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Old 07-27-2015, 02:56 PM   #1
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Tow Recommendations or Comments?

Too much detail below, but I don't know where else to get experienced opinions.

In the next few months I'm planning to get a new tow vehicle for my 2014 Jayco Flight Swift SLX (165RB). GVWR is 3500 pounds, hitch weight 235 pounds. There's next to no possibility of a future RV upgrade, but even if it happens a future RV won't be much bigger or heavier than the SLX.

I've been making a list of potential USED tow vehicles, roughly 2010 model year, looking at SUV's and pickups with V6 engines, tow capacity between 5000-7500 pounds. This will also be my personal vehicle when not towing, so I'm looking for *reasonable* non-towing fuel economy.

Primarily this would be me and my wife, but we should probably have 4 seats.

Any comments, suggestions or recommendations?

We're planning on 1 or 2 significant trips a year, otherwise our towing will be within 50 miles. We're on the east coast, so the Rockies are not likely to be on our list. Will a V6 work? Or do I have to go bigger? "Significant" would be a round trip in the range of 1500-2000 miles. Obviously any vehicle would need factory towing package installed, and certain vehicles on my list will need specific gear ratios. Beyond that, I'm open to ideas!

Thanks!

Roger
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Old 07-27-2015, 03:18 PM   #2
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Having gone the route of a mid-size SUV with 6 cyl thinking that there was going to be a day to day advantage, just skip all that and look for a 1500/150 series crew cab PU with a V8. Far more capability and often very similar mileage (in my case, my Sierra get's BETTER mileage than my last 6cyl SUV got).

In the GM world, any full size PU since 2010 has 6 speed transmissions. Better mileage, better towing capability.

I've owned 3 Suburbans, a GMC Safari, and a Trailblazer. By far my current Sierra has been my favorite and most capable. I wish I had got a full size PU years ago.
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Old 07-27-2015, 04:12 PM   #3
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I agree with Doc Brown about something in a half-ton range if you're able to swing it (e.g. Ford F150 ecoboost, Chevy Tahoe, etc). I currently tow with a midsize V6 SUV and have towed with it on a 2000-mile road trip. It's got over 145K miles on it now and I still tow our 5000lb x23B with it. I can go camping on a whim and feel confident that I'll make it to my destination and back with no problems. However, you definitely feel the lack of power, especially with a good head wind, going up a long incline, or even getting up to speed from a dead stop. It'll do the job, it just won't be as fun as with a more capable vehicle. That said, based on your criteria, your options of "capable" vehicles are plentiful.
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Old 07-29-2015, 07:25 AM   #4
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I fully agree. There is nothing quite like towing with a truck, even if some V6 SUVs could do it. The truck will just do it so much better and more comfortably. I have a crew cab F150 and the interior room is astounding. It's a very comfortable road trip vehicle and gets fantastic fuel economy, especially for something of its size. You don't need to go crazy with options, either, with that trailer. No need for heavy duty payload, max tow, etc. Just a straight up half ton with a mid-size engine (don't get the base model V6) will do you just fine. Just make sure it has a factory tow package and transmission cooler.
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Old 07-29-2015, 08:53 AM   #5
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I have a crew cab F150 and the interior room is astounding. It's a very comfortable road trip vehicle and gets fantastic fuel economy, especially for something of its size.
Fully agree! In 2000 we had a 2-seater truck (Chevy S10) and needed to replace it - with a family, DH determined we needed both a new truck and sedan BUT we ended-up with just one purchase - a Chevy extended cab that seated 5. 2007 we upgraded to a GMC gasser crew cab and with the leather interior, you'd never know it was a truck! 2015 we upgraded again to a GMC diesel crew cab and boy, do I love riding (or driving) that thing!!! BTW, son has a 4-Runner that tows the tent-trailer just fine.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:40 AM   #6
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Blew up a Trailblazer

MY first TT was similar in size to yours, my GVWR was 4000lbs I believe. I towed it for several years with a 2005 Trailblazer with the inline 6 and a tow rating of 5000lbs.

In the years I had it, I would have told you it tows great and I had no difficulties at all... Right up to the moment my transmission blew up. It was after a long day of driving in which we were trying to outrun a hurricane. I had pushed hard and put on about 500 miles that day. When the mechanic opened up my tranny he claimed to have never seen one cooked as well as I had done this one.

I am not a car guy by any strech and readily admit there were maintenance issues that played a part in my trucks demise... That being said, I am now a HUGE believer in leaving a large buffer between weights. Your trailer only has a 900lb payload capacity, I would guess you are using close to every ounce of that. Add in four occupants and a truck full of gear and you are quickly knocking on the 5000lb limit of most small SUV's.

I upgraded to a Silverado 1500 and pulled both the hybrid and my later TT without difficulty and never regretted that decision. The commuter cost of the 1500 was not significantly different then the Trailblazer but now I had much greater tow capacity and the benefits of a pick-up bed.

If the commuter car costs are the big concern... Two options come to mind, get a second vehicle to use as your daily commuter.... Or take the big plunge and switch to a motorhome... Believe it or not, by switching to a motorhome and a commuter car over the truck and TT I am saving about $140 a month.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:51 AM   #7
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We love our 2007 Chrysler Aspen (a year not involved with the recalls) as it has the V8 5.7L Hemi. I can get around 14 miles to the gallon when not towing and around 10 miles to the gallon when towing. Ours only had 65000 miles on it when we bought it in May.
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Old 07-29-2015, 11:27 AM   #8
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I can get around 14 miles to the gallon when not towing
And there's my point about a 1/2 ton PU possibly being a better choice. I get 16 in the city without even trying. I get 21 on the hwy.
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Old 07-29-2015, 01:15 PM   #9
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My nephew has a F150 with the v6 (not ecoboost). He gets decent mileage.

I would go with the majority, that in general, the V8 pickups can get better mileage than a V-6. I've experienced this myself with a V6 motor in a small pickup.

I definitely think a V6 motor is fine. But wouldn't rule out a V8 based on fuel economy assumptions.
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Old 07-29-2015, 04:06 PM   #10
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I need my third row seating because we sometimes fill them up when my kids have friends over (not while camping -- just when we are at home). The third row folds down flat and the middle row even folds down -- I brought home a 6 foot long box with a foldable picnic table in it the other day. It is actually my vehicle. My husband drives further to work so he drives a Honda Civic.
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