Hi, I wanted to buy a VW TDI Wagon with70000 miles on it but my partner was afraid of the repair bills for a diesel so for a quiet life I am going with perhaps a Mazda3 hatchback, or perhaps a subaru impreza. But I want to explore America, and need the most economical vehicle that will safely tow a teardrop that will weigh between 1000lbs up to 1500lbs that is the gross weight, loaded they are about 800 lbs and then I reckon another 500-700lbs for gear? Any pointers or suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thank you carrobers
Most cars can handle it, on paper. I still would be in favor of an awd car for safety reasons when towing. The tongue weight has an influence on handling. A Subaru Outback with a 6 cylinder or 6 cylinder Rav rated for over 3 k should handle it with ease.
Make sure you include the weight within the car as well as part of the total load, the gross combine weight limit if you will. To only consider tow weight is not enough and many exceed this rating with compact cars, officially rated to tow 1500 lbs. For towing, always get a vehicle that exceeds your actual limit by a comfortable margin, especially for extended trips and hilly areas. That’s why I look at 3k as the absolute minimum rating for your purposes.
Also, older cars often loose there ability to tow rated weights with the age on their power train and suspension components. If I went old, I would start leaning towards a compact truck or much larger cars…even a rwd Crown Victoria set up for it. When towing, your economy is often better with a larger vehicle rated for greater weights.
Towing 1500 pounds on long cross-country trips, you want AT LEAST a 6 cylinder engine… Think something like a Ford Escape / Jeep Cherokee…The cars you mentioned were not designed to tow anything…I would also favor a stick shift…
Towing a small trailer across town is one thing, towing a popup camper across America is another. You either need 2 vehicles, or you need to think about something bigger than a small hatchback.
On paper, provided you CAN tow something, you’d be lucky to have it rated for 1500~2000 pounds MAX. I think someone on here recommended using 75~80% max towing weight limit to give a comfortable margin of error. I wouldn’t go that high with a FWD vehicle, the weight in the back will cause the front to lift slightly, making it harder to keep under control.
I have a small trailer and had a hard time finding any new car that allowed towing. Japanese in particular. Even a CR-V was not rated for more than 1500# unless you got the upgraded version. I opted for a Pontiac G6 that allows 1500#. The drive tranes just don’t seem to be up to the task. So check the owners manuals first but a 4 cyl probably is not going to do it.
I’ve had no trouble in the past with front wheel drive pulling a heavier camper, even through ice and snow, up mountains and down mountains. Brakes were fine and a V6 was fine for it. The tounge weight on a 1500# unit is going to be under 100# so that is the force on the rear of the car which is not really much and won’t have much effect on handling. Its more important to make sure that the trailer is loaded heavier in the front to avoid terrible fish tailing.
I wouldn’t tow anything over 1000lbs with any fwd vehicle. V6 or not.
AWD/4wd or RWD is best for towing.
The Tear-Drop trailers are small (even small then my pop-up). Might be OK to tow around town or maybe camping 1-2 hours away. But NOT for a cross country trip.
I know someone that tows a tear drop behind a VW bug. Not sure whether he goes across country, tho.
We don’t even do this sort of thing in Ireland any more…
A trailer of garden clippings and logs across the town is one thing. Throw in heat and altitude of the US hinterland and you need a motor that can do this without strain.
also consider the mental strain of towing the max weight on a long trip, down mountains, etc…
How long will any one day’s driving be?