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Old 11-06-2014, 05:15 PM   #1
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Drivetrain

What type of tow vehicle drivetrain is the smartest choice for pulling an Escape 19' trailer?

Front-wheel drive costs less to acquire, maintain, and fuel and has slightly higher payload inside the TV. But AWD/4WD provides better overall traction and handling, and also puts a powered axle closer to the tongue carrying some of the weight.

Our family would be using the TV as a daily driver for about 10,000 miles per year, plus towing the trailer on many weekends as well as longer cross-country trips every 6 to 12 months. We'll mostly camp in improved and paved parks with hookups, but perhaps a fifth of the time, I expect we'll boondock, often on gravel roads. I also want to make sure we have something that does well in the snow.

Thoughts?
Suggestions?
What do you regret?
What do you wish you would have purchased?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 11-06-2014, 05:57 PM   #2
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There are lots of good choices in a V6 that can handle a 19.
We now have a 2011 Ford Flex AWD (non turbo)
If choosing today, having now had the Flex experience, I would buy another Flex.
However if cost was no issue I would also consider the Grand Cherokee Diesel for the off road capability.
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Old 11-06-2014, 06:32 PM   #3
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Pretty much any V6 engine will pull the 19. I use my Honda Pilot, which has worked great for us for the last 6 years. But, so will the offerings from most of the major manufacturers. I would suggest that you find something your like, and just confirm it has a 4,500 to 5,000 (or more) tow rating, and you will be fine.
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Old 11-06-2014, 07:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Pretty much any V6 engine will pull the 19. I use my Honda Pilot, which has worked great for us for the last 6 years. But, so will the offerings from most of the major manufacturers. I would suggest that you find something your like, and just confirm it has a 4,500 to 5,000 (or more) tow rating, and you will be fine.
Great advice! Expecially the part about something you like... if you don't like it... what's the point?
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Old 11-06-2014, 08:25 PM   #5
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Thanks to those that have replied, but my question is more focused around whether front wheel drive or all wheel drive / four wheel drive is a wiser choice.
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Old 11-06-2014, 08:37 PM   #6
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I was advised that I needed a weight distribution hitch on my 2008 RAV4 V6 ( towing a 17B ), because although the RAV4 is four-wheel-drive, most of the time only the front wheels are drive wheels.
You spoke of gravel roads and the like. I had a Subaru and a tent-trailer. Had to engage 4X4 manually. Got stopped half way up a hill and had to back down to the bottom to take a run at it in front-wheel-drive. When that didn't work, I backed down again and engaged 4X4.
I'd go four-wheel-drive with an option to lock the 4X4.
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Old 11-06-2014, 08:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
What type of tow vehicle drivetrain is the smartest choice for pulling an Escape 19' trailer?

Front-wheel drive costs less to acquire, maintain, and fuel and has slightly higher payload inside the TV. But AWD/4WD provides better overall traction and handling, and also puts a powered axle closer to the tongue carrying some of the weight.

Our family would be using the TV as a daily driver for about 10,000 miles per year, plus towing the trailer on many weekends as well as longer cross-country trips every 6 to 12 months. We'll mostly camp in improved and paved parks with hookups, but perhaps a fifth of the time, I expect we'll boondock, often on gravel roads. I also want to make sure we have something that does well in the snow.

Thoughts?
Suggestions?
What do you regret?
What do you wish you would have purchased?

Thanks in advance!
Toyota 4Runner. Rear-wheel and can put another 1800-1900 lbs. into it.
I would not be without 4x4 but people have their preferences. Great for off-road.
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Old 11-06-2014, 08:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad View Post
Thanks to those that have replied, but my question is more focused around whether front wheel drive or all wheel drive / four wheel drive is a wiser choice.
Front wheel drive will usually mean some form of weight distribution when towing a 19, because you'll want to redistribute some of the weight on the back to the drive wheels in front. Other than that, I'd say get what you like, as long as the capacities are adequate.
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:01 PM   #9
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I suggest a Toyota Tundra TRD Ass/ Cab 4 X 4
It will be more than you'll ever need . Used or new off the lot .
Life expectancy 10 to 15 years if properly maintained .
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Old 11-06-2014, 10:42 PM   #10
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I suggest a Toyota Tundra TRD Ass/ Cab 4 X 4
It will be more than you'll ever need . Used or new off the lot .
Life expectancy 10 to 15 years if properly maintained .
I didn't think trucks were on the table based on the op's question, but I agree with you-- a pickup will do the best job towing.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:12 PM   #11
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AWD/4x4 for me given a choice. Higher resale locally too.

I would shoot for more than 5000# towing capacity but that was for the mountain passes I encounter.






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Old 11-06-2014, 11:27 PM   #12
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We pull our 19 with a Honda Pilot 4X4 and we really like it. It easily pulls the 19 and is large inside for "essential" camping stuff and we frequently go off road and like to boon-dock. We throw a 17' canoe on top sometimes and now don't use a weight distributing hitch after installing a custom set of rear coil springs and adjustable air springs. The vehicle is perfectly flat fully load with 420 lbs of hitch weight. The average mileage fully load towing the trailer is about 13-14mpg.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:28 PM   #13
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Some have said they have towed their 21's on mountain passes with 5000 capacity with no problem. Might depend on how you load and most of all on how you drive.
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Old 11-06-2014, 11:30 PM   #14
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Some have said they have towed their 21's on mountain passes with 5000 capacity with no problem.
A fully packed 19 is around 3,700lbs so 5,000 lb towing capacity is more than needed. 4,500 is plenty.
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Old 11-07-2014, 06:53 AM   #15
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So to sum up what's been said so far, 6 recommended AWD or 4WD for the extra traction, one suggested that RWD would be OK, and 1 person implied that FWD might be acceptable.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:25 AM   #16
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So to sum up what's been said so far, 6 recommended AWD or 4WD for the extra traction, one suggested that RWD would be OK, and 1 person implied that FWD might be acceptable.
Unfortunately, this sort of approach is trying to over-simplify a complex situation...

Any of AWD/FWD/RWD will do the job, given certain things:
- FWD may need a weight distribution hitch
- RWD implies a truck, which might not be acceptable
- AWD might be extra expense for something the OP doesn't care about.

A thread like this is good for pointing out the things that the purchaser might want to consider, but it's all the details in the purchaser's wants/needs/likes/dislikes that are going to define the "right" choice.
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Old 11-07-2014, 09:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bennett View Post
Pretty much any V6 engine will pull the 19. I use my Honda Pilot, which has worked great for us for the last 6 years. But, so will the offerings from most of the major manufacturers. I would suggest that you find something your like, and just confirm it has a 4,500 to 5,000 (or more) tow rating, and you will be fine.
I think Jim's advice is very valid. We can all give you our preference, but they are just that, our preferences, not necessarily yours.

I'd take the opportunity to test drive a wide variety of vehicles that meet your towing needs, especially since you will be using the vehicle for other uses besides towing.
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Old 11-07-2014, 12:57 PM   #18
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Thanks for all of your advice. This is quite a user group!

In our case, a truck is out of the running for the foreseeable future, for since the person who will drive it regularly prefers something smaller instead which can haul kids and groceries well, park easily, be comfortable, etc.
I should mention that we do love to vacation in the mountains too.

I do certainly agree that driving a wide variety of vehicles that could meet the towing need is wise for anyone considering a TV purchase; we've driven various SUVs and trucks off and on for many years. And on occasion, I've towed trailers full of equipment and the like. What I've never done, however, is regularly tow a travel trailer. We're moving toward our first such purchase (part of which could certainly be the WD hitch). And it's not possible to rent one where I live. So I'm not in a position to know how much better AWD is vs. 4x2 for that particular use and whether something makes the extra expense worth it -- that's where your wisdom can help.

Other ways to ask the question:
Under what circumstances do you think a person pulling an Escape 19' trailer might regret having just front-wheel drive? ...AWD?
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:08 PM   #19
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Our first trailer was an Escape 17B and used a Murano FWD. On a gravel road with some incline it can be hairy. We only had our Highlander AWD 7 months but really liked the way it performed for that trailer.
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Old 11-07-2014, 01:13 PM   #20
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Our Tacoma is 4WD and I have never been in a situation with our 17B where I have needed engage the 4WD when towing. But we live in a cold, snowy climate and I have used the 4WD without the trailer many times.

Others, driving on more rugged roads to more remote campsites probably have used theirs while towing though.
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