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Old 07-13-2013, 12:45 AM   #1
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Fuel economy when pulling a hybrid.

HI everyone,
I'm new here, and I have a young family. The wife and I have been going back and forth about getting an older motorhome, or getting a small hybrid or pop-up. Supposedly our new minivan can pull 3500lbs, which should fit with several of the 16-18 foot hybrid campers I've seen. What I wonder is how well they pull behind a minivan, and what king of fuel economy you get with that. One of my friends said that with his pop-up he only loses 1-2 mpg, which makes it very economical and a selling point.
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Old 07-13-2013, 01:17 AM   #2
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Welcome!

You will get some responses, but I know nothing about pulling a pop up. They can cost quit a bit. Maybe, with a young family, why not consider just getting a large tent to use with the minivan.

Regardless, have fun camping. Enjoy life!
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Old 07-13-2013, 03:56 AM   #3
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I'm sure some will chime in here regarding GVWR.
Keeping weight down will be very important. Drive trains can get overtaxed easily. I'm assuming 3500 lbs would include trailer and contents.
I have seen popups and small hybrids behind minivans.

We towed a 1500 lb popup (plus cargo) behind my old Caprice for several years of grand fun. It was enough to handle.

Cant help you on MPG, but expect it would beat any MH mileage by quite a bit.
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Old 07-13-2013, 08:33 PM   #4
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As far as getting a small hybrid plus cargo your going to be pushing it...to be under the 3500 limit of any minivan. We started tenting camping for about 12 years and then moved up to a medium sized Coleman pop-up. The pup weighted 2000 lbs dry and by about the time we added 500+ lbs of "stuff" (bikes, people, food, beer, cloths, firewood) The pup only had a hitch weight of 130 lbs while a hybrid your going to be looking at least 300 lbs. Our first hybrid (2005) had a dry hitch of 325 which at the time was very light. Our new (2013) hybrid is 550 at the hitch.

With the 1999 Coleman pop-up we got 16 mpg with a V-6 powered SUV. I would get 23 MPG without towing with this vehicle. With our 2013 hybrid (25' & about 5000 lbs wet) hybrid we get 12 mpg towing with a V-8 powered SUV. Without towing I get 23mpg hy-way with this vehicle.

I think your going to be looking at a medium to larger sized pop-up. Even the largest of pop-ups are pushing 3000lbs while some of the "high wall" pop-ups are at 3500lbs.
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Old 07-13-2013, 10:29 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone, especially Superslif. I've definitely seen some huge pop-ups out there, ones even pushing over 4000 lbs. As for the hybrids/expandables, they smaller set that I've seen are about 2500 lbs dry, and 3500lbs GVWR, so we'd have to keep it to that. We're not especially bike people, and with the firewood restrictions, we can bring that most places either. We'd probably look for places with hook-ups so I think we could leave the fresh water tank empty for travel too. But do you think this will be a bigger burden than its worth? My wife likes the idea of having a real though tiny bathroom, and being able to stop and eat lunch wherever without having to set the whole thing up. Also camping in parks that might have bears. And finally the organization of all our camping gear with the available storage in the hard sided camper.

Are my reasons too flimsy? Do you have better ones for getting an expandable over a pop-up? Is this crazy wishful thinking?

I should also add that we're in Minnesota, so we're talking mostly flat terrain, and I see myself more of driving miss daisy than the fast and the furious when it comes to the minivan and towing.
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Old 07-14-2013, 01:00 AM   #6
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asking a minivan to pull a full-height trailer, like a hybrid, is not generally recommended. the air resistance will be a huge strain on the engine/transmission. in fact, most minivans have a frontal area limit which all full-height trailers will exceed.

most hybrids that have GVWR's of 3500lbs., have super low cargo capacities.
after accounting for the weights of "options" that all trailer have(awning, oven, spare tire, microwave, a/c, battery) which are not in the "dry" weight), you end up with very little left over for cargo, water and propane.

and your 3500 number is usually rated with only a 150lb. driver in it, so the weights of the passengers/cargo in the van, will reduce that 3500 number.

i've owned popups and now own a hybrid. if it were my family, i'd go with a popup if i only had a minivan to tow with.

as far as gas mileage, the hybrid will give you about 8-9 mpg, the popup usually is 14-15 mpg.
the air resistance of the front of the hybrid is a bigger factor in mpg, than the weight of the trailer.
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Old 07-21-2013, 04:00 PM   #7
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Same thoughts as above. I've had minivans , Durangos, Jeeps, and pickup trucks towing pop ups and now a 19' hybrid. I would not pull a hybrid with a minivan. Sorry but it even if you meet all the requirements but just barely the TT will start moving your TV around and make driving nerve racking if not ill advised. Gas mileage will be terrible as well.
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Old 07-30-2013, 03:41 PM   #8
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The only minivan I would be comfortable towing with is either a Chevy Astro, or its GM counterpart, the Safari.

We tow our Jayco X17z with a Chevy Astro, and it is rated at 5000 lbs. Our Jayco is 3500 GVWR, and with two of us, our gear, food and two Golden Retrievers, I can tell you, that van works HARD. It can handle it, but as soon as we can afford it, I want to upgrade to a larger Chevy Express 3/4 Ton Van.

As to our mileage, the Chevy get's about 18 to 20 around town with no trailer, and maybe 22 on the open road with no trailer. When it's pulling the trailer we get 10 to 12, and I suspect that is pretty normal. As others have said it's the wind resistance factor more than the trailer weight that affects the mpg.

If I were you, I would look to get a nice pop up until you can upgrade to a more capable TV.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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We towed a 1963 Fan Lee Liner 16 ft trailer behind our 2006 Ford Freestar minivan for 3 yrs without a problem. The van is rated to tow 3500 lbs. , & I was using every bit of those 3500 lbs. , it towed just fine.
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Old 07-30-2013, 07:35 PM   #10
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Oh, we got 8-11 mpg , depending on conditions while towing. If it was hilly, or windy, it woul be 8-9 mpg. If it wasn't hilly or windy, I could ru it in overdrive at 60-65 mph & get 10-11.
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Old 08-04-2013, 02:30 AM   #11
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Yes towing a hybrid with a minivan is ??? at best. The suspensions on a mini-van are too soft to handle the air being forced to push the box of a "full height" RV trailer.
Depending on the model of a 16' or 17' hybrid, the hitch weight would be over the minivans limit. I would think most minivans would have a hitch limit under 350lbs.

And yes again The short 16' or 17' hybrids have "0" counter space, "0" storage, "0" slides, no couch...
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Old 08-05-2013, 06:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superslif View Post
Yes towing a hybrid with a minivan is ??? at best. The suspensions on a mini-van are too soft to handle the air being forced to push the box of a "full height" RV trailer.
Depending on the model of a 16' or 17' hybrid, the hitch weight would be over the minivans limit. I would think most minivans would have a hitch limit under 350lbs.

And yes again The short 16' or 17' hybrids have "0" counter space, "0" storage, "0" slides, no couch...
Our X17Z Jayco has a couch, as well as a dinette and enough counter space to be workable. Storage is not great, but it's enough if you plan and pack well.

The biggest issue with a minivan is pulling the height of the trailer. My Astro can handle it, but would sure like to upgrade to a larger van with a higher tow rating.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:33 AM   #13
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if you're still wandering about mpg with towing a pop up, I had a 2004 viking 1906st (about 2200lbs) pulled by a 2003 mitsubishi montero sport 2wd 3.0 V6. 350 mile trip from Lubbock-->Ruidoso NM I got 16mpg going there and 20mpg coming back. I usually got 20mpg running 70-75 empty. With the trailer I'd run 60-65mph. With a 5000lb full size trailer I'd get 8 so with 3500lbs I'd expect 10ish
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:10 AM   #14
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It is a simple decision.
It is not about mpg or saving the planet.
It is about how much comfort do you want and how much comfort
are you willing to give up
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