Smaller SUV - Towing

We are in the market to buy a three-row SUV where the third row is used often. We have three kids - 6,4,1. Two boosters and one child seat. We occasionally pull a 2600 pound boat/trailer in the summer. Is a V8 better than a V6 for sporadic towing?

V6 will be rough, but V8 will burns your pocket abit more. I’d go with a big SUV with a V* for stable and power.

Thanks jimmy, any suggestions on a smaller suv that has a v8?

LOL, my fav is Infinity FX45, but there are plenty, 4Runner? Durango? Really it’s the money. I’m a mechanic, so it’s a different view here, i like speed with fuel consumption, 4Runner V8 are reliable, they mostly are AWD, look for a 4WD would last you longer than an AWD. That’s my truck LOL

We tow a small sailboat a little each year; the boat and trailer weigh about 2500+ lbs. Generally we only tow the boat to a lake to launch it each spring and retrieve it each fall, so I guess that this would qualify as “sporadic” towing.

We use a 1996 Mitsubishi Montero with a 3.0 L V-6 with no problems. (This is actually the smaller of the two engine options for this vehicle.) I think that the towing capacity is rated at about 4,400 lbs. Also, this model has two fold-down seats in the “way back”.

The best part is that I bought the Montero for $3,500 AND I can get 20+ mpg on the highway.

Good luck!

Lake Tahoe

When you launh and pull boats up, you should use 4wd low, not high. Saving the trans life.

Do you need an SUV? Because a truck-based minivan would work, too. The only relatively new ones available are the Chevy Astro/GMC Safari, but they can seat 7, and have the ability to tow around 5000lbs. Unfortunately, GM stopped making them in 2001 or 2002.

V6 will be rough

BULL…2600lb trailer is Class II. I NEVER had a problem towing 3000lbs with my 98 Pathfinder or my 05 4runner…both with V6’s. In fact I don’t have a problem towing near it’s rating of 5000lbs.

The ONLY minivan I’d tow with would be a rwd vehicle. No way would I tow anything with a fwd vehicle. And since MOST mini vans are fwd…I don’t think minivans are good choice at all for towing.

Toyota’s 266 horsepower V-6 is more than adequate for towing 2,600 pounds. I have used the 240 horsepower 2002 Sienna minivan to pull a 3,500 pound trailer easily. It looks like a Toyota Sienna or a Toyota Highlander would be more than adequate. You can get a towing package with either of these vehicles that makes the towing capacity of the Sienna 3,500 pounds and the maximum towing capacity of the Highlander 5,000 pounds. If you get a lot of swaying like can happen with a front wheel drive vehicle, you can solve the problem by buying a weight distributing trailer hitch with a sway control bar.

That’s old school thinking. The OP is only talking about towing 2,600 pounds. Both the Sienna and the Odyssey have towing capacity of 3,500 pounds and a weight distributing trailer hitch can shift a lot of the weight from the rear wheels to the front.

They may have ratings of Class III (3500lbs)…but I a RWD is a LOT better for towing then fwd.

First off when you add a trailer and cargo could put several hundred lbs of weight on the back end of that the van. This will inturn lighten the weight on the front of the vehicle (where the drive wheels are).

Second…If there’s ever a problem with the trailer…it’s a LOT easier getting the trailer or vehicle under control that’s RWD. You have very little control over the rear of a vehicle in FWD. With RWD I can control the rear-end by giving it a little gas.

2600lbs is beyond what I’d safely tow in a FWD vehicle.

It seems that Toyota and Honda have compensated for these issues or they would not say that they can tow that much. Even if that doesn’t put your mind at ease, a weight distributing hitch will make both of your points pointless. A weight distributing trailer hitch will take weight off the rear end and move it to the front wheels, giving the driver enhanced control if he or she has a problem with the trailer. Even if you are not comfortable with what the manufacturer says is safe, a weight distributing trailer hitch will address any mistrust of the Honda’s and Toyota’s engineers and lawyers.

A weight distributing hitch will add control in all conditions whether you have front or rear wheel drive.

People are much more comfortable in a bigger truck-like SUV. If you have the money and you are going to have five people in it, you can justify having the lower gas mileage. You might want to get LT tires instead of P rated ones. They usually have at least one more ply and they are just a little insurance against tire damage. Safer too. Rt. 40 goes right through the Petrified Forest. Just to be safe, I’m looking for the petrified lake. Bonneville?

You will get about 15% better mileage with a minivan than a SUV. You can only get 3 rows in a midsize or large SUV. The smallest ones are the 4Runner and Explorer for RWD, and Pilot or Highlander for FWD/AWD. There are a few others in that size range, but these are the most popular. Expect no better than 20 MPG on the highway for the truck based SUVs. The car based SUVs and minivans should be about the same mileage. BTW, the minivans have sooo much more cargo and passenger room. If you tow twice a year and it isn’t more than a couple of hours, think seriously about a minivan.

Remember, the Astro and Safari ARE RWD vehicles, hence the recommendation.

That’s a good point. I have seen two wheel drive vehicles (both front and rear) get stuck on a slippery boat ramp. They had to get pulled out of the boat ramp by another vehicle. If you will be using a boat ramp, you would be wise to have all wheel drive. With rear wheel drive your tires are on the slippery part of the ramp. With front wheel drive the weight of the boat will take weight off the front wheels unless you have a weight distribution hitch. I have only seen weight distribution hitches used on RV trailers. I have never really seen them used on a boat before. I don’t know why, so I don’t know if one would be practical for a boat.

I understand what you’re saying Jeremy…And it may be fine…And maybe I’m overly cautious.

I still don’t like the idea of towing something that weighs that much in a FWD vehicle. You do have a LOT more control of the read end (where the trailer hitch is) in a RWD vehicle. It may be OK…but I’m not going to take the chance.

Now I think we were both wrong. Have you ever seen a two wheel drive vehicle get stuck on a slippery boat ramp? All wheel drive is the way to go.

Now I think we were both wrong. Have you ever seen a two wheel drive vehicle get stuck on a slippery boat ramp? All wheel drive is the way to go.

Oh yea…Especially small light pickups…

For a boat that goes in and out of the water…I think 4wd or awd is best.