Looking to upgrade vehicle I use daily to haul the kids around, aged 6,9 and newborn. Thinking to get one that can tow a travel trailer as we recently moved from England to Asheville in North Carolina. We want to camp, explore and eventually have a few road trips.
So, looking at SUVs, do i need a V8 engine? Where to start, is there an obvious SUV to look at, what about mileage when using day to day?
Budget for vehicle $10,000 cash.
Want a travel trailer big enough for family of 5, but the older kids can use tent sometimes, doesn't have to have shower but toilet, fridge small kitchen useful.
I would also look at 25 and 35 series vans and crew cab pickups also. Vans are probably the BEST bang for the buck spent, next a CC pickup, least is an Excursion or burb.
You want something with at least 2000 to 2500 lbs of free payload to handle people, HW and other assorted items int he rig. A V8 gas/diesel will for the most part be you only option. I would not look at Dodge pickups for the price you are looking at, as the quad cab is LARGE for an ext cab, but too small to be a true crew cab, or the shortest legroom, which engine wise is a 6 cyl diesel, or v8 small block. Eitehr motor would work frankly if that truck body style suits your needs.
You will probably want a mid 20' TT at the least in size, they will typicaly have 2 3500 lbs axels, for a gvwr of 7750-8500 depending upon the HW the manufacture is willing to give you on top of the 7K axel wt amount you can have.
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First you have to decide where you want to camp and how much comfort you want. If you’re a “camper “ and want the maximum flexibility of roads you can take and places you can camp, a smaller TT is your best bet. And a smaller TV can tow it, though you’ll likely need a V8. If you want a motel room atmosphere and a lot of space and can accept that it will limit where you can go and can camp, then you may want a bigger TT. And, of course, it will take a bigger TV to tow it.
My general recommendations are that if someone wants to get well off the pavement to the more pristine spots in a national forest stay below 20’. And you’ll be dry camping. 25’ is about the max I suggest for that sort of camping and they’re not going to get far off the pavement. Beyond that, you begin to have difficulty maneuvering unimproved areas and well developed commercial parks start to look a lot more attractive. donnO128’s suggestion is good if you want to pull a big rig. But my impression from your post is that a smaller one would be fine for you and you certainly wouldn’t need a diesel.
To keep perspective, probably 90% of my camping is in national forests in the west and I know little about back east. And for lack of a better term I’m sort of a hard core camper, a pup tent would be far more desirable to me than a 30’ RV. So keep people’s bias in mind when reading their posts. I’d suggest you don’t commit too quickly. Read everything you can get your hands on and ask a lot of questions on the forum. Shortly this will all come together and you’ll be better equipped to make the right decision.
Our DD has a Ford Expedition w/4 children in car seats/boosters, and it works fine pulling their 32'TT. They considered a F250 or F350 Supercab or an E250 or E350 van. Problem was the price since their vehicle is paid off. You will have a hard time finding much for $10,000 that's not going to nickle and dime you.
It's really not possible to give any meaningful information about what you need without knowing what you need it for (talking about the trailer). Many can easily be towed with a mid sized SUV and a small engine but of course the larger the trailer the larger your engine needs to be (well not really larger but more powerful) and the more capable your tow vehicle needs to be. Time to do some detail planning.
Keep in mind that the better tow vehicle you get the worse it will be for daily driving those kids around and the one that works BEST for daily driving will probably be the worst for towing a large trailer.
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Biggest thing to watch on SUV's, or any TV for that matter, is the tongue weight rating of the VEHICLE. Not the hitch, the VEHICLE. Often 10% of the tow weight. Problem is you need AT LEAST 13% of the LOADED TT weight on the tongue.
Example: tow rating 10,000#, tongue weright rating 1,000#, so max FULLY LOADED TT would be 7,700#. Note we saw some SUV's where tongue weight rating was less than 10% of tow weight. Be careful and look at ALL the specs.
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You do not want a late model suburban 1500 for towing, the 2500 will do great but the 1500 is hard on the rear axle. There is not enough air flow over it to keep it cool. Been down that road myself. I now own a 2500 and it will pull all day no issues. Im talking 2007 and newer. 2006 and earlyer no problem with the 1500.
I own a 2001 Tahoe and tow a 30' travel trailer that weighs about 6,000 lbs. We've traveled several thousand miles with that setup, including trips out west where every destination apparently involves mountain grades and high winds. I had enough power and stability to do the job, but it was a big strain on that engine at times. What I didn't consider was the deferential overheating and failing. That was an expensive repair and now I'm looking at something more robust for my future travels.
If you're looking for a daily driver that has good room and decent towing capacity then look at a Tahoe/Yukon. They have a good reputation and you can find a good used one in your budget. Just don't max out the towing capacity and head into the mountains like I did.