I will admit that I am still researching the pro’s and con’s of going the full time RV route. I truly want to do it for a few years at least. Travel the country and see everything that I can.
With that said, I will freely admit that I have never hauled anything in my life. The biggest car I ever owned was my first car in 1991 and that was a ’79 Pontiac Phoenix. That thing was a boat! I also drove a Chevy Traverse for a month in 2010. I’ve never hauled a trailer or boat, let alone a camper. But I am willing to give it the ole college try! So I started researching the best SUVs to pull a travel camper with. I’m only looking to purchase a 19′ to 22′ one. So, nothing huge.
When I asked others who have campers, one pointed out something I hadn’t thought of. When researching the haul weights for SUVs, you need to take into account the “load” room. While your camper may be 4100 lbs, your SUV rated to haul 5200. That gives you 1100 lbs to play with. This is your dishes, clothing, health and beauty, etc. When I was told that, I hadn’t even thought about the weight all my stuff would actually bring to the already weighted camper. So, if you’re looking into the RV lifestyle, make sure you ask questions. Do your research. It’s really not that easy to get up and go.
During my research, I did the “what if” game. So, what if I got the brand new Winnebago Winnie Drop. This is approximately 20′. It’s dry weight is 2800 lbs. It’s total Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is 3800 lbs. They have other ones that the weight is lower, but one of my requirements for an RV, is to have a full bathroom. So, with those weights in mind, the four best SUVs that would be perfect for me is:
2016 Toyota Highlander XLE
The 2016 Toyota Highlander XLE offers the bigger jump where the standard engine is also a V6 but it includes a towing package. The towing package consists of a heavy duty radiator with engine oil cooler, a 200 watt fan coupling, a 150 amp alternator and supplemental transmission oil cooler. The combination of the V6 engine and towing package gives the 2016 Toyota Highlander a 5000 lbs. towing capacity. That is a little over three times the towing capacity of the most basic level. The most basic Highlander only has the towing capacity of 1500 lbs.
2015 Nissan Armada
The eight passenger Nissan Armada has a 5.6-liter V-8 engine. This gives a trailer towing capacity of 9000 lbs if you get the SUV with its available towing package. However, even the entry level model without the towing package, it has a towing capacity of 6000 lbs.
2015 Chevy Equinox
The Equinox is a smaller but still a useful choice for anyone looking for an SUV for towing a trailer. The Chevrolet Equinox is a compact five passenger SUV that’s available with either a four cylinder or a V-6 engine. If you plan on hauling a smaller travel trailer, you’re going to want to opt for the 3.6 liter six cylinder motor. The V-6 more than doubles the Equinox’s tow rating, giving it the ability to lug around as much as 3,500 lbs of trailer weight. This gives less room for maneuvering the load weight. If I went with a much smaller camper that didn’t have a full bathroom, the Equinox would be perfect.
2016 Honda Pilot
The 2016 Honda Pilot All Wheel Drive with its 3.5-liter V-6 engine offers a towing capacity of 5000 lbs. The two wheel drive has a towing capacity of 3500 lbs. Most cars are lighter than the 5000 lbs, so you could even tow a second vehicle with the Pilot.
In theory, I know that I am most likely not going to be able to afford the newest models out there. But, it’s always good to look at your options. See what is out there if you were able to go with the best case scenario. I’ll be doing another more realistic post on what I’d actually be able to afford next year. Until then, I’ll keep dreaming!
If you pull a travel trailer, what vehicle do you use? How does it work for you?