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Old 02-08-2014, 05:04 PM   #1
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Going to the Auto Show to research TVs

This week, weather permitting, I will be going to the Philly Auto Show to try out some potential tow vehicles for an Escape 19, 21 or 5.0 TA.

Couple of things I am considering. One is how easy/hard they are to get in and out of as I have mild arthritis. So, I think some SUVs and trucks may be too high for me. The other is the towing capability. While I have learned from this and other forums that several factors enter into this, I know that the GVWR of the trailer is an important one. The Escapes above range from 4000 to 4500 lbs. According to some threads here, they recommend a TV capable of pulling 5,000 lbs. but I am wondering if that is enough for the new 21 since I think you are supposed to stay at 80% of GVWR which would be OK for the 19 but not the 21? I would prefer an SUV if I'm going to pull a trailer vs. the 5.0 which I know requires a truck.

Another thing to look at, I am hearing, is the height of the walls of the truck bed to get clearance when turning with the 5.0. I couldn't find a spec for this on the ETI site. The reasons I am considering the 5,0 is that I have heard they are easier to hitch for someone like me and I really liked Tim and Julie's (onetim) that I toured at the Copake rally last autumn.

I plan to use an RV for touring more than camping. I want to go on some long trips across the US and Canada and may even be full-timing in a few years. So it is important to me to have something comfortable to tour around in even when I am not towing. (I am also still considering a small motorhome as an alternative)

Even though I may be buying a used TV rather than new when the time comes, I like to try things out at a show where all the vehicles are in one place and they can't sell so they don't hassle you as much. This way, I can eliminate some that just don't suit me.

Any recommendations for my TV search at the Show?

Thanks.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:47 PM   #2
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Rosemary,
Let me voice my opinion, FWIW. Any SUV or 1/2 ton truck with 5000/500 lb capacity with class III or IV hitch is adequate for any Escape trailer. The 80% rule is not written and is thrown around frequently. As long as the gross weight is less than the gross weight specified you will be fine, some say the 80% is built in to the specifications.
I'd vote for backup camera accessory as well as towing package as being required. Built in brake controller would be nice. Disc brakes all around is good. With these 4 items I'd next consider the economy. Some larger V-6's are as powerful as some of the smaller V-8's. With everything equal then look at price and aesthetics.
As far as the new 5th TA requirements, ETI should be able to guide you there.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:52 PM   #3
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Let us know how it goes for you Rosemary. I was going to the auto show here in Portland today... but, not with 6-10" of snow on the ground and freezing rain on the way.
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Old 02-08-2014, 05:52 PM   #4
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:22 PM   #5
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Hi Rosemary
ETI asked for and I provided the measurements of the bed and tailgate of my truck, I presume to ensure they raise the 5.0TA's body as much as needed for my order. This is something they require on the build sheet. I was concerned as I have a newer F150 4x4 with the heavy duty payload package which raises up the body even more then normal. I've heard no comments back from ETI so I'm taking it as a go. As they haven't finished one of the TA's as yet max truck bed height is still anyone's guess. So you could go with a Mid or Full size truck and be okay.

As you are buying the TV to fit whatever trailer you end up with, I'd suggest you decided on the trailer first. You could be in the market for anything from a small SUV to a full size truck.
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Old 02-08-2014, 06:34 PM   #6
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Yea, I received a message from Kim a couple of weeks ago wanting to know about my truck and the bed height. Told her, I haven't bought it yet! ETI wants the info in March for my build. Guess I'm going to have to go shopping when the snow melts....
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Old 02-08-2014, 11:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamstress View Post
Couple of things I am considering...
The other is the towing capability.
I completely understand the idea of going to a show to see everything at once (and especially to check how easy there are to get into, which you can't tell from websites), but I don't think you'll find any useful towing information there. Sales people rarely know anything useful, so unless the show vehicles have their owner's manuals in them (which is very unlikely) you won't find your answers there. Well, you'll get answers, but they are likely to be incorrect. Of course the brochures will have some information, but likely less than the web sites of the manufacturers.

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Originally Posted by Seamstress View Post
While I have learned from this and other forums that several factors enter into this, I know that the GVWR of the trailer is an important one.
Actually, it doesn't matter at all. What matters is how much your trailer will actually weigh. That's the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), not the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). This isn't just a detail of terminology - it is meaningful.

Let's say a trailer weighs 3,000 pounds empty, and has a GVWR of 4,000 lb, allowing you to carry up to half a ton of options, water, and your stuff. If another trailer also weighs 3,000 pounds empty but has oversized axle and frame and thus the ability to handle up to 7,000 pounds (a GVWR of 7000 lb), you don't need to pack an extra ton and half of stuff; if you carry the same half ton of stuff it still has a loaded weight of 4000 lb. The tow vehicle cares how much it is actually pulling, not how much that trailer is allowed to weigh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seamstress View Post
The Escapes above range from 4000 to 4500 lbs. According to some threads here, they recommend a TV capable of pulling 5,000 lbs. but I am wondering if that is enough for the new 21 since I think you are supposed to stay at 80% of GVWR which would be OK for the 19 but not the 21?
Reace normally sets the GVWR at a reasonable level, choosing suspension specs for good ride and handling, instead of just putting in the stiffest suspension and getting a stupidly high GVWR like some manufacturers. That makes Escape GVWR values more useful for planning than some brands. Having said that, I don't think most Escape 15' owners need to allow for 3500 lb of towing capacity.

ETI has already added an extra margin of capacity by advising 5,000 pounds of capacity for a trailer which will not (unless you overload it) weigh more than 4,500 pounds; I see no reason to add that margin again by applying the entirely arbitrary 80% rule.

I think an excessively high tow vehicle requirement is sometimes set for one of three reasons:
  1. owners are expected to overload their trailers (beyond GVWR)
  2. owners incorrectly assess their vehicle loading, and think they have the full rated trailer capacity when in fact they have cut into it significantly by carrying too much in the tow vehicle
  3. the hitch weight rating is usually fixed in proportion to the trailer weight rating (hitch at 10% of trailer), and specifying a 5000 lb trailer weight rating (for instance) is one way to get a 500 lb hitch weight rating (in this case), to accommodate trailers which have a high fraction of their weight on the tongue
If you load the trailer properly and consider all of the vehicle loading limits, not just the trailer weight rating by itself, none of the above apply to you.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:24 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cpaharley2008 View Post
I'd vote for backup camera accessory as well as towing package as being required. Built in brake controller would be nice. Disc brakes all around is good. With these 4 items I'd next consider the economy. Some larger V-6's are as powerful as some of the smaller V-8's. With everything equal then look at price and aesthetics.
As far as the new 5th TA requirements, ETI should be able to guide you there.
Sorry for the delayed response, family emergency to attend to.

Jim, your opinion is always welcome. Definitely want the backup camera and fuel economy will be a major factor. Any decision on a fifth wheel will be dependent on finding a pickup I can handle and is comfortable. Thanks.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:25 PM   #9
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Let us know how it goes for you Rosemary. I was going to the auto show here in Portland today... but, not with 6-10" of snow on the ground and freezing rain on the way.
Will do, Donna. It's snowing again here and with 100,000 homes STILL without power since last Tuesday.
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Old 02-09-2014, 06:30 PM   #10
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Hi Rosemary
So you could go with a Mid or Full size truck and be okay.

As you are buying the TV to fit whatever trailer you end up with, I'd suggest you decided on the trailer first. You could be in the market for anything from a small SUV to a full size truck.
Thanks, I agree, but I am not near to making a decision about the trailer so exploring SUVs and pickups will help with that. I could be happy with any of the three. The fifth-wheel, however, will depend on finding a pickup suitable to me. If I can't that one, will be eliminated, thus the early exploration of TVs.
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Old 02-10-2014, 07:45 PM   #11
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Hey Seamstress,

Hope the auto show was great, I am gonna miss it. But...I drive a Toyota Tundra 2012 with the 4.7 V8. Love it and it gets about the same mileage as my 2001 Tacoma V6. Our 21' will be here this summer. If you want to check out they tow vehicle or our camper just let us know, we live in Burlington NJ, about 15 miles north of philly once you cross the Ben Franklin.

It has the backup camera and all the stuff Jim mentioned. My wife loves it...ha ha but it is my daily driver. It will tow any of the above you are mentioning and with my various back troubles, once I installed the step, it has been great!

Give us a PM if you ever want to get together!

Don and Brenda
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Old 02-11-2014, 09:02 AM   #12
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"Most minivans and SUV’s are capable of towing the different Escape trailers without a noticeable increase in gas consumption, therefore keeping the investment of travel to a minimum." --ETI

If you find one of these vehicles at the auto show please let me know.
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Old 02-11-2014, 10:15 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Viajante View Post
"Most minivans and SUV’s are capable of towing the different Escape trailers without a noticeable increase in gas consumption, therefore keeping the investment of travel to a minimum." --ETI

If you find one of these vehicles at the auto show please let me know.
I agree with the implication: this is not a reasonable expectation, so you won't find one.

I tow our Boler 1700 (length of an Escape 17', width of an Escape 19', similar construction, loaded weight 3000 lb) with a Toyota Sienna. The Sienna is a substantial vehicle, longer in wheelbase than anything but trucks and some truck-based SUVs, as hefty as a mid-sized SUV, and powerful enough to tow the trailer easily. It burns about 50% more fuel with the trailer than on the same roads without it... which makes sense, since the trailer is three-quarters of the van's weight, and adds substantial frontal area for drag.

If your trailer doesn't change your vehicle's fuel consumption much, your vehicle is probably burning a lot of fuel even without the trailer. This is typical of trucks with large engines, not minivans an smaller SUVs.

That doesn't mean that trailers are not practical: for an extra 5 litres of fuel beyond what the van would burn by itself, we can take accommodation with us for a hundred kilometres (1.3 USgal for 62 miles, or 47 miles for a gallon).

(The quote is from The Escape in the ETI website.)
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:05 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I completely understand the idea of going to a show to see everything at once (and especially to check how easy there are to get into, which you can't tell from websites), but I don't think you'll find any useful towing information there. Sales people rarely know anything useful, so unless the show vehicles have their owner's manuals in them (which is very unlikely) you won't find your answers there. Well, you'll get answers, but they are likely to be incorrect. Of course the brochures will have some information, but likely less than the web sites of the manufacturers.
Just a quick note, I went last night. I will write more later. But Brian, amazingly, at least half of the reps I talked to knew immediately what the towing capacity was on their vehicles, including SUVs. All others but one could look it up fairly quickly on their mobile devices. Some could even tell me the components of their tow package. A couple reps mentioned that they are getting asked that more frequently. Guess since the Boomers have/are retiring now, it's becoming more of a subject of interest.
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Old 02-11-2014, 11:11 AM   #15
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Hey Seamstress,

Hope the auto show was great, I am gonna miss it. But...I drive a Toyota Tundra 2012 with the 4.7 V8. Love it and it gets about the same mileage as my 2001 Tacoma V6. Our 21' will be here this summer. If you want to check out they tow vehicle or our camper just let us know, we live in Burlington NJ, about 15 miles north of philly once you cross the Ben Franklin.

It has the backup camera and all the stuff Jim mentioned. My wife loves it...ha ha but it is my daily driver. It will tow any of the above you are mentioning and with my various back troubles, once I installed the step, it has been great!

Give us a PM if you ever want to get together!

Don and Brenda
Yo, neighbor! Relative to the rest of North America that this forum covers.

I went to the auto show last night and it was a blast. Some really beautiful classic cars as well as current models. I will post more about this later. Let me know when your 21' arrives. I am also thinking of a day trip to Jim's ( Cpaharley2008 ) Escape rally in PA later this year. I went to Copake, NY last year with the Fiberglass egg folks and enjoyed seeing all of the various models of those. Some Escapes included.
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Old 02-11-2014, 05:46 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Seamstress View Post
... amazingly, at least half of the reps I talked to knew immediately what the towing capacity was on their vehicles, including SUVs. All others but one could look it up fairly quickly on their mobile devices. Some could even tell me the components of their tow package.
Excellent... but were the ones which knew the capacity correct (sales people tend to be long on confidence and short on accuracy), and did the ones who looked it up get the right number... for the vehicle as you would have it optioned and equipped? The ones looking it up are doing the same thing you can do at home, which is why I don't think that the show adds value in this respect.

Now, assuming that the reps have the right capacity value, did any of them explain the effect on that capacity of load carried in the vehicle? My van, for instance, can carry hundreds of pounds of passengers and cargo and still tow the rated 3500 pound trailer, but after that it's a compromise. With many vehicles (especially pickup trucks), if you carry so much as a one-pound coffee mug with you the trailer capacity is reduced by that one pound. (That's item #2 in my list of why excessive vehicle towing capacity is often advised.)

What I would look at in a show regarding towing is what provisions the vehicle has for hitch mounting... that's about the only thing I could see there and not see in specs published online. Even then, I usually look up the aftermarket hitch installation instructions (online) for that information.
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Old 02-15-2014, 05:12 PM   #17
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Sorry for the delay in posting the results of my visit to the Auto Show. Between snowstorms and three nights working til midnight, I had no time to put together the article on my blog. The full article is available here.

In a nutshell, the only truck that I could get in/out easily was the Toyota Tacoma. So, the 5.0TA might not be in my future.

The SUVs that I found that would work:

Ford Explorer
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Chevy Traverse
VW Touareg
Nissan Pathfinder

I tried MANY more trucks and SUVs but these were the only ones that passed this first test. Now on to do much more research. I'm not necessarily buying a new vehicle but the show helped me to limit my choices to something manageable.

Hope you enjoy the full article.
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:20 PM   #18
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The towing capacity of a Tacoma with the full tow package is 6400 or 6500 pounds, depending on transmission choice. Would that not handle the 5.0TA well?
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Old 02-15-2014, 07:43 PM   #19
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Rosemary, did the trucks you tried the sit test... have running boards? I have them on my current F-150 and they make a huge difference in getting in and out. My next truck will also be a 2x4... no need for four-wheel drive and it will also have running boards.
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Old 02-15-2014, 08:02 PM   #20
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Sold an F150 to buy my FJ a couple years ago. Drove a nearly new F150 supercrew at work yesterday and was reminded how big and long these full sized trucks are. I am happy that the Escape trailers are mostly light enough that they can be comfortably towed with a small or mid sized vehicle. Of course, the new 5TA may be the exception to that.
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