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. judenray

    judenray New Member

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    We towed our 2010 Coleman Cobalt PUP (1250#) with our 2010 Subaru Forester for several years, and while it was "adequate" most of the time the Suby (170 hp, 4 sp auto) was marginal when loaded up or traveling over mountain passes. We switched to a Kia Sorento (290 hp V6, 6 sp auto) and are much happier, not only because of the extra power (hardly know the PUP is there most of the time) but also the extra room for people as well as gear in the back. Outback would not be any improvement in hauling capacity unless you got one with the turbo, but Suby's all seem to now come with a CVT, which is notoriously weak for towing.
     
  2. WrkrBee

    WrkrBee Well-Known Member Silver Supporting Member

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    Best SUV for hauling popup or Toyota Tacoma? I'd use my Ford Expedition to haul the Toyota Tacoma on a trailer.
     
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  3. Chris I

    Chris I Member

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    We tow a 1200lb Aliner Scout with our 4-cyl, and I wouldn't recommend it as an upgrade if you plan on towing. With our family of 4 and all of our gear, we aren't exactly blasting up the mountain passes. Are you using a brake controller on your Forester? I would recommend that for any load over 1,000lbs. I wouldn't feel safe towing our Aliner without one. With a brake controller, I would say your Forester is fine, but you definitely need to have the right mindset. I should also note that I find our Outback climbs best if I throw it into manual mode and keep the RPMs between 3,000-3,500 on the climbs.

    If you don't have kids, I think something like a Tacoma would be a good upgrade to consider. It is really convenient to throw bikes in the back. If you plan on traveling with 4 passengers, you will find the Tacoma to be pretty cramped inside, and you might consider a larger SUV like a Honda Pilot/Subaru Ascent/Toyota Highlander. Another option would also be a V6 minivan, provided you don't need extra ground clearance for winter or offroad driving. V6 minivans generally have 3,500lb tow ratings.
     
  4. Oregoncampers

    Oregoncampers New Member

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    We have a Toyota Highlander, and had the brake unit installed for the popup, and its perfect, have a weight limit to pull of 3500#. Gas mileage is good, and we have no trouble getting up hills. In bear country here in Northern California we store the food in the car when we are away from the camp site. Don't want damage to the pup and as long as its covered in the car we're pretty safe there.
     
  5. paul327

    paul327 New Member

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    I have a basic 2005 Tacoma, extended cab, 4 cylinder, about 150 hp, five-speed manual with a camper shell. I tow my 2000 pound loaded, 2005 Fleetwood Colonial with no problems at all. I might have to shift into fourth gear going up a really stiff grade but that's not very often. I don't use a WDH and when I first got this combination I tested it on a deserted highway at 85 mph and had no sway or control problems of any kind. I get 24 MPG when towing at 60 MPH just about everywhere I go.
     
  6. Clara

    Clara New Member

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    Thanks. The Highlander is now on the list. It's a bit bigger than the forester, good mpg, super safe, and like you say, 3500 towing capacity. Thanks for the affirmation! Do you have the hybrid? Any reason I shouldn't go with a hybrid if we do buy one?
     
  7. Clara

    Clara New Member

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    Thanks everyone! I have quite a list going and will hopefully take some test drives and make a decision in the next month. I will let you know the outcome!
     
  8. RandyP

    RandyP New Member

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    We have a Coleman/Fleetwood Santa Fe that hits the scales at just over 2,000, ready to roll. When I'm alone, I use the Chevy Astro, as I'm full of tools for working on the tree farm where I dry camp. When with wife, we use the Toyota Highlander with the standard six, and it does fine. We live in western Washington, and within an hour can be on mountain passes as steep as anything we've found in the Rockies. I may drop to 50 to go easy on things, but it would do more if I asked it to. The Highlander is in the 5,000 lb. towing capacity camp, and trailer is equipped with electric brakes. We have no issues with either vehicle.
     
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  9. RandyP

    RandyP New Member

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    Re: above, and earlier Highlander note. I'll stand corrected at 3,500 capacity, but we do fine. We have the gas motor. Our son had a hybrid, used for travelling sales and piled on the miles. It worked well for his needs, but he never towed.
     
  10. giadiep

    giadiep Active Member

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    Consider a Honda Ridgeline, which rides very nicely, can fit 5, but still has an open bed for your bikes. It has 3500 lb tow capacity in 2wd and 5000 lb in 4wd.
     
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  11. Lana

    Lana New Member

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    We looked at the Subaru Ascent and loved it. Towing capacity is 5k I think. We are comparing Sequoia, Expedition, and Suburban now for towing...but we are a family of 5 with bikes and looking at the larger FR HW.
    good luck!
     
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  12. zak99b5

    zak99b5 Active Member

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    Given that we’re all towing, I think a body-on-frame truck (Tacoma, Colorado, Silverado, suburban) is a better choice than a unitized vehicle (ridge line, Highlander) for someone looking to purchase a new TV.

    Not that you can't tow with a unitized body, especially a pup. But with a real truck, you won’t have all these worries and consideration.
     
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  13. giadiep

    giadiep Active Member

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    OP was asking for something with towing capability and relatively decent gas mileage. Thus the many suggestions of SUVs and Trucklets that are uni-body. I have 2 body on frame vehicles with 8 cylinder engines (Tundra and Armada) and agree that they tow way better than any other SUVs I've owned in the past. But trying to stay within the confines of what the OP was asking.
     
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  14. Chris I

    Chris I Member

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    I've towed our Aliner Scout with a family member's Ascent, and was able to average 24mpg, although it was mostly flat roads at 60mph. The Ascent really seems like an ideal "do everything" vehicle for a family. It is fairly tall, though. Bikes on the roof might require a ladder.
     
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  15. woodentoy

    woodentoy Member Silver Supporting Member

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    We went from an Outback to an Ascent for our Aliner Classic. Absolutely the best for us.
     
  16. Mejac02

    Mejac02 New Member

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    Well, I was reading all the comments about TV's and though I'd put my 2 cents in. I have a 1975 Apache Mesa which I believe is about 1600 or 1700 pounds when loaded. I used to tow it with my 07 Hylander (V6) and had no trouble at all. I traded the Hylander a couple years ago and now drive a 2017 KIA Sportage, 4cly with 181 HP. The tow rating for the KIA is up to 2000 pounds and I was surprised at how well the Sportage towed the camper. Last summer I took it to Vermont and my average hywy speed was 65. We were a bit slower on the hills but not by much. One big difference I noticed was the lack of acceleration when merging onto the highway. Part of that trip entailed going off road up a mountain to reach our camping spot. I put it in 4wd and everyone who was there with their bigger SUV's and trucks was surprised at how well it did. However, I am thinking of building a lighter TT this summer which will make towing easier.
     

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