Going to live in 17 Escape / Tow Vehicle advise - Escape Trailer Owners Community

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Old 06-06-2018, 11:01 PM   #1
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Going to live in 17 Escape / Tow Vehicle advise

OK, here goes been researching and considering this for some time and getting close to decision time so wanted to seek advise. If this should be in a different area of the forum, let me know.

I'm about 2 years from retirement and plan on spending about 5-7, maybe more living out of the Escape. Retiring from 30 years as a Firefighter and it's just me. I also plan on care taking houses and animal rescues across the country from time to time. I'm sure I will be in housing some but also want to have my home with me for some remote areas that I would like to visit. Will have access to electric some and other times not.

I am aloting 35000 - 40000 USD for Trailer. I think the 17 will be more than enough space for me, I'm a minimalist. Just a comfortable bed and computer access keeps me happy. I will probably get one loaded, every option offered, including a quiet generator and full solar array for off grid times.

My main question is Tow vehicle, I am leaning towards a New Highlander. I have budgeted 35000 - 40000 for the vehicle. I would love to use a minivan. I like them and I will probably leave the trailer at times and live in the vehicle for a few days at a time. My favorite is the Town and Country / Pacifica but I just don't think it's gonna be good enough for Tow Capacity which is why I'm leaning towards a Highlander

I am open to all opinions and comments on both the tow vehicle and ANY advise you can give. I will be living on these forums over the next year to learn what I can. I would like to make up my mind by Summer of next year on Trailer and Vehicle, order the trailer allowing for another year for build out and then I'm off.

I don't like cold weather so I will probably only be in the Northern States in Summer time and Southern States in the Winter.

Let me have it.
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:29 AM   #2
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For a comfortable bed, you might want to consider to have a permanent bed installed. Or move up to a 19.
Maybe contact ETI to get info on Escape owners in your area, willing to show.
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:31 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by indysafe317 View Post
OK, here goes been researching and considering this for some time and getting close to decision time so wanted to seek advise. If this should be in a different area of the forum, let me know.

I'm about 2 years from retirement and plan on spending about 5-7, maybe more living out of the Escape. Retiring from 30 years as a Firefighter and it's just me. I also plan on care taking houses and animal rescues across the country from time to time. I'm sure I will be in housing some but also want to have my home with me for some remote areas that I would like to visit. Will have access to electric some and other times not.

I am aloting 35000 - 40000 USD for Trailer. I think the 17 will be more than enough space for me, I'm a minimalist. Just a comfortable bed and computer access keeps me happy. I will probably get one loaded, every option offered, including a quiet generator and full solar array for off grid times.



My main question is Tow vehicle, I am leaning towards a New Highlander. I have budgeted 35000 - 40000 for the vehicle. I would love to use a minivan. I like them and I will probably leave the trailer at times and live in the vehicle for a few days at a time. My favorite is the Town and Country / Pacifica but I just don't think it's gonna be good enough for Tow Capacity which is why I'm leaning towards a Highlander

I am open to all opinions and comments on both the tow vehicle and ANY advise you can give. I will be living on these forums over the next year to learn what I can. I would like to make up my mind by Summer of next year on Trailer and Vehicle, order the trailer allowing for another year for build out and then I'm off.

I don't like cold weather so I will probably only be in the Northern States in Summer time and Southern States in the Winter.

Let me have it.
OK, so we have an older model Honda Pilot, which is rated as a 3,500 lbs towing capacity. Works great towing our 17B....except.... There are lots of hills in the Pacific North West. Although our TV makes it and is great on the flat, it can be somewhat slow up long hills. Sure we have time, but if you are doing lots of up and down hills, especially if you were making a longish journey, my advice would be to get the appropriate sized Highlander. It can have a larger towing capacity (up to 5,000 lbs) than the Pacifica which is only rated at 3,600 lbs. Also, an SUV typically has a higher ground clearance, and so if you want to take your vehicle to some more rugged spots (once you have parked your trailer) the SUV is a better bet than a mini-van. IMHO.
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:19 AM   #4
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We tow a 19' with a 2015 Highlander, and it works quite well. Seems to be a pretty popular tow vehicle for 17' and 19' Escapes (and even a few 21's). Needs a bit of gas on hills and merging, but it'll do it, and it's nice and stable at highway speeds. Decent gas mileage as well, and the 2017+ with direct injection is probably slightly better.
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:32 AM   #5
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Old 06-07-2018, 07:44 AM   #6
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You might want to consider your height and the interior height of the 17 vs the 19. We owned a 17b and lived in it more than a month at a time.....it’s fairly small for “living” in, but everyone is different. Try to look at them before you make a purchase.
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Old 06-07-2018, 08:22 AM   #7
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Don't redline your towing capacity

As far as a tow vehicle goes, I'm of the opinion that you don't want to 'redline' it's towing capacity. Just because a vehicle can tow 3500 lbs (max) doesn't mean you should. Especially for extended periods of time. My reasoning has to do with wear and tear. No one would consider running an engine at it's maximum RPM for extended periods of time, all the time. Give yourself and the longevity of your vehicle a little cushion.
I purchased a GMC 1500 to tow my 19. I added a mid rise 'camper' cap for storage. A 19 at max weight will still be well below the trucks max towing capacity. Gas mileage with the 5.3 liter V8 (not towing) has averaged 20.8 MPG since I bought it last August.
Can't wait to pick up my 19 in October!
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:16 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by indysafe317 View Post
I think the 17 will be more than enough space for me, I'm a minimalist. Just a comfortable bed and computer access keeps me happy. I will probably get one loaded, every option offered, including a quiet generator and full solar array for off grid times.
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Originally Posted by Onestep View Post
As far as a tow vehicle goes, I'm of the opinion that you don't want to 'redline' it's towing capacity. Just because a vehicle can tow 3500 lbs (max) doesn't mean you should. Especially for extended periods of time. My reasoning has to do with wear and tear. No one would consider running an engine at it's maximum RPM for extended periods of time, all the time. Give yourself and the longevity of your vehicle a little cushion.
Agreed. A 17B with every option and gear can quickly approach the max towing capacity of the T&C/Pacifica minivans at 3600#. Don't be fooled by the dry weight without options of 2400# on the ETI website. The GVWR of these trailers is 4000#. If it were me I would get the Highlander with 5000# capacity and never look back.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:21 AM   #9
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Just my experience. I had a 17B and was traveling full time during the summer months with my wife and dog. We sold the 17B and purchased a 19 for two reasons. The 19 gave us a full queen "real" bed and a larger dinette. I was not comfortable sleeping on the 17B cushions with a memory foam topper. Other than that the 17B was perfect for us. If I was traveling solo the 17B would be my choice and I'd figure out a way to get a real mattress in there even if I had to have it custom made. I towed it with a full size GMC pickup but I carry alot of gear ie. mountain bike, inflatable SUP etc so I needed the storage capacity. So if you are concerned about bed comfort talk to Escape about permanent bed options in the 17B. I was considering upgrading the bed area in the 17B but felt moving up to the 19 was better for us. Also note that the 19 is 4 inches wider than the 17B. If your a minimalist I would say a 17B would be perfect. You can use a smaller tow vehicle and it will be easier to maneuver in tight spots. As for the tow vehicle consider a compact pickup with a cap over the bed. You will have plenty of power and off road capability as well as storage capacity in the back. You can also build a small bed to sleep in the truck bed if needed. When you drive through the mountain passes you want to make sure your tow vehicle has plenty of power.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:53 AM   #10
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I will definitely have the permanent bed and the more I think on it, I will probably just go with the 19. The minimalist in me says 17 but the extra 2 feet will probably make a difference without adding much overall length.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:55 AM   #11
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Since I am leaning towards the 19 now, I think everyone is right about shying away from the van. I love it and have had great luck but I will be towing most of the time. Any opinions of the 4runner vs the highlander.
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Old 06-07-2018, 09:58 AM   #12
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The 1500 is a good vehicle, have a few friends with that model. I just really want the enclosed space that I can get to easy. The topper is a great option but I don't think it will work for my plans when I'm away from the Trailer. The SUV seems like a good compromise between a Truck and a Minivan for what I will need it for. It's not off the table completely, just leaning the other direction.
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:19 AM   #13
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This is a comparison of the '17 4runner and Highlander. Note: 4runner has 1.6 more inches of ground clearance--I don't know the ground clearance of the 19 with or without high axle, so it might not make a difference.

And this: "At upper trim levels, you have the option of a 3.5-liter V6 engine that actually outdoes the 4Runner engine when it comes to horsepower and helps the Highlander match the 4Runner towing capacity. All Highlander models come with either a 6-speed or 8-speed automatic transmission and the option of all-wheel drive."

https://www.captoyota.com/research/c...n-salem-or.htm
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Old 06-07-2018, 10:49 AM   #14
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I tow a 17B with a 2015 Ford Explorer (5000 lb tow capacity). It's a breeze. Like it's not even there. Almost no impact on my gas mileage, easy to maneuver, etc.

Congrats on putting in 30 years on the job. It's an underrated job that takes a toll on the personnel. Enjoy a well-deserved rest! I retired 2 years ago after 30. Now I work part time for a friend and I'm getting ready to hit the road for at least a year in my Escape.
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:04 AM   #15
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If it is just yourself, you might want to consider a reversed 19. The front is a permanent 44" wide bed, and a large table in the back (which could be optioned to be a "U" shaped dinette.
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Old 06-07-2018, 11:08 AM   #16
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Since I am leaning towards the 19 now, I think everyone is right about shying away from the van. I love it and have had great luck but I will be towing most of the time. Any opinions of the 4runner vs the highlander.
As a career firefighter, you have a reputation and an image that you are going to have to carry with you even after you retire. Although the Highlander is a nice car, it does not carry the same adventurous image as the 4Runner, which is a go anywhere fully 4-wheel drive capable sport utility vehicle. I would say go for the 4Runner!
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:58 PM   #17
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As a career firefighter, you have a reputation and an image that you are going to have to carry with you even after you retire. Although the Highlander is a nice car, it does not carry the same adventurous image as the 4Runner, which is a go anywhere fully 4-wheel drive capable sport utility vehicle. I would say go for the 4Runner!

It's funny you said that, it was actually a fellow firefighter who said it was the "Cooler" way to go.
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Old 06-07-2018, 02:59 PM   #18
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If it is just yourself, you might want to consider a reversed 19. The front is a permanent 44" wide bed, and a large table in the back (which could be optioned to be a "U" shaped dinette.
This is actually the option I'm leaning towards now.
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:41 PM   #19
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The 4runner is available in proper 4WD, if you're doing to be doing any significant off-roading. The Highlander is probably slightly better on the highway in terms of noise/comfort/handling.
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:44 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Dave Walter View Post
As a career firefighter, you have a reputation and an image that you are going to have to carry with you even after you retire. Although the Highlander is a nice car, it does not carry the same adventurous image as the 4Runner, which is a go anywhere fully 4-wheel drive capable sport utility vehicle. I would say go for the 4Runner!
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It's funny you said that, it was actually a fellow firefighter who said it was the "Cooler" way to go.
A buddy of mine is shopping and just drove both of them. He said the 4Runner screamed "cool dad" and the Highlander felt more like a grocery runner. Highlander seemed more roomy. Both are great vehicles and more than capable for your needs. Being a 4th gen 4Runner guy would make me lean 4Runner...but that is just an initial impression as I haven't driven them myself.
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