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Schake

Dinghy/Toad

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Hello -

As a soon-to-be first-time RV newbie who anticipates full-timing in a diesel pusher with tag axle, (while setting a record for hyphenated words in one sentence) I am curious about your experiences and recommendations for an all-wheel or 4-wheel drive dinghy.

 

I have always placed highest priority on safety, reliability, and fuel economy in my vehicles, and would like to know not only which vehicles you've had good experiences off-road with, but what your experiences with regard to those priorities have been.

 

Many thanks for your input.

 

Ken S

RV Wannabe

Maryland

 

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See the newly published Trailer Life supplement on that very subject. It also includes tow vehicles, pickup, etc. You can go to their website to view past years and then search for a vehicle that interests you. Then search for a good deal on one that suits your taste and requirements.

 

Enjoy the journey!!

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For off-road fun you can't beat a Jeep. The new Jeep Cherokee is a classy looking car with lots of room for passengers and gear. It's not to be confused with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. We had a Jeep Liberty for 8 of our full-timing years and had a great time on the trails and we met up with wonderful folks along the way. Put Moab and Silverton, CO on your list of places to go! Jeeps tow easily.

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We love our Subaru Forester - but it is a manual transmission and we have discovered that few people can drive manual transmissions anymore.

 

Barb

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Welcome to the Escapee forums!

 

The best choice depends upon several things that we don't know. How serious are you about off road? Is a manual transmission OK? New or used vehicles? Are you willing to accept less comfort on the highways in order to have more off-road capabilities? If I were really serious about it, my choice would be the Jeep Wrangler, but since I want comfort on paved roads where we spend most of our time, I'll never own one. In used the all wheel drive CR-V was our choice but those are not tow-able on their wheels since 2014 and I wouldn't choose that to do the rock crawling things we once did.

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Jeeps with automatic transmission can be towed 4-down with no problem.

 

I'm not so sure that^ is totally correct . I do know that all Jeeps with Selec Trac or the like , which offers N in the transfer case , are tow-able 4 down .

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One site that makes it easy to check on vehicle 4-down "towability" is RemcoTowing.com. Their lookup system will tell you if a selected vehicle is 4-down towable as-is, not at all, or with an add-on electric transmission pump. When we first wanted to tow 4-down, we already owned a Toyota RAV4 that we really liked and it was paid for. Adding the needed Remco pump to make it towable made economic sense for us at the time, since it was cheaper than trading in the car for another that we might not like as well. When it was time to replace the car, we chose a new RAV4 and everything from the old one was transferred to the new one except the base plate. The bottom line is that it is possible to expand the available choices well beyond those listed in the RV publications, albeit it does add an extra expense to the setup cost.

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Since that original post, wife and I have been drawn to the Wrangler Sahara as the best fit. If we find a good deal on a used one, we'd go that route. However, the asking prices on used Wranglers seem too high to make them a good option.

 

Never did off-roading, but don't envision us doing "hardcore" trails. More about being able to take back-country and forest fire roads without getting stranded. Maybe join off-road Meetups once we get more familiar with our vehicle.

 

Ken

Fulltime Wannabe

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I love my wrangler, but it took me a while to find just the right one. They are out there though. They are very capable off road vehicles, even completely stock. They are not the most fuel efficient vehicle though. I have a Rubicon 2dr and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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I tow a 2011 Dodge Dakota V8, auto, 4 door, 4X4 behind my gas MH.  The truck weights about 4000 lbs.

The Blue Ox tow set up ran about $3300 installed (including Patriot braking unit).  Camping World was

over $5000 for their unit installed.  CW does not sell Blue Ox. 

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Just remember your toad weight is added to to coach weight. A 300 hp 25000 lb coach will merge on to the freeway at a decent speed. A 300 hp coach 25000 lb with a 5000 lb toad, not so good. Be ready to spend a lot of time in the slow lane while going over the mountains. I have a honda fit, no good off road but at 2500 lbs, does not slow me down too much.

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Coincidentally DON'T buy a Ford Focus or Fiesta with the automatic transmission. We bought one because Ford said it was towable without modifications and they are BUT the transmissions have massive problems and there is a huge lawsuit over it. Ford are keeping it very quiet.

 

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Although we've been very pleased with our 2014 CR-V as a toad, recently we went car shopping to figure out what we would buy if our insurance decided to total it rather than repair the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. (They did eventually decide to pay $7k to repair it, so we were spared the actual decision).

However, after looking at what's available we would probably have chosen a Chevy Equinox unless we could get something like a Subaru Forester with a manual transmission.  IMO there have been too many issues with the Jeep Cherokee for me to want to buy one.  The Equinox wouldn't be a compelling choice but it would do what we want.

The option of buying a manual transmission vehicle and towing it is one that you might want to give serious consideration to (if you can drive a stick shift).  Our second car is a manual transmission Elantra which can be towed.  Had we been forced to replace the CR-V we were seriously considering buying a non-towable vehicle and using the Elantra as a toad.  Your choice of towable vehicles broadens significantly if you permit manual transmissions to be considered.

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10 hours ago, scouserl41 said:

Correct me if I'm wrong but the Honda Fit with an automatic transmission can't be towed flat?

Brian

Think 2012 or 13 the last year for honda automatics. Anything with CVT no. That is why older crv autos are so popular

Edited by jcussen

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Thanks jcussen, we really wanted a Fit in 2012 but the annoying Southern California Honda dealers with all their sales tricks and stupid add-ons ticked me off so bad we bought a Fiesta instead, which we have bitterly regretted. Once we get thru the law suit against Ford we'll be shopping again and the DW wants an automatic.

BnB

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6 hours ago, scouserl41 said:

Thanks jcussen, we really wanted a Fit in 2012 but the annoying Southern California Honda dealers with all their sales tricks and stupid add-ons ticked me off so bad we bought a Fiesta instead, which we have bitterly regretted. Once we get thru the law suit against Ford we'll be shopping again and the DW wants an automatic.

BnB

Can't go wrong with a Honda, just turned 91000 miles, oil changes, 2 sets of tires, and one battery which was my fault because I let it go flat too many times. Have since installed a battery disconnect so I can tow for days and not worry about battery discharging.

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