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Old 07-28-2013, 09:30 PM   #1
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Suggested tow vehicle for 3300 lb. TT?

We just purchased a new Gulfstream Amerilite 21MB, dry weight 3300 lbs. We towed it home from Ohio to Vermont with our 2002 Toyota Highlander, and suspect that we are a bit underpowered. We were fine in the flatlands of the mid-west, but once we hit the mountains in New England, we moved along pretty slowly. Although we love our old Highlander (and it's paid for!), we'd like to trade up to a slightly more powerful (used) vehicle - one that can tow 5000 lbs. at least, but not a truck. It needs to serve as an around-town car most of the time. We like the Toyota Forerunner, but it's a bit pricey. Any suggestions?
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:39 PM   #2
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Not sure what your budget is but a Ford Flex tows very well from what I have heard. The driveline is nearly bullet proof. A buddy of mine tows a loaded utility trailer for his job and close to 80K on it without any issues at all. 2011 and newer Explorer is the same driveline.
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Old 07-28-2013, 09:53 PM   #3
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I bought a Forerunner in December of 2010, to pull my coleman pop up. The forerunner did not have the weight or the horse power to satisfy my safety concerns. I traded it in for a 2011 Tundra six months after the purchase of the forerunner. I now pull a coachmen 23' trailer with great success. I know you said you did not want a pickup, and I guess you would be looking for a Lincoln from ford, or suburban from government motors.
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Old 07-28-2013, 10:22 PM   #4
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I had and liked my 2006 Honda Ridgeline. For camping it could carry firewood and other dirty stuff. It drives like a big car. The trunk in the bed is really cool. It has a tow rating of 5,000lbs.
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Old 07-28-2013, 11:09 PM   #5
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If you don't want a truck you're probably looking at full sized SUV. Myself I like Ford's Ecoboost engines. Power for towing out of smaller engines. So you got some ok mpg when serves double duty.
We're looking as well, and its hard to get an affordable tow vehicle and can also be a daily driver and not drink the gas.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:05 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chechako View Post
We just purchased a new Gulfstream Amerilite 21MB, dry weight 3300 lbs. We towed it home from Ohio to Vermont with our 2002 Toyota Highlander, and suspect that we are a bit underpowered. We were fine in the flatlands of the mid-west, but once we hit the mountains in New England, we moved along pretty slowly. Although we love our old Highlander (and it's paid for!), we'd like to trade up to a slightly more powerful (used) vehicle - one that can tow 5000 lbs. at least, but not a truck. It needs to serve as an around-town car most of the time. We like the Toyota Forerunner, but it's a bit pricey. Any suggestions?
What's your budget you want to stay under???

Your v6 has 222ft-lbs of torque and around the same in horsepower. So basically any newer V6 will have plenty more horsepower but torque is only going to be about 40ft-lbs better which is what you need to stay in a higher gear while cruising along. A transmission with more gear may also help as your tranny is overshooting to give you the torque and power you need, but one with more gears may allow you to overshoot less.

To be honest, you'll be best served with a V8, and i think any v6 will be pretty rev happy pulling your trailer, which is fine just annoying.
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Old 07-29-2013, 04:49 PM   #7
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I think you will have to compromise on something if you want an all purpose vehicle. Power, price or fuel ecomony. I tow with a minivan so i compromise on power although the ecoboosted flex has my attention....just wish i could afford one right now.
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Old 07-29-2013, 05:55 PM   #8
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First forget the 3300# dry weight. You will be over that when loaded and ready to camp. The brochure "dry weight" does not include any item listed as an option. On entry level trailers you will need to add weight for the microwave, TV, awning, batteries, full propane tanks plus all of your food and clothes. Typically, a trailer will be 500# to 1000# over the dry weight.

You need to look at the trailer GVWR. So realistically you need to be looking at a loaded weight of 4300# as a minimum.

Now you cannot believe the tow ratings on the trucks as well. They base there maximum tow weights based on a stripped base model. So for the Maximum towing weight you need to reduce your tow rating when you add passengers, cargo, and even a hitch. For a degree of safety, a lot of people will use 80% of the maximum tow rating to get a more realistic loaded tow rating.

As a practical tow vehicle, for a 3300# dry weight (plan on 4500# loaded weight) I would suggest a 1/2 ton rated vehicle. A Ford EcoBoost F150 would be a good one to look at.

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Old 07-29-2013, 06:58 PM   #9
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Agree with TX iceman. Look at the GVWR and then find the vehicle that can tow more than that and has the layout you want. Unless you have to buy new try finding something that is 1 to 3 years old. Saves money and you don't have to deal with the loss of value. JMHO, but your need at least 1/2 ton towable and you may want to go 3/4 ton in case you get a bigger TT later.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:04 PM   #10
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I assume you want a smaller vehicle to drive around town, to the mall etc.... But tow on the weekends.

I think your only bets are the 2008 V8 pathfinder. Yes in 2008 nissan put their amazing 5.6L V8 engine into the pathfinder which is in the same class and size as your highlander and 4runner. Toyota also put a V8 in the 4runner as well, but it's the weak 4.7L V8. Dodge also has the hemi 5.7L V8 durango and Hemi V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Also the ford explorer V8 which is a pretty weak 4.6L too.

In Summary:
--2008+ Nissan Pathfinder, amazing towing power.
--2003+ 4.7L 4runner, better towing but not by much.
--2006+ Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee. Great towing 5.7L Hemi V8 or weaker 4.7L V8.
--2003+ ford explorer with 4.6L v8.
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:53 PM   #11
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In Europe, you could tow that with a Ford Escort! I could tow it in the US with my '03 Kia Sedona (rated at 3500 pounds).
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:24 PM   #12
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In Europe, you could tow that with a Ford Escort! I could tow it in the US with my '03 Kia Sedona (rated at 3500 pounds).
The sedona is what my wife interested in. KIA got great warranty and shes had great luck with her 07.
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Old 07-30-2013, 06:31 AM   #13
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Thank you all for your thoughtful and valuable advice. Tomorrow we're going to look at a 2009 Dodge Durango SLT 4WD V8 @ $15,888, with only 36K miles on it. It's bigger than anything I'd want to drive around town, but my husband would be the one to drive it, anyway (I love my little Subaru Legacy station wagon). One advantage is that it's a local reputable dealer. I don't know if it has the hemi 5.7 engine, though. We'll know more when we see it.
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Old 08-06-2013, 11:43 PM   #14
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Thank you all for your thoughtful and valuable advice. Tomorrow we're going to look at a 2009 Dodge Durango SLT 4WD V8 @ $15,888, with only 36K miles on it. It's bigger than anything I'd want to drive around town, but my husband would be the one to drive it, anyway (I love my little Subaru Legacy station wagon). One advantage is that it's a local reputable dealer. I don't know if it has the hemi 5.7 engine, though. We'll know more when we see it.
Good choice. We love our 2004 Durango. The 5.7L is well worth it. Far more towing power and about the same mpg as the smaller 4.7L. We now have 130K miles on it without any troubles. Have used it to pull our 5000 pound trailer in rugged mountainous areas for 9 years now.
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