A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

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Rajsx
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A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Rajsx » Sun Mar 19, 2017 8:59 pm

I am getting prepared to buy a SUV for towing a 3200 lb loaded Travel Trailer with Brakes due in May 2017.

I have read up on many automobile reviews, write ups..etc but I am looking for your take on one and reasons for suggesting that particular SUV from a Towing & vehicle reliability are concerned.

A few points to keep in mind are -

- Smaller Garage size - Our RX350 L188" & W 74" (3500 lb Towing Capacity) just about fills up the Garage & any larger size may be a problem size wise.

- Need at least 5000 lbs Towing Capacity

- At least a 6 Cylinder with good amount of Torque

- Money, within reason is not a constraint

- I take care of & usually keep my vehicles about 8 to 10 yrs



Thanks for any & all suggestions.
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tibbitts
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by tibbitts » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:06 pm

Rajsx wrote:I am getting prepared to buy a SUV for towing a 3200 lb loaded Travel Trailer with Brakes due in May 2017.

I have read up on many automobile reviews, write ups..etc but I am looking for your take on one and reasons for suggesting that particular SUV from a Towing & vehicle reliability are concerned.

A few points to keep in mind are -

- Smaller Garage size - Our RX350 L188" & W 74" (3500 lb Towing Capacity) just about fills up the Garage & any larger size may be a problem size wise.

- Need at least 5000 lbs Towing Capacity

- At least a 6 Cylinder with good amount of Torque

- Money, within reason is not a constraint

- I take care of & usually keep my vehicles about 8 to 10 yrs



Thanks for any & all suggestions.
With the recent (towing) demise of the GM mid-sized SUVs, if you want a new vehicle, maybe an Explorer (10" longer, though) or one of the Jeep models? Keep in mind the GVWR and how much weight you'll end up with in the SUV including the tongue weight - you might hit that limit well before the towing capacity limit.

Also a 4-runner is just a few inches longer than what you have, I believe.

letsgobobby
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by letsgobobby » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:17 pm

Dodge Durango with hemi v8. drives great.

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David Jay
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by David Jay » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:19 pm

Grand Cherokee has a high tow rating (6000?, 7000?) and is not much longer than your current vehicle.

Camping last year, the lot next door had one and was pulling a 30' trailer with 2 slides, I talked with the owner. He was very happy with the Grand Cherokee.

[edit] Just went to the Jeep website - the 5.7 liter V8 is rated at 7200 lbs. 189.8" long - within 2 inches of your RX
Last edited by David Jay on Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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BanditKing
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by BanditKing » Sun Mar 19, 2017 9:27 pm

Toyota Highlander. Will tow 5000 lbs and is a really nice car. It is likely to be my tow-vehicle upgrade when I move on from my Lincoln MKX (aka, pimped out Ford Edge) which has a 3500lb tow capacity. I'm hoping to move to a larger AFrame or Fiberglass camper than my current smaller AFrame.

A mid-sized short-bed pickup could also be an option as well, and would be a little cheaper and give you perhaps upwards to 7500lbs or more..

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JaneyLH
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by JaneyLH » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:19 pm

We recently replaced our 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee (5000 lb. towing) with a 2015 Summit model (7000 lb. towing) and are completely delighted with our choice. Great safety and luxury features and about $10-15k cheaper than the comparable Toyota choice. Can't even feel our 4500 lb. trailer behind us!

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ram
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by ram » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:27 pm

A friend who like me is biased towards Japanese (reliable) cars got a Lexus GX for his trailer and is happy with it. I recall from his research that the vast majority of SUV's fulfilling his criteria were larger American made SUV's. Like you cost was not a major concern for him, but he thought that Lexus LX was too costly.(I have never owned a SUV)
Ram

lostinjersey
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by lostinjersey » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:44 pm

Our Chevy Traverse tows up to 5,200 lbs.

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tractorguy
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by tractorguy » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:03 pm

I ended up with a 2015 Mercedes ML350. I've towed my 4500# Jayco to Wisconsin & Pittsburgh with no issues at 65 MPH. It doesn't really want to go faster than 65. Weight isn't the issue, wind resistance is. I haven't climbed any mountains with the rig yet but don't anticipate any problems keeping up with traffic on the interstates.

This is my spouse's daily driver and she didn't want a truck (her previous car was a Camry). She's very happy with the Mercedes in town and on the highway.

I drove every SUV that had a 5000# or greater tow capacity before settling on the Mercedes. My second choice was a Jeep Grand Cherokee or Explorer but thought they would be too much like a truck for her. The Toyota Highlander was the most carlike driver but although it was rated at 5000#, it was very obvious that tow capacity was an afterthought for the car's designers. No built in wiring harness for trailer brakes, no anti-sway control, and a low max GVW rating convinced me that I didn't want to pull anything bigger than a pop up with a Highlander. Also my experience with the Camry was that Toyota is designed to the stated limits. We overloaded the Camry frequently taking kids to college and with our annual beach vacation. Think of a car loaded to the windowsills with a full car top carrier going over the Appalachians. It put up with this but I had to replace the brake rotors a few times and it was worn out at 150K miles. Loose suspension, play in the steering rack, and the beginnings of a knock in the engine (eg worn bearings) convinced me it was time to sell.

I've got 40K miles on the Mercedes at 2 years and so far no issues except for the cost of oil changes. I've addressed this partially by going to an independent mechanic but the thing takes 7 quarts of synthetic oil, and very expensive filters. Luckily oil change interval is 10000 miles.

Besides pickups, I see a lot of Grand Cherokees at campsites. A friend who has one, suggests that you go with the V-8 if you are serious about towing.
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tibbitts
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by tibbitts » Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:05 pm

lostinjersey wrote:Our Chevy Traverse tows up to 5,200 lbs.
The Traverse is even longer than the Explorer though, but if it fits it apparently has retained the towing capacity that its former twin, the Acadia, lost.

ragabnh
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by ragabnh » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:25 am

I would second the Toyota 4runner for towing, it is very reliable and dependable car and is very capable off road vehicle is a plus.

lazydavid
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by lazydavid » Mon Mar 20, 2017 5:21 am

Jeep Grand Cherokee with the diesel v6 will tow your trailer no problem, and get halfway decent fuel economy while doing so. As others mentioned, the Lexus GX and Toyota 4Runner are real trucks with ladder frames that are designed for towing. The V8 in the GX will have quite a bit more grunt than the V6 in the 4Runner.

Frisco Kid
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Frisco Kid » Mon Mar 20, 2017 6:57 am

One could argue only vehicles with full frames are TRULY designed for towing IMHO.....................

ddurrett896
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by ddurrett896 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:05 am

Rajsx wrote:I am getting prepared to buy a SUV for towing a 3200 lb loaded Travel Trailer with Brakes due in May 2017.
My inlaws bought an RPOD and pulled it across the country with a diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee. Pulled it with no problems and got great fuel mileage while towing.

The Wizard
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by The Wizard » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:17 am

Frisco Kid wrote:One could argue only vehicles with full frames are TRULY designed for towing IMHO.....................
Are you saying that some vehicles come with no frame?
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:24 am

The Wizard wrote:
Frisco Kid wrote:One could argue only vehicles with full frames are TRULY designed for towing IMHO.....................
Are you saying that some vehicles come with no frame?
Yes

Explorer, Grand Cherokee and most SUVs are now unibody.

Wheelbase is very important with a tow vwhicle and the longer, the moe stable it will be. I pulled an 18' enclosed racecar trailer wih a Yukon XL and it did great. Also an 18 foot bowrider boat.
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dbr
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by dbr » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:27 am

The Wizard wrote:
Frisco Kid wrote:One could argue only vehicles with full frames are TRULY designed for towing IMHO.....................
Are you saying that some vehicles come with no frame?
He is referring to unibody vs body-on-frame construction.

Brief discussion here: http://www.autotrader.com/car-shopping/ ... ver-245716

invst65
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by invst65 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:00 am

I would be very hesitant about towing a large trailer with a small SUV after what I observed on a mountain road up in Canada one time. I was pulling a 25 foot trailer with a large Dodge Van so I never had any sway problems but on the other side of the road I saw a rig coming down the mountain when all of a sudden the trailer started to sway and then it just wouldn't stop. It got worse and worse until the whole rig flipped over and kept flipping over until it landed in the middle of the highway. To my amazement everyone got out alive but somebody's family vacation was definitely ruined as there was practically nothing left of the trailer. Maybe they made a mistake in their rigging and didn't have sway bars or something but it shook me bad enough to make me question towing with a SUV, at least a small one.

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David Jay
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by David Jay » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:39 am

invst65 wrote:I would be very hesitant about towing a large trailer with a small SUV after what I observed on a mountain road up in Canada one time. I was pulling a 25 foot trailer with a large Dodge Van so I never had any sway problems but on the other side of the road I saw a rig coming down the mountain when all of a sudden the trailer started to sway and then it just wouldn't stop. It got worse and worse until the whole rig flipped over and kept flipping over until it landed in the middle of the highway. To my amazement everyone got out alive but somebody's family vacation was definitely ruined as there was practically nothing left of the trailer. Maybe they made a mistake in their rigging and didn't have sway bars or something but it shook me bad enough to make me question towing with a SUV, at least a small one.
That is typically caused by improper trailer loading (tongue weight too low). Tongue weight should be 15% of trailer weight to prevent this.

I had this event with a tiny (8 ft) utility trailer. I hung a load of 12' drywall out of the back of the trailer, such that I had negative tongue weight. At 50 miles an hour it started oscillating and nearly pulled my 5000+ pound Tahoe off the road!!!

[edit] I would never have believed the violence of the oscillation if I hadn't experienced it myself. I would have insisted that it was a gross exaggeration that a ~2000 pound (loaded) utility trailer could throw my truck around like that. Don't mess with tongue weight rules!
Last edited by David Jay on Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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invst65
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by invst65 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:45 am

David Jay wrote:
invst65 wrote:I would be very hesitant about towing a large trailer with a small SUV after what I observed on a mountain road up in Canada one time. I was pulling a 25 foot trailer with a large Dodge Van so I never had any sway problems but on the other side of the road I saw a rig coming down the mountain when all of a sudden the trailer started to sway and then it just wouldn't stop. It got worse and worse until the whole rig flipped over and kept flipping over until it landed in the middle of the highway. To my amazement everyone got out alive but somebody's family vacation was definitely ruined as there was practically nothing left of the trailer. Maybe they made a mistake in their rigging and didn't have sway bars or something but it shook me bad enough to make me question towing with a SUV, at least a small one.
That is typically caused by improper trailer loading (tongue weight too low). Tongue weight should be 15% of trailer weight to prevent this.

I had this event with a tiny (8 ft) utility trailer. I hung a load of 12' drywall out of the back of the trailer, such that I had negative tongue weight. At 50 miles an hour it started oscillating and nearly pulled my 5000+ pound Tahoe off the road!!!
Well, at least you didn't learn a lesson about tongue weight going down the side of a mountain. I felt very sorry for that family. It was harrowing for me just to see it. Couldn't imagine what it must have been like to be in that SUV. It was a small SUV towing a mid-size trailer so I always thought it had something to do with the smaller wheel-base towing the larger one but you might be right about tongue weight - or maybe some combination of the two.

killjoy2012
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by killjoy2012 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:31 am

I think you also need to separate what a vehicle can tow 'by the numbers' vs. what it can really do comfortably/safely. Few people drive the speed limit. 3,500-5,000 lbs is not a small trailer. The fact that it comes with trailer brakes confirms as such. Towing that big of a trailer with a unibody SUV, despite the manufacturer's numbers, probably is not the best idea. I'd be looking at a full-size truck (Silverado/Sierra, F1/2/350, Tahoe/Suburban, etc.). A Tahoe is probably 10" longer than you're looking for though.

We ride dirt bikes and quads throughout the warm weather months, trailering hours to the riding spot. 2 friends tow multiple bikes (light), or single quad (heavier), with a 4Runner on a small trailer - no problem. But as soon as the trip either involves multiple quads, and/or pulling campers too (multi-day trip), the full-size trucks are only used.

Beyond unibody vs. BOF, I'd also pay particular attention to the stopping power of the vehicles you're considering. I certainly would not want to be in front of your 4Runner with 5k lb trailer pulling up to stop light that you didn't fully anticipate changing to yellow, and trying to stop with distance to spare. Trailer brake failure or misadjustment is going to be critical when on a vehicle that small. Not worth the risk IMO.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Mar 20, 2017 3:57 pm

Toyota Fourunner at a minimum. Truck frame. Based on Tacoma. rock solid. Tow vehicle heavier than load adds stability. Truck frame with class II hitch to frame. Avoid unibody SUV. Bigger is better. Tundra. Landcruiser. F150. or Bigger. IMHO based on decades of construction towing large loads. Install a top of the line brake controller and learn how to adjust it per load and condition. Safety is the priority.

Rajsx
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Rajsx » Mon Mar 20, 2017 7:08 pm

Thanks for all the replies, I appreciate your in put.

I had prepared the (already owned) RX 350 (3500 lbs capacity) with a class III Hitch & a Brake Controller to tow the single axle 17' fiberglass escape trailer with electric brakes, as many are towing with a similar set up of Sienna & Odyssey Vans.

Last month our second vehicle, the trusted Avalon XLS was dented bad, making us look for another Vehicle. We decided to upgrade the Tow Vehicle to have a 5000 lb capacity & plan to move the Hitch & Brake Controller to next Tow vehicle.

Because of our smaller Garage, the vehicles we are looking at are

-2016 Sorento V6 AWD - 5000 lbs capacity
-Jeep Cherokee V6 - 4500 lbs "
- 2013 V6 Highlander Limited - 5000 lbs "
- 4runner -5000 lbs

We have had good luck with Toyotas & are the preferred vehicles in the house hold.

Anything I am missing ? Are there any other SUVs with above details I am not looking at ? Keep your thoughts coming

-I am reading reliability problems with Jeeps,
-Sorento has a lower height hitch receiver causing sagging issues of the rear end

I wish I could buy the larger SUVs with V8s , but may have to park them in the drive way instead of thr Garage

Thanks a lot.
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Katietsu » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:12 pm

Those are 4 very different vehicles. The Highlander has been described as the vehicle for those who need a minivan but want an SUV. My BIL is one of those. It has been a good car but very much a pavement only vehicle in his opinion.

I have rented a 4Runner a few times. It is way to truck like for me. I can't wait to get out after an hour on the Interstate.

I love the ride, handling and capability of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. I really wish the reliability was better.

If you are willing to spend a bit more or get a little older car, you could consider an Ml 350.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by tibbitts » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:48 pm

A lot of the replies you received weren't applicable to a 17ft Escape, which is much less demanding to tow than many other trailers. I think the OP is looking at an appropriate vehicle. I suggest asking on the rv.net forums, although beware the weight police over there, who would have you heading off to the local Kenworth dealer.

I think it's preferable to get a vehicle with a factory towing package, even that consists of not much more than the 7-pin connector wiring.

I'm not sure I understand the comments about rear end squatting. There should be no squatting with the trailer connected since its weight is fairly equally distributed between the front and rear, and the height of the ball is dependent on how you configure the hitch head.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Sandtrap » Mon Mar 20, 2017 9:58 pm

Highlander .. no frame/unibody .. . . light . . . comfy when not towing
4runner . . . frame, solid platform that tow hitch is attached to .. . heavier.. . stable when towing . . . beefier when not towing
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by pyld76 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 10:16 pm

You don't want to tow 3k plus pounds with a unibody vehicle. Get the 4Runner.

Reliable, good on and off-road. Will run forever if properly maintained.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by tibbitts » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:29 pm

pyld76 wrote:You don't want to tow 3k plus pounds with a unibody vehicle. Get the 4Runner.

Reliable, good on and off-road. Will run forever if properly maintained.
What was your (bad, I assume) towing with a unibody vehicle? I towed several trailers with unibody vehicles, and while I wouldn't have towed the rated maximum 7000lbs, I wouldn't hesitate to tow 4000lbs with them, at least not a reasonably aerodynamic 4000lbs like the trailer in question. I would have wanted more power for high-elevation mountain towing, but didn't have the largest available engines in those vehicles.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by sunny_socal » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:32 pm

Another vote for the 4runner. Any vehicle will work when on a flat freeway, but wait until you're climbing some real hills! Even my 5.7L Tundra starts to break a sweat (and my trailer is also 4k pounds.) Many would tell me to get a diesel instead :shock:

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by pyld76 » Mon Mar 20, 2017 11:51 pm

tibbitts wrote: What was your (bad, I assume) towing with a unibody vehicle? I towed several trailers with unibody vehicles, and while I wouldn't have towed the rated maximum 7000lbs, I wouldn't hesitate to tow 4000lbs with them, at least not a reasonably aerodynamic 4000lbs like the trailer in question. I would have wanted more power for high-elevation mountain towing, but didn't have the largest available engines in those vehicles.
Even with a WD hitch and sway bars, had hellacious problems with wheel spin off the line and sway at speed with a Honda odessy. Ditto a Toyota RAV4, although the scary thing about the latter was getting things stopped and finding one of the hitch mount bolts ostensibly sheared.

Both loads subsequently pulled with a family member's (ironically) 4Runner absent incident.

Not implying unibody construction won't tow. I simply wouldn't do it regularly. A body on frame SUV or truck knocks these problems aside...

invst65
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by invst65 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:10 pm

David Jay wrote: [edit] I would never have believed the violence of the oscillation if I hadn't experienced it myself. I would have insisted that it was a gross exaggeration that a ~2000 pound (loaded) utility trailer could throw my truck around like that. Don't mess with tongue weight rules!
I can definitely relate because I had a similar experience when a friend asked me to relieve him for a while while towing something with a trailer. The violence of it was downright scary. The natural instinct is to slow down but that's probably the wrong thing to do. Hitting the gas, if possible, would have probably made more sense. Going down the side of a mountain like the family in my OP, that would have probably been even harder to do.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trail

Post by Dottie57 » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:38 pm

Weatherbug and RadarScope.

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Sandtrap
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Sandtrap » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:43 pm

Here's some perspective for towing ease and safety. I live in high mountain cattle country. The most common tow vehicle whether for 5th wheel, RV, cattle trailer, and everything else, is a 1 ton dually pickup diesel with a Cummins or Duramax engine. Why? Weight, power, stability, safety, reliability. As a general rule, the heavier and longer wheelbase the tow vehicle in relation to the load, the better. Yes. Someone can rent a UHaul trailer and tow it with nearly anything undersized, but is it optimal?
We've all seen trailers towed with a bumper mounted hitch on something as small as a Honda Civic. Will it work? Sure. So the options are wide for everyone.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Sconie » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:51 pm

+1 for the 4Runner. They're built like a tank-----and the resale value on them is incredible:

http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2017 ... -2017.html
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by tibbitts » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:53 pm

Sandtrap wrote:Here's some perspective for towing ease and safety. I live in high mountain cattle country. The most common tow vehicle whether for 5th wheel, RV, cattle trailer, and everything else, is a 1 ton dually pickup diesel with a Cummins or Duramax engine. Why? Weight, power, stability, safety, reliability. As a general rule, the heavier and longer wheelbase the tow vehicle in relation to the load, the better. Yes. Someone can rent a UHaul trailer and tow it with nearly anything undersized, but is it optimal?
We've all seen trailers towed with a bumper mounted hitch on something as small as a Honda Civic. Will it work? Sure. So the options are wide for everyone.
While a vehicle like a 1 ton dually truck, all the way up through a class 8, could certainly tow a 17ft Escape, they wouldn't be the most suitable. The Escape would likely weigh around 2800-3000lbs loaded for travel, and has relatively little wind resistance compared to a typical box-like trailer. With a few modifications a 1-ton truck would be capable of carrying the trailer - and 1-ton duallies are definitely appropriate for carrying truck campers, which are a similar size.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by smitcat » Wed Mar 22, 2017 8:30 am

The OP has a potential trailer that will be fully loaded at 3,200 # , he wants a suitable tow vehicle with at least a 5,000 # capacity.
Sounds very logical and safe to me.
No need for huge vehicles if the two vehicle is suet up correctly and the trailer and tongue weight is correct.
I have a Ford Dually with a diesel and its way more truck then required for this load, even my Chevy 1500 is overkill for this bit would work fine.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by fishboat » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:54 am

OP..you never want to tow with a vehicle where you're even close to maxing out the towing capacity. Towing that 17 Escape with a Sienna or Odyssey..yikes..I'll pass. Being able to just tow a trailer is one thing, being able to control the trailer is different..and more of a safety issue. If you've ever towed in difficult conditions(high wind, rain..) you tend to understand what "control" means.

Google "tow trailer calculator". You'll find all kinds of guides to bounce your numbers off of.

Out of the vehicles you've listed..I go with the 4-Runner (disclosure..I run a Sequoia for towing). If you can find a 4th generation 4-Runner it came with the 4.7L V8. V8 towing MPG will be about the same as pushing a smaller, towing V6 harder. Keep an eye on the 4th-gen V8 timing belt change when recommended. Other than that..great vehicle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_4Runner

2009 Toyota 4Runner Sport V8
Sport utility vehicle
Model: 2009 Toyota 4Runner
Towing capacity: 7,000 to 7,300 lbs
MPG: Up to 15 city / 19 highway
Horsepower: 260 hp
Curb weight: 4,280 to 4,530 lbs
Torque: 306 lb-ft
Dimensions: 189″ L x 75″ W x 69-71″ H

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Sandtrap
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:58 am

smitcat wrote:The OP has a potential trailer that will be fully loaded at 3,200 # , he wants a suitable tow vehicle with at least a 5,000 # capacity.
Sounds very logical and safe to me.
No need for huge vehicles if the two vehicle is suet up correctly and the trailer and tongue weight is correct.
I have a Ford Dually with a diesel and its way more truck then required for this load, even my Chevy 1500 is overkill for this bit would work fine.
Yep. There's that Toyota 4Runner agin'. It'll work fer sure. . . .
But course there's trucks n then there's trucks if a fella is a truck fella. N' that Ford Dually you're ridin' is mighty nice indeed. King Ranch is a nice one. :happy

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by hudson » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:12 am

tibbitts wrote:A lot of the replies you received weren't applicable to a 17ft Escape, which is much less demanding to tow than many other trailers. I think the OP is looking at an appropriate vehicle. I suggest asking on the rv.net forums, although beware the weight police over there, who would have you heading off to the local Kenworth dealer.

I think it's preferable to get a vehicle with a factory towing package, even that consists of not much more than the 7-pin connector wiring.

I'm not sure I understand the comments about rear end squatting. There should be no squatting with the trailer connected since its weight is fairly equally distributed between the front and rear, and the height of the ball is dependent on how you configure the hitch head.
I agree with the towing package.
I'm not an expert...but I have turned nice looking transmission fluid black by overdoing it with trailers...because I didn't have a transmission cooler.
I don't know if all towing packages have as many features as this article lays out...
http://www.boatus.com/magazine/traileri ... or-not.asp

It's already been said...but pulling a trailer is serious business....I'm sure you'll do your homework. I've had riders that wanted me to go ahead and drive 70-75 miles an hour with a trailer.

emoore
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by emoore » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:14 am

fishboat wrote:OP..you never want to tow with a vehicle where you're even close to maxing out the towing capacity. Towing that 17 Escape with a Sienna or Odyssey..yikes..I'll pass. Being able to just tow a trailer is one thing, being able to control the trailer is different..and more of a safety issue. If you've ever towed in difficult conditions(high wind, rain..) you tend to understand what "control" means.

Google "tow trailer calculator". You'll find all kinds of guides to bounce your numbers off of.

Out of the vehicles you've listed..I go with the 4-Runner (disclosure..I run a Sequoia for towing). If you can find a 4th generation 4-Runner it came with the 4.7L V8. V8 towing MPG will be about the same as pushing a smaller, towing V6 harder. Keep an eye on the 4th-gen V8 timing belt change when recommended. Other than that..great vehicle.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toyota_4Runner

2009 Toyota 4Runner Sport V8
Sport utility vehicle
Model: 2009 Toyota 4Runner
Towing capacity: 7,000 to 7,300 lbs
MPG: Up to 15 city / 19 highway
Horsepower: 260 hp
Curb weight: 4,280 to 4,530 lbs
Torque: 306 lb-ft
Dimensions: 189″ L x 75″ W x 69-71″ H
+1. I would only consider the 4Runner with the V8 for towing, the new V6 ones are only rated to 5,000 lbs and I wouldn't feel comfortable towing over 3k lbs with that. You could look at a Tundra or Sequoia also.

researcher
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by researcher » Wed Mar 22, 2017 11:54 am

emoore wrote:+1. I would only consider the 4Runner with the V8 for towing, the new V6 ones are only rated to 5,000 lbs and I wouldn't feel comfortable towing over 3k lbs with that. You could look at a Tundra or Sequoia also.
The OP intends to pull a 3,000lb fiberglass travel trailer with trailer brakes...
This is 40% LESS than the max tow rating of the vehicles he is considering.

Why are so many people recommending vehicles with tow ratings of 7,500 - 20,000+ lbs? This is complete overkill.
There is no reason to purchase a vehicle with 3X or 5X the needed towing capacity.

emoore
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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by emoore » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:19 pm

researcher wrote:
emoore wrote:+1. I would only consider the 4Runner with the V8 for towing, the new V6 ones are only rated to 5,000 lbs and I wouldn't feel comfortable towing over 3k lbs with that. You could look at a Tundra or Sequoia also.
The OP intends to pull a 3,000lb fiberglass travel trailer with trailer brakes...
This is 40% LESS than the max tow rating of the vehicles he is considering.

Why are so many people recommending vehicles with tow ratings of 7,500 - 20,000+ lbs? This is complete overkill.
There is no reason to purchase a vehicle with 3X or 5X the needed towing capacity.
It's just my opinion but I would aim for at least 2X towing capacity but I live near the mountains and would need the extra capacity to go up steep grades.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Luke Duke » Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:33 pm

hudson wrote:I've had riders that wanted me to go ahead and drive 70-75 miles an hour with a trailer.
With the right tow vehicle you can do that. :mrgreen:

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by tibbitts » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:56 pm

Luke Duke wrote:
hudson wrote:I've had riders that wanted me to go ahead and drive 70-75 miles an hour with a trailer.
With the right tow vehicle you can do that. :mrgreen:
No, most trailer tires are only rated for 65mph.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by tibbitts » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:04 pm

emoore wrote:
researcher wrote:
emoore wrote:+1. I would only consider the 4Runner with the V8 for towing, the new V6 ones are only rated to 5,000 lbs and I wouldn't feel comfortable towing over 3k lbs with that. You could look at a Tundra or Sequoia also.
The OP intends to pull a 3,000lb fiberglass travel trailer with trailer brakes...
This is 40% LESS than the max tow rating of the vehicles he is considering.

Why are so many people recommending vehicles with tow ratings of 7,500 - 20,000+ lbs? This is complete overkill.
There is no reason to purchase a vehicle with 3X or 5X the needed towing capacity.
It's just my opinion but I would aim for at least 2X towing capacity but I live near the mountains and would need the extra capacity to go up steep grades.
Hill climbing ability tends to be one of the least important aspects of towing. You can just choose to go slower uphill, as long as you can maintain the minimum legal speed. Most large trucks climb hills relatively slowly due to the weight they're pulling. They could be designed to climb faster, but aren't. On the other hand, factors like loads on suspension, wheels, and bearings can be more of a safety concern, and those are what's important to keep well within specifications. I would say that more than 2x for those factors would be overkill, but moderate extra margin would be a good idea.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by chmcnm » Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:07 am

A mid-sized SUV with a 5,000 lbs towing capacity and actually being a good idea are two different things. We have a 20 foot boat and I can't imagine towing it with our Highlander especially up/down hills or mountains. It would tear up the transmission and if you have to stop suddenly, the pucker factor would be high. Anything over 3,000 lbs I would strongly consider a truck or a Tahoe. If you live in a place like Florida where the roads are flat and in good shape you might be OK. However, if you ever tow in hills or mountains, windy conditions, winding roads, etc. you'll be thankful to have a truck or larger SUV.

Depending on how often you tow, maybe buy the small SUV for a daily driver and rent a truck for towing. Also, are you sure the trailer is only 3,200 lbs? How much will it weigh fully loaded? Add 20% as a fudge factor.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by Sandtrap » Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:41 am

Also consider what happens when the tow vehicle has a short wheelbase.
Of your selection. 4Runner. Not ideal but certainly a wonderful vehicle. In 4wd, added fun when not towing. An exploration vehicle :D
Will a Tacoma pickup fit in your garage?

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by researcher » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:06 am

chmcnm wrote:A mid-sized SUV with a 5,000 lbs towing capacity and actually being a good idea are two different things...
and if you have to stop suddenly, the pucker factor would be high.
If you live in a place like Florida where the roads are flat and in good shape you might be OK.
Also, are you sure the trailer is only 3,200 lbs? How much will it weigh fully loaded? Add 20% as a fudge factor.
You must have missed it...
- The OP's trailer has trailer brakes.
- The OP lives in Florida.
- Even adding 20%, the trailer is still well below the rated towing capacity of vehicles he is considering.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by chmcnm » Thu Mar 23, 2017 12:32 pm

researcher wrote:
chmcnm wrote:A mid-sized SUV with a 5,000 lbs towing capacity and actually being a good idea are two different things...
and if you have to stop suddenly, the pucker factor would be high.
If you live in a place like Florida where the roads are flat and in good shape you might be OK.
Also, are you sure the trailer is only 3,200 lbs? How much will it weigh fully loaded? Add 20% as a fudge factor.
You must have missed it...
- The OP's trailer has trailer brakes.
- The OP lives in Florida.
- Even adding 20%, the trailer is still well below the rated towing capacity of vehicles he is considering.
I didn't miss anything. I know he's from Florida. They have flat, good roads mostly but they still get wind and rain which can cause problems. You still have to pull onto highways. Who says he will always stay in Florida. The point of having a travel trailer is to travel.

Trailer brakes are very nice but that doesn't make up for a short wheelbase, less stability, and less horsepower. The towing weight capacity is a recommendation only and I've seen plenty of people who "think" their trailer/boat weighs XYZ but it's XYZ+ and it might be unbalanced. Not good for safety. Just because my speedometer goes to 120mph doesn't mean I should.

Most people overestimate their driving ability, especially when it comes to towing. Most of the time it goes well. Be smart and take your time. However, when you're rolling down a hill/mountain at 65mph and you have to lock-em up because someone pulls out too close you'll really appreciate a larger, more stable vehicle. After taking a look through the thread again, there's a lot of good advice...from people who've ACTUALLY towed with their vehicles. Seems like almost all would recommend against a smallish SUV. Good luck. YMMV.

Of the cars you've listed I'd choose the 4Runner. I'm biased for Toyota's. We have a Highlander and a Tundra. You could always rent a truck or large SUV for towing if you only do it a few times a year.
Last edited by chmcnm on Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: A SUV for towing a Travel Trailer

Post by fishboat » Thu Mar 23, 2017 1:13 pm

chmcnm wrote: I didn't miss anything. I know he's from Florida. They have flat, good roads mostly but they still get wind and rain which can cause problems. You still have to pull onto highways. Who says he will always stay in Florida. The point of having a travel trailer is to travel.

Trailer brakes are very nice but that doesn't make up for a short wheelbase, less stability, and less horsepower. The towing weight capacity is a recommendation only and I've seen plenty of people who "think" their trailer/boat weighs XYZ but it's XYZ+ and it might be unbalanced. Not good for safety. Just because my speedometer goes to 120mph doesn't mean I should.

Most people overestimate their driving ability, especially when it comes to towing. Most of the time it goes well. Be smart and take your time. However, when you're rolling down a hill/mountain at 65mph and you have to lock-em up because someone pulls out too close you'll really appreciate a larger, more stable vehicle. Good luck. YMMV.
+1
One other consideration that many tend to gloss over is the gross vehicle weight ratings and specifically the cargo or payload weight rating of marginal tow vehicles. Payload weight is often in the 1000-1300 pounds range (unless you go to a larger vehicle). Payload is comprised of tongue weight, fuel, people, gear...it adds up fast.

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