Highlander hybrid 4-cyl: okay for Casita 17? - Fiberglass RV
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Old 09-28-2022, 05:10 PM   #1
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Highlander hybrid 4-cyl: okay for Casita 17?

I found several threads with enthusiastic owners of Toyota Highlander Hybrids pulling Casita 17s and similar. But the new Highlander Hybrid now only comes with a 2.5L 4-cylinder which I believe is rated at 3500 lbs even with factory tow package.

Any first hand experience with this power train pulling 2500-3000 lbs? We spend a lot of time out west so grades are common (understand right lane for grades).

What type of mileage and range are owners getting?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-28-2022, 11:40 PM   #2
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The "wet" weight of a typical 17 foot Casita is around 3300 lbs.

Its typical tongue weight is around 420 pounds.

According to a quick internet search, the new Highlander Hybrid has a maximum tongue weight of 350 pounds.
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Old 09-29-2022, 04:13 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by JoelInTexas View Post
The "wet" weight of a typical 17 foot Casita is around 3300 lbs.

Its typical tongue weight is around 420 pounds.

According to a quick internet search, the new Highlander Hybrid has a maximum tongue weight of 350 pounds.
Thanks, I am familiar with the specs. Was hoping for some first hand knowledge on the 4-cyl hybrid version of the Highlander. Toyota went to the 4-cyl/2.5L option in 2020, so it's been on the road for a few seasons.
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Old 09-29-2022, 06:16 AM   #4
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Maybe you are just trolling but if you are seriously looking for folks putting 420# tongue weight on a 350# hitch you may be disappointed. Same as that other guy....
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Old 09-29-2022, 11:47 AM   #5
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You guys are not only not helpful, but you're not correct. According to the Casita brochure I have in my hands, hitch weight is 295 lbs for standard, 365 lbs deluxe. Dry weight is 2210 (std) 2480 (del). A helpful answer that isn't condescending would be along the lines of 'as long as you're careful not to exceed the tongue weight, you can expect blah-blah-blah.-

Sorry I asked. Carry on.
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Old 09-29-2022, 01:28 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by CoMan View Post
You guys are not only not helpful, but you're not correct. According to the Casita brochure I have in my hands, hitch weight is 295 lbs for standard, 365 lbs deluxe. Dry weight is 2210 (std) 2480 (del). A helpful answer that isn't condescending would be along the lines of 'as long as you're careful not to exceed the tongue weight, you can expect blah-blah-blah.-

Sorry I asked. Carry on.
Here is a link to actual trailer weights. https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...rld-43010.html
If you find a 17' Casita with 350# or less tongue weight, it will be the exception. My lightly optioned SD (I have in my driveway) is 430#.
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Old 09-29-2022, 03:22 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ShelbyM View Post
Here is a link to actual trailer weights. https://www.fiberglassrv.com/forums/...rld-43010.html
Here's the 17' Casita data from that chart, which has a sample size of 40 trailers:

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Old 09-29-2022, 04:49 PM   #8
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Great. Thanks for the stats lesson. Any guidance on how to find people who can answer a simple question about Toyota Highlander Hybrid with 2.5L 4-cyl?

I will reiterate the question. Seeking FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE of folks using a Highlander Hybrid with 2.5L 4-Cyl to pull a Casita or something similar. I'm perfectly capable of finding stats, measuring weights, and making adjustments within OEM specifications.
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Old 09-30-2022, 06:22 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by CoMan View Post
Great. Thanks for the stats lesson. Any guidance on how to find people who can answer a simple question about Toyota Highlander Hybrid with 2.5L 4-cyl?

I will reiterate the question. Seeking FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE of folks using a Highlander Hybrid with 2.5L 4-Cyl to pull a Casita or something similar. I'm perfectly capable of finding stats, measuring weights, and making adjustments within OEM specifications.

I would not tow anything above the TV specs. You will be fully liable in a case of accident.
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Old 09-30-2022, 07:45 PM   #10
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Welcome Coman;
Its rare to find good experienced mechanics who also practice law,
Looks like you came to the right place!
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Old 10-01-2022, 12:41 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by CoMan View Post
Great. Thanks for the stats lesson. Any guidance on how to find people who can answer a simple question about Toyota Highlander Hybrid with 2.5L 4-cyl?

I will reiterate the question. Seeking FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE of folks using a Highlander Hybrid with 2.5L 4-Cyl to pull a Casita or something similar. I'm perfectly capable of finding stats, measuring weights, and making adjustments within OEM specifications.
I submit to you the reason that you are not getting “FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE of folks using a Highlander Hybrid with 2.5L 4-Cyl to pull a Casita” is probably because no knowledgeable person with any towing experience would attempt to tow a trailer with an average weight of 3400 pounds using an underpowered vehicle with a max tow capacity of 3500 pounds. Throw that silly brochure away as you are obviously confusing dry weights with real world weights. For a safe and enjoyable towing experience pulling a trailer like you’re looking for (Casita or similar) you need a vehicle with a 5-7K pound towing capacity. That Highlander would be a terrible choice.

If you judge my response as condescending, then so be it. It’s good and accurate advice despite the fact it’s not what you want us to tell you. Ignore it at your own peril.
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Old 10-01-2022, 10:45 AM   #12
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CoMan....loosen up their buddy....this is a friendly forum. First hand experience with that vehicle.....I have none. 40 yrs experience towing a variety of trailers with various tow rigs......I would tell you not to do it.....you'll be sorry in the long run....especially on the roads you describe. Good luck with your investigation.....relax....enjoy life.
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Old 10-01-2022, 01:31 PM   #13
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i wonder if OP is just pulling our legs. The snippy arrogance seems similar to the fellow who posted here and elsewhere, obsessed with towing a 17' Casita with an undersized MB SUV.
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Old 10-01-2022, 02:28 PM   #14
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I towed a Casita all over the western states with a Toyota Tacoma 4x4, it was a very good match.

I would not tow ANY thing with a FWD-centric crossover.

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Old 10-01-2022, 10:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by CoMan View Post
Great. Thanks for the stats lesson. Any guidance on how to find people who can answer a simple question about Toyota Highlander Hybrid with 2.5L 4-cyl?

I will reiterate the question. Seeking FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE of folks using a Highlander Hybrid with 2.5L 4-Cyl to pull a Casita or something similar. I'm perfectly capable of finding stats, measuring weights, and making adjustments within OEM specifications.
I respectfully suggest you look for a V6 4 wheel drive highlander which would be a fine vehicle for the Casita. Escape 21 owners have success towing with that vehicle.
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Old 10-02-2022, 10:16 AM   #16
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I respectfully suggest you look for a V6 4 wheel drive highlander which would be a fine vehicle for the Casita. Escape 21 owners have success towing with that vehicle.
In terms of efficiency for towing, the ranking puts 4WD well behind RWD, then in most cases, behind AWD and in sometimes even behind FWD.
Conventional 4WD is more of a liability than an advantage for towing on pavement.
Still... 4WD can do a fine job in the right combination for the right application, but so can the other drivetrains (with the same caveats)
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Old 10-02-2022, 12:30 PM   #17
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In terms of efficiency for towing, the ranking puts 4WD well behind RWD, then in most cases, behind AWD and in sometimes even behind FWD.
Conventional 4WD is more of a liability than an advantage for towing on pavement.
Still... 4WD can do a fine job in the right combination for the right application, but so can the other drivetrains (with the same caveats)
Toyota highlanders come in two flavors fwd or 4wd, no rwd. The fwd is rated much lower for towing. Still the v6 all wheel drive is a great match for the trailer in question. It may not be what the op wants to hear, but it is the right vehicle if he wants this model.
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Old 10-05-2022, 10:56 AM   #18
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Casita has set up a lot of owners with a dilemma. By designing their 17-footer with so much weight on the tongue, their trailer is half in the 3500-lb tow rating category and half out. Every auto manufacturer's tow rating assumes 10% of the trailer weight on the tongue, thus we get the common SUV rating category of 3500/350 lbs. Casitas place up to 15% of their weight on the tongue. Strictly speaking, that forces us to buy a 5000 lb rated vehicle. With a big tug like that, there are many other trailers we could choose that are cheaper and more accommodating- so I'm not sure this works to Casita's advantage in the long run.

Their current brochure still clearly states that Casitas can be safely towed by any vehicle with a 3500 lb rating. No wonder there's confusion here!

Since I'm probably the same "arrogant" person who dared to ask about towing with a Mercedes Benz SUV, let me say that I've given up on getting useful advice on this questions here. Yes, most of you love your trucks and can't understand why every one of us doesn't feel the same. Yes, you're afraid to tow anything at full rated capacity, though when I've asked here for real incidents of towing accidents or vehicle damage with these trailers, I heard only stories of falling trees and a hitching mishap. No pools of blood studded with fiberglass fragments, just a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt. Why is that?

My own experience involved ten years and about 10K miles of towing a stripped-down, 2000 lb Scamp 16 with two compact SUVs. Both cars were rated at 2000 lbs. The Subaru Forester was underpowered, and sagged under just 200 lbs of tongue weight. It was slow, but safe, and lived a typical life span. We replaced that with a Tiguan 2.0T turbo that was an ideal tow vehicle, powerful, and stable and reliable. This towing happed all over Colorado, with longer trips to Seattle, Kentucky and South Dakota. Our trailer-trip mishap happened in Yellowstone, when a trash truck backed into the car while we were parked.

I've been there and done that, and I can say to the OP that if Toyota claims the car can tow 3,500 lbs, it probably can. If the OEM hitch is just Class ll, you can get a 500-lb. hitch instead. If your rear sags too much, there are spring and air bag options to deal with that. I'm old enough to remember when these were the usual steps people took to prepare their cars for towing. That was before there was an underemployed pickup in almost everyone's driveway, begging for work.

Bottom line - towing any kind of trailer is more dangerous than not towing one. In my mind, the best safety factor or all is not to be overconfident. When you reach the point of thinking, "I can't even feel that thing back there," that's when you're heading for trouble.
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Old 10-05-2022, 11:29 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by John in Santa Cruz View Post
I towed a Casita all over the western states with a Toyota Tacoma 4x4, it was a very good match.
I would not tow ANY thing with a FWD-centric crossover.
Well, I think I'll chime in here, to disagree, and then agree, with John.
We have a FWD unibody Honda Pilot that we tow an Escape 17 with. that's 2600 lb. typ. tow weight, and sometimes higher. Tongue weight is 350 lb.+.
The Pilot rating is 3500 lbs. tow/350 lb. tongue. We tow throughout the mountain West, anywhere from sea level to 10,000 ft. Quite a few 6% grades with some at 8%-10%. The pilot does well, and yes, we are in the truck lane on those 6%+ grades at, typically, 35-40 mph at 4000 RPM (in the power range). That is using a fair amount of our 250 ft.lb. torque and 250 HP.
So, FWD-unibody, but it works well. I have a reserve of power, torque, and weight capacity, so there's a safety margin (That I've called upon once in a while).

Would I choose the same again, probably no. 4WD provides superior traction on non-paved roads and in slippery conditions. If I were towing something closer to the vehicle's capacity than the 80% I'm at now, I would select a 5000 lb. capacity tow vehicle. Why? Safety, safety, safety.
Also, based on my 90,000 mi. of hybrid vehicle driving experience, under heavy continuous loads the engine is running fairly constantly, and performance is noticeably affected. Also, coming down hill on long heavy grades, there is only a certain amount of engine braking or dynamic braking (think: generator) that can be relied upon.

My choice on the hybrid Toyota described, towing the trailer capacity described, would be a "No". Hope this helps.
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Old 10-05-2022, 12:03 PM   #20
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If you're strictly asking, "What's the ideal tow vehicle?" then I'd agree that bigger is better than smaller. But how much of the time are you actually towing? Are you retired and racking up hundreds of nights per year in your trailer, or just going out once a month, in season? Just visiting local parks, or touring the continent? Are you keeping another car for everyday use? Do you have enough parking at home for three or four vehicles, including the trailer? Do you care about the fuel economy you get when unhitched?

Answering those questions might force you to compromise in your choice of tow vehicles. Whatever I choose, it will be a compromise.
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