Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: favorite tow vehicle for small trailer??
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 > favorite tow vehicle for small trailer??

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albireo13

NH

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Posted: 10/19/20 08:31am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi,
Newbie here.
Wife and I are looking into a small trailer (Aliner, Scamp, teardrop, etc) for maybe next year. We want something small so we can tow it with a car/SUV.
I am thinking <3500lb total weight.

My current car is a 2009 Pilot which is very long in the tooth. I relly need a new car so, I am shopping for that first. It will also be my daily drive car so, gas mileage is important, as is driving comfort. It will also be our tow vehicle in the future. I'd prefer a crossover or compact SUV or something like that.

My Pilot is chunky and gas mileage isn't great (< 20mpg highway, towing nothing). Plus, it has blind spots which bother me. I want to replace it soon. Budget is <$35K so high end vehicles are out of the picture.

Some cars I am considering:
Subaru Outback
Honda Passport
Toyota Highlander

I was wondering what folks use (and like) for towing their small trailers.
Whatcha got??


just me

ShinerBock

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Posted: 10/19/20 08:40am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

A tow vehicle with an engine that has turbos(either diesel or gas) will give you a significantly better tow experience than most naturally aspirated engines in this class. Especially if you are planning to tow in higher elevation or over mountain passes.

p220sigman

Tallahassee, FL, USA

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Posted: 10/19/20 09:29am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Of the ones you listed, I think the Highlander has the highest towing capacity so with it and a <3500 trailer you aren't at the limits. The Outback will probably have the best non-towing MPG. I don't know if you have considered the Subaru Ascent or not. It is a little larger than the Outback, but can have a 5000 capacity. Mileage isn't terrible either.

I can't say how any of them will tow as I don't have any experience with any of them. We towed our Popup that was close to 3500 total weight with our Toyota Sienna and it did great, but I'm not sure I'd want to tow a full-height trailer right at that limit with minivan.

ppine

Northern Nevada

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Posted: 10/19/20 09:45am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I had a hybrid that weighed 2800 pounds and liked towing it with a Ford diesel.

goducks10

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Posted: 10/19/20 10:23am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Not sure if it's from Covid or not but I do't recall ever seeing so many single women or older people camping in small Casita type TT's or R-Pods being towed with Subaru's and other small SUV's.

kellem

Shenandoah valley,VA

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Posted: 10/19/20 11:32am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

goducks10 wrote:

Not sure if it's from Covid or not but I do't recall ever seeing so many single women or older people camping in small Casita type TT's or R-Pods being towed with Subaru's and other small SUV's.


The spike in small trailers sales were triggered by Covid.
People wanted out quickly and this was a seamless transition vs buying a $70K HD truck to pull a 30 footer.....they have they're little trailer and get to keep the commuter, for the most part.

Yes we've been seeing many variations of micro trailers of late.

wowens79

Georgia

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Posted: 10/19/20 11:38am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

albireo13 wrote:

Hi,
Newbie here.
Wife and I are looking into a small trailer (Aliner, Scamp, teardrop, etc) for maybe next year. We want something small so we can tow it with a car/SUV.
I am thinking <3500lb total weight.

My current car is a 2009 Pilot which is very long in the tooth. I relly need a new car so, I am shopping for that first. It will also be my daily drive car so, gas mileage is important, as is driving comfort. It will also be our tow vehicle in the future. I'd prefer a crossover or compact SUV or something like that.

My Pilot is chunky and gas mileage isn't great (< 20mpg highway, towing nothing). Plus, it has blind spots which bother me. I want to replace it soon. Budget is <$35K so high end vehicles are out of the picture.

Some cars I am considering:
Subaru Outback
Honda Passport
Toyota Highlander

I was wondering what folks use (and like) for towing their small trailers.
Whatcha got??


We towed a popup with our Pilot and it did great. Pilots will last forever, we drove ours for 15 years, and 260k miles with no problems, sold it to my SIL, and it is still going strong.


2002 Chevy Silverado 1500HD 6.0l 241k miles and climbing
2016 Heritage Glen 29BH
2003 Flagstaff 228D Pop Up

carringb

Corvallis, OR

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Posted: 10/19/20 11:44am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

X2 on going with a turbo. But also I do not recommend a CVT (Subaru Ascent). Taking a Subaru actually off-road has caused near-instant belt-failure for some owners (or at a minimum, limp-mode as it tries to stave off belt failure). I imagine a decent steep grade will result in a similar occurrence towing a trailer. Also note that Subaru does not rate their cars to the SAE J2807. Toyota does rate the Highlander to that standard. I also can't find any evidence that Honda rates the Passport to that standard.

Might I suggest an Explorer? The 2.3L EcoBoost is rated for 5,300 pounds with the Class 3 towing package, and is calculated with SAE J2807 method. Plus the RWD-based platform will be better for towing anyways. And it's rated for 27 MPG highway, 23 combined.


Bryan

2000 Ford E450 V10 VAN! 450,000+ miles
2014 ORV really big trailer
2015 Ford Focus ST


Lwiddis

Lone Pine, CA

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Posted: 10/19/20 11:54am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

"I really need a new car so, I am shopping for that first."

Big mistake. Buy or select the trailer first, then match an appropriate tow vehicle to the trailer. You are guessing about weight...until you have the trailer.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watts solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL pole for flags. Prefer USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, USF&WS, state & county camps. Bicyclist! 14 year Army vet - 11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560)


ShinerBock

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Posted: 10/19/20 12:28pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

OP, I am not sure if you are into used cars or not, but you can pick up a BMW 328d 2.0L diesel X-drive wagon for a good price. I have the non-Xdrive(2wd) sedan version and get between 40-45 mpg combined depending on how froggy I feel behind the wheel. I would expect around 35-40 mpg combined with the 4wd XDrive.

I see people in the BMW forums tow with these things all the time. I am unsure what the tow rating is in the US, but the exact same car in Europe is rated at around 5k. It may only have 180 hp, but the 280 lbs at 1,700-3,000 rpm more than makes up for it. Tuned, it is a beast for a 4-banger in a 3,400 lb car making around 230hp and 375 lb-ft.

Autotrader NH - 328d

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