Anyone have reviews of midsize SUV towing PERFORMANCE (not just capacity)?

Discussion in 'Tow Vehicles, Hitch & Towing' started by nickap, Sep 20, 2018.

  1. nickap

    nickap Member

    Sep 17, 2017
    My wife and I have been towing our Rockwood 2317g (about 2000 pounds dry) with our 2007 Odyssey, and while the van tows it easily enough, it's not always the most fun experience; I have to be careful how I load the van and popup to avoid occasional bottoming out, and to limit 'bounce' in the back of the vehicle. (I tried to install air bags but the suspension flange bolt is locked to the bearing inside the suspension arm so can't be removed without a very expensive visit to the repair shop.) We're fine with it for now, but at some point the Odyssey is going to die and we're planning on replacing it with a midsize SUV with 3rd row seating and a better towing package than the Ody's 3500 lb. I know that the Kia Sorento, Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot all have configurations rated at 5000 lb which is great, but I'm wondering if anyone has any real-world experience and recommendations about these vehicles, or any others you'd recommend? I'm wondering about things like suspension issues, sway, and overall handling - as well as which SUVs have the better equipment, e.g. wiring harnesses for towing and so on.
  2. NMroamer

    NMroamer Active Member

    Apr 21, 2016
    Albuquerque NM
    First thing I would suggest is look for a factory seven pin connector and tow package.
    Tow capacity means nothing if the vehicle does not come equipped to handle it.
  3. mattlreese

    mattlreese Active Member

    Sep 6, 2017
    My 2018 Chrysler Pacifica would tow your setup with ease. I have a 2500 lb dry and while I would like to add airbags (they are not yet available) I have never had anything bottom out.

    We have been looking at the Subaru Ascent to replace my wife's outback and it has 5000 lbs towing capacity. All wheel drive also gives the Subaru a lot of power and acceleration so it should perform better towing.
  4. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    Why limit to foreign made SUV? American made SUV does really do good job towing.
    1380ken and jnc like this.
  5. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California

    try finding out what the GVRW (max weight) of your popup rather than dry weight. This is how you determine if your tow vehicle can tow the max weight popup. Many vehicles can tow dry weight of popup but NOT max weight of popup.
  6. mpking

    mpking Well-Known Member

    Jun 17, 2014
    Raynham, MA
    I have a 2015 Toyota Highlander. It's a 2015 XLE, which comes with the tow prep, but you have to add the hitch and the brake controller. Other 2015 trims do not have tow prep. After 2016, every highlander had tow prep standard with the V6. I tow my Rockwood 2280. It's about 2050 dry, and 3100 GVWR. I towed with a 2006 Highlander (3500lbs), and the 2015 (5000lbs). It's a noticeable better experience. Or to put it another way. I would NEVER tow with water in the 2006, since I felt it was too much. I've done it a few times in the 2015 and even forgot that I had water in it.
  7. nickap

    nickap Member

    Sep 17, 2017
    Thanks for the tip on the Ascent - that one isn't rated on Consumer Reports yet, but I checked it out and it looks very interesting!
  8. nickap

    nickap Member

    Sep 17, 2017
    No reason, I'm just exploring the options that are best-rated, on Consumer Reports and others. So far it's been mainly imports, but I'd be very happy to go with an American brand, if there is one that gets good reviews. I was interested in the Chevy Traverse, but it's got low gas mileage and CR has it rated poorly for reliability.
  9. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    I have yet to see review for tow rating of SUV's unless I missed it. I know that TV with factory installed tow package are rated higher.
  10. Dingit

    Dingit Active Member

    Mar 8, 2017
    My parents have towed a small trailer (not a popup) all over western mountains with a recent model stock Dodge Durango with a v8. It gets terrible mileage towing but after camping with them recently, I'm pretty sure it's partly because my dad drives too fast.

    They are very pleased with it as a tow vehicle.
  11. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    my parents had been subscribing to CR until they noticed that CR prefer to place foreign made products higher than the American made. They think CR is biased against American made products. That's what they tell me.
    Adam H likes this.
  12. Halford

    Halford Well-Known Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    Santa Clarita, California
    Dodge has terrible gas mileage but tows great as far as I know. The trick is to watch transmission fluid.. change it earlier than manufactor's set schedule.
  13. JimmyM

    JimmyM Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2014
    Franklin, MA
    No. Wiser. Words.
  14. tenttrailer

    tenttrailer Art & Joyce - Columbus, O

    Jul 18, 2013
    Thornville, OH
    I tow my trailmanor with a 2012 highlander. It has a tongue weight around 450 and the trailer loaded it is around 4000 lbs. It does fine. I did go to a WDH to take up a little rear sag.

    Just make sure you get one with the tow package. Toyota tow package includes a very large double stacked trans cooler, different radiator, oil cooler and different electric fans.

    I installed the OEM factory hitch package because it has 3-4 more inches hitch to ground clearance then any after market hitch.
  15. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

    I just have to add in here that our Explorer tows our 3350lb Pup with ease even with the rear of the Explorer full of gear. We do all of our camping in New England. This means we are always going up or down hills with some Mountain climbing involved and the Explorer handles it all Great. I can even leave it in overdrive turned on unless its a very long uphill pull. The best thing about the Explorer is the amount interior space. Good Luck in your search.
    Halford likes this.
  16. GalsofEscape

    GalsofEscape Active Member

    Nov 26, 2013
    yeah - Dodge always comes out near the bottom for reliability on the consumer reports, but i have been very pleased with my 3rd gen V8 Durango. I towed a 3800 lb gvwr highwall popup with it, the only way i knew the camper was back there was the hit on the gas mileage (down to 13 mpg from 22) and the camper blocking the rearview mirror. Gas mileage should be better with a lower popup. Anyway, we towed that highwall for 5 years and covered alot of the USA with it. I now tow a hybrid camper with it and get 8 mpg - but from what i hear from the gasser truck guys -they also get about 8-9 mpg towing a full size trailer, so i figure the Durango holds its own. My Durango now has 113,000 miles on it of which about 25,000 of that was towing - have had no reliability issues at all.
  17. Adam H

    Adam H Active Member

    Aug 22, 2015
    I have found that 99% of SUV's will go 15 years / 200K + with good maintenance and few problems no matter what Consumer Reports spews. Point is, find one you like and if buying used one taken care of. Kind of like buying a PUP....
    theseus likes this.
  18. Orchid

    Orchid Sharp Shootin' Grandma

    We installed air bags in our Odyssey no problem. BUT, they are not that great anyway. They lose air on long drives, so we are getting ready to install these. Looks to be an extremely easy DIY.

    To speak to your original question, my daughter and SIL recently got a Nissan Armada w/tow package, and say it tows their hybrid great, which is saying something. Their hybrid is not a nice tow, they had trouble with it with two other vehicles. It needs a WDH, even though it's light, and is just generally tow unfriendly ... must be the layout or something.
  19. WVhillbilly

    WVhillbilly Well-Known Member

    Jun 6, 2018
    soft 17 and jmkay1 like this.
  20. emoney

    emoney Well-Known Member

    Jul 7, 2018
    Are you using a WDH on the Odessy? If not, I’d recommend you get one to solve that bottoming out issue. You can move it to the next TV as well and you’ll be very happy you made that choice.

    Lots of SUVs are built on a car chassis and st the end of the day, they just won’t tow as well as a truck or something built on a truck chassis. As for “good mpg” I’m not sure you can put that in the same sentence as towing, lol, but what are you after, assuming you’re talking about unhooked?

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