Rav4 vs. Forester - Fiberglass RV


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Old 03-02-2012, 12:27 PM   #1
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Rav4 vs. Forester

I want to talk more about Rav4 vs. Subaru. I am getting close to getting a new TV and currently I have a 2000 Subaru Forester which I like, but I don't think I would want to tow anything larger than my Campster with it. So I like the idea of the Rav4 V6 but I'm iffy on going to automatic and slightly lower gas mileage.

I split this off due to the long Forester thread having a lot of other info and maybe not catching Rav4 owners.

So what I want to know is, how much lower is the actual gas mileage on the Rav4 V6 when not towing? How does it do towing something like a Scamp 13?
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Old 03-02-2012, 12:54 PM   #2
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Bobbie,

We have friends who pull their 16 Scamp with their Rav 4. I don't think they post here, so I'll try to get numbers from them. When I asked once about mileage it seems the answer was different depending on who drove!

They have no problem towing the 16.

Did I read that Rav 4 is going to change a bit? Will follow this thread with interest. Hope people will say if they drive 4 wheel or two, their speed and driving conditions.

Nancy
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Old 03-02-2012, 01:02 PM   #3
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RAV4 6cyl versus Forrester

Bobbie,

The Forrester is rated 2400lbs, 200lb tongue weight.

The standard Rav4 2012 V6 is 2000lbs, ??? tongue weight

However, with the RAV4 optional towing package and optional radiator etc upgrades Toyota rates it at 3500lbs capacity.

I own the Forrester but if I knew what I know now I'd have gone with a higher rated weight capacity towing vehicle because it opens up your options to heavier trailers.

That being said, it sounds like the Rav4 6cyl with the optional packages is the better choice unless you're just considering a 13' RV. If a 13' RV, I'd go with Forrester.

Here's an excerpt from Toyota on the Rav4 6cyl.

Towing

3500-lb. towing capacity [2], upgraded radiator, fan coupling and alternator

Towing capacity [2] (lb.), standard/with Towing Prep Package 2000/3500
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Old 03-02-2012, 02:34 PM   #4
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I have a 2010 RAV4 V6 with tow package & have towed a 2011 Escape 17B (3000 lbs loaded) around 20K miles. I like the 24-25 MPG highway (22 MPG around town) without the trailer (15 MPG towing) , 4 wheel drive (sorta) and the RAV4 as a daily driver. I did purchase the Sport model, which comes with 18" run flat tires - a big mistake. They are expensive, terrible on snow, poor ride, and only last 20K miles. I've since purchased a spare rim & changed to standard tires. Only problem with that is no good place to carry the spare.

As to towing, I generally tow under 60MPH on secondary roads, avoiding interstates as much as possible. I follow Toyota's recommendation of towing in 4th (no overdrive) and it generally shifts down to 3rd on hills. Worst case - climbing the hill to Eisenhower Tunnel on I 70 I was down to 40MPH & in 2nd (but still passing trucks). I wouldn't want to tow anything heavier than the Escape, but the combination works well for the way I travel.

Things I don't like - the tow package (at least in the US) does not include a hitch or trailer/brake/charge wiring. Toyota's official hitch is class 2 which can't be used with an Equalizer set up so I had a class 3 hitch installed. Because the rear light wiring is designed for LEDs, it is too light to tap for the trailer lights. Toyota sells a "Trailer Lighting Kit" which includes a 4 pole trailer connector & wiring that goes to a connector under the dash (a real pain to find & connect). I added a brake controller (Prodigy P3) and brake & charge wires as well as a run for a back up camera (one added to the RAV4 & one for the trailer) all at the same time. Requires pulling most of the floor & side panels on the driver's side of the vehicle. I spliced in a standard 7 pole trailer connector for the Escape.

If you are going to do the installation yourself, a useful link that shows the process of adding a brake controller, including step by step photographs, is RAV4 Brake Controller.
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:25 PM   #5
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Hi Bobbie. I would add to Jon's comments: don't expect the sales people to have a clue about what is needed to actually connect a trailer. You really have to do your homework. Toyota is maximizing profits with special cables, connectors ect. People get the tow package and then shell out another $400-$500+ for the rest of it. I crossed them off my list for that reason. Unfortunately the other manufacturers have noticed. Raz
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Old 03-02-2012, 03:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobbie Mayer View Post
I want to talk more about Rav4 vs. Subaru. I am getting close to getting a new TV and currently I have a 2000 Subaru Forester which I like, but I don't think I would want to tow anything larger than my Campster with it. So I like the idea of the Rav4 V6 but I'm iffy on going to automatic and slightly lower gas mileage.

I split this off due to the long Forester thread having a lot of other info and maybe not catching Rav4 owners.

So what I want to know is, how much lower is the actual gas mileage on the Rav4 V6 when not towing? How does it do towing something like a Scamp 13?
I know this may be off topic, but it may be useful.... I own both a Trailswest campster and a 13 Scamp deluxe.Anything which will pull the one should pull the other. If anything my Scamp tows easier and it has every conceivable option. I tow with a 4CYL Ford Escape and have friends who tow 16's with 6Cyl Escapes with great satisfaction.
The example given above of a 17 Casita would be a higher tow load than a Scamp 16, which would be about one equal step above a fully equipped Scamp 13. Tow load is more than just weight, exposed frontal area is another major factor.
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Old 03-02-2012, 04:57 PM   #7
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You have some good info already. I can add that my Highlander has the same V6 engine as the Rav. Towing a Burro I got 14 mpg, and non-towing highway economy was 23 mpg. Of course now I have a boxy trailer and only get 12.
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Old 03-02-2012, 05:16 PM   #8
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Friends have an 08, 4wd, v6 Rav4

Not towing 26,27 mpg ( forgot to ask city)

Towing subtract 10

They pull a fully loaded 16 Scamp (never weighed). They even have extra water tank.

He did say the tow package left a lot to be desired. No hitch, no wiring, no transmission cooler. He had a transmission cooler added per advice of his mechanic.

Our Honda Odyssey needed additional stuff after the tow package, but at least it came with a transmission cooler. The Rav seems to get better mileage than we do, except for when towing.

Hope this helps.

Nancy
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Jon Vermilye View Post
Things I don't like - the tow package (at least in the US) does not include a hitch or trailer/brake/charge wiring. Toyota's official hitch is class 2 which can't be used with an Equalizer set up so I had a class 3 hitch installed. Because the rear light wiring is designed for LEDs, it is too light to tap for the trailer lights. Toyota sells a "Trailer Lighting Kit" which includes a 4 pole trailer connector & wiring that goes to a connector under the dash (a real pain to find & connect). I added a brake controller (Prodigy P3) and brake & charge wires
LOL sounds like Toyota and Subaru have more than a little in common when it comes to what they include and don't....

Jon I have been looking at my options in regards to replacing my Outback in the not to distant future and noted the RAV4 has the tow cap I need but I was wondering how you find the back hatch door? can you open it all the way with the trailer hitched? If not would I be able to get a mid sized dog or a set of golf clubs out via the back hatch door when attached to the trailer?

Thanks for sharing your MPG experience didnt realize the RAV was that low.... something to think about for sure .... the Outback averages about 20-21mpg when towing.....
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:07 PM   #10
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FWIW I get 17 mpg towing our Egg Camper with our Chevy V8 pickup truck. That's better than I get towing the same trailer with our Chrysler 6 cylinder minivan. Even if the above were not true, I'd still tow with the Chevy because the seats are way more comfortable.
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:15 PM   #11
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Bobbie, I have a 2007 Rav4 V6 Sport with towing package (bigger radiator but no hitch). My mileage when not towing is 25 highway and 21-22 city. I have towed a teardrop and my Trailswest Campster and mileage was 16-20 mpg, depending on conditions. I never have felt that towing was slowing me down. Have towed over the Grapevine on I5 in snow and sleet and had the power and control I needed to feel safe and secure.

I agree with an earlier post about the Sport model. My tires last around 30k miles. I will be replacing tires for the second time before summer.

The towing weight is what pushed me to the Rav4 V6. I wanted the higher towing capacity so I had some options, though do not plan and coming close to the capacity.

The side opening rear door has limited access with a hitch. The new Rav4's do not have the tire on the door so that might give a little more clearance to open the back door.

I have been very happy with my Rav4. I did a lot of research ahead of time. I wanted the larger size of the Rav4 with more head and leg room than the Subaru at the time I was looking.

Hope that helps.
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Carol H View Post
LOL sounds like Toyota and Subaru have more than a little in common when it comes to what they include and don't....

Jon I have been looking at my options in regards to replacing my Outback in the not to distant future and noted the RAV4 has the tow cap I need but I was wondering how you find the back hatch door? can you open it all the way with the trailer hitched? If not would I be able to get a mid sized dog or a set of golf clubs out via the back hatch door when attached to the trailer?

Thanks for sharing your MPG experience didnt realize the RAV was that low.... something to think about for sure .... the Outback averages about 20-21mpg when towing.....
20 MPG would be great! I do notice I do better at 60 MPH on the interstates than winding around & stop & going on the back roads, but I enjoy them so much more. One factor on the lower mileage is I have the raised axle with 15" wheels which sits the trailer a bit higher than normal along with an exposed solar panel on the roof. Wind resistance more than weight kills the mileage...

As to the back door, while it can be opened, it hits the trailer coupling so while you might be able to deal with a dog or golf bag, it isn't much fun. It is very difficult to get to the under deck storage in the back of the RAV4 with the trailer hitched. Since I travel single, I usually leave the rear seats folded down & get at the stuff packed in the back through the rear side doors.

The equalizer hitch as set up for my trailer does clear the door so once the trailer is unhooked I can open the door normally without removing the drawbar.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:16 PM   #13
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Last comparison I recall seeing between the RAV4 with the 4 vs 6 in Consumers Report magazine indicated they were impressed that the V6 was only about 1 MPG less than the 4. Speaks highly for the V6 option.
I have a Subaru Outback and pull a Scamp 16 with it sometimes but I have to rearrange things and take one of my propane tanks off to keep down to the Subaru 200 lb tongue weight limit.
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Old 03-02-2012, 09:38 PM   #14
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Mileage and Tongue Weight

People, whereever we stop people are interested in our tow vehicle, surprised that we can tow the Scamp 16, wondering about the MPGs and about our tongue weight. Here's some of what I realize.

We get very good mileage.

We have a clean roof profile, advantages are no roof AC, no Maxx Air Vents, no awning, extremely low profile Solar panels (a tenth of an inch thick).

We have a low tongue weight.

Only one propane tank (filled it once in 3 continuous months on the road).

Presently only one type 24 battery.

Half full water tank (takes some weight off tongue)

Rear Bumper box (though relatively light with a few blocks, hoses and power cords) in some measure it lowers the tongue weight.

Thought it might help those considering tow vehicles
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Old 03-02-2012, 11:03 PM   #15
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If it is just me I will probably never go over a 13. I am thinking of looking for a 13 that is more comfy for two who don't want to sleep together. (me and my mom, That is.). But my thought was if there wasn't a lot of difference the extra capacity might come in handy some day. That's why I am interested. The Subaru does great with the Campster but I don't buy a new vehicle often so I want to think ahead. Plus I keep seeing newer trailers and thinking that would be great to have, but not with my car.

I have also considered the possibility that when I rebuild my cabin into a home in a few years it might pay to buy a bigger trailer and live in it while the house is being built. If so, being able to tow it would be nice even if I don't do it often.

At the moment it depends in part on Mom's health as she is battling lymphoma. But if she ends up feeling up for camping again, it would be nice to have options. We talked last year about her getting her own trailer but then I realized it made more sense for me to have one that fit us both for the few trips she would make. She doesn't want to back a trailer, anyway. And while the Campster is nice and cozy for a couple, maybe, it isn't too great for two people both used to sleeping alone, plus a few corgis.
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Old 03-04-2012, 05:43 PM   #16
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Hi Bobbie. We're looking ourselves and I have been doing my research. Here are a couple of things I have found out about the Subaru. The Forester is one of the few remaining SUV's that can be found with a manual transmission and AWD. Almost all others that offer AWD require an automatic be included. It has the next generation engine in the non-turbo model. No more timing belt to replace; it has a chain. Next year the rest of the line up gets this engine. I have found that all the local dealers here are always well stocked including base models. Finally, here is a web site (courtesy of a forum member) that includes lots of information on the Forester that I haven't found anywhere else. Hope everything works out for your mom. Take care. Raz
2012 Subaru Forester- specs, images, details, prices
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Old 03-04-2012, 08:33 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DavArl View Post
Bobbie,

The Forrester is rated 2400lbs, 200lb tongue weight.

The standard Rav4 2012 V6 is 2000lbs, ??? tongue weight

However, with the RAV4 optional towing package and optional radiator etc upgrades Toyota rates it at 3500lbs capacity.
Or you could call Kirk or Andy at Can-Am RV in Toronto and see what they suggest! They have been fitting travel trailers to various tow vehicles for decades.

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Old 03-05-2012, 09:38 AM   #18
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We have an EggCamper and pull it with a 2011 RAV V6, 4 WD with the factory tow package. Had to have the 7 pin connector and brake controller installed by a local trailer service outfit -- well worth the couple hundred bucks as I'd have scuffed up (or broke) the panels getting them on and off. The Toyota dealer says the larger radiator that comes on the car will suffice in keeping the tranny cooled; no separate cooler needed. We get 12-13 mpg towing (24-26 not towing) at 70 mph through OH, PA, MD, VI -- mountains or flat seems about the same overall. Have to run in 4th as 5th gear jumps back and forth all the time. The motor seems to run about 2800 rpm (I think -- might be a bit more?) and has plenty of power for hills and such. The EggCamper weighs in at about 1800 lbs dry and I run with about a 10-15 gal of fresh water, Yamaha 2000 generator, food, and 180 lbs of dog (2) -- have not weighed it loaded, but when we picked it up in Grand Haven, the run back to the Toledo area with the unit at the factory weight netted about 13 mpg at about 70 mph. We bought the 6 yr, 100,000 mi extended warranty. Have never bought one before, but thought it prudent. BTW -- this is our first camper -- FUN!
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Old 03-05-2012, 10:30 AM   #19
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CAN-AM Advice

I hope people take your advice and explore the Can-AM site. They offer intelligent thoughts on tow vehicles under Towing and Hitch Hints.

Their discussion of trailer aerodynamics versus trailer weight is important and under discussed on this site.

I used to tow a stick built trailer that was lighter than my Scamp 16, yet I got worse mileage by 15%. This indicates that the stick built trailer, though lighter, was a tougher load for our tow vehicle due to the stick built trailers poorer aerodynamics.
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Old 03-10-2012, 12:29 PM   #20
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Hi all, first post here. I just joined as we are considering getting a small TT soon.

I have a 07 RAV4 V6 AWD with tow package and have towed a 6' wide, 25' long boat with combined weight (boat + trailer) of 2500 lbs. We have gone maybe 5000 miles total visiting boat shows. The RAV has plenty of power, gets about 15 mpg averaging 70 on the interstate, 23 mpg without the trailer.

The side opening back door only opens part way with the trailer on (be sure to tape a bit of foam rubber to the spot on the trailer where the door will hit it). The plus is that there is a sizable under floor storage compartment where "normal" small suvs keep the spare tire. I've had liftgate vehicles where the rear door hit the winch post of the trailer.
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