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  #1  
Old 04-05-2017, 02:14 PM
dombrows dombrows is offline
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Default Most fuel efficient TV?

Hello!
We are a young family with two small children (2.5 and 11 mos) thinking very seriously about investing in a Trailmanor for trips around the country (thinking 1-4 weeks at a time). I grew up traveling about in a minivan pulling a small pop up camper with my brother and parents and initially went into my research with the assumption we would get a small RV (I always envied the families with RVs instead of pop ups). I loved the idea of being able to pull up somewhere without having to set up the pop up... and I wanted something with a toilet because rare is the night I don't make at least one trip to the bathroom! However, after what feels like LOTS of research, I'm liking the idea of the Trailmanor because of:
1. Cost
2. Quick set up
3. Storage... might fit in our garage?
4. Bathroom
5. Hard sides (better for three season camping, I assume, and can possibly even be set up in a Walmart parking lot in a pinch... maybe?)
6. Can be dropped at site and TV is free for driving
7. Easier to tow than regular size trailer

We'll be looking for one that has at least two full size beds (with one ideally at least a queen), but I'm otherwise not too worried about lots of interior floor space because we don't plan to spend much time in it other than to cook, sleep, and hunker down if stuck in bad weather. So, probably a 2720 or smaller, depending on what we can find used.

With ALL that said, purchasing a Trailmanor also means having to purchase a tow vehicle. We are a one car family and plan to sell our Prius so that we still have only one car. We know full well that we'll be losing a lot in fuel efficiency going from our 40+mpg Prius to some sort of SUV, minivan, or Crossover, but I'm struggling to sort through all the options. So, I'm posting here to see if someone might be able to suggest:

What are some of the most fuel efficient vehicles that can tow one of the smaller Trailmanors? We are looking to buy used, so older model years are welcomed.

Any suggestions regarding the TV or even any insight on which Trailmanor to look for would be much appreciated!
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  #2  
Old 04-05-2017, 03:30 PM
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Bill Bill is offline
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Let me suggest that you start from a different direction. MPG is important - but first you have to have enough vehicle to pull - and steer - and stop - your trailer.

So start with your trailer weight, meaning its weight when it is loaded up and ready to camp. Don't be fooled by the "dry weight" in the specs - your Trailmanor will probably weigh 3700-3800 pounds when it is set up and stocked for camping So you need to select a vehicle that can handle that much weight.

Every vehicle has a tow rating - the largest trailer weight it can handle. A few of our members tow with a vehicle rated at 3500 pounds and they say it works well. Most of us select a vehicle that is rated at 5000 pounds (or more), especially if we plan to tow in hilly country or mountains. Now you have a starting point.

Next step - take a close look at the tow rating specs for any vehicle. The manufacturers, especially of smaller vehicles, are usually a little coy about this number, but it is there. When you find the spec, it almost always says "Properly equipped." There is no standard definition for this phrase, but as you would expect, it means that the spec does not apply to the base vehicle - you need to equip it with some "stuff". The manufacturer often does not clearly define exactly what equipment is needed, but it commonly means a factory-installed trailer towing package. The towing package usually consists of an oversize transmission cooler in addition to the standard cooler, maybe an added engine oil cooler, and a beefed-up rear suspension. Sometimes it requires a certain engine, or a certain rear-end gearing ratio. It always requires a Class 3 or Class 4 hitch receiver and a 7-pin electrical connector and an electric brake controller. Since you are aiming at a small vehicle, you will also need a weight-distributing trailer hitch. The point is, you have to have this stuff, or the tow rating is meaningless. You can install most of it as aftermarket if you must, but factory is better if you can.

When you get to this point, you have shrunk the world of possible vehicles quite a bit. Now you can start thinking about MPG.

Bill
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  #3  
Old 04-05-2017, 04:09 PM
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Padgett Padgett is offline
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Well the most common TM is the 2720 (SD and SL are both slide versions) series but for beds at both ends you might also consider a 2619 or a 3023 both of which are designed for larger families.

As for tow vehicles that is liable to start a holy war and depends on how many people you need to carry. Some prefer a pickup truck others a two seat SUV and larger families a three seat.

The best currently for both towing and MPG is a diesel but the initial cost will probably be higher.

As for gas engines either the 3.5 (not the 2.7) Ford ecoboost or the DOHC 6 Jeep Grand Cherokee are very good.

I have a '12 Grand Cherokee with the 6 cyl and the factory towing package and it handles merging to a freeway and the hills of North Carolina with np and I get 17-18 mpg of 87 PON when towing, 24 on the Interstate when not, and 20mpg overall. For my needs it is almost perfect. Later ones with the 8-speed tow more but I have not felt any need. Also the Jeep is a cool running engine, even on a hot Florida day it may touch 200F coolant and the trans temp (it has a readout) 180.

Note: what every you get, find something with the Factory Towing Package and not a dealer add-on. It includes much more than just the hitch.
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Old 04-06-2017, 01:49 PM
dombrows dombrows is offline
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Thank you for this information. I've been reading the threads about tow capacity but have found it to be a bit tedious to research the multitude of crossovers and SUVs for their fuel efficiency and then look into their tow capacity (or vice versa)... was hoping someone may have already done all that for me! When we consider model years for the last 5-10 years, it gets pretty overwhelming. What I'm gathering, though, is that any vehicle with the capacity to tow the Trailmanor is probably not going to give me much better than 20mpgs city (which is how it would be used for most of the year). Thanks for the feedback!
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  #5  
Old 04-06-2017, 04:00 PM
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I did. I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee with V6 (Pentastar) and factory tow package. I've been towing things for a very long time and is the best tow car I've ever had - also not ashamed to take a date to a nice restaurant (see Orlando- restaurant row) and makes a great 2 passenger trip car with a lot of luggage space.
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Old 04-07-2017, 02:29 PM
mecicon mecicon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dombrows View Post
What are some of the most fuel efficient vehicles that can tow one of the smaller Trailmanors? We are looking to buy used, so older model years are welcomed.

Any suggestions regarding the TV or even any insight on which Trailmanor to look for would be much appreciated!
How about a Toyota Highlander Hybrid? 3500 lb tow rating and a TM2619.
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  #7  
Old 04-07-2017, 06:46 PM
BrucePerens BrucePerens is offline
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I have a strategy for saving gas that will beat any tow vehicle: I drive my Prius most of the time, and save the Grand Cherokee for skiing, freight, and towing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett View Post
I have a Jeep Grand Cherokee with V6 (Pentastar) and factory tow package.
Padgett, the 2016 model Pentastar engine implemented dual-height valve lift and can shut down two cylinders. For the 2017 Grand Cherokee 4x2 they are claiming 19 city, 26 highway.

I drive the 2015 Grand Cherokee 4x4-AWD, which doesn't have a transaxle control. There are models that have a 2-speed transaxle (the lower speed is for off-road only) and transaxle-neutral which allows the vehicle to be towed on its own wheels. I like it a lot. It handles the Trailmanor well.

I considered towing with the Toyota Hybrid SUV. It's a marginal configuration as far as safety is concerned, and may be asking too much of the vehicle as well.
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  #8  
Old 04-07-2017, 09:20 PM
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Padgett Padgett is offline
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We came to the same conclusion for different reasons. Since 1972 I have always had a tow can (and usually a tandem axel car trailer for a race car). Originally I had a station wagon (true it was a GTO station wagon but still...). Then a Minivan with a 3800 engine. Did everything I needed but wanted "more". Gave the van to my sister and after a LOT or research bought a new (with rebates was less than a large more than a '11 with 10k miles) Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x2 (have never felt any need for a 4x4 even when living in Michigan) with 3.6 Pentastar, a 24 vale DOHC 6 with VVT i&e (not sure what variable lift buys you over VVT) that tows not only the TM but also loaded largest tandem axle U-Hauls (now those kill MPG) and cars (mostly use a dolly now).

One reason it gives about 1-2 MPG better than the other GCs is because it is the lightest one, about 1,000 lbs lighter than a 4x4 Overland. Only had a few options but the major one was the Factory Towing Package rated for 5,000 lbs and almost perfect 50-50 weight distribution. With all independent suspension and both front and rear sway bars it really handles very well.

Strange thing is that I have been driving it more than my other cars (click on .sig). So while there are better drivetrains (the Ford EcoBoost 3.5 comes to mind), I really like the GCs overall package (and am the type of person who creates spreadsheets of gear ratios).

Besides it costs a lot less than a Merc ML350 (same chassis).
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  #9  
Old 04-10-2017, 08:47 AM
LoveToCamp LoveToCamp is offline
 
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I tow with a 2014 Grand Cherokee diesel. When not towing, on the highway I get 30 mpg (just did two 1500 mile trips over the last two weekends, Denver to Nevada and back). When I was pulling my 2417 into the mountains and back, I got 21 mpg. Flatland towing was 18 pg. I attribute that to gaining more in fuel economy going downhill than I lose going uphill, so mountain towing is better.

Yes, the diesel engine initially cost more. But, it has paid for itself in increased fuel economy (I figured at about 75,000 miles I was "even").

My 2-cents.
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  #10  
Old 04-11-2017, 06:46 AM
br2_wdc br2_wdc is offline
 
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Default Reliability vs. Fuel Economy

Quote:
Originally Posted by dombrows View Post
Hello!
With ALL that said, purchasing a Trailmanor also means having to purchase a tow vehicle. We are a one car family and plan to sell our Prius so that we still have only one car. We know full well that we'll be losing a lot in fuel efficiency going from our 40+mpg Prius to some sort of SUV, minivan, or Crossover, but I'm struggling to sort through all the options. So, I'm posting here to see if someone might be able to suggest:

What are some of the most fuel efficient vehicles that can tow one of the smaller Trailmanors? We are looking to buy used, so older model years are welcomed.

Any suggestions regarding the TV or even any insight on which Trailmanor to look for would be much appreciated!
Given you have a Prius, and I'll make the assumption it has been pretty reliable, so another factor you may want to consider is the reliability of the TV.

For example, when I first purchased my TM and was looking for a TV, I had dismissed the Toyota 4Runner/Lexus GX470 as costing too much given the number of miles the used ones had when I looked. I decided on a 2008 Ford Explorer which had much less miles for less money, was a 1 owner car, maintained well, but after a year developed transmission issues. We loved it and it worked very well for all our needs, but staring down the barrel of a 3-4k new transmission I decided to hit the reset button and trade it to Carmax and try again.

The experience left me "wiser" in a sense where I looked less at the price and number of miles, and more at the different brands history of reliability. As you might guess, my research (IMHO) showed the most reliable were the Toyota 4Runner/Lexus GX470. My next reality check was "adjusting" my expectations that these SUV's commanded premium prices even with higher miles !

Given we have a 3023, I preferred the V8 engine, and so 2003-09 Toyota 4Runner (V8 option)/Lexus GX470 (standard with V8) fit the bill, with prices ranging from 8-18K depending on miles, condition, options, etc ... and we found a beautiful 2005 Lexus GX470 that I am thrilled with .

Ideally if you could keep the Prius as a commute car, the TV fuel economy becomes less of an issue. But if you cannot keep the Prius, I think having 1 car in the family makes reliability an even a bigger factor over gas mileage.

I am not attempting to start a "Holy War" on which is the best TV or most reliable, but what I am suggesting is the "deal" I got on my Ford Explorer was meaningless once the transmission went, and reliability should be at the top of your list when deciding your many TV options. Good luck!
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