about 14-15 mpg without towing. My 6 cyl Tundra got about 12-13mpg towing, but gets 21 mpg unladen highway. So, I had the safety and comfort of the huge SUV while towing without getting any worse mileage than my "gas saver" pickup got towing. The difference, though, was that the Excursion sat in the garage while NOT towing and it didn't get used for daily driving. All it cost me daily was payments and insurance. The Tundra was my daily driver.

The bottom line is that your choice of tow vehicle shouldn't be based on towing gas mileage alone, unless that's all you use it for. Your tow vehicle should obviously be able to safely handle the load you plan to tow, but do the math on what it actually costs you in fuel economy to tow vs. the costs associated with daily use of the vehicle before you make a buying decision. I was able to afford to have the best of both worlds for a while: a large, high powered, comfy tow vehicle that got the same mileage towing as my gas-saver daily driver for towing, and the Tundra for the daily driving.

My wife commutes in an ultra-low-emissions, 40mpg Honda Civic BTW.

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Old 04-01-2008, 10:17 AM   #12
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If the automotive engineers say a vehicle will tow 3,500# ...
Respectfully, I would like to add the following. Automotive engineers, after stating the maximum loaded trailer weight rating (tow rating), include in fine print the following:

[b]"Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight is the highest possible weight of a fully loaded trailer the vehicle can tow, based on a minimum towing vehicle GVW. It assumes a towing vehicle with only mandatory options, no cargo, tongue load of 10-15%, and a driver only (150lbs) towing at sea level."

One should ask oneself; does the vehicle only have mandatory options, will I be towing only at sea level, will I not have cargo, will there just be one person and does that person weigh 150 pounds or less? I could not answer yes to any of those questions, so I include a safety margin people talk about. Yes, I know the limit can be pushed; my Dad did it for years. For safety sake, I would deduct the 20% or more from the rating.

When I add on all the extra weight in our Tow Vehicle and the 2% loss for each 1,000 foot of elavation gain, I come to 30% deduction from the manufactures tow rating.
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:37 AM   #13
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Respectfully, and I know this has been kicked around the forum to death, it is clear from the European experience that North American ratings have been significantly adjusted for factors other than physics. For that reason, I agree with Patrick that extra towing capacity is unnecessary; and I further agree with Roger, that you also have to factor in the predominant use of the vehicle. Past the price of gas, I think that the amount of emissions that your vehicle is responsible for on an annual basis, should be a consideration.
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:51 AM   #14
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Respectfully, I would like to add the following. Automotive engineers, after stating the maximum loaded trailer weight rating (tow rating), include in fine print the following:

[b]"Maximum Loaded Trailer Weight is the highest possible weight of a fully loaded trailer the vehicle can tow, based on a minimum towing vehicle GVW. It assumes a towing vehicle with only mandatory options, no cargo, tongue load of 10-15%, and a driver only (150lbs) towing at sea level."

One should ask oneself; does the vehicle only have mandatory options, will I be towing only at sea level, will I not have cargo, will there just be one person and does that person weigh 150 pounds or less? I could not answer yes to any of those questions, so I include a safety margin people talk about. Yes, I know the limit can be pushed; my Dad did it for years. For safety sake, I would deduct the 20% or more from the rating.

When I add on all the extra weight in our Tow Vehicle and the 2% loss for each 1,000 foot of elavation gain, I come to 30% deduction from the manufactures tow rating.
You also have to look at why the tow rating is set where it is, IMHO. I tow with a 2007 Ford Ranger, 4 litre V6. With the manual transmission, which I have, the tow rating is just over 3100 lbs. With automatic, it's almost 5,500 lbs. That tells me that the weak link with the Ranger is the clutch, not the capacity of the vehicle, the brakes or the drive train. So I drive closer to the limit, feeling that the major risk is to the truck's clutch, not to the safety of ourselves or other drivers by driving a vehicle that is overloaded. If the clutch goes, so be it.
cheers
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Old 04-01-2008, 01:01 PM   #15
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If you go back a few years and compare Ford ratings for manual transmissions, you will find that all of a sudden they dropped. Probably got tired of clutch jobs, but that's just a guess on my part.

Comments about Europe ratings might be right when you know your particular vehicle has a higher rating for there, but may not be applicable to other makes and models.

Ford has a note in all towing tables to reduce limits by 2% for every 1,000 ft of altitude, so towing at 10,000' reduces rating by 20% -- There's a basis for 75% Rules.

All said, however, I would think generally that a tow rating of 3,500 lbs is sufficient for the typical 16' egg with brakes.
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:12 PM   #16
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Ford has a note in all towing tables to reduce limits by 2% for every 1,000 ft of altitude, so towing at 10,000' reduces rating by 20% -- There's a basis for 75% Rules.
Wouldn't you think that rule is to take into account power capacity at higher altitudes, and has nothing to do with safety or other non-power issues? So as I cross the rockies I can expect slower going but other factors remain the same.
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Old 04-01-2008, 03:42 PM   #17
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We bought a Nissian Xterra to pull our Scamp. It came with the tow package.

Hope that helps?! Maggie
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:12 PM   #18
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Wouldn't you think that rule is to take into account power capacity at higher altitudes, and has nothing to do with safety or other non-power issues? So as I cross the rockies I can expect slower going but other factors remain the same.
Indeed I do, just as the manual transmission de-rating by Ford is more of a power/driver-skill issue than a steering and control issue. That's why you will often read here that if one is only going to pull relatively short distances on relatively flat terrain one can 'get by' with a lesser tow vehicle. But unless one has access to the actual reasons why a particular manufacturer set a particular limit for a particular vehicle, then one is guessing at the reason. Educated guesses perhaps, but still guesses.

I have personally towed too much with in-adequate vehicles in the past to recommend anything less than at least enough because I regard the ratings as 'fair-weather' stuf and I want more than that. Especially if I ever have to defend it in court in an accident caused by some fool with a sharp lawyer. I have a life goal to never be in that position, but I also had a life goal to never meet an oncologist professionally... Stuf happens... YMMV!



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Old 04-09-2008, 05:40 PM   #19
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I have a Jeep liberty CRD , diesel, that just seems amazing. I tow at 130 km/hr without even noticing my 13 foot boler is there. Then I remember and slow down.

They say a 5000 lbs capacity (or was it 5500) and I believe them!

If I was towing more than 2000 lbs I would want a brake controller.

Cheers,

Andrew
Calgary, AB
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Old 04-09-2008, 10:53 PM   #20
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There are a lot of opinions about "excess capacity" vs "just enough to do the job." I tend to be in the "enough to do the job camp" because my TV spends way more time without a trailer in tow than with, and I'd rather get the better gas mileage for the larger part of my driving. The only drawback I've seen is that I climb the hills a little more slowly.

My tow vehicle & trailer combos:
A 3.0 liter V6 Ford Ranger with a 3000lbs 19' Scamp 5th wheel.
A 2.7 liter V6 Hyundai Santa Fe and a 1850lbs 14' Surfside.

Both TVs have a factory tow package with a transmission cooler and both either have or will have a TV brake controller and trailer with brakes. Both seem to get 17-18 mpg @ 55-60 miles per hour for mostly level towing. The Ranger gets 20 mpg Freeway on ts own, the Hyundai 23-24 mpg at 60-70 mph.

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