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Old 09-20-2014, 08:51 AM   #1
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experience with 21 tow vehicle

We're newbies...received our 21 in mid August. we need to upgrade our tow vehicle and are thinking seriously of the Highlander. Anyone using one to tow and if so are you happy with it. THanks so much.
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Old 09-20-2014, 09:03 AM   #2
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We're newbies...received our 21 in mid August. we need to upgrade our tow vehicle and are thinking seriously of the Highlander. Anyone using one to tow and if so are you happy with it. THanks so much.
I do not own a Highlander so take this opinion's worth as it is written on electrons:} . I would not use a Highlander for a 21 in my opinion you would be very very close to overload if you fully loaded the trailer.

See Page 21 http://www.toyota.com/content/ebroch..._ebrochure.pdf 5k capacity, see also The 21 Foot Escape .

Your trailer weight is very dependent on options and how you camp etc have you ever weighed your trailer fully loaded ready to go ? Well there you have my opinion for all the electrons it is worth.

Cypher
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Old 09-20-2014, 10:40 AM   #3
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Have you had your trailer weighed, ready for camping? My 21' came in at 3800 axle plus 500 tongue weight, a total of 4300#. If yours is any lighter the v-6 model maybe okay. all the v-6 have the same towing package as standard and the mileage is 17/22 but towing you will probably get around 13-14, good luck in your choice. ETI's spec's call for 4500# rated vehicle and the Highlander v-6's are 5000# rated.
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:28 AM   #4
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I'd opt for a full body-on-frame vehicle to tow the 21, but to each his own. The 4-runner would IMHO be a good choice. You won't get the mileage you would with a full size Ford, Chevy or Dodge pickup though.
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Old 09-20-2014, 12:36 PM   #5
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I am going through a similar process to find a tow vehicle for our Escape 19 which arrives in January. Weighing the compromises I have come to the conclusion that a Jeep Grand Cherokee is the best two vehicle for us. We like the 6200 lb towing capacity, the factory tow package and that it has only two rows of seats.
With the V8 or diesel option, it has a 7200 lb towing capacity. I suspect any Jeep Grand Cherokee and would pull a 21 without a problem.
I am prepared to compromise on reliability and cost but I am not prepared to compromise on a safe towing experience. The American Southwest as many very steep sections of highways that have taken me by surprise in the past and led to unpleasant experiences.
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Old 09-20-2014, 12:41 PM   #6
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I would have to agree about using a full size pickup to tow a 21. Most of them are rated to tow 8 or 9 thousand pounds and with a max tow package, they get up to 12,000 pounds. There are trade offs though. My one complaint about our new truck is that it is a hog in a parking lot. But it can't be beat on the open highway. With the excess capacity you don't have to worry about every little thing you haul, or if Fido comes along or stays home. And the gas mileage had me looking at the computer screen in disbelief. 27 at 65 mph. Should do 19 towing. I think Myron is getting that with his Silverado. Loren
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Old 09-20-2014, 12:46 PM   #7
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We tow our 19 with a Highlander and it works well. We tow a lot in the mountains and it does the job safely and reliably but there are times when I would like more torque on very steep grades. We find it is a good compromise for daily normal use and towing several times a year. If I was to buy a new SUV to tow a 21 I would consider the 4 Runner before the Highlander.
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Old 09-20-2014, 01:09 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Loren & Cathy View Post
I would have to agree about using a full size pickup to tow a 21. Most of them are rated to tow 8 or 9 thousand pounds and with a max tow package, they get up to 12,000 pounds. There are trade offs though. My one complaint about our new truck is that it is a hog in a parking lot. But it can't be beat on the open highway. With the excess capacity you don't have to worry about every little thing you haul, or if Fido comes along or stays home. And the gas mileage had me looking at the computer screen in disbelief. 27 at 65 mph. Should do 19 towing. I think Myron is getting that with his Silverado. Loren
I'll second that. Upgrading to 21' from Casita did not have to think twice.
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Old 09-20-2014, 02:24 PM   #9
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Moments (OP), we just came over Alison Pass, Anarchist Mountain, Paulson Pass, Kootenay Pass, and Crowsnest Pass towing our week-old Escape 21 with a 2011 Toyota 4Runner, which has a 5000 pound tow capacity. If your TV can handle those five passes, particularly Kootenay, without inordinate mechanical and emotional stress, or a lineup of unhappy motorists on your bumper, you've probably chosen an appropriate one.

Never having towed before, I have no point of comparison, but for us the performance of the 'Runner was acceptable in terms of stability and power. We towed in 4th gear on the flats and slight uphills, in 5th on the occasional slight downhill, and went down into 3rd as necessary to climb the 6% to 8% grades. I dropped it into 2nd twice on Kootenay pass, when the revs fell too low in 3rd, and generally kept the RPMs between 2500 and 4500, and never let it lug. Usually, we could maintain 75 to 95 kph, with a dip down into the 60s on the steepest grades. The 4Runner's paddle-type manual shifting is very handy on uphills and downhills allowing the driver, not a computer, to upshift and downshift into the gear of choice effortlessly.

The Andersen WD hitch handled any bumps and dips we encountered with ease, and a stiff crosswind near Waterton National Park caused no concern. The tanks in our 21' were dry, and we had just the two of us with two bikes and no pets or boats--probably an average amount of gear. Our fuel consumption increased from 12 litres per 100km to 16, but then we were driving through mountains much of the time.

My one concern is transmission temperature. The 4Runner has a transmission cooler, and I switched over to synthetic fluid before the trip. I'm going to install a Scanguage before we tow again so I can monitor transmission temperature. If it's excessive, then we'll look at alternative TVs, but mid-sized pickups have about the same power and torque as 4Runners, a full-sized pickup truck would be overkill for all our other driving, and the cost of a full-sized V8 Sequoia is too high.

To be continued once I have the Scangauge data. For anyone interested in that device, this thread contains a useful discussion:
Using a ScanGauge to monitor towing performance?
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Old 09-20-2014, 02:48 PM   #10
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I have a 2008 Highlander with the factory tow package. It has pulled a 17' Casita and a 19' Escape. It now tows a 21' Escape with no difficulty.

I did a quick comparison of the 2008 Highlander to the Toyota's 2014 CJ Cruiser and 4Runner. I looked at wheel base, engine size, GVWR and towing capacity. All are in the same ballpark. Note that for 2014, the CJ and 4Runner have a lower towing capacity (4,700 lbs) than the Highlander's 5,000 lbs.

Other 21 owners have towed with the Highlander and CJ Cruiser. Even the Honda Ridgeline, with very similar specs, is towing the 21.

I haven't yet been able to weight the 21. The Casita weight was 3,360 lbs and the 19 Escape was 3,800 lbs, both fully loaded but no fresh water in the tank. The mpg towing is 13-15 and 19-23 daily driving.

If you are going to be full timing and drive a lot around Denver, then a different tow vehicle would be recommended. If you need a comfortable TV that can pull the 21, the Highlander is a good choice.
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