Towing a 19' with a hybrid Highlander - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 12-21-2016, 11:22 PM   #1
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Towing a 19' with a hybrid Highlander

Has anyone any experience with towing with a hybrid SUV? We are exploring options of replacing our 2005 Tacoma. The Highlander can handle the 19' but not sure if hybrid makes any difference. Appreciate any thoughts.


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Old 12-21-2016, 11:36 PM   #2
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Towing capacity of the hybrid is 3,500 pounds. From the ETI web page

There are many key features about the Escape which make it lightweight and aerodynamic, keeping travel costs to a minimum. With a dry weight of only 2510lbs, the Escape 19’ has been designed specifically for mid-sized vehicles such as SUVs and mid-sized trucks with a V6 engine or a minimum towing capacity of 4000lbs.
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Old 12-21-2016, 11:58 PM   #3
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Check out the FGRV sites " Trailer Weights in the Real World"
The average loaded weight of the Escape 19's listed in the table is approx 3900 lbs
Just something to consider.
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Old 12-22-2016, 12:27 AM   #4
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Being a hybrid is not an issue; however, in this specific case Toyota did not equip the hybrid version for as much continuous high load (of towing) as the conventional version. It's likely a matter of cooling capacity for the motor/generators and electronics.

I've looked at towing the 19' with a vehicle rated to tow 3500 pounds, and it would require substantial discipline in choosing options and packing.
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Old 01-03-2017, 03:55 PM   #5
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Thanks for the insights. I agree, towing our 19' with a Highlander Hybrid rated for max 3500 not a good option. Too bad, as would like to switch toward a hybrid vehicle..one day hybrids will improve.

wishing everyone a happy new year!
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:42 PM   #6
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I don't see any need for hybrids to "improve" - you just need one designed for your purposes, and there isn't much market for that so there are few available. There are hybrids rated to tow 5000 pounds (e.g. Volvo XC90 T8), there have been hybrid full-sized pickups and SUVs rated for at least 6000 pounds (from GM), and there are hybrid trucks which can haul many tons and 20-ton hybrid buses... there just doesn't happen to be a Toyota hybrid at the moment sized for a trailer over 3500 pounds.
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:08 PM   #7
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There are several articles and forums on the internet discussing towing with the Highlander Hybrid . It appears that many have had issues with towing loads as small as 1000 lbs or towing up long grades .It's possible that the newer improved Highlander no longer has these problems but the information I read was not encouraging.
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Old 01-04-2017, 01:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
There are several articles and forums on the internet discussing towing with the Highlander Hybrid . It appears that many have had issues with towing loads as small as 1000 lbs or towing up long grades.
I had not heard of towing issues, but I have not been looking for them or following Highlander forums. I have heard of issues with the rear drive motor getting hot, which causes the control system to shut down power to the rear protectively, when the rear drive is heavily used; that would normally occur during extended driving is very poor traction conditions.

The drive to the rear of a Highlander Hybrid is electric only, and generally used when there is inadequate traction at the front (not under normal dry-road conditions). This is becoming a common configuration for AWD hybrids, especially with transverse engine placement; at Toyota this applies to the RAV4 / NX as well as the Highlander / RX, and there are various brands of exotic sports cars with this configuration as well.
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Old 01-04-2017, 09:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian B-P View Post
I had not heard of towing issues, but I have not been looking for them or following Highlander forums. I have heard of issues with the rear drive motor getting hot, which causes the control system to shut down power to the rear protectively, when the rear drive is heavily used; that would normally occur during extended driving is very poor traction conditions.

The drive to the rear of a Highlander Hybrid is electric only, and generally used when there is inadequate traction at the front (not under normal dry-road conditions). This is becoming a common configuration for AWD hybrids, especially with transverse engine placement; at Toyota this applies to the RAV4 / NX as well as the Highlander / RX, and there are various brands of exotic sports cars with this configuration as well.
The issue as presented on the Web was that they were towing
( normally a boat or small utility trailer ) and the Highlander would shut down and go into lockout . At that point they could not move the vehicle , so they had to unhook the trailer and get a second vehicle to move the trailer to a safe location. Being that it was posted on the internet , I would assume they were already upset with the vehicle and may have slanted the truth to fit the story but in any case it is a cause for concern.
My question is , " If poor traction leads to a vehicle shutdown , than how would this type of vehicle work on snow / rain / ice ?" . It's one thing to be stranded by your vehicle when it's 70 deg but quite a different story when it's 20 below zero and your in a snowstorm .
How would this vehicle work for towing on unimproved , wet dirt or gravel roads as found in many campgrounds ?

From the posts on the Web the issue seems to be mainly confined to the Highlander and Prius but that maybe is because they sell the most hybrids. Like anything on the internet , the largest manufacturer of any product usually have the longest list of complaints !.

I will admit my ignorance about Hybrid Vehicles , mainly because of lack of interest and they were unsuitable as a commuter vehicle in my line of work . Now that we are retired a hybrid vehicle may make sense as a grocery getter .
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Old 01-04-2017, 12:52 PM   #10
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We have 6000 miles on a 2016 Hybrid Hyundai Sonata and my wife and I both love the car although I would never entertain the idea of towing anything with it. I wouldn't even haul heavy loads. We get over 40 mpg regularly and she drives 45 miles on the highway to work and back every day.

It can get kind of gutless climbing long mountain pass roads as the battery will get too low to power the electric motor and it only has a small 2 liter gas motor to pull it up the mountain so it often shifts down into 3rd gear with the engine really winding to maintain 65 mph with cruise control on. We usually just slow down to 50 or 55 and it stays in 4th gear. (It has a 6 speed.)

Remember, a hybrid has a fairly heavy battery, electric motor and a lot of additional copper wiring so when the battery is too low, which can happen quickly pulling a load up a mountain, the additional weight is being pulled by the smaller down-sized motor, which is also trying to generate electricity for the big battery.

Coming down the mountain pass is something else. It will quickly recharge the battery; using the regenerative braking also helps and I can go many miles without the motor turning on. Mostly, the electric system will boost the drive occasionally. It becomes a fun challenge to see how far I can go without the engine coming on at all.

My wife turns the heater off on cold days and can leave the house, climb a small hill and coast a couple miles until she needs to start using engine power. Then she turns the heater on. If the heater is on, the motor will start in the garage.
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