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Towing Capacity?

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Towing Capacity?
A question for the flock. The need for major repairs may have me in the market for a new vehicle. My needs are simple. AWD or 4WD for Maine winters and wet logging roads; decent ground clearance for the same reasons (8+"); ability to tow my boats, the heaviest of which is a 14' aluminum with a 15 hp 2 stroke; and affordable transportation.

When I was last at this point 11 years ago, I needed a truck because my work was taking me far into the woods on frequent occasions. That is far less true now, and I no longer need low range 4WD, though I would not mind having it.

I'm intrigued by some of the smaller cross-over SUV's that might meet my need and a be a lot lighter on the budget than a small truck or full sized SUV. Candidates include the Subaru Cross Trek and the Jeep Renegade.

My current Nissan truck has 5,000 lbs of towing capacity, which is WAY more than I have never needed. The vehicles I am looking at are in the 1500-2,000 lb range. Will that be suitable for my small trailered boats if I go that route? There are no horse trailers, cross country towing treks, or heavy camper trailers in my future.

I am not towing long distances or over major mountain passes--just traveling locally a maximum of maybe 75 miles one way. My max load would be the the 14' boat with two dozen wet cork decoys and whatever snow accumulated in/on the boat on a day of winter hunting. I towed both boats with an old Subaru Forester before I bought my truck with no problems--nominal towing capacity 2500 pounds and never had any problems.

All thoughts welcomed.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Don't buy a jeep.
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Rented a Renegade by mistake on one of my western trips, and it was a surprisingly capable and comfortable vehicle. I see where gas prices are going, and if there was ever a time to get out of a truck and into something smaller, this is it. Options with 8" of ground clearance are limited; the little Jeeps are the only ones with real 4WD in the "small" class.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Jeff my wife was looking at the cross trek a couple years ago. I sat in it and told her no way, too small for me (I'm 6'2" and 230 lbs.) she got a Forrester.


Great South Bay
West Sayville, N Y
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
My wife has a Cross Trek and loves it.
A coworker has had one for 5 years, loves it.

We have not taken it off road or used it to tow my boat, but given its 1,500 towing capacity, a similar size 14' boat with a 15hp 2stroke should be no problem.

The problem might be finding one, new or used.
We bought new. My wife wanted the light blue, their most popular color. Took over 4 months to get it.
I hear used ones are hard to find and sell fast.

I drive a 2011 Honda Pilot.
If the AWD CRV is as reliable, and I hear they are, I'd go with one of those if I was looking to down-size.
But given I tow the camper, when I have to replace it, I will probably go with an AWD Pilot.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Jeff-I think that type of tow capacity would be fine for what you're doing. I'm thinking you're talking 6-800 lbs total for your trailer and loaded boat tops, and maybe less. If you are looking at used, one thing that Subaru's have had a problem with both in the 2.5 and 3.5 is the head gasket going at around 100k. It is an approx $3500 repair because you have to take the engine out, although the engine is not damaged and you're good for another 100. Do some checking if you go that route. Jeeps seem to be vehicles people either love or hate. I have no opinion on either one. I believe that GM, Ford, and Toyota have the best drive trains in a 4WD as a rule, and the Honda Pilots also have good reputations. I would also want either a 4WD or AWD vehicle for snow, much better than anything else for stability.
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Subaru Head Gasket Problems (Years and Models Affected) (oards.com)

https://www.cashcarsbuyer.com/subaru-head-gasket-problems/#:~:text=The%20head%20gasket%20problems%20have%20been%20apparent%20in,be%20fixed%20for%20the%20car%20to%20continue%20running.




Seems like they have fixed the issue in all models newer than 2011.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Thanks all for you thoughts. Keep them coming. As for size, I am 6'3 290. Drove Foresters for years. Our other car is a Hyundai Ioniq, which I find comfortable to drive--and 55 mpg is very nice. All the other small hybrids I drove were too small for me. Drove the Crosstrek today and with the seat lowered it was fine for me. Would not want to sit in the back seat.

Well aware of the Subaru head gasket issues--did that repair twice, and my third Forester had it done before I bought it! Reviews seem to suggest their newer engines do not suffer the same problem. And, FWIW, given the lack of other problems with three high mileage Foresters, I owned a one time $2500 repair is not a deal breaker on a vehicle that might go 200K miles.

And there are literally no cars or trucks on lots to buy, so, although I'd look hard at a Cross Trek if it was available, I think I am going to suck it up and spend $2000 for a new timing chain on my Frontier and pray that buys me a year or two with no other major repairs. There are not many options, used or new, even if I had a lot of cash stuffed in the couch.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Jeff,

I would look at Subarus or the Honda CRV....i think the Toyota Rav4 is also awd. Toyota FJ Cruisers are also nice. I am at 230,000 miles with few issues on mine. Steve was 6'3" and never had issues driving my FJ or sitting in the passenger seat. Would not want the back seat as an option so if you need back seat seating, stay away from FJs. If I were looking for an awd with light towing capacity, I would look at the subarus first from all of the people I have known that have owned them or heard about them. The CRV would be another I would look at as a close second to the subarus. The Rav I would consider because it is toyota and they are almost always quality vehicles.

Another option I would perhaps consider is an awd minivan (if they make such things). Great storage capacity and a good place to sleep if necessary. Not sure on ground clearance though.

Good luck in your search....vehicles right now are tough to find and are commanding a premium.
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
I keep hearing that unless you are in a big city near high volume dealerships, new cars & trucks of all types are in short supply.
Chip shortage and the shipping backlog.
Change the timing chain and youll get another 100k out of that Frontier.


Carl
Mobile, AL
DHBP Member since 1998

"Life is too short to drink bad beer."
Disclaimer: This post and/or report is not a substantiation of or reflection on the true accuracy of the present surveying methods. It is only a report on or comment concerning local observation and/or results. Your results and observation may vary based on your location, local water conditions, food supply, weather conditions and migratory patterns "
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
I looked as far south as Boston. There were some vehicles down there, but selling at well over MSRP. Just brutal.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Jeff
Very low supply of new and used cars, prices way up. It may be best to put in the timing chain, if the water pump is in the mix put a new one in.
Or the Ferrari looks pretty good in the snow and it's camo



Last edited by:

patrick mccarthy: Oct 7, 2021, 8:32 AM
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
My perspective is definitely skewed by the fact that we bought the Hyundai in August 2020 at the peak of Covid shut down. The dealership left in it in a parking lot outside with keys so we could test drive it and practically begged us to buy it. We had dealerships bidding against each other to lower their price so we'd buy from them. Times have changed!

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
I had an 05 forester and I believe the crosstrek was produced to fill that size slot when the forester upgraded to huge mode. I loved the little thing, head gaskets went at 125. My two kids were little then and they kicked the living sh$& out of the back of my seat which helped me get rid of it. Now I have a 2020 f150 supercab, back seats are bigger than the front of my sedan, with aftermarket rubber mats and neoprene seat covers (warm and don't have to worry about hopping in soaking wet with waders on). If I'm not towing my DW15 I regularly get 24.5 Highway, 21 City. I don't drive it much, but it's a much sweeter ride than my 05 accord.

Anyways, if the crosstrek fits you and you don't need the back seat sitting space I'd go for it. My mom has had 4 CRVs all run to 400k with no major overhauls. Also amazingly safe, she survived a rollover and crash into tree thanks to a drunk driver. Car was shot, she took no damage. She was 70 at the time.
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
 
My 2006 Honda Pilot has 148,300 miles on it. Has towing capacity and hitch that I do not use, nor need. The 4WD is remarkable IMO.

This is my second 2006 Pilot. The first one was totaled in a high speed rear end crash, that could have very well taken my life. The Honda design saved my life. Remarkable design is a understatement...


My wife has a 2016 Honda CRV (bought last Nov. at a very good price, before the price blow up) has 66,000 miles on it.

We like them both very much. The winters here are brutal. We also never skimp on very good Honda certified maintenance.


If I were younger, and had more $$$$$$$$ Toyota. Cuz I loved my 1988 4-Runner. The old bones like the Honda ride better than the Toyota trucks, and SUV's.


Our daughter has a Jeep, loves it and sinks lots of $$$$ into it. Reminds me of the old British sports cars and Land Rovers always need work. That suits some folks, and not others. To each their own.


my 2 cents











"Art does not reproduce what is visible - but makes things visible." ~ Paul Klee, artist, 1920
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Jeff~


I have a 2018 Forester with 44K on it. I really enjoy driving it and it gets great mileage. We just averaged 35 mpg on a 500 mile round trip to Long Island. I am sure it will tow your light rig with no problems.


I still have my 2003 Element. It now has 330K on it so I run it only locally. It remains my favorite car of all time - but always got 23 mpg. The Forester is significantly better in that regard. And - as you'll read everywhere - Foresters cannot be beat for visibility. (If only one could remove the rear seats as in my Element....)



Happy hunting!


SJS





Steven Jay Sanford
Pencil Brook Farm
South Cambridge, NY
http://www.stevenjaysanford.com


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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Subie or jeep will do you just fine. We used to tow sneakboxes with a Honda accord 5 speed. Also had a few Jeep Xjs
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TRRWF
U.S.C.G. 100T LICENSED MASTER CAPTAIN
East Coast.

"Duck hunting is like sex, best done with two... sometimes three" -Joe Brodie
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
The vehicle inventory situation is not going to change for a while. Might see some improvement over the winter, but likely it will be by next summer before production will be able to ramp up to normal capacity. No chip, no drive. And while chips are the big news, other parts can get difficult for the vehicle companies to procure also.

I would not be wanting to buy a car right now, but when you need one, you need one. A friend of mine just bought a Subaru at a dealership in Kingston NY, they had some cars. You have to take what's on the lot or place an order and wait. Vehicles are like anything else-(ammo comes to mind)-when in short supply the price goes up.

I got very lucky with a vehicle this summer, I bought a 2009 Volvo X/C 90 with 70K on it for my daughter from some friends who had it, was originally mom's car, then an extra, dealer maintained, I got it for $4K. But they were doing me a favor. If I didn't have a kid in college far away I would have kept it for myself. The point of the story is that this fell into my lap through friends, never hurts to get it out there, you never know what might turn up.

The prices being paid for used vehicles, even though they have moderated some in the last month, are still too high. It's really not a good value. You're better off ordering something new and waiting if you can.

If you're going to do a lot of engine work, you want to make sure you cover the basics before you crack it open to make sure it's worth it. But if you have to spend $2K and can confidently get a year, that's well worth it. You can't drive a new or late model used car for that cost. As long as your confident about the drive train, the repairs you mentioned are a better deal than buying today.
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
I tow a 13' rib aluminum inflatable that has a 20 honda with my VW station wagon (prob weighs ~600lbs boat and trailer). So, I think you will be fine towing your boat with any crossover type vehicle Although, my wagon is a diesel so has a bit more torque for going up the ramp, etc. One issue I did recently have was my emergency brake locking up on my rear calipers after launching the boat in saltwater. My solution was to replace the carpeted bunks with pvc pipe. With the pvc I can keep the car a quite a ways away from the water compared with the bunks where it was a pain to slide off and crank on with the bunks if my back tires werent a little wet and the trailer wasn't submerged. Hoping that keeps my calipers happy. Cranks on like butter even onto a dry trailer with the pvc. Fuel cost is pretty dang low with the diesel car engine (~50mpg) and the 20 honda with its 3 gallon fuel tank that usually lasts two or three fishing trips. [/url][/url][/url][/url]
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
Thanks all. I test drove a Crosstrek and liked it. If one actually comes around I'll look hard at buying. In the meantime, I've given my mechanic the green light for the timing chain job and few odds and ends to pass inspection, but he's so short-staffed it will be end of next week before it's done. Brought home a straw bale for the garden in my wife's little Hyundai hybrid today. They were on sale--would have gotten three had I been in the truck.

"At first blush I am tempted to conclude that a satisfactory hobby must be in large degree useless, inefficient, laborious, or irrelevant."
— Aldo Leopold
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Re: Towing Capacity? In reply to
I?ve had pick ups for quite some time. Never a full size but always the smaller ones. I purchased a Jeep Grand Cherokee about 10 years ago and while it was a great vehicle, I missed not having a bed to throw stuff in. I missed it quite a bit.

Two years ago I bought the new mid sized Ford Ranger. It has been a great vehicle. It ties more than you want (7500 lbs) it the gas mileage on the 4 cylinder turbo motor is pretty good. I can get over 28 mpg on the highway. Towing our 3500lb boat drops it quite a bit. It I don?t tow it far or often anyway. With my 14? aluminum v-hull I get over 20 mpg.

If you are a member of a Costco or Sams Club, they have access to vehicles anywhere and can usually find what you want at a fair price. Their buying power is far greater than any dealership I would imagine.

For what it is worth.