RAV4 vs Chevy Colorado for a 17 - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 01-01-2018, 10:15 AM   #1
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RAV4 vs Chevy Colorado for a 17

Initial impressions after 2600 miles from Vermont to NJ, to Idaho.

We traded the RAV4 for the Colorado to increase our toy carrying capacity and, we hoped, to increase our towing mileage from the 13 - 14 we got with the RAV4. Colorado did ok east of the Mississippi in relatively flat terrain in moderate traffic. I wonder if being in traffic helps reduce wind resistance? Power was adequate to stay in 4th gear on level ground and downshift once on the gradual hills. Mileage was similar to the RAV 4 at 60 - 65 mph. The fun started as we got into the steady headwinds in Iowa where the Colorado began down shifting to 3 rd on level ground with the resulting reduction in mileage to 12 or so. Not our plan. Then it got REALLY exciting in Wyoming where 80 was closed to light, high profile vehicles due to the winds gusting to 60 mph. We swallowed hard and eased back onto the highway, quartering into this headwind from hell. Who knows about the mileage, but the trailer, Colorado, and Anderson WD hitch did remarkably well under these extreme conditions. No fishtailing or sideways buffeting at all. On balance I am disappointed at the tow capacity of the Colorado. My expectations were that it would do better than the 4 given that the tow capacity of the 4 was 3500 vs. 5000 for the Colorado. No way would I attempt to tow a trailer requiring a 5000 lb tow capacity with this truck. Love the comfort and increased carrying capacity of the Colorado, however. Wonder how much the very cold weather affected the mileage. It was below 0 for the last two days of the trip.
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Old 01-01-2018, 10:32 AM   #2
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We have encountered below zero temps for the past week .
My fuel mileage has dropped from the 20 MPG range ( non towing) to the 15 to 16 MPG range but that's not unusual in cold weather . I would assume that since you live in Vermont you have encountered this phenomenon before. When I lived on Minnesota's Iron Range I saw MPG reductions of 50% when temps were in the 30 to 50 below range.
I also would not attempt to tow a trailer with a GVWR of 5000 lbs with a Colorado, Canyon or any small unibody vehicle for that matter.
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Old 01-01-2018, 04:00 PM   #3
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I thought the last year the Rav4 had a 3500 lb v6 tow rating (before now) was 2012.
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Old 01-01-2018, 04:13 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Bobbie54 View Post
I thought the last year the Rav4 had a 3500 lb v6 tow rating (before now) was 2012.
True, although rumors are they will be releasing a 4 cylinder 3500/350 rated RAV4 next year. Both would be overtaxed pulling a 19, and while my 2010 V6 version did OK with the 17, I'd sure want to see some results from others before I tried it with a 4 cylinder engine.
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Old 01-02-2018, 03:13 AM   #5
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I pull my 17b with a 2016 Canyon with the 6 cylinder gas engine and I feel I have power to spare. I haven't fought the killer headwinds like you have but I have climbed some long steep hills. I wouldn't have any concerns pulling a 19 or even a 21, but I'm sure I'd feel the 21 on those hills.
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Old 01-02-2018, 11:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Bobbie54 View Post
I thought the last year the Rav4 had a 3500 lb v6 tow rating (before now) was 2012.
Ours was the 2012. I think you are right in that it was the last year for the v6. My wife disagrees.
ST, I wonder if your newer Canyon with the v6 has just enough extra torque to work with the 17. I sure miss that 6th cylinder.
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Old 01-02-2018, 12:39 PM   #7
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I wonder if your newer Canyon with the v6 has just enough extra torque to work with the 17. I sure miss that 6th cylinder.
I would hope so. My V-6 Ranger tows the 19 very well. Stays in 5th on the highway, has handled prairie headwinds and the high mountain passes. I'd like to think that when I have to replace it something is available other than a full size p/u.

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Old 01-02-2018, 12:57 PM   #8
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The 2012 Colorado is the previous generation of the Colorado which first came out in 2003 (as a 2004 model year). In 2012 most came with The 3.7L engine which is a straight 5 cyl. with 242 hp and has a 4-speed (!) transmission. It's ancient technology compared to the 2014+ V6 with 306 hp and now with the 8-speed transmission. There was a V8 option in 2009-2012 which had 300 hp, so maybe that's what you have?

Your gas mileage sounds about right for that truck. The newer one would give you a couple of mpg better unless you went for the Duramax diesel, which should do about 19 mpg towing. I've got the ZR2 version with Duramax and will report on my towing experience after I have some.
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Old 01-02-2018, 01:01 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Vermilye View Post
True, although rumors are they will be releasing a 4 cylinder 3500/350 rated RAV4 next year. Both would be overtaxed pulling a 19, and while my 2010 V6 version did OK with the 17, I'd sure want to see some results from others before I tried it with a 4 cylinder engine.
It's out now, the Rav4 Adventure. Haven't seen any real-world reports on towing yet, though.
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:00 PM   #10
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Old 01-02-2018, 07:13 PM   #11
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Your Colorado mpg will increase as you put more miles on the unit. Maybe after 10K miles you will see an improvement.
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Old 01-03-2018, 09:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyfree View Post
The 2012 Colorado is the previous generation of the Colorado which first came out in 2003 (as a 2004 model year). In 2012 most came with The 3.7L engine which is a straight 5 cyl. with 242 hp and has a 4-speed (!) transmission. It's ancient technology compared to the 2014+ V6 with 306 hp and now with the 8-speed transmission. There was a V8 option in 2009-2012 which had 300 hp, so maybe that's what you have?

Your gas mileage sounds about right for that truck. The newer one would give you a couple of mpg better unless you went for the Duramax diesel, which should do about 19 mpg towing. I've got the ZR2 version with Duramax and will report on my towing experience after I have some.
A data point for you. ~4500 miles of towing our 5.0TA, with our 2018, Colorado Z71, Duramax, crew cab, long bed, at 60 m/h. 18.3 m/g, backed up with fuel purchase/mileage records. I.e., I think your estimate should be quite close. I'll be looking forward to - and will probably be envious of - your post tow feedback...
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Old 01-03-2018, 12:05 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Bobbie54 View Post
It's out now, the Rav4 Adventure. Haven't seen any real-world reports on towing yet, though.


Iíve towed my 17 with 3 different vehicles. First was a 2007Silverado duramax. Obvious overkill for a 17 but towed great. I wanted to downsize, mostly because I wanted a manageable vehicle to drive around town when visiting congested city areas. I ordered a 2016 Colorado with 4 cylinder Duramax. While waiting for delivery, I used my 6 cylinder Rav4. It worked fine. It didnít exactly exude confidence in the mountains or in windy conditions even with Andersen wdh. With the Colorado now I have 8000 miles of towing the 17. Awesome pulling torque and comfortable towing. Iíve towed in the mountains and even in downtown San Francisco. I consider it a perfect tow vehicle for the 17. Apex 18-19 mpg towing. I tow with and without the wdh. I feel it has excess capacity and would probably tow a 19í Escape just fine. I tow my 21í sailboat back and forth to the lake and it does great. With trailer, it weighs about 5000lb.


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