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Old 07-16-2018, 11:13 AM   #1
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Small/Mid Size SUV with 3500lb towing capacity!?

In the market for a vehicle (small/Mid-Size SUV) to tow a small camper/boat with trailer (max 3500lbs.). Need enough cargo space for 2 dogs and a family of 3. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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Old 07-16-2018, 01:09 PM   #2
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Consider the Ford Flex with the optional Eco-boost engine and factory towing package which raises the towing capacity from 2,000 to 4,500 pounds.

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Old 07-16-2018, 02:10 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
Consider the Ford Flex with the optional Eco-boost engine and factory towing package which raises the towing capacity from 2,000 to 4,500 pounds.
This is an excellent and often overlooked small-sized tow platform. Properly setup, they are the "cats meow" for small trailers.

I saw a Grand Cherokee diesel on my last trip, towing a decent sized microlite trailer. German family, dad appeared to be the engineer type of fellow. Most would at a glance, say no way is that a good tow rig, but it was a great setup, and well within the tow rig's capabilities.
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:15 PM   #4
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The Honda Pilot has a 3500 lb. tow rating, and can be upgraded to 5000 lbs. with a transmission fluid cooler. We have a 2017 (with the 5000 lb. setup) and love it.
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Old 07-16-2018, 02:19 PM   #5
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Hi ! Welcome to IRV2! We're sure glad you joined the gang!

Just noticed you are new and wanted to say hello!

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:26 PM   #6
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Small/Mid Size SUV with 3500lb towing capacity!?

You will need to look for a mid-large to large SUV with at least a 5,000 lb towing capacity. Due to all the seats and sheet metal/glass in the rear, an SUV does not have the rear axle available payload capacity of a truck. At the beginning of this forum is a “sticky” that has towing calculators. I suggest you download a couple of them and play around. You will learn the various weight capacities and nomenclature. As an example, my 06 Ford Explorer has a towing capacity of 5,400 lbs according to Ford. Yet, when I go through the calculators taking into acount my family, dogs, more cargo, and what I would likely put in the trailer, it turns out I should shop for a TT that is between 3,200 and 3,500 lbs max for so-called “dry weight”. A vehicle that has only a 3,500 lb towing capacity CANNOT tow a TT that is 3,000 to 3,500 lbs. Also, the longer the wheelbase, the better for stable towing. The full size Ford Explorer, Chevy Traverse/GMC Acadia, Dodge Durango/Jeep Grand Cherokee size vehicles would be excellent tow vehicles for a 3,500 lb TT.
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Old 07-16-2018, 07:36 PM   #7
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Either the Toyota Highlander's or 4Runner. Both excellent daily drivers and high resale value.
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Old 07-16-2018, 08:53 PM   #8
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Just go ahead and buy a 1500 crew cab pickup that will seat 5 and is made to tow something with instead of trying to modify a small SUV or Crossover which is made to take the kids to soccer practice and pick up groceries. You will wear the vehicle out quicker, find you have no payload capacity, and gas mileage will bring you to tears. I can understand if you already own the vehicle and can't get out of it, but if you are serious about buying an RV and have to buy a vehicle anyway, then get an actual tow vehicle while you are at it.
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Old 07-16-2018, 09:56 PM   #9
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Suburban 1500 is a great platform for 6,000 down. Plenty of room, rides great and the long wheelbase makes towing comfortable.

With your family, pets and “stuff” 4,000 would be a breeze
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Old 07-16-2018, 10:17 PM   #10
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Nissan Pathfinder would be a midsize SUV I would look at. I think 6,000 lb. capacity. That would give you a lot of buffer.
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Old 07-17-2018, 10:48 AM   #11
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You said "small/midsize" and you didn't say "inexpensive" nor "affordable", so I'll recommend the Land Rover Discovery.
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Old 07-17-2018, 12:34 PM   #12
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Most "small/midsize" SUVs are "crossover" SUVs, based on a FWD unibody car chassis. You can "get by" with a crossover SUV, but much better is an SUV based on a RWD body+frame truck chassis.

Unfortunately, most small/mid-size SUVs are now crossovers. Even the Ford Explorer which used to be based on the Ranger pickup chassis is now based on a FWD car chassis.

Smaller SUVs based on a body+frame RWD truck chasses include the GM Tahoe and Yukon (they are shorter versions of the Suburban and Yukon XL), the regular version of the Ford Expedition, the Dodge Durango. None of those are "small", but I consider then "medium" size. I'm a Toyota fan, so I would want the Toyota Sequoia, even though it's considered a "full size" SUV.

One way to find a proper SUV tow vehicle is to be sure it is available in a RWD version. If it's not available in a RWD version, then it's a crossover with unibody construction, such as the current Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer. You can still opt for the 4WD version if you live in snow or mud country, but you'll know it's a real truck and not a grocery getter.
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Old 07-17-2018, 04:16 PM   #13
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The 2019 Ram 3.6 litre engine with the e-Torque system will provide a lot of interior room. A tonneau cover or cap on the back provides plenty of storage. The 3.6 e-Torque will provide SUV like mpg. The huge advantage to the improved Ram will be excellent stuff frame, ultra quiet refined ride, longer wheelbase good for towing.

Or the Ford F-150 2.7 eco-boost. Plenty of power. Good mpg, excellent frame. Lots of room. Tonneau cover/cap same as the Ram. Plenty of room for people/dogs and plenty of storage.

Body on frame is typically better to tow with than a uni-body vehicle structure.

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