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Old 10-03-2017, 12:20 PM   #1
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What Tow Vehicle for Escape 19?

Our beloved 1997 4Runner was totalled last year by another driver, and we will need to buy a new vehicle to tow the new Escape 19 we are planning to buy. We are concerned about whether a 4Runner will have the oomph needed to pull it (the new Escape 19) up hill and over dale.

When we first began trailer camping, we pulled a 21' Wilderness Ultralight with our 5000 lb towing capacity 1997 4Runner. We were resolved to stay within 75% of the towing capacity limit and it weighed under 3600 pounds when fully loaded with our gear, gas, and propane but empty water and sewage tanks. But we were climbing the I-80 hill to Lake Tahoe in the slow truck lane, going no more than 40 mph. A few years later, we towed our new 17' Casita, which came in at only 3100 pounds when loaded for camping, at our 1997 4Runner's normal uphill speed. We never noticed the Casita's presence, we were so nimble!

I have read in this forum that many people tow their Escape 19s with 4Runners --- do you stay under 3750 pounds total trailer weight (75% of 5000 pounds)? How do you manage that, given the dry weight of the trailer before options are added and gear is loaded?

For those who tow with another vehicle, why did you choose the vehicle you tow with, and would you make the same choice again?

All comments welcome!

Thank you,
Elisabeth
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:29 PM   #2
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You just can't beat an F150 for towing. I've had ours for 5 years, 83,000 miles, much of it towing our 17' Casita ( just ordered an Escape 21) and I still love it. A full sized pickup can't be beat IMHO.

A big one for us was the ability to keep the "stinky and dirty" stuff in the bed of the pickup. That's why we dumped our SUV's and went with the pickup. Much nicer to be able to just toss nasty stuff back there and take off. No fumes or funny smells in the cab of the vehicle or the camper.
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Old 10-03-2017, 12:49 PM   #3
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We, IowaDave, Leon and some other folks tow 21's with our Highlanders and are more than satisfied with the experiences. Interestingly starting with the 2017 Highlanders, Toyota raised the GCWR of Highlander with the new V6 engine to 11,000#, which now give me an easy margin on the one weight rating we were closest to.

But others will give you completely different opinions so as the ever wise Donna says, YMMV
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egraham View Post

For those who tow with another vehicle, why did you choose the vehicle you tow with, and would you make the same choice again?

All comments welcome!

Thank you,
Elisabeth
Hi Elisabeth,

I tow my 2013 19" with a 2016 Tacoma. I had a 2014 Tacoma before but the main reason I traded it in so soon is the 3rd generation Tacoma (2016 and later) has a more fuel efficient engine and more importantly for towing, one can manually select any of the 6 gears on the automatic transmission. That allows me to down shift approaching hills before I loose speed and maintain my momentum. in most cases and can maintain 60-65 MPH except for the steepest grades. But even on long steep passes, I can maintain 55 MPH.

I keep my weight low by running with empty tanks for the most part. I use the "AllStays" app on my phone to locate fresh water sources near my destination if I'm boon docking. And try to empty the waste tanks as soon as possible after breaking camp. (Again, using the "AllStays" app to locate dump stations,) The Tacoma with two package has a 6,400 # tow rating so it is easy for me to stay under 75% of capacity.

I freely admit my bias toward Toyata build quality. Starting with my '86 Corrolla to our 2010 Prius, I have had 4 sedans, and 3 Tacoma's. In my case I need a pickup for my daily life and I like the nimbleness of the Tacoma. The main downside of the Tacoma is the ride is not as smooth as other options.

Others on this forum that prefer a smoother ride and the enclosure of an SUV swear by the Highlander. The recent vintage Highlanders also have the manual select transmissions that I talk about above but with 4 wheel independent suspension one has a smoother, more comfortable ride than the Tacoma. Some of these forum members are using Highlanders for 21' Escapes others are pulling 19. But I will let them speak for themselves as to their experience pulling grades as that seems to be your main concern. The 4 runner has a 5 speed rather than 6 speed transmission so I can't speculate on how they perform. Good Luck!
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:06 PM   #5
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YMMV?

I would love to have a Tundra but we travel with 2 cats who can be made comfortable only in the LARGE rear area of a fully-enclosed vehicle: litter, water, food, baskets, duvet to curl up in, and on top of. We really need the full back area of an SUV.
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:13 PM   #6
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One of the things I loved about our 4Runner was my ability to downshift (so to speak) when going down hills so that the engine did some of the braking. We also added a transmission cooler to the '97 4Runner before we took off on our travels (it came with the factory tow package, but that didn't include a transmission cooler back then).

(I suspect I am not the only person who still mourns the loss of a 4Runner!)
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:16 PM   #7
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Hi Elisabeth,
We opted for the Sequoia 2017 to pull our 19’. It is perhaps a bit of over kill but we also carry bikes, sea kayaks and at times for adults. We spent 4 weeks in the Rockies this summer and appreciated the extra power. The transmission temperature always stayed within the safe operating range even on hot days climbing the Coquihalla Highway and the Icefields Parkway.

Cheers
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:22 PM   #8
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We tow our 2013 19 with a 2012 Highlander. In the four years we have had the trailer we have had no issues towing with the Highlander. We had vehicle reliability problems towing boats with another vehicle from a different manufacturer so we are happy with how the Highlander is performing. We put the dirty stuff in the front box of the trailer and find using a WDH improves towing performance. Wish we had a bit more torque on steep grades but not enough to justify for us to change vehicles at this point.

If we were going to purchase another vehicle it would likely be another Highlander given the new models have a bit more HP/torque than the 2012 and we like the reliability and comfort of the Highlander. Our second choice would be a Tacoma so we could have space in the bed.
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egraham View Post
YMMV?
"Your mileage may vary" - basically means everyone is entitled to their own opinion and what works for some, may not work for others.
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:43 PM   #10
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Thank you. So many acronyms, so little time!
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