Best SUV for hauling popup or Toyota Tacoma?

Discussion in 'First Time & New Camper Owners' started by Clara, Feb 11, 2021.

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  1. Clara

    Clara New Member

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    Hi. We have a small Coleman popup which weights 1250 pounds, but we also haul bikes, etc and want to get a better hauler than our Subaru Forester, especially for going over mountain passes in the west. Can you give us suggestions for a SUV with relatively good gas mileage and safety? What do you drive that you love? OR we could get a Toyota Tacoma for camping and keep the Forester for in town driving! Thanks for your ideas.
     
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  2. NMroamer

    NMroamer Well-Known Member

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    Have been towing various pop ups all over New Mexico and Southern Colorado since 2001 with several Tacoma's.
    Very happy with mine.
    The Tacoma I have now pulls a 2100 lb camper quite easily.
     
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  3. kitphantom

    kitphantom Well-Known Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    We towed our two popups (sub 800# and 2500#) with our '05 4Runner. Even towed our 3500# TT with it for a while, but it was a bit stressed. It has been a great vehicle. The plan is to replace it with another 4Runner when the time comes. (it has 200K miles on it, still doing well).
     
  4. Eric Webber

    Eric Webber Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    B9C5E845-32FF-480C-87A7-432D91CFCA9D.jpeg AB09FE0E-79DD-4398-80F4-8C545BBE548A.jpeg 2C328D29-90AF-4AC2-8C0A-B85E370F3ECE.jpeg 8A9B82F2-7C1C-4D17-9888-FFB9E0F9D146.jpeg Volvo XC90
     
  5. Annunzi

    Annunzi Active Member

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    Webber with the pimpin' Volvo ride, very nice!
    We tow our HW277 with an Audi Q5, and with the trailer brakes and the WDH, it tows confidently.
     
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  6. Anthony Hitchings

    Anthony Hitchings Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Tow with Jeep Liberty KK model (2008-2012). After market to hitch and wiring. IF I wanted to - I could add the extra mechanical radiator fan that goes with a tow package. Works fine on our Aliner. We avoid the egregriously steep and winding passes.
     
  7. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Well-Known Member

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    They are having a shoot out on another thread so I guess I will start one here. Ford Excursion V-10 gas or 7.3 diesel. They will drag a Subaru with a pup and a Toyota with a pup faster up hill than either can run down hill on their own:)> How did I do? Seriously you can't have too much horsepower or too big of brakes. other than that you will be a winner. The brand doesn't to me matter in todays market a true 10 cent difference in vehicles would put the other company out of business. Now, you could say junk them all and that might not be a bad idea. you do need weight to hold your rig on the road believe it or not. When a Bull Wagon passes you going in either direction he could easily be running between 80 and 90. Don't think they can't and don't do it is the nature of their business. They have to un load those cows after so many hours and let them rest and get water. If they can save 8 hours headed out to Shaky they are going to drop the hammer and let the good time roll. Just stay out of their way.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2021
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  8. gladecreekwy

    gladecreekwy Well-Known Member

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    Tacoma. Loved mine. Gave it up for a Tundra . Too small for a TT, two kids, dogs and gear but fun on dirt
     
  9. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    I have a Toyota 4 Runner and it is a great reliable tow vehicle for popups. Mine is my grocery getter and commuter vehicle as well. Although gas mileage sure as heck isn’t what your forester can get, I really can’t complain too much. When I first bought it I also had a small sedan mainly because I wasn’t going to get squat for trade in so figured why not keep it until it died. Good thing I did as my brother had a bigger need for it when his car got stolen. It did take some getting used to for the higher maintenance costs compared to the sedan but considering the age I only needed to bring it in for normal wear and tear stuff. So really couldn’t complain. I chose an SUV mainly because I needed climate control in the back. Comes in real handy when I camp in bear country and need the secure area to food etc.
     
  10. Fish N Farm

    Fish N Farm Well-Known Member

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    Jimkay, I have never camped in bear country in the lower 48 but I see all of these video's of bears getting in to peoples car looking for food. Is that something normal or maybe staged? This is a serious question. It seams like nothing would be safe if bears made a habit of breaking into cars.
     
  11. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    @Fish N Farm where I camp rangers tell you to either lock food out of sight in the locked car or in a bear box. However some places don’t always provide a bear box on trailer sites thinking most people with campers have a secure car. I’ve seen those very videos. Heck I’ve seen the damage a bear can do to my parents garage door when it tried to get to the trash left on the other side. However I’d rather a bear go towards my car then my tent or camper when I’m camping. Luckily I’ve only met up with black bears on my trips and they are more likely to run after easier food then tear my car apart to get after mine in a locked car. Especially in the spring and summer where food is usually plenty full. I’ve had rangers notify campers of excess bear activity and make regular patrols and be more strict about even something as simple as a water bottle left out. Rangers will confiscate anything left out no questions asked to help encourage bears to find food away from the campground.
     
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  12. Dingit

    Dingit Well-Known Member

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    (Bears in parts of the Sierra Nevada will dismantle a car if it tickles their fancy. But these bears are always in big tourist areas like those around Lake Tahoe. You go 100 miles from there and they might toss your campsite but they won't mess with your car. There are places I just won't camp because it's not worth the hassle.)

    As to Tacoma vs SUV, how many passengers?
     
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  13. Arruba

    Arruba Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Toyota products are nice and dependable. I’m of the opinion you also pay a premium for one. That said I would not hesitate to own one. After that I had good success with my recently departed Ford Explorer. As light as your trailer is, an Explorer has power and capacity to spare. Mileage was 15/17mpg loaded down with my 3200lb +/- trailer and stuff, 21 or so unladen. Depending on what I’m doing, I now tow with either a Ford F 150 or old Smokey, a 1990 F 250 with the above mentioned 7.3L Diesel. Either are WAY more than capable for a trailer your size.

    As you mentioned Tacoma, we have a couple new generation Ford Rangers in the work fleet. I never towed anything with one, but they did ride and drive very nice. The 4x4 system works very well and made for a very capable rig. Don’t know how one compares price wise to a Tacoma.

    Good luck with your decision.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2021
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  14. 1380ken

    1380ken Well-Known Member

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    Tacomas are know to have Automatic transmission issues when they hit 120000 miles also know for bad lower ball joints.
     
  15. Clara

    Clara New Member

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    Just two, sometimes 3.
     
  16. Clara

    Clara New Member

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    Thanks, everyone. I appreciate the feedback. Do you think a Subaru Outback with towing capacity of 2700 do OK? Keep the suggestions coming!
     
  17. InsertWittyNameHere

    InsertWittyNameHere New Member

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    I'm curious about the Outback as well. We are in a similar situation. We have a Kia Rio for very fuel efficient commuting, and a Ford Ranger for hauling stuff when we need to. We barely use it except to camp. We are trying to decide if we sell both and get an SUV that's not too bad on gas or just keep things as is. Having a more fuel efficient tow vehicle would make camping more fun and we could go further (when we are able). I spent our trips last year watching the fuel gauge in the Ranger.

    The other night we stumbled across the Kia Niro Hybrid. 40ish MPG and tow rating to 2800lbs. We are going to look into it further and think about a used one. We used to have a Prius and I miss it everyday.

    Good luck! Let us know what you choose!



     
  18. jmkay1

    jmkay1 2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah

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    . You were talking about wanting to haul bikes along with the camper. So you need to pay more attention to the max payload numbers and not necessarily the tow capacity. If you have bikes and they are going to be added to the roof of your tow vehicle that all adds to your payload. If you have bike racks on the popup that increases your tongue weight. So you need to have enough payload to handle the excess weight. I would also weigh your camper when fully loaded for camping so you know exactly how heavy everything is now. Using true numbers will put you in a better position in the long run for your calculations. When towing in the mountains you are also going to want lee-way in your numbers.
     
  19. fronsm

    fronsm First time owner at 67

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    I wanted to get a Forester, but it only hauls 1500#. My camper is 1200# unloaded. Decided against it.
     
  20. Clemens

    Clemens Member

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    You should be fine with the subaru you have.
     

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