Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camera)

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Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camera)

Postby catinmoon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 11:13 am

HI folks,

More and more newer vehicles have the rounded rear windows that seem to really reduce visibility. I'm wondering what are the best tow vehicles (teardrop towing) that you can think of or have driven that allow visibility out the windows all around. It doesn't need to be a brand new vehicle, but I really need reliability as I'm out on the road with my pets and like to avoid breakdowns (of course who doesn't, but you get my drift).

Suggestions? I do NOT want to rely on a backup camera. I have had good luck with an older Toyota Tacoma, and a Ford Van (E350, but it was too high up for my use as it was a 4wd).

Thanks,
Stephanie
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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby tony.latham » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:23 pm

catinmoon wrote:HI folks,

More and more newer vehicles have the rounded rear windows that seem to really reduce visibility. I'm wondering what are the best tow vehicles (teardrop towing) that you can think of or have driven that allow visibility out the windows all around. It doesn't need to be a brand new vehicle, but I really need reliability as I'm out on the road with my pets and like to avoid breakdowns (of course who doesn't, but you get my drift).

Suggestions? I do NOT want to rely on a backup camera. I have had good luck with an older Toyota Tacoma, and a Ford Van (E350, but it was too high up for my use as it was a 4wd).

Thanks,
Stephanie


You mention the back-up camera. Are you talking about normal cruising visibility or are you talking about backing? :thinking:

Tony
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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby rainjer » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:30 pm

That is a very subjective question. How big is your trailer? My teardrop is only 4' wide. I have towed it with a 2004 Jeep Liberty, 2001 Dodge Caravan, 2014 Subaru Outback, 2003 2WD Ford Ranger extended cab (with and without a canopy) and a 4WD Toyota Tacoma double cab (with and without a canopy). All have some blind spots and challenges. The length of the tow rig will change your vision. My liberty was a short cabin so I had a lot more vision and could see better out the back at angles for lane changes. The Caravan I could not use the rear window at all for lane changes. the angles would not let me see past the trailer. With my Tacoma I can look over the top and because it s wider I can see completely around it with my side mirrors. In the Subaru it fills the rear window and I see some of the trailer in the mirror. Towing without my canopy on both truck gave me the most vision...

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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby catinmoon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 12:35 pm

Thanks for this great answer! I hadn't thought so much about the length being a factor. I would love to have a van to tow (for many reasons) but don't think they are best for visibility. By canopy do you mean a truck topper? Sadly my trailer is not with me at the moment (I hope to get it in the spring) so I don't have the exact dimensions.


rainjer wrote:That is a very subjective question. How big is your trailer? My teardrop is only 4' wide. I have towed it with a 2004 Jeep Liberty, 2001 Dodge Caravan, 2014 Subaru Outback, 2003 2WD Ford Ranger extended cab (with and without a canopy) and a 4WD Toyota Tacoma double cab (with and without a canopy). All have some blind spots and challenges. The length of the tow rig will change your vision. My liberty was a short cabin so I had a lot more vision and could see better out the back at angles for lane changes. The Caravan I could not use the rear window at all for lane changes. the angles would not let me see past the trailer. With my Tacoma I can look over the top and because it s wider I can see completely around it with my side mirrors. In the Subaru it fills the rear window and I see some of the trailer in the mirror. Towing without my canopy on both truck gave me the most vision...

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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby catinmoon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:14 pm

tony.latham wrote:You mention the back-up camera. Are you talking about normal cruising visibility or are you talking about backing? :thinking:

Tony


Good question, I was thinking of both, I suppose. I have very limited experience using a backup camera but I like to be able to see to my sides when driving, and need all the help I can get when backing up, which I try to avoid doing when I am towing the td.
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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby lfhoward » Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:30 pm

I have to add my +1 for the Jeep Liberty. The visibility is excellent, it can turn on a dime, and it can have up to a 5000# tow rating (or 2000# without the tow package). It's also quite reliable for an SUV (both the V6 engine and transmission). Gas mileage and brute power are not its strong suits, but all in all it's a great vehicle IMO. Plus it never gets stuck with the low range 4WD.

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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby catinmoon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 1:59 pm

lfhoward wrote:I have to add my +1 for the Jeep Liberty. The visibility is excellent, it can turn on a dime, and it can have up to a 5000# tow rating (or 2000# without the tow package). It's also quite reliable for an SUV (both the V6 engine and transmission). Gas mileage and brute power are not its strong suits, but all in all it's a great vehicle IMO. Plus it never gets stuck with the low range 4WD.


do they still make this model?
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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby catinmoon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 2:07 pm

Just found this list online, from a Consumer Reports article in 2016.

Some of these might not be good tow vehicles. I currently have a Subaru Legacy Wagon (last year they made the non-outback version of the wagon). it has not been a joy to own. I like driving it but have had so many repairs, in contrast to my 1996 legacy wagon which was pretty much bulletproof. I'd just really like to have something a bit more van-like.

Best Cars for Visibility
Subaru Forester
Subaru Outback
Subaru Legacy
Land Rover Range Rover
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Honda Fit
Mercedes E-Class
Honda Accord
Nissan Altima

Worst Cars for Visibility
Nissan Z
Porsche Boxster
Honda CR-Z
Buick Encore
Infiniti QX70
Toyota Tundra
Nissan Pathfinder
Smart ForTwo
Jeep Wrangler
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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby Padilen » Sun Jan 22, 2017 6:53 pm

catinmoon wrote:
lfhoward wrote:I have to add my +1 for the Jeep Liberty. The visibility is excellent, it can turn on a dime, and it can have up to a 5000# tow rating (or 2000# without the tow package). It's also quite reliable for an SUV (both the V6 engine and transmission). Gas mileage and brute power are not its strong suits, but all in all it's a great vehicle IMO. Plus it never gets stuck with the low range 4WD.


do they still make this model?

No the Liberty isn't made any longer. 2012 was the last year.
Miss mine, while not my favorite vehicle my V10 was that. My Liberty was my BEST vehicle.


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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby catinmoon » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:00 pm

Padilen wrote:
catinmoon wrote:
lfhoward wrote:I have to add my +1 for the Jeep Liberty. The visibility is excellent, it can turn on a dime, and it can have up to a 5000# tow rating (or 2000# without the tow package). It's also quite reliable for an SUV (both the V6 engine and transmission). Gas mileage and brute power are not its strong suits, but all in all it's a great vehicle IMO. Plus it never gets stuck with the low range 4WD.


do they still make this model?

No the Liberty isn't made any longer. 2012 was the last year.
Miss mine, while not my favorite vehicle my V10 was that. My Liberty was my BEST vehicle.


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I could make a HUGE list of the desirable (IMHO) vehicles that are no longer made, or no longer made in a reasonable configuration, which can include your Liberty, Honda CRV boxy edition, Ford E series vans, Honda Element, smaller Toyota van (can't recall the name), AWD Chevy/GMC Astro van, I'm sure there are more. Old style of Toyota 4runner and smaller pickup, any smaller pickeumup truck. If there had been some amazing gas mileage change with these newer models I could almost forgive, but for the most part we don't seem to be saving much gas, just getting huger vehicles.
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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby tony.latham » Sun Jan 22, 2017 8:34 pm

catinmoon wrote:Just found this list online, from a Consumer Reports article in 2016.

Some of these might not be good tow vehicles. I currently have a Subaru Legacy Wagon (last year they made the non-outback version of the wagon). it has not been a joy to own. I like driving it but have had so many repairs, in contrast to my 1996 legacy wagon which was pretty much bulletproof. I'd just really like to have something a bit more van-like.

Best Cars for Visibility
Subaru Forester
Subaru Outback
Subaru Legacy
Land Rover Range Rover
Land Rover Range Rover Sport
Honda Fit
Mercedes E-Class
Honda Accord
Nissan Altima

Worst Cars for Visibility
Nissan Z
Porsche Boxster
Honda CR-Z
Buick Encore
Infiniti QX70
Toyota Tundra
Nissan Pathfinder
Smart ForTwo
Jeep Wrangler


It looks like your trailer is wider than 5'. Maybe 6'? If so, any narrow vehicle is going to require some sort of extension mirrors or all that you going to see behind you is the front of the trailer.

Back-up cams, because they are so wide-angled, are a great help in hitching but of little or no value in backing.

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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby kudzu » Mon Jan 23, 2017 10:03 am

tony.latham wrote:
catinmoon wrote:Back-up cams, because they are so wide-angled, are a great help in hitching but of little or no value in backing.


This has been my finding. My camera is in the center brake light, mounted at roof height on my full sized Chevy Express van that's over 6 ft tall. My folding trailer is under 5 ft tall when collapsed for towing. Even so, the camera is of little to no use in backing the trailer. When driving, it only helps me see the tops of tractor trailers behind us when going down the road. (Mine has a switch on the dash that allows me to turn it on & off at will.) It's a great help when hitching up or backing without the trailer.
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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby dancam » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:19 pm

Mounting 3 backup cameras to the trailer would be cheaper than buying a new tow vehicle, but if you want visibility buy this: Image
Old, cheap, big, and reasonably reliable. My parents has 700,000km on it now. 21ft bumper to bumper. Not too terrible on diesel. Can pull a lot more than a td, lol. Can put a lot in the back too, thats 3200 pounds of hay in the box and the suspensions hardly moved.

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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby catinmoon » Mon Jan 23, 2017 5:33 pm

dancam wrote:Mounting 3 backup cameras to the trailer would be cheaper than buying a new tow vehicle, but if you want visibility buy this: Image
Old, cheap, big, and reasonably reliable. My parents has 700,000km on it now. 21ft bumper to bumper. Not too terrible on diesel. Can pull a lot more than a td, lol. Can put a lot in the back too, thats 3200 pounds of hay in the box and the suspensions hardly moved.

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I could just put the teardrop in the bed of the truck! :)
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Re: Best visibility in a tow vehicle (not using backup camer

Postby KCStudly » Wed Jan 25, 2017 3:45 pm

Funny, I thought my '03 Wrangler had pretty good visibility (perhaps they are referring to the newer JK's?) and was about to suggest it until I read that you don't like 4x4 type lifted vehicles. They are great for backing because they have such a short wheelbase, which makes them very maneuverable, but then you give some up on the other end because they aren't as stable towing forward at highway speeds. Not horrible, mind you, just not the same as a 20 ft long p/u, tho still fine with a reasonable length tongue and trailer wheels set back in typical TD fashion. (Savvy readers will note that I have not finished my TD yet, so can't have towed it, but I have towed my small boat trailer enough to over a useful opinion. ;) )

A couple of things that seem to affect visibility, or at least maneuvering in tight spaces, are overhang and contour. When the wheels are placed out near the corners of the vehicle it is very easy to judge and avoid hitting things. Likewise, boxy vehicles are much easier to judge the limits, whereas vehicles with drooping contours, where you can't see the outside edges from the driver's view, require a learning curve (pun intended) to figure out just where the edges of the vehicle are; and even then you probably won't be able to "push the limit" as far. This is another good argument for the Wrangler; what you see is what is there except for the no frills bumpers, and even they don't stick out much at all. (Poor aero, and therefore poor gas mileage, is the down side to a boxy shape.)
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