New SUV tow vehicle for 21ft? - Page 3 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-22-2016, 02:51 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
The diesel Durango is the Grand Cherokee with the 3.0 L turbodiesel - you have to give up the longer wheelbase to get the diesel.
I know, but it seems strange that you can get it in their 1/2 ton, as well as the Cherokee, but not in the Durango. That would be a much better engine for towing with it.
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Old 06-22-2016, 04:34 PM   #22
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thanks, Have a great trip
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:07 PM   #23
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Wow, already page 3 in half a day...thanks for the responses!
I forgot to mention I picked these 3, besides resale and reliability, because they are or will most likely be IIHS top safety picks. After accident free driving and, IMO, being a 99.9 percentile good-skilled driver on the road for close to 25 years, I realized it is near impossible to avoid dumb idiots from rear-ending you when stopped at a red light as what happened last year. Driving a safer vehicle around with my baby is a must for us.
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:13 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by LeonW View Post
For what ever it is worth, we tow our 2014 Escape 21 with a 2014 Toyota Highlander, and have no complaints about the towing performance. We have close to 20,000 towing miles on the car, and so far so good. I have always been able to go as fast as I feel comfortable going up hill, and always had no problems going down hill. Almost all of this travel has been west of the Mississippi, and much of it has been in the mountains. The hardest towing has been going across various plains states into big (40-50 mph) head/side winds. But maybe I just think that is the case because no matter what you have to pay a lot of attention when you have a big wind. On long trips the dashboard says we average about 14.5 mpg, but that usually includes some driving without the trailer, and I don't keep exact numbers.

But the 2017 models will be heavier than our 2014 trailer is. I don't know how much heavier, but you should probably think about that. I haven't weighed our trailer, but I did look at the discussion of what other 21s weigh, and given the numbers there decided that a 5000 lb towing capacity would provide me with a reasonable margin of safety.

Also, I think a lot of towing discussions come down to personal preference. We really didn't want a truck, we wanted something that drives more like a car. We wanted a Toyota because we have had very good luck with Toyotas over the past 40 years. We tend to drive 60-65 on the freeway, about 55-60 on the two lane roads. We choose the higher fuel economy and lower price of the Highlander over the greater capacity of the Sequoia. We liked the Lexus GX460, but didn't like the requirement for premium gas, and the side hinges on the rear door. We preferred the interior of the Highlander to the 4Runner. We choose the 2wd drive version of the Highlander because it was less expensive and got better mileage. If I had to do it over again, I wokuld get the AWD drive version, but only because it would probably work a bit better on winter roads. If I recall correctly, the Highlander red lines at something around 6000 rpm, but peak power is just below 5000 rpm. I don't have any problems going up steep hills with the engine revving 4500-5000 rpm. Lindy says it sounds strange. That is all the stuff that runs through my head when I think about tow vehicle decisions.

That is my $.02 worth, but only you can make the decision that is right for you.
Not sure about Toyotas.. But to get 5000lb tow capacity in American Hondas/Acuras, I must opt for AWD. Didn't know Highlander can do that with 2WD.
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:16 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by dkirk View Post
We tow a 15 foot (soon to be a 2017 19") with a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee V6 with a 6200# towing capacity.

For a 21" I would chose the Jeep Grand Cheroke V8 with 7200# capacity.

The 8 speed transmission is an important advantage over the 6 speed transmissions when towing

The auto leveling rear suspension and trailer sway control feature is also valuable
Is the reasoning for 8 or 9 speed so that trans doesn't have to hunt for an ideal gear as much?
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:19 PM   #26
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I think like so many discussions here it all comes down to personal preferences. Speaking only for myself, there is a world of difference in ride comfort, especially for long distances, between the 2008 Tacoma we traded in and the 2016 Highlander we now have. But, I still greatly prefer the driving feel of a lower center of gravity sedan over an SUV, and an even lower CG sports car over a sedan. Best of all was the fast go-kart I had as a kid!

As the Wise Donna says YMMV.
Highlander > Tacoma right? Cause I was thinking Tacoma or Ridgeline too...
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:24 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
Although the 2017 Acura MDX is just coming out, it is only a "facelift", or minor revision. This is the same underlying vehicle of the same generation as the 2014 and later MDX, and the 2016 Honda Pilot, other than the addition of a hybrid option.

If you are interested in a hybrid, both Toyota and now Honda (Acura) now offer this, but at least the Highlander Hybrid has lower (and insufficient for a 21') towing capacity compared to the regular version.


The change in the Highlander for 2017 has also been described as a facelift of the 2013 design, but has a powertrain change which may be significant.Experience with the 2013-2016 Highlander would still be relevant regarding the body and chassis (suspension), and the engine change is a refinement rather than a completely different engine. By the way, the new version is the same engine as used in the 2016 Tacoma.


I agree that these are good features. The 2017 Highlander also has an 8-speed transmission, and the current Pilot and MDX have a 9-speed.


The Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are essentially identical other than styling and wheelbase - they are mechanically the same. The Durango's unusually long wheelbase seems like an advantage to me, although the rear overhang may a little long as well.
Great info.
I was reading there was some software problems with the 9-speed Pilot transmissions because they are outsourced vs Honda made. Not sure if the new MDX will have the same transmission
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Old 06-22-2016, 05:45 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by LJY View Post
Is the reasoning for 8 or 9 speed so that trans doesn't have to hunt for an ideal gear as much?
Yes - it's a matter of matching engine speed to the requirements of current conditions. Vehicles "hunt" because they essentially can't decide between a gear which is too high (not enough power available) and too low (excessive engine speed for economy). Having more gears means that there is usually a better gear available than with fewer gears, but there is also the risk that the software will still not be able to decide.

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Originally Posted by LJY View Post
I was reading there was some software problems with the 9-speed Pilot transmissions because they are outsourced vs Honda made. Not sure if the new MDX will have the same transmission
The 9-speed is the 9HP designed and built by ZF, but I don't think that being from someone other than Honda is the reason for programming challenges. These transmissions are complex and inherently difficult to control ideally, so each manufacturer using them has had some problems; fortunately, they seem to get them worked out. A couple of the design features used to pack gearing capable of nine different ratios in the short length available in a transverse transaxle make smooth shifting between the upper gears particularly challenging.

The Pilot and MDX are built on the same platform and use the same transmission (other than the hybrid), which is also used by Fiat Chrysler and by Land Rover. ZF a worldwide leading transmission manufacturer, and also builds the 8-speed 8HP used in some of the other vehicles mentioned (Durango and Grand Cherokee).
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:03 PM   #29
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If I ever find my gently used 15, I will be towing it with a 2015 Tacoma. If I was towing a 21 and wanted a SUV, my preference would be either the Toyota Highlander or the 4Runner - probably the 4Runner. All of the vehicles mentioned in this thread appear to be great vehicles.
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Old 06-22-2016, 06:14 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by LJY View Post
Highlander > Tacoma right? Cause I was thinking Tacoma or Ridgeline too...
I can only speak for Mary and I, but we both find the Highlander very much more comfortable to travel in for long distances. Ours was the now replaced 2008 generation, but the suspension on rear of the Highlander seems much stronger than it did on that year Tacoma. When I was considering a new Tacoma or HIghlander, I was surprised in reading manuals that the Highlander has a bit more cargo weight capacity than the Tacoma. But the Tacoma has significantly more Gross Combined Vehicle Weight rating.

We also considered 4Runners, but felt that the Highlander had a more comfortable road suspension. I think I would want a 4Runner or Tacoma Off Road model if I planned to do a lot of back country towing.
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