Honda Ridgeline, Casita 17' - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-11-2020, 04:31 PM   #1
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Name: Rick
Trailer: 1999 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Lawrence
Posts: 40
Honda Ridgeline, Casita 17'

I currently have a Casita 17' Spirit Deluxe. Loaded, ready for travel, I think it's around 3200lbs. The trailer (20 years old) is new to me and I am not an experienced trailer hauler.

I've posted several questions regarding my Ridgeline's ability to tow this trailer safely. Our first real trip is from Kansas to northern California, over the Rockies, Sierra Mountains, the California coastal mountains. We did take a few practice runs to local lakes around Kansas and have now completed our trip to California to see our son and new granddaughter. We'll return to Kansas at the end of the month.

I thought it might be helpful to others if I briefly described our experience with the Ridgeline. I'm sure there are other new RV folks with similar questions.

Quite simply, the truck was excellent. It had NO problems handling the grades, some of which (particularly in California) were steep and fairly long. Our drive to California was a little over 2,000 miles and we averaged 400 miles per day, took our time, drove slowly (between 60 and 70 mph) and remarkably, averaged around 18mpg for the entire trip.

If using a travel trailer becomes part of our regular life, I would consider buying a slightly larger (probably 19') trailer and selling the Casita. My previous questions and posts about the Honda's limitations were partially focused on whether the Honda could handle the additional weight of the next size trailer, but after this drive with the 17" Casita, I have no reservations that it would be a problem.

Also, I did use a friction anti-sway bar, but not a weight distribution hitch.

RS
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Old 08-11-2020, 04:55 PM   #2
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: 1992 Scamp 13'
California
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Thank you for the update, I had seen some of your posts about the trip you were planning.

Ridgeline is a vehicle I'm interested in. If you don't mind me asking, what year and engine configuration is yours? Did it come with a tow package or was that added?

I'm in Calif. so I'm very familiar with the steep grades. Seems that the states I would frequent most, Colorado, Arizona, California all have mountain ranges so a strong tow vehicle is something I am looking for.

I have two capable vehicles now to choose from, but they are getting up in mileage, which is why I am considering something newer.
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Old 08-11-2020, 07:00 PM   #3
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Name: Rick
Trailer: 1999 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Lawrence
Posts: 40
Ridgeline

My Ridgeline is a 2018 model, RT-L. It's the AWD model, came with the Honda tow package. I think it's rated at 280hp. I don't remember the torque numbers. It is rated to tow 5,000lbs.
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Old 08-11-2020, 08:57 PM   #4
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Name: Lisa
Trailer: 1992 Scamp 13'
California
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Thank you thunderworks!
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1992 Scamp 13' Standard, 2017 Casita 17' ID,
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Old 08-12-2020, 02:37 PM   #5
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Name: Randy
Trailer: Casita 17 FD
Florida
Posts: 61
Ridgline + Casita 17

Those are impressive mileage figures. However, just so people do not get disappointed, they should understand that older Ridgelines do not get anywhere near that kind of mileage towing a Casita.

We have a 2008 Ridgeline AWD, factory towing package, and tow a 2008 Casita 17 FD. Even here in flat Florida, we are lucky to get 11 MPG towing at around 70 MPH on the Interstate.

Honda improved the Ridgeline in the last couple years, but older (earlier than about 2018 -- not sure exactly what year) Ridgelines give very disappointing mileage towing.

Hope this helps,

P.S., The Ridgeline mileage is very sensitive to towing speeds and falls off drastically over 60 MPH, so that is why you might find some others disagreeing with my mileage. Even for your newer Ridgeline, you only say that you towed between 60 and 70, and if most of the towing was close to 60, it would explain why you got 18 MPG.
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Old 08-12-2020, 03:13 PM   #6
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Name: Dave and Bonnie
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
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I have to agree with Gator. I have a Honda Ridgeline circa 2007 in Canada.
I am on the west coast and travelled from Vancouver to Winnipeg ( sort of like going from Seattle to Fargo N Dakota) towing my'77 17' Boler. I travelled at a pretty constant 90- 100 kph (55-60 mph) and don't think I got much above 15 mpg average over the whole trip.

Not withstanding the gas suckage, it was a beautiful ride, beautiful trip, and recommend when you can come to Canada after the Covid 19 ban, you travel that way too!!
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Old 08-12-2020, 04:36 PM   #7
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Name: Rick
Trailer: 1999 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Lawrence
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatorCasita View Post
Those are impressive mileage figures. However, just so people do not get disappointed, they should understand that older Ridgelines do not get anywhere near that kind of mileage towing a Casita.

We have a 2008 Ridgeline AWD, factory towing package, and tow a 2008 Casita 17 FD. Even here in flat Florida, we are lucky to get 11 MPG towing at around 70 MPH on the Interstate.

Honda improved the Ridgeline in the last couple years, but older (earlier than about 2018 -- not sure exactly what year) Ridgelines give very disappointing mileage towing.

Hope this helps,

P.S., The Ridgeline mileage is very sensitive to towing speeds and falls off drastically over 60 MPH, so that is why you might find some others disagreeing with my mileage. Even for your newer Ridgeline, you only say that you towed between 60 and 70, and if most of the towing was close to 60, it would explain why you got 18 MPG.
FWIW, I'm such a complete newbie at this that my initial concerns were all about the Ridgeline's ability to handle the trailer safely. MPG was not my concern. I'm clearly glad that the truck got good mileage, but truly I didn't know whether I'd feel safe driving the trailer up and down mountains. I had apprehensions about the drive itself and am now quite relieved that the Ridgeline can handle the trailer safely.
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Old 08-12-2020, 06:13 PM   #8
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Name: Dave and Bonnie
Trailer: Boler
British Columbia
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Thunderworks

You're right, your issue is the important one - just so minor in terms of Ridgeline towing that I focused on the gas aspect.

It's so easy to forget you're towing a trailer, you have to keep your mirror checks constant!!
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Old 08-13-2020, 04:35 AM   #9
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Casita 17 SD - sold - Lance 1475
Tennessee
Posts: 64
Honda changed the Ridgeline/Pilot platform in 2016. I towed a 17SD Casita with a 2016 Pilot for several years. The Pilot (and Ridgeline) are a great TVs for the Casita. Plenty of power and I averaged 18 mpg.
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Old 08-13-2020, 04:35 PM   #10
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Name: Jeff
Trailer: 2018 Casita SD 17'
Michigan
Posts: 47
I tow a 17' Casita with a 2017 RTS Ridgeline. I have found it to be a good tow vehicle for the Casita depending on the elevation and even the wind speed/direction.

My RL averages between 15.3 and 18 (calculated - not the dash indicator) towing the Casita. But after using a Tundra with a 5.7 V8 for the first year of towing the Casita, I find the power just good enough. I can't complain about the gas mileage though I think it would be better if I could lock the transmission into fifth gear somehow on some changing grades.

My sway bar was shelved after a few test tows with and without the sway bar. I think the RL and 17' Casita combination has fantastic handling manners in all conditions and does not require the sway bar or any type of load leveling system.

IMHO, if the Ridgelines were equipped with a method of choosing gears using paddle shifters, the engine had about 50 more lbs of torque and slightly wider mirrors, I would rate it an excellent tow vehicle for most 17 - 19 foot fiberglass trailers. Currently, I would not want to regularly tow more than the Casita along with the bikes and kayak on the vehicle. That said, I knew what I was getting into having had a Pilot for years. Personally, I find the RL to be a great all-around vehicle for our northern Michigan weather and don't regret purchasing it for my Casita tow vehicle.

The only negative might be the mpg gauge which seems to be about 9% too optimistic thus requiring old fashion calculations at gas stops to have an idea of the real gas mileage. No biggie though. For a real-time mpg estimate, after 50 miles driven or so, I just subtract 2.6 mpg from the current mpg readout and continue on.

My dirty RL with ladder (kayak) rack and aluminum bed box for extra dry storage.
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Old 08-15-2020, 11:02 AM   #11
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Name: Dean
Trailer: Casita
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Hi Rick,

Thank you for your post regarding the Ridgeline as a tug for the Casita. There are several mid-size SUVs rated to tow 5,000 lbs that can be used to tow a Casita. The Ridgeline offers that capacity, plus the extra utility of a pickup bed. We have owned Civics, Pilots, and Fits. LOVE them all. Plus, the Ridgeline offers features unique to the mid-size pickup market.

Keep us posted on your towing experiences with the Ridgeline.

Take care,

Dean
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Old 08-19-2020, 10:30 AM   #12
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Trailer: 2011 Escape 15A
Washington
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I have a 2019 RTL-E (first vehicle I ever owned that wasn't the base model!) and love it, but so far have only towed my Escape 15A (which I could tow with my Forester.) I barely notice a change in mileage with the 15A although since that's the only highway driving I've done who knows?

But love the truck. I agree- the biggest fault is lack of wider mirrors for towing- you can't buy them custom for the truck. They aren't bad but I'd prefer a little wider to see closer behind the trailer. The hardest part about hooking up the brake controller was plugging the wiring in (took a contortionist.)

Having a vehicle that seats up to 5 fairly comfortably, two very comfortably, tows the trailer, and still acts as a truck is wonderful.
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Old 08-19-2020, 01:40 PM   #13
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Name: Donald
Trailer: Bigfoot 5th wheel
Colorado
Posts: 25
Towing Bigfoot

I tow a 1988 Bigfoot 5th wheel with a 2014 Ridgeline Special Edition. When I am fully loaded, the unit weighs about 4500 lbs. On flat roads, I usually cruise at 65-70 mph. I slow down going up/down steep grades here in Colorado. When descending, I slow to 45 mph and run in 2nd gear so I only need to use my brakes lightly. I usually average 12-15 mpg.

I've had great experiences with Ridgelines (my previous 2007 and now this 2014). Just a couple of points:

1. Once a year, I have the radiator flushed and a new thermostat put in. Since doing this, I have never had trouble with engine overheating.
2. A 5th wheel is much more stable than a trailer. You should take a look at the Scamp 5th wheel and/or find a used Bigfoot like mine.
3. I keep reading on the Ridgeline owners' forum that the 2nd generation (2016+) Ridgelines have problems with the transmission overheating. In the 2020 model, Honda changed over to a 6-speed transmission which may solve that problem. I have not heard of overheating problems with 2014 and older Ridgelines.
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Old 08-19-2020, 06:06 PM   #14
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Name: Ed
Trailer: Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe
Washington
Posts: 36
We tow our Casita 17SD with our 2018 Ridgeline RTLE and love it! We are now at around 20k on the odo and no problems with our transmission. I don't care much about fuel economy. Last time I checked we got 15-16 mpg. We drive no higher than 65 mph and most often at 60 mph. After all, our trailer tires are rated at 65 mph.

I am one of those owners who can compare different tow vehicles as our first tv with our Casita was a 2010 Toyota Tacoma Prerunner. I used to think it was outstanding until I towed with our Ridgeline. Both trucks have about the same fuel range, so we can make it to familiar fuel stops on our trips. I have to say, the Ridgeline is far more comfortable, quiet and smooth riding whether or not while towing. It even lets you forget the Casita is back there.
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Old 08-21-2020, 03:28 PM   #15
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Trailer: 17 ft Casita
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Planning on changing our tow vehicle, so I am looking for thoughts. I don't want a truck, looking at SUV's. First off I want factory tow package so it can handle the towing, 5000lbs.
I have 2012 Casita Liberty. My tow vehicle will also be my daily driver. Looking at Chevy Traverse, GMC, and not sure what else. Any thoughts? What about Honda Pilot?
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Old 08-21-2020, 03:33 PM   #16
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Casita 17 SD - sold - Lance 1475
Tennessee
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I towed a 17SD Casita with a 2017 Pilot with factory tow package. It did great, plenty of power, 18 mpg average.
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Old 08-21-2020, 03:44 PM   #17
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Name: bill
Trailer: 2013 Escape 19; 1977 Trillium 1300
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Toyota Highlander, Kia Telluride (hard to find), Lexus GX460, Honda Pilot and Passport.

I’d avoid the Traverse. Recently Honda has had problems with their infotainment system. A lot of the new Lexus models call for premium fuel which is a big turn off for me. Otherwise the Lexus would be my top choice.

Depends how much you drive and how long you keep your cars. Me it’s 200,000 miles and at least 10 years. I don’t get Christmas cards from the car dealer like my dad always did (he got a new car every two years). One year to love his new car, one year to complain about it and research it”s replacement, then repeat.
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Old 08-21-2020, 03:57 PM   #18
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Name: Ed
Trailer: Casita 17 Spirit Deluxe
Washington
Posts: 36
Honda Ridgeline which can make a great daily driver and a wonderful tv. A versatile vehicle. We are very pleased with ours. It is based on the Pilot but is about a foot longer which makes for a better ride and tows better than a short vehicle. AWD comes standard with hitch. We have had no issues with our infotainment system.
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Old 08-21-2020, 04:12 PM   #19
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Name: Jim
Trailer: Scamp
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i love my Ridgeline 17 MPG @ 70 mph it has no problem with mountains
some one on an old post said you couldn't mount a 5th wheel hitch
witch prompted me to prove them wrong!!
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Old 08-21-2020, 11:14 PM   #20
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Name: Jeff
Trailer: 2018 Casita SD 17'
Michigan
Posts: 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by GatorCasita View Post
Those are impressive mileage figures. However, just so people do not get disappointed, they should understand that older Ridgelines do not get anywhere near that kind of mileage towing a Casita.

We have a 2008 Ridgeline AWD, factory towing package, and tow a 2008 Casita 17 FD. Even here in flat Florida, we are lucky to get 11 MPG towing at around 70 MPH on the Interstate.

Honda improved the Ridgeline in the last couple years, but older (earlier than about 2018 -- not sure exactly what year) Ridgelines give very disappointing mileage towing.

Hope this helps,

P.S., The Ridgeline mileage is very sensitive to towing speeds and falls off drastically over 60 MPH, so that is why you might find some others disagreeing with my mileage. Even for your newer Ridgeline, you only say that you towed between 60 and 70, and if most of the towing was close to 60, it would explain why you got 18 MPG.
Well, I've towed my 17' Casita SD plenty with my 2017 Ridgeline (sometimes with full water on board) and it has never gotten under 15.3 (calculated - not indicated on the dash). I guess the new generation RL does a little better with the slight increase in power.

For those contemplating a new tow vehicle for a Casita, I would highly recommend the Ridgeline over the Pilot. The Ridgeline has some beefed up components over the Pilot and does not require weight distribution or stabilizer bar. I've had both and definitely prefer the RL for towing.
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