Towing Vehicle - Camper Trailer

Submitted: Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 11:37
ThreadID: 110063 Views:3658 Replies:14 FollowUps:8
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Hi all,

We are in the process of researching a capable vehicle to tow a Jayco camper trailer, or similar, and are hoping for some suggestions/advice, as there is probably something we have overlooked.

The car we'd go for also would also be a daily commuting vehicle for my wife, so a hilux or landcruiser or similar is out of the question...

Obviously, we want to tow legally and safely, so good towing capacities, both overall and tow ball, is imperative, but keeping in mind, we don't want to go overboard.

Is something like a Forester/Outback or CX-5 viable? They seem to have decent capacities considering what we intend to tow, and aren't too bad price wise (initial price + fuel consumption).

Any input is more than welcome, and thanks in advance.

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Reply By: Notso - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 11:55

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 11:55
I would suggest you look closely at the Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento (Clones) offerings. They aren't dual range 4WD but are very capable. The other way to go is a ISUZU MUX/Holden Colorado 7 Nissan Pathfinder type of vehicle if you want dual range.
AnswerID: 541389

Follow Up By: mikehzz - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 16:30

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 16:30
I agree. You won't even know the trailer is there if you get an auto diesel in either of them. Fuel economy will be tops. Don't get a manual Forester, I've seen too many problems.
FollowupID: 827506

Follow Up By: Shaker - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:03

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:03
Kia Sorento is dual range!

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Follow Up By: Member - Frank P (NSW) - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 21:16

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 21:16
No, later models are front wheel drive or all wheel drive, but not dual range. More's the pity. I had a dual range one (petrol) and loved it except for its thirst. Very under-rated vehicle. Best one is the diesel dual range, no longer available new.

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FollowupID: 827547

Reply By: Pales - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 12:01

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 12:01
My only concern with those 2 vehicles are their rather low tow ball weight capacities.
AnswerID: 541390

Reply By: bluefella - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 16:13

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 16:13
Ford Territory?
AnswerID: 541395

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 16:35

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 16:35
Toyota Hilux or similar would be fine if you are only towing a camper trailer . If were towing a full size van and you are worried about towing weight you would be better off with a Landcruiser or Patrol. If you are not doing any off road work any of the Japanese soft roaders would be fine.
AnswerID: 541398

Reply By: Sigmund - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 21:38

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 21:38
I used an 08 manual Forester to tow a camper trailer on 3 outback trips with no drama. Faultless vehicle over 87k km during ownership from new. But pay close attention to gross trailer weight; no more than about 800 kg or towing will be a pain.
AnswerID: 541405

Reply By: Manfred b - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 22:12

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 22:12
You probably should decide on the camper first. There is a huge weight difference between models.
Be careful of softroaders and sedans/wagons, while their tow weights may seem respectable, some have towball weights of around only 5% of the maximum towing weight.
Towing a 1500kg camper with a car rated to 1500kgs but with a ball weight of only 80kgs could prove problematic.
AnswerID: 541406

Reply By: SDG - Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 23:40

Friday, Nov 07, 2014 at 23:40
The Diesel NP Pajero I have tows my Jayco Camper like it is not even there. When I got it a few years back, I overtook a truck on the Stuart. Put the foot down like I was still driving my previous car out of habit (2.8 Patrol) and all of a sudden I was speeding, even for the Stuart.

Don't know what the newer Pajeros are like.
AnswerID: 541409

Reply By: Zippo - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 12:25

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 12:25
I agree with Manfred completely - you need to decide on the camper first, as it WILL dictate what you need as a towing vehicle.

If I read your requirement correctly, it sounds like your commuting use will be most of the tow vehicle's life. I would certainly agree that if you want a "daily commuting vehicle" then you will need to be selective in what CT's you consider. Heavy CT's and "daily commuting vehicle" don't really belong in the same sentence, just as LandCruisers don't suit most people as suburban commuters.

If you can find a suitable CT then I'd personally consider the "Japanese soft-roader" class, as they drive like a car. Just to put softroaders into perspective, I checked the Hayman-Reese listings for the Forester. Their HD bar is rated 1800/180kg for all 1997-on models. For our MY07 (which has a registered tare weight of 1355kg) the plated figures are GVM of 1950, GALR:Front 1010 and GALR:Rear 1035kg.

I have towed with this, and it tows nicely, but I wouldn't want to pull a 1500kg trailer around Australia - you would certainly know it was there.

AnswerID: 541424

Reply By: BT50XTR - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 16:24

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 16:24
Foresters also come in a diesel these days. I've only been a passenger in one but it felt quite powerful.

Agree with you, Hilux, Cruiser, BT50 or similar are all too big for a wife to take shopping or dropping off the kids at school.

A Prado would be a good compromise in terms of size. They can be 8 seaters too which is handy. Used diesel Prados range from 30-40k or thereabouts.
AnswerID: 541432

Follow Up By: BT50XTR - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 16:27

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 16:27
Personally I wouldn't touch a Kia or Hyundai.

My friends petrol Sorrento does not to better than 14 l/100 on the open road and a friend has a Hyundai and gets near 10 l/100. You can do far better out of a Isuzu or BT50 with a hell of a lot more towing capacity.

Historically Foresters aren't overly economical, given that you are constantly pushing 4WD or so I'm led to believe.
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Follow Up By: disco driver - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:37

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:37
Bearing in mind the OP's comment about who will be driving it most of the time, that rules out Cruisers, Patrols and all the Ranger/ BT50/Hilux types.

The V6 petrol Kia/Hyundai are both a bit thirsty but a diesel is a totally different beast.

Towing a 2t caravan, my mate never got less than 15l/100 on a trip from one side of the country to the other and back. I've driven his Sorento and it is an easy, comfortable SUV to drive in and around town.

Either of them, Kia Sorento/Hyundai Santa Fe, would be ideal IMHO.

FollowupID: 827543

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Sunday, Nov 09, 2014 at 07:48

Sunday, Nov 09, 2014 at 07:48
I looked into a diesel Forester to better tow a CT. The research I did on Foz/Sube forums put me off it. There are too many people with DPF problems.

There's also a problem with lack of power if you have to do walking pace manoeuvring.
FollowupID: 827551

Reply By: Member - mark D18 - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 16:30

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 16:30
A Hilux and a BT 50 are much the same ,But you cant compare a Cruiser to Either.
One is heavy duty and Two are not .
AnswerID: 541433

Reply By: Peter T9 - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 18:06

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 18:06
Hi Nathan

Having towed a small 750kg camper with a manual Forester to Darwin and back from Nthn NSW I would not recommend towing anything heavier and in fact would say avoid these smaller SUV's altogether.

As mentioned tow ball weight is a major problem with a fully loaded camper plus all the extra stuff in the back of the car. Fuel usage is also terrible when towing and you can expect about 15-16 litres/100km. Combine that with a 60 litre tank and you need to stop at just about every servo.

Agree also on problems with manual Forester. It is nearly impossible to reverse uphill or over a gutter without burning the clutch. We eventually had to replace our clutch at about 190,000km which wasn't too bad all considering.

We still own our Forester and can honestly say it is a good vehicle however not for what you want to do with it. Because we want to do more trips we have actually purchased an older Landcruiser and have found it to be ideal for long journeys and far less stressful towing a trailer

Do yourself a favour and get a decent sized tow vehicle. It will be a lot safer to tow with and give you more room for your stuff.


AnswerID: 541434

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Sunday, Nov 09, 2014 at 07:56

Sunday, Nov 09, 2014 at 07:56
Peter I'd hardly call normal wear and tear "problems with manual Forester".

Re fuel consumption, on the highway dropping the top speed by 5-10 kmh makes a lot of difference, and the absolute worst figures we got towing with an SG manual was 15 lph on the Birdsville Tk when it was 4WD only and was mostly 3rd/4th gear work. All through the outback over three trips we typically got 400 k out of a tank before the warning light came on.

Gross trailer weight and ball weight are certainly important; folk also need to bear in mind how much load they put in the vehicle rear.
FollowupID: 827552

Reply By: BT50XTR - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:43

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:43
The new Foresters are quite a large vehicle these days.

Perhaps an XTrail might be ok for your needs. The 2.5 petrol or the Diesel model although I'm not certain the Diesel model is out in the new one yet.
AnswerID: 541438

Follow Up By: BT50XTR - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:50

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 20:50
A RAV might to the job too.
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Reply By: Manfred b - Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 22:06

Saturday, Nov 08, 2014 at 22:06
I tow an Aliner camper (1200kgs) with an ASX diesel. On a 4000k recently we averaged 8.6LP100 (previous trips we averaged between 8.5 and 11) , around town I get between 5.7 and 6.2. It tows the Aliner with ease and is great around town. Not saying it's the car for you; but, small SUVs are great for campers like Jaycos, Aliners, etc, made for it you might say. Anyone of them will do the job, effortlessly if a diesel. Why buy a tank if you're not going to war.
AnswerID: 541442

Reply By: Patrol GU VI - Monday, Nov 10, 2014 at 08:44

Monday, Nov 10, 2014 at 08:44
We tow a Jayco Flamingo (the largest Jayco camper) with my wifes Ford Territory AWD Petrol. Tow's very very with the weight distribution hitches. When the camper is loaded I think it hits the scales at around 1600kg, which is well within the Territory's 2300kg towing capacity.
Only negative is the fuel consumption of the petrol version, so I would recommend looking at the diesel version instead.
AnswerID: 541488

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