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Towing trailer with small vehicle

I’m looking to purchasing a new car, Fit, Matrix or Scion (manual transmission). I have a trailer that I occasionly use for small hauling (less than 1000 pounds). I use my 1990 Honda Civic, manual transmission now for trail hauling without any problem. Hate to sell my Honda but it 19 years old and it gets 40 MPG but it might be time with auto incentive and sale tax credit etc. I would appreciate comments about this senaro pros and cons. I want to thank everyone in advance.

You’ll want to check what trailer weight (total) you want to pull, and what each car is approved for. You may void a warranty if you drive in with a problem and a trailer hitch!

I would never tow with a Civic since the owner’s manual for my 1998 Civic warns not to. So the fact that you currently tow with your Civic means you might not listen to my advice. I will give it a shot anyway.

When shopping for a new car, check the owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s web site. If it doesn’t list a towing capacity, or if the owner’s manual says not to tow with it, don’t tow with it or you will void the warranty.

I’m aware of warranty especially for the Fit. I called U-Haul that install hitches and they will install it on the Fit. Of course they are not a Honda dealer. The voiding the warranty is the big problem. Thanks for the advice.

Also, you’re putting weight on the rear of the vehicle, these vehicles are FWD, so you’re taking weight off the drive wheels and putting it on the back of the vehicle.

May I recommend a Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, Chevy S10, or a Ford Ranger? They are probably a lot better suited for very light towing than the cars you are considering. Since they are small trucks, you might not even need to tow with them. You can probably fit your cargo in the beds of these trucks.

And the Frontier is available with a crew cab; the optional load straps are really sweet. Of course, you’ll only get about half the mileage that the Civic got. Heartattackgrill, how much do you want to spend, and how many miles do you put on each year? I ask about the mileage because 20 MPG isn’t that bad if you don’t put on a lot of miles.

Don’t buy anything with a rated towing capacity less than the weight of your loaded trailer.

Although your Honda is getting old and is worth almost nothing as a trade or private sale, it may not have reached the end of its useful life. Maybe you should keep it and add a vehicle to pull the trailer.

I see no problem with occasional limited towing for short distances of very light loads with any of your choices. Short of buying a truck (always my preference), awd cars are safer bets for towing than any FWD car. Their load capacity is often rated no higher, but they can more safely handle the loads in actual use.

But, a quality towing vehicle and exceptional economy DONOT go hand in hand. For light loads up to 2K and frequent towing I agree with “Whitey”, a good (Toyota) 4 cyl truck in 2wd is tough to beat for practicality…if you can stand the ride.

I, for the life of me wonder why anyone buys a Fit, Matrix, Scion for anything but a little more room over a Corolla or another Civic. Go a little bigger…the economy is nearly as good, the comfort is better and the motors more substantial. Exception would be the Scions with 2.4 Camry engines.

As far as why anyone buys a Fit over a Civic, every time they redesign the Civic, it gets larger and more expensive. The Fit was created to be the new small inexpensive model. For people like me, who bought a Civic when they were still small cars, and who don’t like the new Civic, the Fit will be a consideration when it comes time to shop for another car.

You may want to look closer at the rules for the incentives. IIRC, you need to improve on the prior car’s economy by 10mpg or more to qualify. That could be tough if you’re getting 40mpg already. Also, I believe there is an age limit on the existing car too. Not saying you won’t qualify but worth checking to be sure.

I’d have to say, as I age, I don’t want to ride around in puddle jumpers like my old 85 Civic. If the new one is bigger, I’ll take it along with the loss of MPG which is very little. Corolla with 1.8 is better than many smaller cars in economy while giving my old flabby butt a much better ride.

“You may want to look closer at the rules for the incentives. IIRC, you need to improve on the prior car’s economy by 10mpg or more to qualify.”

I didn’t read the post that way, but you are correct. The Cash for Clunkers deal is only for those cars that get 18 MPG or less combined EPA mileage, figured the new way. The OP would qualify for any other incentives, but not this one.