Good Sam Club Open Roads Forum: Tow Vehicles: Real life Hybrid towing experiences
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Mike E.

Coquitlam, British Columbia

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Posted: 04/12/21 10:38pm Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hi folks,

Looking for some insight from those who have towed with a mid-size SUV hybrid.
DW and I are a single-vehicle household and are hoping to get into a slightly bigger vehicle than our current '13 Honda CRV.

With a son living/working in Europe with no intentions of returning, we are going to have to afford trips to see him....especially after his upcoming wedding and potential grand-babies shortly after. She's already made such noises.....yay!!

That said, I've told DW that I am not willing to completely give up on camping as I simply miss all the fresh air etc.
With that, I'm thinking we'll end up with a pop-up or very small TT.
We're looking into a Toyota Highlander Hybrid with 3500lbs towing capacity as well as the Ford Explorer Hybrid with 5000lbs towing.

Trust me, I'd love to have a truck/5th wheel again, but that simply isn't in the cards.

So, anybody out there using their Hybrid in such a fashion?

lane hog

Tucson, AZ & NW Chicago Burbs, IL

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Posted: 04/13/21 03:04am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I can't imagine it would be a problem. You'd simply run on the gas engine more than you would in non-tow mode.

But... if saving money is the goal, the hybrid version of the Escape will usually run about USD20K more on a new vehicle. No idea about the Toyota.

You might be better off getting a used gasser with the tow capacity you want. It's going to take a lot of miles to offset that much of a price difference, especially if electricity isn't that much cheaper on a per-mile basis.



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valhalla360

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Posted: 04/13/21 05:06am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Is there a reason you need an SUV? A 1/2ton pickup (4door) will do anything an SUV will do and cost should be similar.


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alexleblanc

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Posted: 04/13/21 06:48am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

i would shy away from any hybrid with a CVT for towing purposes.


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carringb

Corvallis, OR

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Posted: 04/13/21 06:58am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

The Explorer is a far superior towing platform. My sister-in-law has the Highlander Hybrid. When they need to tow their Toy Hauler in the snow, my sister's Explorer Sport gets used (primary TV is a 2WD Chevy Express). The difference is tow ratings pretty much shows that. The hitch receiver on the Highlander won't have enough carrying capacity for most camper trailers, with its 350# tongue-weight limit.

That said... if you aren't doing lots of in-town driving, the Explorer 2.3L EcoBoost gets good highway fuel-economy, and still is rated for towing 5,300 pounds.

The main reason the Explorer is a better platform is it's architecture. It's RWD layout get send 100% torque to either front or rear axle. The Highlander uses an electric motor for it's rear axle, and that only produces 80 ft-lbs of toque. And there's no transmission on it, so there's no further gear reduction. It basically adds about as much torque as a large man pushing.

The hybrid systems work completely differently too. The Highlander uses the planetary CVT to blend power sources, where the Explorer basically adds electric-assist to the torque-coneverter, and uses same 10-speed transmission as the F150.

* This post was edited 04/13/21 09:36am by carringb *


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mkirsch

Rochester, NY

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Posted: 04/13/21 07:37am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

If you're looking for actual towing experience with these vehicles, you are not likely to find it here. The "culture" here is that anything less than a pickup truck with 8-lug wheels and a diesel engine is not capable of properly towing anything, so you will receive an overwhelming negative response to your proposal.

Those who are towing with these vehicles are off happily towing and no longer need advice from this forum.

I will also say that I personally do not have any experience towing with either of these vehicles myself, but I have a piece of advice to offer:

You either believe the ratings, or you don't. I don't think 3500 or 5000 is unobtainable or unreasonable for either platform.


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blt2ski

Kirkland, Wa

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Posted: 04/13/21 08:03am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

I have/had an older sister that towed an older Cub Cadet from the 50s with two different Toyota's. One iirc was a smaller chassis, 3500 tow rating, other a bit bigger with a 5k rating.
She upgraded to larger as the smaller was capable power wise etc, bigger was better overall. She was typically the only one in vehicle.
Based on a few comments, never followed my advice, she needed trailer brakes on trailer. If the trailer is over 1000-1500 lbs, I will HIGHLY suggest installing brakes. She went through vehicle brakes quickly, and had a few what I would call white knuckle braking experiences. Trailer dealer may not say you need brakes, legal in yours or my states may not say you need brakes, same with Toyota warranty.....out them on!
Unfortunately she passed on 3-1 so I'm not able to get a y more specifics. While a lovely sister for 50yrs, unlike her father who was a brilliant engineer at Boeing, she was a librarian, not too mechanical. Even at that, not real smart from what and how she needed to tow properly or correctly.
With above said, an areodybamic trailer should be towable with a hybrid. Like a non hybrid vehicle, the one with the larger motor, more fears in transmission etc will tow up hills etc faster.
Good luck with choice.
Marty


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valhalla360

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Posted: 04/13/21 08:59am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

mkirsch wrote:

If you're looking for actual towing experience with these vehicles, you are not likely to find it here. The "culture" here is that anything less than a pickup truck with 8-lug wheels and a diesel engine is not capable of properly towing anything, so you will receive an overwhelming negative response to your proposal.

Those who are towing with these vehicles are off happily towing and no longer need advice from this forum.

I will also say that I personally do not have any experience towing with either of these vehicles myself, but I have a piece of advice to offer:

You either believe the ratings, or you don't. I don't think 3500 or 5000 is unobtainable or unreasonable for either platform.


If you are talking about a small single axle trailer with negligible tongue weight (but still north of 12%)...sure. They can do the job if you are careful to check all the ratings.

But I've seen enough of these marginal tow vehicles that look like they are climbing a hill when they are going downhill because the rear suspension is bottomed out. I suspect most are not happy but most either get an appropriate tow vehicle soon after or stop towing because it's "so scary".

Sure I believe the tow rating. I also believe the payload and hitch weight limits but with the SUVs the payload/hitch rating is often met long before the tow rating.

From the original post, the OP appeared to be concerned about cost and a 1/2 ton pickup isn't significantly different cost from an SUV. So what exactly is pushing the OP towards an SUV?

carringb

Corvallis, OR

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Posted: 04/13/21 09:39am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Hybrid Explorers can be bought reasonably equipped under $40k.

A Powerboost F150 is close to $60k with little room room for discounts at the money. I don’t consider that “almost the same”.

Lwiddis

Williams AZ area

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Posted: 04/13/21 09:55am Link  |  Quote  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Golden rule....buy or select the trailer first, then buy the tow vehicle.


Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, 300 watt solar-parallel & MPPT, Trojan T-125s. TALL flag pole. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist14 yr. Army vet-11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad


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