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Towing with an Escape - Event Date: 16 Mar 2019 - 16 Mar 2020

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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Calendar Event: Towing with an Escape
    Posted: 16 Mar 2019 at 7:41pm
As for mileage, don't expect to get anything like the sticker mileage unless you get the way-overkill diesel. 12-14 is probably a good average for a gasoline engine, perhaps a little better. With the Frontier, we get between 12 and 14 mpg. The biggest advantage is the larger gas tank gives us much more range than we had with the Escape. The highway mileage of the Frontier is supposed to be 19 mpg. We have rarely hit that even when we were not towing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Andy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2019 at 8:52pm
There is an old adage that "just because you can, doesn't mean you should" and that really applies here.  If you're intent on using the Escape you probably would be happier with a smaller, lighter TT.  If you want something in the 20-25 foot range, then a pickup with v-8 and at least 5.3L would be best for climbing mountains. I also use a Weight Distribution Hitch and a sway bar to sooth my anxiety.
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StephenH View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote StephenH Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Mar 2019 at 9:38pm
The Escape has one good thing going for it. The distance between the rear axle and the hitch ball is short (about 3'). That means that the trailer does not exert as much force trying to sway as that of a longer axle to hitch distance vehicle such as the Frontier we have now (about 5'). I had a better towing experience with the Escape than with the Frontier with the same trailer and same hitch.

In Europe, smaller vehicles are routinely used for towing. Europe's Escape, the Kuga, has a tow rating of 2,000 Kg, or about 4,400 lbs. The site I looked at which was Great Britain based recommended though that a trailer not be over 85% of the tow vehicle's curb weight unless one is a very experienced driver. In that case it could go up to the tow vehicles curb weight. However, one could be cited if the trailer's weight exceeds the curb weight of the tow vehicle.  The best I can find is that the weight of the Escape is 3,772 lbs. 85% of that is 3,206 lbs. 93% of that is a few pounds over 3,500 lbs but is still under the curb weight.

Bigger isn't always better. Sometimes it is just bigger. There are a lot of variables that go into what makes a safe tow vehicle.
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2019 at 7:04am
Originally posted by jasonraiderfan

I think I'm getting a picture here! I appreciate the input and definitely glad I haven't bought anything yet. I was just checking out the Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. It's at 6200lb towing capacity and 17/24 mpg. Another question: What percentage gas mileage drop should I expect pulling a Pod??

That TV sounds like a good choice, it would allow you to bring pretty much whatever gear you wanted to, as well as a full water tank and a couple of the mods we boondockers love (dual batteries and propane cylinders). And have weight, fuel capacity, and power reserves for safety. 

Whatever you get, don't over focus on tow rating, look also at the GCVWR and try to have a significant reserve on that with both the tow vehicle and trailer fully loaded. And don't underestimate what the trailer will end up weighing, I can guarantee you it will be a lot more than you expected. That trailer empty weight rating is very misleading, it doesn't even include the normal options on the trailers.  Here's a nice towing calculator you can use:


Folks who haven't driven there tend to discount the challenging nature of driving the back roads of the Appalachians. Having driven mountainous terrain extensively in both the east and west, I consider the Appalacians the equal of anything in the Sierras. You're going up and down many 2-3000 foot grades with multiple hairpin turns. 

If you're thinking of towing fuel economy as a percentage of fuel economy not towing, that's not how it works. Over 2/3 of the work a rig needs to do to run down a flat highway at 60 mph is overcoming trailer drag forces. Only about 1/3 is used to overcome rolling resistance. That basically means that everything else being equal you'll get the same fuel economy towing the same trailer regardless of what vehicle you tow it with. Assuming that it is a modern vehicle with an efficient drivetrain that number will be about 13-14 mpg for an rPod. 

You can't get around that, its basic physics. You can make it worse if for example you get an underpowered tow vehicle where the engine is operating at high rpm so its not very efficient, or if you get unlucky and your tow vehicle happens to have to shift up a gear right at the speed you want to tow.  That's why you frequently see better fuel economy towing with a heavier tow vehicle where the engine is running at lower rpm.

Your fuel economy will drop significantly from there if you're climbing in the mountains. Figure about 1 gallon extra for every 3000 feet of climb (and going east- west across the Appalachians you have many 3000 ft ridges to cross).  It will also go down dramatically with headwinds and improve dramatically with tailwinds. Even light winds can make a big difference.  I've seen both 18 mpg and 11 mpg on the same stretch of flat highway here on the OBX going opposite directions on the same day due to winds. 




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Post Options Post Options   Quote mjlrpod Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2019 at 7:39am
Although the tacoma seems to be the top choice of mid size tow vehicles with a 6500 pound tow capacity, I would say take a look at the Nissan Frontier. It is every bit as good as the taco, and you should be able to pick one up much cheaper. I see Frontiers pulling double axle rigs all the time and it's a very reliable tow vehicle. It has a 6100 -6300 pound capacity depending who you ask. My Frontier pulls my 172 effortlessly, and I don't pack light, I carry everything I want. I get well over 3000 pounds many times. Much cheaper than the jeep, and in my opinion, a better overall vehicle.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote podwerkz Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2019 at 9:19am
Nissan Frontier: be aware that there is a standard 4 banger that has a lower tow rating. The optional V6 is the one you really want for towing.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote jasonraiderfan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2019 at 9:22am
Thanks!! I'll check them out today!!
Even when it's not ok, it's still gonna be ok.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote GlueGuy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2019 at 10:15am
Originally posted by offgrid

Folks who haven't driven there tend to discount the challenging nature of driving the back roads of the Appalachians. Having driven mountainous terrain extensively in both the east and west, I consider the Appalacians the equal of anything in the Sierras. You're going up and down many 2-3000 foot grades with multiple hairpin turns.
I disagree most emphatically. Winding roads are winding roads wherever you go. We have some humbling/winding roads right in our back yard that make hairpin turns that you would not be able to negotiate pulling a trailer; even one as short as an R-pod. But there is nothing more humbling than altitude along with hairpin curves. Normally aspirated  (NA) engines lose a lot of power at 6, 7, or even 8 thousand feet, and the Sierra has some passes well over that. Our Tacoma does great until we get up to some of those higher elevations, simply because it is NA. Our turbo'd F-150 shrugs at those elevations.
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offgrid View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote offgrid Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Mar 2019 at 12:51pm
Originally posted by GlueGuy

Originally posted by offgrid

Folks who haven't driven there tend to discount the challenging nature of driving the back roads of the Appalachians. Having driven mountainous terrain extensively in both the east and west, I consider the Appalacians the equal of anything in the Sierras. You're going up and down many 2-3000 foot grades with multiple hairpin turns.
I disagree most emphatically. Winding roads are winding roads wherever you go. We have some humbling/winding roads right in our back yard that make hairpin turns that you would not be able to negotiate pulling a trailer; even one as short as an R-pod. But there is nothing more humbling than altitude along with hairpin curves. Normally aspirated  (NA) engines lose a lot of power at 6, 7, or even 8 thousand feet, and the Sierra has some passes well over that. Our Tacoma does great until we get up to some of those higher elevations, simply because it is NA. Our turbo'd F-150 shrugs at those elevations.

Then we will need to agree to disagree, emphatically. I'm speaking from experience having driven both, many times. 
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