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Looking for a tow vehicle!

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Old 07-04-2017, 10:16 AM   #1
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Default Looking for a tow vehicle!

Hello S2ki hive-mind!

I'm looking for a modest multipurpose vehicle that can tow a car, around 2500lb, on an open trailer - which I have not sourced yet. I expect total trailer weight to be under 4500lb.

With that said, it'll be used for towing maybe 5% of the year. 95% of the time, it'll serve as a daily driver (fuel mileage, comfort), family car (safety features, wife approval), dog car (loading height, rear room for two 70lb dogs), and a camping/ski trip car (cram as much people and crap as possible, AWD). Thus, trucks are out of the picture. A manual transmission would be a plus but I realize it's a rarity in this segment. Looking to spend no more than $15k.

I'm posting in the R&C forum as I'm mostly concerned about the reliability/usability of these things as tow rigs.

So far, I have a top-3 of:
'06+ Volvo XC90 V8
'10+ Ford Flex Ecoboost
3/4/5th gen 4Runner

Clearly, I haven't really nailed down the 4Runner but the 3rd gen is appealing if only due to the option to get a manual transmission. The later gens are certainly more refined and have better safety features. Also, we like the roll-down rear window for the dogs. The Flex seems practical due to its low loading height and spaciousness and it also looks more fun to drive than the rest. The XC90 looks to be the best highway mileage-eater. Plus, it's got lots of nifty features regarding safety and usability.

To give perspective to what we've used to, we've had an '11 Subaru Outback and now a Volvo V70R. The Outback was bought new and we loved it but it blew up at 80k, leaving a very sour taste in my mouth. I would consider a 3.6R if it could tow more than 2500lb... The V70R is cool but I don't like it as much as I hoped I would. Towing capacity is only 3500lb otherwise I may have considered keeping it.

Does anyone have experience with any of these vehicles or maybe suggest something that I've missed that also fits the bill?
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Old 07-04-2017, 01:38 PM   #2
 
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Too bad you're not in Ohio as my 2007 Ford Expedition is for sale. Will tow 9000 pounds so an S2000 and trailer won't make it strain.

-- Chuck
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Old 07-04-2017, 03:21 PM   #3
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Best deal for dollar is a 5.4 Expidition with factory tow package. 1/3 the price of F150 pickup with options, many people get 250,000 or more miles no problems.
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Old 07-04-2017, 05:29 PM   #4
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Thanks Chuck. I don't mind traveling, albeit Ohio is a bit far, but I don't know if I could swallow daily driving a Ford Expedition! The towing use case is maybe 5% of what I'll be using this vehicle for so I'm trying to optimize the selection as much as I can.
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Old 07-05-2017, 04:22 AM   #5
 
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I currently tow with a 2011 Jeep grand cherokee with the v8 Hemi and tow package. Great daily driver around town, and it gets 21-22mpg hwy when not towing(cylinder deactivation helps). It tows the s2000 on open trailer with no issues. I would skip the v8 volvo as one in your price range would be up there in miles and parts likely won't be cheap. Did you consider a Toyota sequoia V8. Don't know much about them but would think that would check your boxes.
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Old 07-05-2017, 07:34 AM   #6
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Look at the VW Touareg Diesel. 7700 pound towing capacity, diesel fuel economy, AWD, plenty of space, wife-friendly driving dynamics. If you can afford to buy one in warranty, it makes a fantastic do-all vehicle.
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Old 07-05-2017, 08:13 AM   #7
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky_Flowers_ View Post
Look at the VW Touareg Diesel. 7700 pound towing capacity, diesel fuel economy, AWD, plenty of space, wife-friendly driving dynamics. If you can afford to buy one in warranty, it makes a fantastic do-all vehicle.
Then costs an arm, leg, kidney, 1st born just to keep it going once out of warranty lol.When i worked for VW brakes where ~1K and battery ~500 since its under the drivers seat. Cheaper to do these yourself, but something to consider.

I've got a 16 Tacoma V6 and it tows open trailer no issue. Its comfy, quiet, safe and averaging about 23-24MPG daily with it. rated at 6500LBS
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Old 07-05-2017, 09:44 AM   #8
 
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Having gone through a similar dilemma a few years back I landed on a 4th gen 4Runner with the v8. So far I love it. Only downside is that they are hard to find in good condition and can be priced fairly high since they are so reliable and sought after.

Like you, I only tow a few times a year. The 4Runner is small enough that it doesn't feel like I'm driving a school bus. I upgraded the radio and everything else has been great. I would get a Sport or Limited to ensure you get the bigger front brakes.

I think it fits your budget pretty well compared to what most other people are recommending.
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Old 07-05-2017, 10:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LeonV View Post
I'm looking for a modest multipurpose vehicle that can tow a car, around 2500lb, on an open trailer - which I have not sourced yet. I expect total trailer weight to be under 4500lb.
it'll serve as a daily driver (fuel mileage, comfort), family car (safety features, wife approval), dog car (loading height, rear room for two 70lb dogs), and a camping/ski trip car (cram as much people and crap as possible, AWD). Thus, trucks are out of the picture. A manual transmission would be a plus but I realize it's a rarity in this segment. Looking to spend no more than $15k.



Clearly, I haven't really nailed down the 4Runner but the 3rd gen is appealing if only due to the option to get a manual transmission. The later gens are certainly more refined and have better safety features. Also, we like the roll-down rear window for the dogs. The Flex seems practical due to its low loading height and spaciousness and it also looks more fun to drive than the rest. The XC90 looks to be the best highway mileage-eater. Plus, it's got lots of nifty features regarding safety and usability.


Does anyone have experience with any of these vehicles or maybe suggest something that I've missed that also fits the bill?
I'll add the Nissan Xterra to the list of vehicles that would fit your needs: 4500lb towing capacity, good mpg for daily driving, comfortable to drive, safety features, dog friendly, AWD for your camping and ski adventures, and availability with a manual transmission.
I had one for about three years and it was a great daily driver / race car tow vehicle. My race car is about 2400lbs + 1,600 lbs for the trailer + anywhere from 250-350 lbs of spares (tires, wheels, tools, spare transmission, axles, etc.) and it pulled all over Arizona and So Cal in the summer heat with zero issues. In fact if I had not switched over to an enclose trailer, I probably would have never sold it. The v6 gets great mileage, has plenty of power to pull an open trailer with the weight that you've specified, and has a great reputation for being reliable. For an SUV it drives well and is easy to park due the medium size dimensions and tight turning radius (I've since "upgraded" to a Nissan Titan and I can't say the same for it's agility, LOL). The rear cargo area is plastic and easily washable for the pets. I'd recommend getting a carpet or rug or something for them so they don't slide around. The rear seats fold down to make a flat plane, even with the rear cargo area floor, which gives you a massive amount of storage space for track events or even to sleep in for camping. It's available in AWD and a manual transmission, as well.
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Old 07-05-2017, 01:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snowmants View Post
I currently tow with a 2011 Jeep grand cherokee with the v8 Hemi and tow package. Great daily driver around town, and it gets 21-22mpg hwy when not towing(cylinder deactivation helps). It tows the s2000 on open trailer with no issues. I would skip the v8 volvo as one in your price range would be up there in miles and parts likely won't be cheap. Did you consider a Toyota sequoia V8. Don't know much about them but would think that would check your boxes.
I have considered a Sequoia in the past but it's just too big for my needs. I'm sure at some point I'll go to a full-size body-on-frame truck but it's not practical at this point. This is however why the 4Runner is on the list as it's essentially a downsized Sequoia.

From the various feedback I'm getting, the Volvo does seem more and more to be the #3 choice of the three I mentioned due to exactly what you say. I imagine it's a bit of a pain to work on with that V8 shoved in there sideways.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ricky_Flowers_ View Post
Look at the VW Touareg Diesel. 7700 pound towing capacity, diesel fuel economy, AWD, plenty of space, wife-friendly driving dynamics. If you can afford to buy one in warranty, it makes a fantastic do-all vehicle.
Good suggestion but I'm deathly afraid of maintaining VAG products!

Quote:
Originally Posted by humbucker87 View Post
Having gone through a similar dilemma a few years back I landed on a 4th gen 4Runner with the v8. So far I love it. Only downside is that they are hard to find in good condition and can be priced fairly high since they are so reliable and sought after.

Like you, I only tow a few times a year. The 4Runner is small enough that it doesn't feel like I'm driving a school bus. I upgraded the radio and everything else has been great. I would get a Sport or Limited to ensure you get the bigger front brakes.

I think it fits your budget pretty well compared to what most other people are recommending.
Thanks for the feedback! It seems the most sensible choice of the bunch with it being a Toyota truck, i.e. unbreakable. Any more insider tips on the 4th gen 4Runner? Things you love and hate?
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