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Old 07-21-2021, 07:31 AM   #1
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Explorer vs other SUVs?

I am looking into a non-truck for towing a small trailer. The Little Guy Max is what we are planning on getting ... this year or next.

It seems the advice is to get the trailer first and then pick the tow vehicle.
In my case, we currently have no tow vehicle and if we get the TT this year it would likely sit in storage. I would like to get a new vehicle next year or, end of this year.

Anyway, I am considering a new Honda Pilot or Ford Explorer. It would be with max engine and tow package in either case.. I have seen that Ford claims 5600 lb tow capacity with the Explorer vs. the Pilot with 5000 lb.
Is this real? Does the Explorer really have more tow capacity or is this just marketing and specmanship?

Thx
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:57 AM   #2
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On any given product line, the tow capacity varies a lot. Similar and sometimes seemingly identical individual vehicles have different capacities.

Published capacities for pickup trucks seem to be better than for cars and SUV's, but even they can be confusing.

The Federally mandated stickers often found in the driver's door frame are the definitive capacity for that individual vehicle. Visit a dealer's lot and look at a few driver's door stickers to get an idea for the variation.

First "pick" your travel trailer. Check the sticker on the left front of the TT for gross vehicle weight. Then search for a tow vehicle with capacity to tow it. Then buy both.

TT gross vehicle weight sticker greater than 80% of tow vehicle capacity sticker is in questionable range. Do the math before committing to either.

I wish you good luck and happy trails ahead!
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Old 07-21-2021, 09:53 AM   #3
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Probably on any SUV, or more particularly, you are looking at Crossover Utility Vehicles, look at the payload as well. The tongue weight with the load of passengers and gear could put you over the limit.

I have been surprised how well various rear wheel drive SUVs I have owned performed in the snow/ice versus a pickup because of the added weight over the rear wheels. Also, as a comparison, my 2001 Tahoe with 3rd row seating actually had a beefed up suspension and larger rear disc brakes. All of this says that SUVs and CUVS may have lower payloads than a truck.

Persistent suggested not to exceed 80% of the tow rating, I would probably be a little more conservative, sticking with 70% or so.
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Old 07-21-2021, 10:06 AM   #4
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Sounds like you better just buy a kenworth.
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Old 07-21-2021, 10:12 AM   #5
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Sounds like you better just buy a kenworth.
I did not check out the specs on his proposed TT he is going to buy. I am speaking more to the towing capacity in general for an Explorer or a Pilot. If the trailer is a 3000 pound trailer with the tongue weight of 400 pounds, you may be fine. If the TT is 4850 pounds with a tongue weight 750 pounds, you may be pushing your luck.
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Old 07-21-2021, 10:21 AM   #6
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If its rated for 5600 lbs its good for at least that, but you guys want additiional super plus safety factor, might as well get it all.
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Old 07-21-2021, 10:45 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by carybosse View Post
I did not check out the specs on his proposed TT he is going to buy. I am speaking more to the towing capacity in general for an Explorer or a Pilot. If the trailer is a 3000 pound trailer with the tongue weight of 400 pounds, you may be fine. If the TT is 4850 pounds with a tongue weight 750 pounds, you may be pushing your luck.
https://golittleguy.com/lg-max/

4200# GVWR..

So, I'd expect about 500-550# hanging on the ball...

Both vehicles are within range for that trailer, with a Weight Distribution hitch...

The Explorer has a bigger rating, and that 3litre Nano engine is good...

Look at the door stickers, find out how many pounds they can carry, subtract 550, and see how many pounds remain...

Remember, they only allow 150# for a driver in the curb weight calculations, so add any extra weight you carry as well as all passengers and pets and groceries and beer... (Beer is heavy. Maybe switch to whiskey?)

Make sure you've got enough 'headroom' for error after all that...

Then drive them...
Straight line stability is key, longer wheelbase will help immensely.
A trailer will make itself known behind you, and the tow vehicle's resistance to being pushed by the wind and road conditions will give insight into how well it tows...

While you're at the Ford store, check out an F-150 with the 2.7... similar pricing to an Explorer, and very quiet in the higher trim levels (302a and up) and you don't have to get a bench seat up front they are a much more capable T.V. and fuel economy unladen is similar too...
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Old 07-21-2021, 11:06 AM   #8
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Using GVWR is overly pessimistic, IMO. I would never load up the LGM to its limit. The one we looked at has a dry weight of 3200lb. I don't see us adding more than 500lb max to the trailer. So, that brings us to 3700lb, with < 500lb tongue weight.
The rest I agree with.
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Old 07-21-2021, 11:43 AM   #9
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I see the GVWR is 4000 - 4200 lbs. I guess that range is if you get the off road package or not. Also I see they list it at being 21 feet long. You will want at least 114" wheelbase on your tow vehicle. That should be easy to do I think. A longer wheelbase will help control the trailer.

My knee jerk answer is that will be ok to tow behind a lot of SUV's. Any SUV with a 5,000lb tow capacity and 114" wheelbase should work.

If you have 2 SUV's you like get the one with the longer wheelbase.

I personally like the Toyota Highlander with a 5,000lb tow capacity.

But what if you guys like it. What if in two years you want something a little bigger. I agree with don't poo poo trucks just yet. Check out the F-150 lite. The one with the 2.7 Eco-Boost engine. Drive it and if it does not make you smile then don't buy it. That truck will easily tow the Little Guy Maxx plus your next slightly bigger trailer.
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Old 07-21-2021, 11:53 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by NH_guy View Post
Using GVWR is overly pessimistic, IMO. I would never load up the LGM to its limit. The one we looked at has a dry weight of 3200lb. I don't see us adding more than 500lb max to the trailer. So, that brings us to 3700lb, with < 500lb tongue weight.
The rest I agree with.
A couple of notes from the website:

* All weights are starting points for the base models without common or mandatory factory options.

** Due to current supply constraints, fresh and gray tanks may vary slightly in size from unit to unit.




I love the comment on the tanks, we just mount what ever we can find.

On the weights, I understand the base weight might not include common options, but it doesn't include MANDATORY options? How is an OPTION actually MANDATORY, doesn't sound very optional to me.

You may be surprised, but if you haul a full load of water, that could be over 160 pounds alone. (8.3 pounds per gallon, 20 gallons, 166 pounds)May not take long to put more than 500 pounds in the trailer.

BINGO: A google search located a towing guide for a 2021 Ford Explorer. Actually looks pretty decent to me.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Prelm21Towing_Ford_Explorer_Jul31.pdf (1.73 MB, 11 views)
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Old 07-21-2021, 04:54 PM   #11
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That frontal area is a tough thing to caculate because the front of the trailer is rounded. There is probably a way to estimate the angle of the front and size of the front and come up with a close frontal area.

I did not know Ford made a 3.0 lite Eco-Boost but that is the engine to get.
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Old 07-21-2021, 06:59 PM   #12
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Yeah, I am liking the Ford Explorer ST if I stick with SUV. I will also look into a F150 or Dodge RAM 1500.

Would anybody be able to suggest models for these? The Ford web site had me very confused with the F150.
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Old 07-21-2021, 07:16 PM   #13
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Yeah, I am liking the Ford Explorer ST if I stick with SUV. I will also look into a F150 or Dodge RAM 1500.

Would anybody be able to suggest models for these? The Ford web site had me very confused with the F150.
Get the hybrid. You can use it as a generator while parked, and it has an available 30 amp plug in the bed. Perfect for towing a trailer.
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Old 07-21-2021, 08:48 PM   #14
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IMHO, I would go with the Ford Explorer ST over the Highlander. 9” longer wheelbase, which is huge. Certainly much more payload capacity too, especially in AWD trim. Finally, the domestics have been doing tow vehicles for a LONG time and know what they’re doing. Some foreign makes don’t even allow weight distributing hitches because they deform the frame/body. However, for my hard-earned money, I would avoid both and find a one year old Ford Expedition XLT. Now that’s the ticket. Only 11” longer than Explorer and infinitely more capable tow vehicle (TV). If you decide to upgrade in the future, then no need to upgrade your TV.
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