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Old 06-06-2011, 01:11 PM   #1
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New Tow Vehicle

My wife and I just bought a 17z and were hoping to pull with our freestar minivan for a year before we upgrade but the van has had it (nothing to do with towing).

The trailer is 3500 gross weight. We were looking at a Ford Explorer (5000 t.c.), Chevy Traverse (5200), Toyota Highlander (5000) and Nissan Pathfinder (6000). We need a vehicle with 3rd row seating and reasonable on gas when not towing.

Just wondering if anyone has any suggestions which would be the best choice or if there was another vehicle we should consider.

Thanks in advance for all of the help.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:52 PM   #2
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I have a Nissan Armada I love! Towing capacity is #9000, so has a bit more than you need, but we absolutely love it! Gas mileage is about 16 when not towing, and about 12 when towing, but seats eight very comfortably. I am getting that mileage even with putting a K&N stage 2 FIPK on it (increased by 1).
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Old 06-06-2011, 06:46 PM   #3
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I have the Chevy Traverse and LOVE it.

It is a great vehicle and gets good mileage. Solo I get around between 20MPG if my wife is driving and I can get up to 28MPG on the highway.

We tow our Jayco 213 (4300lbs empty) without issue.

If you do get the Traverse, make sure it has the tow package. It CANNOT be added aftermarket. If you get a Traverse without the tow package it is only rated to tow 2000lbs.

The dealer may try to convince you that you can simply add a hitch to the back, but that will NOT get you the 5200lbs tow rating.

The tow package includes:

-transmission cooler
-oil cooler
-tow/haul button
-Class IV hitch
-Electrical wiring

The tow package option only costs around $500 and is well worth it when you see all the things you get with it.

Have fun shopping.

Here is a picture of our setup:

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Old 06-06-2011, 09:07 PM   #4
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Are you looking a 2011 models?
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Old 06-06-2011, 09:25 PM   #5
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Yes, I am but would not be against a vehicle a couple of years old.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:42 AM   #6
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Bertscampers----I believe the Ford & the Chevy are all wheel drive & should give you a lot better mileage both towing & regular driving as compared the the other 2 which are 4 wheel drive. the other big thing is they are built by US COMPANIES. Now since I happen to be a Ford fan there is only one way to go. As someone said in a previous post my .02$ Larry
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Old 06-07-2011, 10:00 PM   #7
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Sorry to read your older age Ford Freestar van isn't holding up to pulling a small HTT.

Not too sure what specific vehicle to recommend. re:
- Ford Explorer (5000 t.c.),
- Chevy Traverse (5200),
- Toyota Highlander (5000)
- Nissan Pathfinder (6000).

I do like your idea of getting a vehicle rated to pull more then 3,500 lbs (the loaded weight of your HTT). Some folks don't believe in the 80/20 rule. re: Trailer's max weight should be 80% of vehicles max towing weight - which means 20% remaining for fighting strong head wind and/or climbing steep hills. IMO, applying "under 80%" rule is a good thing. Especially in the long run....

My buddy across the street has a Ford Explorer 4.0L and they love it. He says its "more of an SUV" then a pickup or a car. But, it does pull his loaded 4x8 utility trailer around with ease. Especially with Timbren SES units in its rear coil springs. He loves his SUV shape vehicle.

My other buddy across the street had a Toyota 4Runner (which is much like the Nissan Pathfinder). He loved his 4x4 SUV but it loved the gas. His wife didn't like its stiff suspension. But, he love it. Especially for his cottage dirt path travels. If wondering, he traded it in for a Toyota Camry - which is much better on gas.

Haven't rode in a Chevy Traverse but it appears to be more like "a car" - instead of a SUV or a truck shape.

In the past, I bought Safari van and immediately, my one kid got car sick. Long or short distances, his stomach would "roll and roll". I had to spend lots of money upgrading its shocks and installing tighter suspension. My current mini-van has too short roof height for my middle kid. I had to lower its front passenger set. And, I had to lower the front driver's seat for me - for my longer torso body. Yet, our other vehicle has better roof height. Luckily, I can lower the manual front seats in my current mini-van (grinder and welder works great). But in some vehicles, one cannot lower its seats. Like the rear and middle seats in my mini-van are fixed height. They cannot be lowered.

As a suggestion, take each vehicle for a ride. Many different rides. And, take your kids along for the rides as well. Salesman often don't like kids but hey, they need to provide their selection advice as well. Ask your kids how they feel and ask them how they "fit" into each vehicle. And, ask how they would rate each specific vehicle. If wondering, I wished I took my middle kid during my mini-van test drive. Thus, we would have noticed our van's shorter rear seat roof height. And with his feedback, I would have perhaps picked a different vehicle.

Long post short.... Do take each vehicle for several test drives.... And, take your wife and kids for many test drives as well. Thus, ensuring the vehicle "properly" fits your family (each member) and your wants. Sometimes, it isn't always about purchase price. For example, if the wife won't comfortably drive it (SUV is "too much" of a truck feel), then it can be dangerous in her hands. Just like my wife doesn't like SUV shape vehicles either. Or, if it makes your kid(s) motion sickness, it isn't good for them either. Lessons learned the hard way....

Good luck...

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Old 06-08-2011, 05:01 PM   #8
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Dodge Durango and Jeep Commander both offer 3rd row seating and hemi V8 power. We're planning to upgrade to a Grand Cherokee with hemi to pull our 17Z.
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Old 06-08-2011, 07:22 PM   #9
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Those two will be great tow vehicles, I just don't know if the nontowing mpg will be as good as the new Ford explorer or Chevy traverse
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Old 06-08-2011, 07:50 PM   #10
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I guess our issue is that we would like the option of 3rd row as our parents are with us on occasion. We also want the fuel savings for everyday driving. Thats why the original selection. I appreciate all the advice. I may take a look at dodge and jeep as well. Thanks.
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