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Old 02-23-2008, 11:58 AM   #1
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We are in the process of looking for a small car for me to commute to work and one that would tow well behind our 30' Winnebago Sightseer. It would have to be gas efficient and be able to flat tow using a Blue Ox. Any suggestions??? We had reserved a SmartCar last August, but after test driving it today, decided against it.
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Old 02-23-2008, 11:58 AM   #2
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We are in the process of looking for a small car for me to commute to work and one that would tow well behind our 30' Winnebago Sightseer. It would have to be gas efficient and be able to flat tow using a Blue Ox. Any suggestions??? We had reserved a SmartCar last August, but after test driving it today, decided against it.
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:15 PM   #3
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Hi SewBzzzy,
I'm sure your going to get reply's with different recommendations. However, consider doing this a bit differently.
1. Determine your requirements for a car in everyday use.
2. Do some preliminary shopping (on line and at the dealer).
3. Every time you find a choice that fits your needs, ask to see the owner's manual.
4. Find, in the owner's manual if the vehicle can be towed four down.
5. If yes, add it to your list of possibilities. If no, move on.
6. If yes in #4 call Blue Ox and see if they make a base plate for this vehicle.

The owner's manual is the only place you'll find, in writing, what the manufacturer has determined are the capabilities of the vehicle.

Lastly, understand your coach hitch rating/limitations and the combined gross weight rating for your coach.

I tow a GMC ENVOY XUV 4X4 and 5075 lbs street weight. It meets my needs. Because it is kind of a speciality vehicle, it will not be the correct choice for many.
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Old 02-23-2008, 12:26 PM   #4
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Motorhome magazine's DINGHY TOWING GUIDE is a good place to start.

Everything listed is towable without aftermarket pumps, disconnects, etc.
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Old 02-23-2008, 05:41 PM   #5
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by GaryKD:
Hi SewBzzzy,
I'm sure your going to get reply's with different recommendations. However, consider doing this a bit differently.
1. Determine your requirements for a car in everyday use.
2. Do some preliminary shopping (on line and at the dealer).
3. Every time you find a choice that fits your needs, ask to see the owner's manual.
4. Find, in the owner's manual if the vehicle can be towed four down.
5. If yes, add it to your list of possibilities. If no, move on.
6. If yes in #4 call Blue Ox and see if they make a base plate for this vehicle.

The owner's manual is the only place you'll find, in writing, what the manufacturer has determined are the capabilities of the vehicle.

Lastly, understand your coach hitch rating/limitations and the combined gross weight rating for your coach.

I tow a GMC ENVOY XUV 4X4 and 5075 lbs street weight. It meets my needs. Because it is kind of a speciality vehicle, it will not be the correct choice for many. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

IMHO, I think that approach would be quite inefficient.

Get the MotorHome magazine 2008 Guide to Dingy Towing. It lists every vehicle that can be flat towed. There are only 67 total vehicles in that list that your 5000 lb tow rated rig can safely tow (I left a 500 lb margin of safety from the curb weights -- heavier than I would personally go). If you further narrow it down to desired fuel mileage, automatic vs. manual, 2wd vs. 4wd, I'll bet there are only a handful of vehicles out of that 67 that fit your needs. Then go shopping. Otherwise you'll be looking at dozens and dozens of cars that can't be flat towed by your rig.

We wanted a small 4WD SUV with automatic transmission, under 5000 lbs, no speed limit restrictions or special mechanical procedures involved. When we went through the list, we had a choice of three vehicles. Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Liberty and Saturn Vue. Sure saved us a ton of leg work looking at other vehicles that would not work.
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Old 02-23-2008, 06:34 PM   #6
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All depends on your own needs and wants and also how much you're motorhome is rated to tow safely.
Compromise is the name of the game.
Someone who camps and has to get to remote areas may need a vehicle with 4WD or, at least AWD. If not, you might want to go with the lightest car you can be comfortable with.
Do you need an automatic transmission or can you be happy with a manual shift.
I just replaced my old escort (auto with remco lube pump for transmission) with a focus. I debated, in the beginning, of getting a 4WD as I like to fish and hike. THe CRV looked to be the best weight for AWD, but I prefer real 4WD vehicles and that left just the heavy units like the Ranger or Jeep. If I got the ranger at 3400+ lbs I would have rapidly added several hundred pounds in the back bed. The jeep was around 3700 which was a half ton over my old escort. I looked at the chevy cobalt (caviler replacement) at 2600 lbs, which can be towed with auto but consumers suggests there might be reliability issues with them. I still debated getting one of them, but I ended up with a focus, with manual shift, because of a very large rebate for the leftover 2007 units. Focus is 2600 lbs but cannot be towed with an auto. Remco may make a lube pump for it but I am not sure on that. I drove a saturn but didn't like the speedometer in the center of the dash so I ruled that out. If it's going to be your main commuting car then go carefully and get the one that best fits you. I had the advantage of getting it mainly for a tow car and for use in winter when I don't want to get salt on my other car or van.

I had the escort with my 99 Winnebago Adventurer w/454 and never knew it was back there even in the mountains. It was a good weight I thought and suited my purpose.
I like to keep things as light as possible and still be happy with the comfort. If someone has back trouble they might need something like the Honda CRV as it's higher and easier to get into and that offsets the need for the lightest weight.
Good luck and don't rush your buy
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Old 02-24-2008, 02:11 AM   #7
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We've just bought a 2008 Challenger 377. Our two cars (not counting my 1971 MGB) are a PT Cruiser with automatic and a stock 2005 Mini Cooper S, manual transmission. You might guess I like small cars!

As part of the purchase, I negotiated a BlueOx installation in the Mini. That was done this last week. Yesterday, for the first time, I drove an RV with a toad. Although only about 80 miles, mostly on Interstates, I found the Mini towed well, even without (yet) adding a brake assist. Not having a lot of miles on the Challenger, I can't say I noticed much difference in its handling while towing the 2700 pound Mini.

As to the Mini itself, we are a family of two with three dogs (and a parrot!) I've taken out the back seat of the Mini, replacing it with a flat bed extender covered with carpeting. That makes it easier for the three Keeshonden.

The 2005 Mini is supercharged, not turbochaged like the new Minis, and is a great little car to drive. Goes like a bat out of h*//. Which works well as my 40 mile commute is almost entirely on Interstates 57,80 and 294.

Paul, Park Forest IL
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Old 02-24-2008, 11:46 AM   #8
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We are also new to MotorHoming. We have a fleetwood bounder 36Z and decided on a Chevy HHR for many of the reasons suggested by others. Four wheel down towable, 3100# towing wt., driven daily by DW to work. We love the car eventhough we haven't even been able to tow it yet (just got duo set up for towing over winter & impatiently waiting for spring). It's just a great little car that's fun to drive. Good Luck on your search.
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Old 02-24-2008, 04:18 PM   #9
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Wow!!! What wonderful advice from all of you!! I've been looking, researching and have yet to test drive a few....but have narrowed it down to two or three - A jeep wrangler, Mini Cooper or Honda Element....all with manual trans. My husband and I have driven manual trans for many years, and find them fun to drive. As mentioned, this will be my work vehicle as well as our TOAD, and it has to be able to handle these Michigan winters! Have many of you towed the Coopers before? What about the 2006 or 2007 models? What about towing a Wrangler? Any problems? I haven't looked up it's weight yet. Thank you!
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