Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

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Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby catinmoon » Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:05 pm

HI,
I'd love to hear experiences of towing teardrops with vehicles and optimizing both mileage and performance. That is, where is the sweet spot?

I know it's unsafe to be out there without enough power, but I'd like to hear about towing experience of vehicles with decent ground clearance (my Legacy wagon is a bit low at 6.5"--it's not an Outback and has skinny tires) and decent gas mileage (my Subaru gets 22 - 29 or so city/hwy and I'd love to do better). Currently I don't tow the tear with the legacy, but am using my boyfriend's Toyota pickup.

Last time I looked many of the hybrids I researched said "no towing", but I'm sure I'm not looking in the right place. Empty my teardrop weighed 600 lbs but I'm sure there is at least 200# of stuff that now lives in there.

Also, I have 2 dogs and like the idea of a hatchback or side slide door -- getting them in and out of the back of a pickup is not that easy.

Thanks for any ideas or experiences.
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby eggsalad » Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:27 pm

I don't know of a hybrid with a tow rating, at least in the US.

Based on my research, the highest MPG vehicle you can buy today - one that comes with a factory tow rating and a dealer-installed hitch is the Mazda CX-5. It has a factory tow rating of 2000 lb.

The EPA rating is 26 city/35 highway - that is, for the base model, FWD, manual transmission version.
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby kd8cgo » Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:56 pm

Our 2008 Prius is not rated for towing, but you can buy a hitch for it - we have one for our bike rack. There are a lot of engineering reasons why many hybrids are not rated for towing, but the transmission in a Prius as an example is actually a pretty strong planetary design. The main thing is chemical storage batteries - Lead, Lithium, NIMH, tend to last longer if you discharge and charge them slower over time, vs. in big heaps of high amperage loads. If we had perfect batteries, the instant zero RPM torque of electric motors would be quite nice for towing, works great for diesel-electric trains! Another consideration is since they have a eleictric battery system to supplement peak power, they size the combustion engine smaller for better efficiency. Not the greatest for towing once your battery is depleted!

Those Mazda with the new direct injected gasoline engine are getting really great reviews, too! I never even thought about Mazdas for a long time except for having those neat rotary engines in the RX line, but these new ones are doing quite well for the company. Very cool!
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby catinmoon » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:18 pm

I never thought of a Mazda, although years ago had a Mazda pickup truck that ran like a champ. It seems to me that there is a stange convergence going on -- so many of the crossover suv's look like each other that I can't tell them apart from a distance. One thing I don't like about them is the way that the rear windows are now wrapped around so that there seems to be less and less visibility. Compare an old Honda CRV to the new ones. I expect it has to do with improving mileage and aerodynamics, but in my mind I really want to be able to see around me without the aid of technology or cameras that could fail.

If I worked for Mazda I would rename the vehicles so they don't all sound the same. Just sayin.

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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby kd8cgo » Sat Sep 06, 2014 3:26 pm

I'm a diesel fanatic so that is what I always have as a "first choice" - plus they have lots of torque and usually do great for towing! These new gas engines are really closing the gap though.

You will notice that a lot of hybrid cars and even SUV's like you said are getting less visibility. The A-pillars on each side of the windshield are perfect examples, it can be really hard to see at an angle out of a Prius or GM Volt! This is done for aerodynamics (sloping the windshield back further) and also for safety. SUV's pillars are getting bigger to perform better in crash tests and rollovers too, same for a lot of cars. You will notice a lot of new compact cars aren't so compact! You'll also notice that cars have smaller shorter side windows on a lot of new stuff, these are really a pain for visibility and they slope up even higher in the back on a lot of them. This is for side-impact testing, more steel higher up performs better against a car or truck bumper slamming into you. All tradeoffs.
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby slowcowboy » Sat Sep 06, 2014 6:25 pm

I am desile guy to. and I got clearence decent milage and lots of power. I am running a 5.9 cummins the first generation cummins in a 93 dodge 3/4 ton truck with my tiney tear on I am wacking out nearly 20 miles a gallon on deil and I can run nearly 400 miles or bettor with out a fill up.

its beating a 6 cylender gas ford mid size suv called a ford explore in milage even though desile is slightly and just a hair more in price than gas.

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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby kd8cgo » Sat Sep 06, 2014 7:54 pm

slowcowboy wrote:I am desile guy to. and I got clearence decent milage and lots of power. I am running a 5.9 cummins the first generation cummins in a 93 dodge 3/4 ton truck with my tiney tear on I am wacking out nearly 20 miles a gallon on deil and I can run nearly 400 miles or bettor with out a fill up.

its beating a 6 cylender gas ford mid size suv called a ford explore in milage even though desile is slightly and just a hair more in price than gas.

slow


Nice trucks, hard to beat them for MPG in a full size. My '88 Ford IDI w/ Banks Turbo gets less than that empty usually about 17-18 I think - not very good for long trips. I'm going to use my Jetta TDI for towing, with no mods, from the factory it was rated to 1000 gross trailer weight and 165 lbs. tongue weight. The new Chevy Cruze diesel is also spec'd at 1000 lbs. from the factory. Of course without making a custom HD hitch you can get a class I for both which is 2000/200 lbs. limit, which you should prepare your car above stock to get near those limits. There is a company in the snowy northlands of Canada using VW TDI's to deliver full size travel trailers to customers, they developed their own weight distributing hitches for them, and they also made a nice hitch for a guy towing around an Airstream in his Golf. Also a guy somewhere in the USA had a custom hitch made for his so he can tow a custom 5th wheel single axle utility trailer and it bolts to the center of the roof, like those old trailers made for 60's VW Beetle's did.
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby Crabapple » Thu Sep 11, 2014 3:52 pm

I too would be looking at diesel...something like VW Sportwagon or one of their small SUVs if I wanted to maximize mileage. Hybrids get their best economy around town, not out on the open road. I like the AWD and ground clearance of Subaru and I don't drive enough in a year to justify a diesel however. And unfortunately Subaru does not offer diesel in NA either. I have a Suby Crosstrek MT with OEM hitch that is rated 1000 lb unbraked or 1500 lb braked trailer and it has 8.7" ground clearance. I get 9.3 L/HK (25 mpg US) going 60-65mph and that drops to 20-21 mpg in hilly country. That's towing my Prolite Suite with roofracks & mtbikes up top as well.
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby jstrubberg » Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:11 pm

Please remember that being able to pull the load is one-third of towing a trailer...at most. You also have to have enough mass to control the trailer in an emergency and you have to have enough brake system to stop the rig. Just because the car will pull your trailer up a hill does not make it safe to tow with.
The more stuff I take along, the more time I spend taking care of my stuff!
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby jonnyo » Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:19 pm

i have both

Subaru crosstrek 2.0 4cyl

2013 subaru forester manual 2.5 4cyl

Both do amazing at towing my 750lbs teardrop trailer. i could average 26+mpg at 65+mph

i now have a bigger trailer(6.5X14) and around 1200-1300lbs loaded but definitly bigger frontal surface. the Forester does amazing at 50-60mph. around 22-24mpg in the canadian rockies. It can go faster perhaps to 65-70 but fuel ecomonie goes bad quickly. I prefer to slow down and enjoy the ride!

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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby catinmoon » Thu Sep 11, 2014 6:51 pm

Thanks for all the subaru stories. I have had 3 subarus and enjoyed them all, but my current one doesn't have adequate ground clearance. I like them for the dogs because it's not too far off the ground for them to jump into, until they get older that is.

I have tried to talk myself into diesel but I just can't stand the smell so am not going to go that route :)
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby kd8cgo » Thu Sep 11, 2014 7:51 pm

The smell of the fuel or the exhaust? The new "clean diesels" I was surprised at how hard it was to tell by sight, sound or smell that it was a diesel car at all! The fuel though, some people find it stinky when you're at the filling station, and some wear gloves at the stations who don't clean the pumps. Mine is the old-style pre-particulate filter (anything MY <2009) and/or urea exhaust after treatment, so it smells and sounds like you would expect. So if it's the exhaust smell you think stinks, you might find it quite interesting how much that has changed.
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby catinmoon » Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:56 am

I guess I need to find a new diesel and ask to smell the exhaust! As for the smell of the fuel, it's been a while since I dealt with it so not sure -- in my mind they might be conflated. I used to have to use diesel generators in the field and that was one of the origins of my aversion. Good to know the new ones are different. thanks
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby wagondude » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:14 pm

On the older diesel vehicles, making the exhaust smell tolerable is as easy as running them on waste vegetable oil from you favorite restaurant. French fries, barbeque, chicken or Mexican. The only downside is it makes you hungry.
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Re: Tow Vehicle possibilities Best Mileage-Hybrids?

Postby jss06 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 8:35 pm

Only problem with veggie oil is it will gell in cold weather and leave you stranded.
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