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Old 01-31-2019, 01:22 PM   #1
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Downsizing tow vehicle will I regret it

Hello. If this topic has already been discussed please just point me in the right direction. So I have been contemplating downsizing my tow vehicle from a GMC Sierra full size with the 6.2L V-8 motor (420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque) to a mid size pickup like the Ranger, Tacoma or Colorado. I'm towing an Escape 19. During the summer months I travel full time with my wife and dog around Colorado, Utah, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho etc. Places with real mountains. We hike, SUP, mountain bike, explore towns, explore wilderness. With that in mind here is my list of pros and cons:

My gut tells me downsizing is a bad idea but I figured it would be fun to have the conversation. Any thoughts or opinions are greatly appreciated. Feel free to add anything I may not have thought of. Thanks in advance.

Pros:
Mid size truck much easier getting around while not trailing the camper.
Theoretically mid size truck will have better fuel economy when not trailing the camper. I currently get 14mpg around town and 20mpg on the highway while not towing.
Something better offroad. My current truck is decent off road but I would get something like the Tacoma TRD Pro. Something that will make me more comfortable exploring off the beaten path.
Current truck easily pulls the camper and I feel secure knowing the truck is much heavier than the camper.
Cheaper maintenance costs

Cons
I'm concerned that I will get worse fuel economy with a mid size truck while towing the Escape 19.
My fuel range will be much shorter.
I'm concerned that coming from a full size truck I will feel like I just don't have enough power. With the full size I feel very comfortable merging onto highways or passing if I have to while towing. I usually drive 65mph even when the speed limit is 80mph while towing.
With the mid size truck I'll probably feel the trailer a lot more. Now I don't even know it's there.
Lower payload capacity although I don't think this will be an issue but something I need to consider.
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:42 PM   #2
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We don’t like the feeling of being crammed into a vehicle .
We looked at and rode in small trucks and for long days of traveling / towing ( 4 or more hours) they just didn’t work for us .
We are looking at replacing our 2014 Ram with a 2019 Ram mainly because the new models have more interior passenger room , which appeals to us .
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:49 PM   #3
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We donít like the feeling of being crammed into a vehicle .
We looked at and rode in small trucks and for long days of traveling / towing ( 4 or more hours) they just didnít work for us .
We are looking at replacing our 2014 Ram with a 2019 Ram mainly because the new models have more interior passenger room , which appeals to us .
This is a great point. Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2019, 01:58 PM   #4
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I too thought of and even drove the Tacoma, very disappointed. The older motor was a lot more responsive vs the new Atkinson cycle motor. A lot smaller than the full size, no integrated brake controller nor tow package. My 2014 Ram will be paid off in 2 more payments, and it keeps getting better mileage as I put more on it, now up to 28,000 miles and avg 20/15 unhitched/hitched. I'm staying until I either need major repair or the new Bronco comes out.
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Old 01-31-2019, 02:02 PM   #5
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When going to a small truck (either upsizing or downsizing) watch for the payload. It is easy to overload a mid sized (or even some full sized smaller) truck long before you reach the tow capacity. For example, my previous tow (a 2016 Tacoma Off Road) was fine with my 17, but not too happy with a 21. Still close to 1500 pounds of extra tow capacity, but 150 pounds + overloaded on payload.

While I miss the smaller size of the Tacoma (and I never felt crammed in, my current F150 3.5 EcoBoost is far more practical.
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Old 01-31-2019, 02:14 PM   #6
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I tow our 21 with a 2017 Tundra. It tows it beautifully. I never have to worry about not having enough power. Or space in the truck for stuff. I've even used it while vending at craft shows out of town with the trailer and I have plenty of room for trailer stuff and my clocks (and tables and display racks and podium, etc).


I do have to be a bit careful driving it around town as it's larger than my FJ, but it's still quite do-able. We got the TRD option. I've not taken it off-roading as that's not my style, but it did handle the very twisty, tight, potholes filled and muddy road I took through the Redwoods in Crescent City CA last year.


I know you didn't mention a Tundra, but thought I'd throw that out since you mentioned a Tacoma. I couldn't tell ya mileage as I never pay attention to that. Ours came with the extra large gas tank and towing package as part of it. I just know I'd rather have more power than not enough.
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:00 PM   #7
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I have mentioned this before and I will say it again. No matter what size or model of truck you look at, check that you can spread your feet sideways in the passenger side for the long haul.

For many years I was a Dodge guy, then went shopping for a full size new truck and found that the transmission hup was so big on the Dodge passenger side that I had to sit side saddle with my left foot cramped up beside my right. My wife likes to drive also and there was no way I was going to sit like that for 5 hours. Went to the Ford dealer and the hup was way smaller making for much more slide foot room in the F150.
I have no idea what the passenger side is like in the Dodges now, but this is something to consider in all makes of trucks big or small. Sit in the passenger side before you buy.

Also I believe Toyota was mounting the starter inside the engine under the intake manifold for some time. This made for a huge and expensive job to replace a simple starter. I know engines are complicated theses days but that design is just not something that I want to deal with in the future.
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I too thought of and even drove the Tacoma, very disappointed.
Thanks this helps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
When going to a small truck (either upsizing or downsizing) watch for the payload.
This is something I am concerned about so I'll have to pay close attention to the payload.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggscape View Post
I have mentioned this before and I will say it again. No matter what size or model of truck you look at, check that you can spread your feet sideways in the passenger side for the long haul.
I wish I could get my wife to drive...haha. I know exactly what your talking about with the hump on the driver side. Something I didn't think of but I will keep that in the back of my mind now.
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:12 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NW Cat Owner View Post
I tow our 21 with a 2017 Tundra....I know you didn't mention a Tundra, but thought I'd throw that out since you mentioned a Tacoma. I couldn't tell ya mileage as I never pay attention to that. Ours came with the extra large gas tank and towing package as part of it. I just know I'd rather have more power than not enough.
I have looked online at the Tundras. I think I'll have to look at them and keep my options open. Thanks for mentioning power because this is my biggest concern. While drive through some of the longer and higher mountain passes I have no problem maintaining speed with no complaints from the motor. I've seen way too many RVers going 10mph up the mountains and their tow vehicle is screaming.
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:14 PM   #10
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Maybe I'll just have to get a Ford Raptor . I can't believe how expensive trucks are now.
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:26 PM   #11
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TFL Truck on u tube does a good job of comparing trucks on their pull power up the Ike Gantlet.
Here is just one of their 96 available videos.
https://youtu.be/EMsGj1kb2Wc
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:27 PM   #12
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Maybe I'll just have to get a Ford Raptor . I can't believe how expensive trucks are now.

My recollection from Top Gear challenge is that the spare tire on the Raptor takes up the entire truck bed ( and probably payload too ).
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ichrisdr View Post
Hello. If this topic has already been discussed please just point me in the right direction. So I have been contemplating downsizing my tow vehicle from a GMC Sierra full size with the 6.2L V-8 motor (420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque) to a mid size pickup like the Ranger, Tacoma or Colorado. I'm towing an Escape 19. During the summer months I travel full time with my wife and dog around Colorado, Utah, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho etc. Places with real mountains. We hike, SUP, mountain bike, explore towns, explore wilderness. With that in mind here is my list of pros and cons:

My gut tells me downsizing is a bad idea but I figured it would be fun to have the conversation. Any thoughts or opinions are greatly appreciated. Feel free to add anything I may not have thought of. Thanks in advance.

Pros:
Mid size truck much easier getting around while not trailing the camper.
Theoretically mid size truck will have better fuel economy when not trailing the camper. I currently get 14mpg around town and 20mpg on the highway while not towing.
Something better offroad. My current truck is decent off road but I would get something like the Tacoma TRD Pro. Something that will make me more comfortable exploring off the beaten path.
Current truck easily pulls the camper and I feel secure knowing the truck is much heavier than the camper.
Cheaper maintenance costs

Cons
I'm concerned that I will get worse fuel economy with a mid size truck while towing the Escape 19.
My fuel range will be much shorter.
I'm concerned that coming from a full size truck I will feel like I just don't have enough power. With the full size I feel very comfortable merging onto highways or passing if I have to while towing. I usually drive 65mph even when the speed limit is 80mph while towing.
With the mid size truck I'll probably feel the trailer a lot more. Now I don't even know it's there.
Lower payload capacity although I don't think this will be an issue but something I need to consider.
When we were first getting our trailer back in 2013 , we had a F-250 with a 8 ft bed ,after having a camper . I thought the truck would be overkill and too big . Very glad to have big truck now . We had a Toyota for 12 years , the small truck . Too cramped and not much carrying capacity and really didn't care for how it handled . Really like having the larger truck , there is only a foot difference between trailer and truck in width . Not much need for extention mirrors . We also have a Voyager camera on trailer , can watch the back . I will say I keep trying to talk my youngest out of her FJ which would also tow the 19. Linda says no though, because she doesn't like you have limited views from The FJ . If I ever replace the F-250 will go with a F -150 with the 6 1/2.bed extra cab not the 4 door . As far as gas goes truck was long ago paid for So gas is not a issue our v8 5.8 . Have gotten as little as 9 towing usually 11.6 . Not towing almost 16 . She is a 1992 . Did I mention insurance and tags .Pat
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:44 PM   #14
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I'm cheap. Sometimes I squeak. So, I always ask myself, how much is it going to cost me to have 'it.' And what's the payoff in the end.

For instance, I keep getting ridiculous offers from Ford Motor to trade in my (paid for) 2014 Ford F-150 with ecoboost. For a brand new 2019 truck.. same, same only five years newer. What will it cost me? ONLY $539 a month for the next 60 months... 5 FLIPPIN' years. Yeah, the truck is very nice and it gets better mileage and the new features are sweet...

So, I turned it back around and thought, if I don't buy the truck I should have $539 a month to spend on fuel, site fees, entertainment, etc. And any month I don't spend it, or only partially spend it, I'm money ahead.

I'll worry about what happens in 2024 when it gets here. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

Good luck on your decision!
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Old 01-31-2019, 03:50 PM   #15
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Downsizing tow vehicle will I regret it

Quote:
Originally Posted by ichrisdr View Post
Hello. If this topic has already been discussed please just point me in the right direction. So I have been contemplating downsizing my tow vehicle from a GMC Sierra full size with the 6.2L V-8 motor (420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque) to a mid size pickup like the Ranger, Tacoma or Colorado. I'm towing an Escape 19. During the summer months I travel full time with my wife and dog around Colorado, Utah, Montana, Washington, Oregon, Idaho etc. Places with real mountains. We hike, SUP, mountain bike, explore towns, explore wilderness. With that in mind here is my list of pros and cons:



My gut tells me downsizing is a bad idea but I figured it would be fun to have the conversation. Any thoughts or opinions are greatly appreciated. Feel free to add anything I may not have thought of. Thanks in advance.



Pros:

Mid size truck much easier getting around while not trailing the camper.

Theoretically mid size truck will have better fuel economy when not trailing the camper. I currently get 14mpg around town and 20mpg on the highway while not towing.

Something better offroad. My current truck is decent off road but I would get something like the Tacoma TRD Pro. Something that will make me more comfortable exploring off the beaten path.

Current truck easily pulls the camper and I feel secure knowing the truck is much heavier than the camper.

Cheaper maintenance costs



Cons

I'm concerned that I will get worse fuel economy with a mid size truck while towing the Escape 19.

My fuel range will be much shorter.

I'm concerned that coming from a full size truck I will feel like I just don't have enough power. With the full size I feel very comfortable merging onto highways or passing if I have to while towing. I usually drive 65mph even when the speed limit is 80mph while towing.

With the mid size truck I'll probably feel the trailer a lot more. Now I don't even know it's there.

Lower payload capacity although I don't think this will be an issue but something I need to consider.


Hi Chris

I have the same truck, 2015, 6.2 NHT and I think itís a wonderful truck and a lot of fun to drive even when not towing my 5.0TA. The fact that itís rated to tow 11,700lbs means I hardly notice the trailer even going up hills.

Unfortunately the question you have asked can only be answered by yourself. I would suggest test driving midsize vehicles and seeing how you find them, then evaluate the payload and towing numbers.
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Old 01-31-2019, 05:05 PM   #16
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... I will say I keep trying to talk my youngest out of her FJ which would also tow the 19. Linda says no though, because she doesn't like you have limited views from The FJ ...
Not surprised that the FJ has caught your eye. I also love my FJ and will likely keep driving it until it is completely worn out. With about 180,000 km on mine now, I estimate that I only have another 500,000 km or so to go before I can start shopping for a replacement.
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Old 01-31-2019, 05:22 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Donna D. View Post
I'm cheap. Sometimes I squeak. So, I always ask myself, how much is it going to cost me to have 'it.' And what's the payoff in the end.

For instance, I keep getting ridiculous offers from Ford Motor to trade in my (paid for) 2014 Ford F-150 with ecoboost. For a brand new 2019 truck.. same, same only five years newer. What will it cost me? ONLY $539 a month for the next 60 months... 5 FLIPPIN' years. Yeah, the truck is very nice and it gets better mileage and the new features are sweet...

So, I turned it back around and thought, if I don't buy the truck I should have $539 a month to spend on fuel, site fees, entertainment, etc. And any month I don't spend it, or only partially spend it, I'm money ahead.

I'll worry about what happens in 2024 when it gets here. No one is guaranteed tomorrow.

Good luck on your decision!
Donna you are not cheap , you are being smart . I try to ask myself do I need this or is it a want ? Pat
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Old 01-31-2019, 05:33 PM   #18
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Not surprised that the FJ has caught your eye. I also love my FJ and will likely keep driving it until it is completely worn out. With about 180,000 km on mine now, I estimate that I only have another 500,000 km or so to go before I can start shopping for a replacement.
Dave Having had the Toyota pickup from new and 12 years , yup we had almost 200,000 miles and they checked the engine and there was very little wear , so they bought it . My daughters FJ has very little mileage since she bought it and it Ďs equipped for towing already and much stronger then the little pickup was . I just like to tease her . If we ever had to change the pickup , would look at a used truck to already have the , drive off the lot loss . You have a great vehicle and I wouldnít change either . 👍Pat
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Old 01-31-2019, 05:35 PM   #19
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Donna you are not cheap , you are being smart . I try to ask myself do I need this or is it a want ? Pat
And there's nothing wrong with wants either. I have a lot of them. Some I get, some I talk myself out of, some, if I wait long enough... something better will come along. What's important to me, is to NOT delay pleasure. I just need to make certain that it's justified and not because my blood sugar is low
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Old 01-31-2019, 06:00 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eggscape View Post
I have mentioned this before and I will say it again. No matter what size or model of truck you look at, check that you can spread your feet sideways in the passenger side for the long haul.

When we decided we needed a new vehicle for the trailer, we looked at just about every truck out there. Dirk wanted me to test drive them. Some I nixed right away. I had it narrowed down to my top 3 (Nissan, Toyota and Ram). The Ram got nixed when a friend that was test driving all 3 in the same day with me said there wasn't any room in the passenger side for her feet. Dirk never noticed as he has shorter legs than I do (and he doesn't fidget like I do). I even told the salesman why I was nixing it off my list.


I test drove several different suspensions on the Tundra and there was a noticeable difference to me. Took them on the same pothole filled road. The TRD won out. While I liked the Titan, I went with the Tundra since we already have two Toyotas (2000 Tacoma and 2010 FJ).


Quote:
Originally Posted by ichrisdr View Post
I wish I could get my wife to drive...haha.

When Dirk's with me I do most of the driving. Less bitching that way.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ichrisdr View Post
I have looked online at the Tundras. I think I'll have to look at them and keep my options open. Thanks for mentioning power because this is my biggest concern. While drive through some of the longer and higher mountain passes I have no problem maintaining speed with no complaints from the motor.

Last year I did a 13 state trip and went up over the Continental Divide twice without any problems.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patandlinda View Post
I will say I keep trying to talk my youngest out of her FJ which would also tow the 19. Linda says no though, because she doesn't like you have limited views from The FJ .

Dang, am I gonna have to keep an eye on you if you ever swing by my place?


Yeah, the view is restricted (especially since I came from a 1989 Isuzu Trooper to the FJ), but you get used to it.
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