SUV research, news, reviews and towing.
time I herded Buffalo, I mean Bison and my first trip to
Yellowstone, was a kick driving the all
new 2008 Toyota Land Cruiser 200 series. The Land
Cruiser was Toyota's first vehicle to the US back in 1957. he
Cruiser, makes a great tow vehicle. The ride and handling is
smooth, you're in a solid vehicle with very little outside
influence like wind making no difference with a heavy 5690 lb
curb weight. The Land Cruiser has the tightest steering I can
remember. This makes driving fatigue go away.
Rest of the review....
I use to start a SUV review
with horsepower and torque for towing, but now I need to open with EPA
Fuel Economy Estimates of 13 mpg city and 18 mpg highway for the 2008
Dodge Durango. I drove the Durango Adventurer 4x4 for a week on the
plains, in the Rockies and towed a two horse trailer. Dodge has announced details for the 2009
Dodge Durango HEMI® Hybrids as it's first.
Active Fuel Management Cylinder Deactivation shows in the dash
when switching from V8 to V4, all seamless you wouldn't know it
if you didn't look at the indicator in the dash. This is part of
reason this new Tahoe gets 21 highway mpg EPA rating on the
4x4.. Even with a bolder bigger nose, the Tahoe has 8% less drag
as wind resistance. The dash has more digital info with a tire pressure read out
Ford Expedition EL, longer, stronger and a 6-speed. I took
the new Expedition through the winding Washington hills as fast
the tires would hold me. It handled superbly, with no
resemblance of the old leaning SUV's we drove a few years back.
Cadillac Escalade ESV
B&W's new Tow & Stow receiver hitch towing a Hart Medallion.
This is luxury, the
2005 Cadillac Escalade. Twin screens for the DVD, keeps both 2nd and 3rd
row busy watching "The Incredible's" again. But for
me there are heated & cooled cup holders. And they work, keeps
my coffee at the right temperature until the last drop. How
about hot and cold seats?
Explorer, new 6-speed auto, 3-valve 4.6L V-8 and it's quieter and of
tows more. I flew to New York to drive it. 15 years of the #1 SUV,
read my review... also
SUV's and towing revisited.
Ford lowers 2006 prices. Rebate weaning
Hemi aFe install by MrHemi 18 more horses!
“The Durango had … sort of a delayed
throttle response, or lag, when you accelerate from a complete
stop..... Well, that annoying little lag is a thing of the past
- throttle response is now where it should have been all along."
Read the whole install article..
new from the frame up, the 05 Frontier & Xterra are over
engineered, using the Titan 5-speed auto transmission, Dana 44
rear axle & frame rails. With the most horsepower in the midsize
class, the Frontier sits low with great off-road capability. I
like the folding passenger seat for my laptop. If you think
driving using cell phones are dangerous, wait till you see me
driving & reading email.
trademarked, “Expedition Max,” rumors are the Expedition will be offered
in a longer that Suburban wheelbase probably in 2007. With two wheelbase
options like the Yukon and Yukon XL. Another name they are looking at is
the “Everest”. Originally when the Expedition was born in 1997, it had
the diesel auto tranny that was in the F250/350 as it was planned to
have the 4.5L V-6 diesel that later was squashed. So as the Excursion’s
future is in question, there may be a replacement when the new design
Expedition happens in 2007. Hopefully with a diesel option.
Infinity QX56 SUV & Hart aluminum horse trailers
are both upper scale and make a good looking couple. The new
2004 QX56 is the first Infiniti model assembled in North
America. Hart Medallion aluminum horse trailer reminds me of the
beautiful sheet metal on Audi's and Porshe. Also in this review
are Tow-N-See extended mirrors
drove the 05 Ford Escape Hybrid in Denver. With $2 gas, the Escape is
the first SUV to go Hybrid. And a true hybrid, developing it's own energy to
charge it's batteries from applying the brakes and run on an eclectic motor
alone. Something we did a lot of in downtown Denver.
FORD ESCAPE HYBRID SETS SUV MILEAGE RECORD IN 37-HOUR NON-STOP DRIVING
TEST ON A TANK OF GAS
2005 Escape Hybrid
NEW YORK, APRIL 7, 2004 - After being driven non-stop for 37 hours as
part of an extreme driving test throughout Manhattan, taking on
traffic congestion, morning and evening rush hours, the all-new 2005
Ford Escape Hybrid traveled an amazing 576 miles on a single tank of
gas during this epic drive. The Escape Hybrid, the world's first
hybrid sport utility vehicle, averaged more than 38 miles per gallon.
"This is phenomenal! We beat our own best estimates," says Mary Ann
Wright, Ford director of Hybrid Vehicle Programs. "We set out to drive
at least 500 miles of city traffic. The Escape Hybrid surpassed the
ultimate urban driving test proving it is the cleanest and most
fuel-efficient SUV on the planet."
With concerns about rising gas prices, Ford designed the "Manhattan
on a Tank of Gas" event to see how many miles the new hybrid electric
SUV could be driven on a single tank of gas in severe traffic
conditions. The test began on Monday, April 5 in mid-town Manhattan
and ended late Tuesday night, April 6. Several celebrities drove a
short leg of the epic journey in and around Manhattan including actor
Kevin Bacon, actress Jaime Gleicher, and NASCAR driver Kurt Busch.
Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford announced the results at the New
York International Auto Show, where the 2005 Escape Hybrid made its
official debut. Available at the end of the summer, the Escape Hybrid
combines the fuel economy and emissions benefits of a full hybrid with
the go anywhere capability, toughness and spaciousness of the Ford
Escape, America's favorite small SUV. Escape Hybrid is the first
hybrid electric vehicle that can comfortably accommodate five adults
and their gear.
Dodge Durango with a Hemi. I drove it to Steamboat for the Winter
Driving School. It did great in the mountains and through our normal
construction zones in Colorado, taking on mountain curves at night
between ice patches. Then I pulled a Hart miniature horse trailer to Red
Rocks. Read more...
Grand Cherokee, a popular towing vehicle, equipped properly can surprise
you. Power Tech HO 4.7L V-8 standard in the Overland, rated at 260
horsepower, 330-lb.-ft of torque. The 5-speed auto has 2 overdrives for
increased gas mileage, but Click for More
04 Pathfinder Armada, go
fast SUV new this year. Fun to drive with 300 horse Power V-8 and gated
2003 Lincoln Aviator
pulls a Coyote Sportster To Estes Park
Click for review
Car And Driver Names Cadillac SRX Best Luxury Sport Utility Award
Touted In National Advertising Campaign
DETROIT - The editors of Car
and Driver magazine have named the 2004 Cadillac SRX as the best
Luxury Sport Utility vehicle. The award will be highlighted in the
March issue of Car and Driver.
Editor-in-chief Csaba Csere announced
the honor to a gathering of Cadillac dealers in Houston for Super
The article in the March issue cites
SRX as further proof that "Cadillac is on a roll." Other highlights:
"With Nurburgring racetrack development baked into its heritage,
it's solid goods...fresh-from-the-cleaners creases, distinctive
interior styling, and excellent road manners make it hard to
Cadillac debuted a 30-second
commercial showing an SRX "picking up" its trophy during Super Bowl
XXXVIII. Ads touting the award also ran in national newspapers and
trade publications, as well as a billboard near the site of the
Chicago Auto Show. The ad will continue to run throughout the year
as part of Cadillac's national advertising program.
Available in both rear-wheel-drive
and all-wheel-drive applications, the SRX is based on General Motors
acclaimed new Sigma architecture, designed to deliver superior
driving dynamics. Engine combinations include a 3.6L V-6 and a 4.6L
SUVS AND PICKUPS DO BETTER THAN
EXPECTED ON ROLLOVER TESTS
Nearly half the 28 SUVs and pickups
the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tested under
its new dynamic rollover maneuvers earned four out of five stars,
and another nine were given three stars.
In NHTSA’s recent SUV rollover test,
a number of vehicles displayed a low chance of rolling over,
contrary to previous ratings and perceptions. Two out of the four
international-nameplate SUVs tested—the Volvo XC90 and the Subaru
Outback—received four out of five stars, meaning that they had only
a 10% to 20% chance of rolling over in a single-vehicle crash. None
of the SUVs tested received five stars or one star, and only one SUV
made by a Detroit manufacturer received two out of five stars. NHTSA
also tested sedans and pickups. The results “indicate that widely
promoted hysteria over SUV rollover risks is overblown and
misplaced,” said Barry McCahill, president of the SUV Owners of
The surprising first results of a new
federal safety test suggest that SUVs are no more prone to roll over
in crashes than other vehicles. SUVs scored as well or better than a
compact station wagon and several pickups also tested by NHTSA. None
of the SUVs scored the highest five-star rating, but many earned
four stars, meaning they have a 10% to 20% percent chance of rolling
over in a single-vehicle crash.
For years, auto-safety advocates have
said that SUVs are at a higher risk for rollover. Their arguments
mounted in 2000 when Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford Motor Co. began
recalling tires because they could lose tread. The tire recall led
to a new law requiring that, among other things, NHTSA begin
rollover testing with 2004 models.
NHTSA had been using a mathematical
calculation to rate vehicles on rollover propensity, but the new
test involves actually driving the vehicles. In the test, after the
vehicle is accelerated to between 35 and 50 mph, a mechanical device
sharply turns the steering wheel 270 degrees to the left, then 540
degrees to the right. The sharp right turn, simulating a driver’s
attempt to correct, is the most likely maneuver to cause the vehicle
to roll over. With two stars, the Ford Explorer Sport Trac model,
equipped with two-wheel drive, was the lowest-rated vehicle in the
first batch of tests.
GM’s Chevrolet TrailBlazer four-wheel
drive, the Volvo XC90 four-wheel drive, Toyota’s Echo small car and
eight other cars and trucks won four-star ratings, the second-best
rating. That means that 11 of 28 vehicles tested, or more than
one-third (39.3%), reached that level of safety.
Initially, auto-safety advocates
praised the new test. But after the ratings were released, Joan
Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, a consumer-advocacy group,
said the results could be misleading.
“Two stars may be interpreted as a
good or safe rating. However, a vehicle that receives two stars has
a 30% to 40% chance of rolling over in an emergency maneuver,” she
Claybrook says that Congress and
federal regulators should require stronger roofs, side-head air
bags, safety belts that tighten during a rollover and improved
side-window glazing to better protect occupants in a rollover.
Source: SEMA Research and Information
October 28, 2003 Ford may continue making
Excursion Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) is reconsidering its plans to
discontinue production of its largest and most expensive sport-utility
vehicle, the Louisville-made Ford Excursion. The company, which produces
the vehicles at its Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, had announced
earlier this year that it expected to discontinue production of the
mammoth-sized Excursion in 2004. However, a Ford spokeswoman told the
Associated Press that the company now has no official date to end
production. "There continues to be a viable market, so we're taking a
second look at its production schedule," Ford spokeswoman Susan Krusel
told the AP. More Click
FORD VOLUNTARILY RECALLS CERTAIN EXPLORERS/MOUNTAINEERS FOR UPGRADES
May 8, 2003
DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 8, 2003 – Ford Motor Company has initiated a
voluntary safety recall involving 1998-2001 Ford Explorers and Mercury
Mountaineers, and 2001-2002 Ford Explorer Sport and Sport Trac sport
utility vehicles, to correct potential product issues. Customers with
affected vehicles will be able to have their vehicles upgraded, free of
charge, at their Ford or Lincoln Mercury dealer. To determine if their
vehicle is affected by this action, customers can call Ford’s toll-free
line at 1-866-436-7332.
The first action involves 499,988 1999 through
2001 model year Ford Explorer, Explorer Sport and Mercury Mountaineer
models, and 2001 Explorer Sport Trac vehicles equipped with 4.0 liter V-6
engines and the optional speed control system. The company has received
some customer reports alleging the speed control may not disengage when
the vehicle is under power. This condition can be caused, over time, by
the speed control cable wearing out prematurely on some of these vehicles.
The cables will be inspected and, if necessary, replaced free of charge by
the dealer. Not all vehicles will require replacement of the speed control
The second action, which may also include vehicles with the affected
speed control cable, involves approximately 1.6 million 1998 through 2001
model year Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer models, and 2001-2002
Explorer Sport and Sport Trac models with high-back seats. There have been
customer reports of the driver's side seat upper recliner to seat back
frame attachment bolt fracturing on certain vehicles. Some customers have
reported "looseness" and "noise" in the mechanism. There is the potential
of the bolt fracturing completely, forcing the seat to fully recline
unexpectedly, and the driver could potentially lose contact with the
steering wheel and/or foot pedals.
No accidents or injuries have been reported in relation to either of
these product issues.
Customers with the affected vehicles will be notified by mail in early
September. Most customers – those with the affected seat bolts, but not
the affected speed control cable – will require only one repair. Customers
whose vehicles have both the affected seat back bolt and the affected
speed control cable can have both repairs made in one visit to their
These product upgrades will be performed free of charge only at Ford or
Lincoln Mercury dealers. If customers wish, they can call Ford’s toll free
line at 1-866-436-7332 to determine if their vehicle is affected by this
Replace Recliner Seat Back Bolts: 1998-2001 Explorer/Mountaineer;
2001-02 Sport/Sport Trac
General Motors Announces
First Vehicles To Feature Displacement On Demand
2005 Chevrolet TrailBlazer
EXT, GMC Envoy XL, GMC Envoy XUV To Use Fuel-Saving Technology
WASHINGTON - General Motors has
announced that the 2005 GMC Envoy XL, Envoy XUV and Chevrolet TrailBlazer
EXT will be the first vehicles to showcase its innovative Displacement on
Demand fuel-saving technology. The announcement was made here today at a
media briefing highlighting GM's short-term, mid-term, and long-term
advanced technologies that benefit the environment and GM's business.
Displacement on Demand will be a standard
feature in the vehicles' optional Vortec 5300 V-8 engine. The more efficient
engine will boost the fuel efficiency of these vehicles by about 8 percent
(based on an EPA testing procedure).
In addition, GM previously announced it will
introduce this technology as part of a new overhead-valve V-6 family of
engines in some 2006 mid-size passenger cars. By 2008, more than two million
vehicles with the V-8 and V-6 engines will feature Displacement on Demand.
Both customers and the environment will
benefit from the engines' improved fuel economy. In addition, GM owners
won't have to sacrifice superior engine performance and power to go farther
on a tank of gas.
"Displacement on Demand will enhance fuel
economy without compromising performance or the ability to carry heavy
loads," said Sam Winegarden, GM Powertrain chief engineer of Vortec V-8
engines. "We will be able to deliver the same top-of-the-line performance
with less effort and energy. That's the essence of efficiency."
Enabled by GM's powerful electronic
powertrain controls, Displacement on Demand saves fuel by using only half of
the engine's cylinders during most normal driving conditions. When loads are
light, the control system automatically closes both intake and exhaust
valves for half of the cylinders, cutting off their air and fuel supply. The
valves are reopened to provide all-cylinder operation when the driver needs
it for quick acceleration or for hauling heavy loads.
The V-8 engine always starts on eight
cylinders, and in the case of the V-6 engine, six cylinders. But once the
vehicle has accelerated to speed, the engine control module activates
Displacement on Demand, providing improved fuel economy through a relatively
inexpensive change in displacement to meet the vehicle load requirements.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world's
largest vehicle manufacturer, employs 349,000 people globally in its core
automotive business and subsidiaries. Founded in 1908, GM has been the
global automotive sales leader since 1931. GM today has manufacturing
operations in 32 countries and its vehicles are sold in more than 190
countries. In 2002, GM sold more than 8.5 million cars and trucks, nearly 15
percent of the global vehicle market. GM's global headquarters is at the GM
Renaissance Center in Detroit. More information on GM and its products can
be found on the company's consumer website at
Numbers back SUV safety,
Automotive News / February 25, 2003
Automakers, launching a pre-emptive strike Tuesday, say that their much-maligned
SUVs are at least as safe for their drivers and passengers as cars.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers says that newly analyzed 2001 data show
that for every 1 million registered vehicles, 1 to 3 years old, there were 115
deaths in SUVs and 124 in passenger cars. The number for pickups was 170. The
analysis counts minivans as cars.
Since 1981 the figures are down significantly for all vehicle classes, but the
drop for SUVs was the largest of all. In the most common kinds of crashes —
front, rear or side impacts — SUVs are considerably safer than cars, says
alliance Vice President Robert Strassburger. Yes, there are more rollover deaths
in SUVs than in other kinds of vehicles, but such crashes are rare, he adds.
The flurry of data was meant to prepare reporters and the public for an
important hearing Wednesday of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation
Committee. The hearing was called after Dr. Jeffrey Runge, administrator of the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, presented some data of his own
at the Automotive News World Congress in January. Mainly, he attempted to show
that pickups and SUVs pose disproportionately large threats to their own
occupants in rollover crashes and to other vehicle occupants in truck-car
collisions. But more damning were some of Runge’s subsequent personal remarks,
which were sharply critical of light trucks. The committee is expected to ask
Runge to clarify his position. Panel members also will hear from industry
executives and from safety advocates.
Joan Claybrook, president of the consumer group Public Citizen, says she will
call on Congress to enact tougher safety requirements for SUVs and will warn
against letting the industry adopt voluntary standards. Automakers and the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said two weeks ago they would form two
groups to study ways to make light trucks less threatening both in frontal
collisions with other vehicles and in side impacts with cars.
The alliance’s Strassburger says the voluntary approach would mean that
improvements could be made faster than with cumbersome government regulations.
As for Runge’s remarks, Strassburger says, “I don’t believe he intended to
condemn an entire class of vehicles.” Such a condemnation “is not supported by
Holy War on SUVs (Jerry Flint, Forbes)
It's Salem all
over again. This time the alleged witches are sport
utility vehicles, said to be the work of the Devil. More particularly, the
government's chief safety official says SUVs are too dangerous. The Wall Street
Journal says in an article: "Auto Makers Start To Back Away From Big SUVs." The
greenies say the big cars heat up the earth, the know-nothings blame them for…
terrorism, and the yahoos figure that Jesus wouldn't drive one. Where does all
this misinformation and wrongheaded opinion come from? Let's take the
accusations hurled at these cars one at a time:
* Safety: SUVs are generally safer than other vehicles… Buckled up, you're safer
in an SUV than in a lightweight car that doesn't roll as easily…
* Earth warming: Yes, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is considered a cause of
earth warming. It also is key to life on the planet. Every person exhales CO2,
and every photosynthesizing plant inhales it…
* Terrorism: I suppose if no one used oil then some Arab states would be beggars
and some terrorists couldn't afford the tuition at flight school. But more Arab
oil goes to others--to Europe and Asia--than to us…
* And what would Jesus drive? I've been to Israel, Judaea, Samaria, Sinai and
the shores of Galilee. It's a rocky land and 2,000 years ago there were paths or
trails, not concrete highways. Might Christ have needed a big SUV to get into
those hills? (Source: Forbes) www.forbes.com
Death Rate Lowest for Occupants of SUVs
While they're more prone to roll over during
accidents than cars, newer
sport-utility vehicles now have a lower overall death rate, according to
a study by an insurance industry research group. But the statistics also
support a frequent criticism of SUVs: Their size and weight cause
mismatches in collisions with smaller vehicles, and those occupants are
more likely to be killed or injured… An analysis of 2001 traffic deaths
by the Insurance Institute shows the death rate in SUVs fell to 115
fatalities per million registered vehicles, the lowest among all types
of passenger vehicles. That was down from 134 fatalities per million in
2000 and from 494 per million in 1980, when SUVs accounted for twice the number
of fatalities as cars. (Source: Chicago Tribune)
GM Statement In Response
To Remarks By NHTSA Administrator Regarding The Safety of Sport Utility Vehicles
The following statement can be attributed to
Jay Cooney, Director of Safety Communications, General Motors Corporation:
“According to the NHTSA’s own factual data,
SUVs are among the safest vehicles on the road and have contributed to the
dramatic decline in the nation’s fatality rate over the last decade.
“According to real world government crash data,
compiled by the NHTSA, SUVs are two to three times more protective of their
occupants in frontal, rear and side-impact crashes that make up 97.5%
(ninety-seven- point-five-percent) of all crashes. The major reason for
fatalities in rollovers, which represent only 2.5% of all crashes, is due to a
lack of seat belt use. According to NHTSA, 72% of those killed in fatal rollover
crashes were not using safety belts. Again, according to the NHTSA of the 9,882
people killed in rollovers in the year 2000, 75% or 7,412 people perished not
because of the vehicle, but because they were unbelted and ejected from the
vehicle. This is exactly why GM has been diligently working with Dr. Runge and
the NHTSA on increasing seat belt usage in this country.
“Since Americans began buying SUVs in record
numbers in the 1980s, sales of these versatile vehicles skyrocketed more than
600%. During this sales boom, the nation’s fatality rate (fatality rate based on
vehicle miles of travel) on America’s roads dropped by more than 50% to an all
“To assert otherwise, is not only contrary to
the facts gathered by his own agency over the last decade, but unfair to the
thousands of men and women who have spent their professional lives making
vehicles safer, and to America’s automakers who spend hundreds of millions of
dollars every year on improving safety in their vehicles.”
2003 Suburban with Quadrasteer, review in December.
It's ready click for more. Here is a
picture of me pulling a trailer in Estes Park, Colorado while checking out
SUV’s and Trailers
SUV's aren't my first choice as a tow vehicle, but I do
understand the economics. Not everyone can afford a truck and a car. SUV’s
are becoming more popular each year. Get the biggest and longest is the
short answer. The full-size SUV’s have similar frames to trucks and a lot of
them are boxed frames instead of C-frame, so they are strong. But you've got
to get as much wheelbase as you can find. So to pull a trailer similar to a
½ ton truck, (GM, 1500, Dodge 1500, Ford F150, Toyota Tundra,) you need a
SUV with a similar weight to a ½ ton truck. This would include Dodge
Durango, Ford Expedition, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Toyota Sequoia and others.
These SUV’s have a “Body on Frame” construction like trucks.
Always look at the vehicles trailer towing limits from
the manufacture. Most factory brochures and manufacture web sites will give
you the brake down of weight limits and hitch weight limits according to
engine size, transmission, and rear axle ratio. For the highest
trailer capacity, usually a weight-distributing hitch is required with a
receiver hitch, at least class 3 or higher. This is different from a weight
carrying hitch, which is just a drawbar inserted into the receiver hitch.
The weight-distributing hitch attaches to the trailer tongue with
adjustments usually with chain links to transfer weight forward to the SUV,
putting weight on all the axles. Yes I have pictures of these hitches, at
http://www.mrtruck.net/trailers.htm. In cases where the weight
distributing hitch adjustment doesn’t take all the sway away when pulling
the trailer, a sway bar can be added to the weight-distributing hitch. All
this will help you pull level, with weight on all of the axles of the SUV
and trailer and less swaying from a bumper pull trailer.
All of the SUV’s listed above have rear coil springs
with the exception of the Dodge Durango which has rear leaf springs. Rear
coil springs are designed to give you a better ride, but this also gives you
more rear movement. You don’t want extra movement when pulling a trailer. So
it’s even more important to have a weight-distributing hitch on SUV’s with
rear coil springs and especially SUV’s with independent rear axles.
Independent rear axles are similar to front axle of a front wheel drive car.
Each side can move independently of the other. And once again this is to
improve the ride with more movement, not necessarily a good thing when
pulling a trailer. These independent rear axles need the weight-distributing
hitch. Some of the SUV’s with independent rear axle are Mercedes, ML320 and
bigger, 2002 Ford Explorer, 2003 Ford Expedition and more. Always get the
factory tow package with your SUV, which should include a class 3 or higher
receiver hitch, an external automatic transmission cooler, anti-roll bars or
anti-sway bars and a wiring harness. Also make sure both of your trailer
axles have brakes and have a good trailer brake controller added to your
The largest SUV’s are the longest ones that are
available in 3/4 tons, which are the Chevy Suburban, GMC Yukon XL and Ford
Excursion. These newer models all have leaf springs on the rear axle, which
makes them, more stable than smaller SUV's with rear coil springs. These
larger SUV’s will pull similarly to ¾ ton trucks, (Dodge 2500, Ford F250, GM
2500,) they generally don’t have as long a wheelbase as a truck. So once
again depending on the total weight of your loaded trailer, a
weight-distributing hitch might be necessary. One advantage of the Ford
Excursion is the diesel engine option, which will add another 800#’s on the
front for stability and balance when pulling a trailer.
On shorter wheel based tow vehicles, having some
steering weight on the SUV’s front axle, transferred from the trailer with a
weight distributing hitch will give you better control and less work on your
part. Once again look for factory towing packages with external auto
transmission coolers, class 3 or higher receiver hitch, wiring harness and
anti-sway stabilizer bars on the axles of the SUV. The newer SUV’s have
4-wheel disc brakes, which can be an advantage slowing down a trailer. And
of course you need brakes on the trailer and a brake control in your SUV.
Folks have been pulling horse trailers successfully for decades with the
oldest SUV, the Suburban.
If you have to pull with a smaller SUV than mentioned
above, in my opinion the Chevy TrailBlazer, Dodge Durango, Toyota 4Runner
and Ford Explorer and so on are better choices for a tow vehicle with a
lighter trailers properly equipped, like 4000#’s and smaller. These SUV’s
are also “Body on Frame” design similar to trucks. The Durango and Explorer
2001 and older have leaf springs also. These SUV’s are heavier than the Jeep
Grand Cherokee, Toyota Highlander, and smaller SUV’s like Suzuki and Kia.
I get asked my opinion about the Jeep Cherokee pulling
trailers quite often. I do see them pulling trailers and it has with the V-8
option the power to pull trailers that out weigh it, but its’ chassis is
like a car with a "Unibody" undercarriage. With framed chassis vehicles,
“Body on Frame,” the receiver hitch bolts directly to the frame, as do the
front and rear axles. The frame takes the stress from the trailer directly
and gives you more weight at the bottom of your SUV, a good place to have
weight on a SUV. And a weight-distributing hitch can easier transfer some of
weight forward to your front axle thru leverage on the frame. On the Jeep
“Unibody”, it has sub frames at each axle, which bolt to the floor pan,
which is just corrugated sheet metal, so the axles are not tied together
with a frame but separated by the floor pan.
The last series of Jeep Cherokee does have some square
formed sheet metal welded to the floor pan for added strength but it’s still
not a framed chassis with a body bolted to it, as is the “Body on Frame”
design. If you notice on the Cherokee you step over the threshold to get in
and your feet go down in a hole instead of a flat floor. The floor has to be
corrugated, wavy like a barn roof to make it strong since the floor is not
bolted to a frame. Car companies do this “ Unibody” construction to lighten
up the vehicles for gas mileage and save money. To add a receiver hitch to
the Cherokee, the hitch, bolts to the rear axle sub frame, which in turn
bolts to the floor pan sheet metal. So the stress from the trailer goes just
to the rear axle sub-frame and the bolts and rubber bushings that connect
the axle to sheet metal floor instead of a frame. So as far as I can figure
using a weight distribution hitch, (which I strongly recommend,) to
distribute weight, (which is what they do) to the front axle, has to
leverage the floor pan between the axles. The first ”Unibody” I remember was
the VW Beetle. I remember the floor pan rusting out and looking down and
seeing the road between my feet. Can you imagine pulling a horse trailer
with the old Beetles?
The smallest class of SUV’s, such as Ford Escape,
Toyota RAV4, and so on, are “Front Wheel Drive” SUV’s. These fall into the
same towing category as “Front Wheel Drive” mini- vans. Special receiver
hitches are required with any FWD to transfer weight as far forward as
possible to the driving axles for traction.
The bottom line is you can safely pull a horse trailer
with a properly equipped SUV when it’s matched properly with a receiver
hitch, weight distributing hitch, engine, transmission and rear axle ratio,
within the weight limit capacity set my the manufacture.
July 2002 (Newstream) -- Flexibility.
That's the catchphrase auto makers are using to talk about the new features
they're designing into their sport utility vehicles in an effort to keep the
market as hot as ever.
"I'm just blown away this morning,"
says Jack Keebler of Motor Trend Magazine. "This thing is a real Swiss Army
Knife in terms of flexibility. I'm talking about this Envoy XUV. It's got a
power sliding roof that slides back. It's got a mid-gate that closes a
powered window that seals the inside of the rear area."
The Envoy has all this, as well as cool
features such as a dual function tailgate -- reminiscent of the station
wagons of the 60s that either drops or swings open. It also has an all
weather cargo area that fits a 4 x 8 sheet of building material, which has a
quick-drain system that allows it to be hosed out and be left open in
inclement weather. With Buick entering the luxury SUV market next year, GM
will be expanding its offerings in this area.
"With the Buick Rainier, we now have
the opportunity to get into the full fledged medium SUV market," says Roger
Adams of General Motors. "And we offer really unparalleled comfort and power
and a very much of a car-like ride in a traditional SUV."
The goal is to make this type of
vehicle family friendly -- and the Cadillac Escalade's built-in DVD player
goes a long way in doing just that.
"I can tell you in speaking from
experience as a mother, rear entertainment systems are terrific when you've
got small children in the second and third row," says Susan Docharty of
General Motors. "It quiets them down, and to be honest here, it provides
less distraction for me as a driver."
SUVs are among the most popular and
safe vehicles on the road, and will continue in their popularity, as these
fun and exciting innovations make their way to the marketplace in the next
couple of years.
Produced for General Motors
Scott Michaeloff, 212-980-9090
SUV's are classified as a truck by the U.S.
government. I'm a truck guy but I do understand the economics of having a SUV as
your only vehicle. On the SUV's that are large enough to pull trailers, I can
make recommendations on which one will do you the most good. So join the club
buy don't expect me to tell you to buy an FWD Escape to pull a 3 horse slant
with a Living Quarters.
Thank you for visiting our pages.
Don't forget to visit the Excursion Page
Thanks so much for the clarification. Your web info is
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Thanks again, Ginny B
I am in the market for a new truck, and found your report to be very
informative. thank you, Joe M
Cockeysville, MD USA
Enjoyed reading the info you provided. Like your style. Was informative
without being dull & boring. Have been looking for an ext. cab diesel to
pull a fifth wheel. Will also be used for family travel. Thanks for the
Gibsonton, Fl USA
I stumbled across your website on accident and ended up reading every
word. Great website...keep the information coming!
Muskego, WI USA
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