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Smallest feasible tow vehicle???


LarsJensen

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Hi MC

i have a 2006 sunscape and a GMC Yukon with the 6.2L engine. Great vehicle with all the bells and whistles. Our routine lake is only about a mile away from our house. Parents lake home is 250 miles away in northern Wisconsin (flat land). We also make our 700 mile (each way, very hilly) ski vacation to Arkansas annually. The truck tows the boat like a champ to Arkansas but I’m thinking it’s overkill for the 2 mile round trip to the local lake four mornings a week during the summer (we ski at sunrise before work). 

Before the Yukon, we owned a more gas economical Acura MDX and loved it. The new ones are rated to tow up to 5000 lbs. Has anyone had any experience towing with an MDX/Pilot/Highlander? As for the 1400 mile round tripper to Arkansas I would just rent a suburban. 

Thanks for for the input!

Lars

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11 minutes ago, LarsJensen said:

Hi MC

i have a 2006 sunscape and a GMC Yukon with the 6.2L engine. Great vehicle with all the bells and whistles. Our routine lake is only about a mile away from our house. Parents lake home is 250 miles away in northern Wisconsin (flat land). We also make our 700 mile (each way, very hilly) ski vacation to Arkansas annually. The truck tows the boat like a champ to Arkansas but I’m thinking it’s overkill for the 2 mile round trip to the local lake four mornings a week during the summer (we ski at sunrise before work). 

Before the Yukon, we owned a more gas economical Acura MDX and loved it. The new ones are rated to tow up to 5000 lbs. Has anyone had any experience towing with an MDX/Pilot/Highlander? As for the 1400 mile round tripper to Arkansas I would just rent a suburban. 

Thanks for for the input!

Lars

A lot of rentals don't have a hitch or have clauses about not towing.  I wouldn't count on that being your solution.  Assuming your Sunscape has a tower and some options, you can expect that is is probably in the 5500 weight range fully fueled...with no gear.  A member here measured his '06 VLX (basically the same boat as yours); fully fueled, some gear and a bit of extra stereo equipment - 6100lbs on the trailer at a weigh station.  Most tow ratings are for driver only, so any passengers/gear in the vehicle lower that tow rating.  

For a fully geared trip on the lake with some friends, that MDX could be a good 1500lbs over the tow rating.  It might do it short trips but isn't the safest way to roll.  Hell, a Jeep Wrangler might pull it a mile, but your shouldn't.  

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5 minutes ago, LarsJensen said:

Good point on the rental agreements. Just hate having a behemoth of a truck for an “everyday” vehicle. 

Its part of the package with big boy toys.  Want to drive a girly little suv, buy a kayak 😁

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9 minutes ago, LarsJensen said:

Good point on the rental agreements. Just hate having a behemoth of a truck for an “everyday” vehicle. 

Well, if you don't want that large of an SUV, buy a smaller one with a good tow rating.  That means looking to the Germans.  

Porsche Cayenne can do 7700lbs, at least with the S, Turbo and I believe the Diesel.  I'd make sure to get one on air and not steel suspension - which basically rules out the Diesel as that's a unicorn to find one on air.  S can be for some of them and most of the Turbos are.  You also get a pretty fun tow to drive too. :)

Audi Q7 is also rated to 7700lbs in the configurations you would want to tow with (Diesel, 3.0T).  It's bigger than the Cayenne though.  I think Mercedes probably has a couple items that would work as well but I'm not really into much of their stuff.

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2 minutes ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

What is the towing capacity on a 5.3 Yukon/Tahoe? Might still tow your boat great but be a bit nicer on the pocket for fuel. 

For DI motors, the 5.3 tends to get worse fuel mileage than the 6.2.  

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Just now, ahopkinsVTX said:

Not according to chevy’s site... but ok...

Real world.  My truck has the L86 (6.2L); it's pretty well accepted on the K-series truck forum that the L86 gets better mileage than the L83 (5.3L).  Anyone who tries to justify their 5.3L purchase with fuel mileage gets shot down hard core with data.  

I don't have many miles on my yet, but the 400ish mile drive from the dealer was 23MPG average.  Far better than the 18 I would get from my last two trucks (LM7 and L92 motors).  

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12 minutes ago, Nitrousbird said:

Real world.  My truck has the L86 (6.2L); it's pretty well accepted on the K-series truck forum that the L86 gets better mileage than the L83 (5.3L).  Anyone who tries to justify their 5.3L purchase with fuel mileage gets shot down hard core with data.  

I don't have many miles on my yet, but the 400ish mile drive from the dealer was 23MPG average.  Far better than the 18 I would get from my last two trucks (LM7 and L92 motors).  

I’m not trying to justify anything, was simply asking a question. 

But the comparison isn’t apples to apples. The 6.2 comes with the 8 speed trans and the 5.3 comes with the 6 speed. Plus you pay a premium for the engine upgrade and fuel. Oh, and I averaged just over 20mpg on my way to Nashville and been averaging just over 18 for lifetime of the vehicle. 44k on the odometer. Splitting hairs if you ask me but whatever. 

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1 minute ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I’m not trying to justify anything, was simply asking a question. 

But the comparison isn’t apples to apples. The 6.2 comes with the 8 speed trans and the 5.3 comes with the 6 speed. Plus you pay a premium for the engine upgrade and fuel. Oh, and I averaged just over 20mpg on my way to Nashville and been averaging just over 18 for lifetime of the vehicle. 44k on the odometer. Splitting hairs if you ask me but whatever. 

L83 can come with the 6 or 8 speed.  Pretty much only the lower end trucks get the 6-speed.

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Cayenne Turbo. One of the most amazing suv's ever. Tow a ton of weight one day, take it to the track the next. Love mine, fun to drive, tows my boat with ease, rocket ship fast. 

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19 minutes ago, Nitrousbird said:

L83 can come with the 6 or 8 speed.  Pretty much only the lower end trucks get the 6-speed.

Starting only in 2018. And then it changes again in 2019. My truck is 17. But again, whatever. I’m glad you like your truck, we all are.......

I was simply asking a question and maybe it’s not but if we factored in the cost of the vehicle, fuel and mileage it still might be for the OP. He would have to run those numbers. 

Edited by ahopkinsVTX
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When we bought our boat we had a Trailblazer SS.  Plenty of power to tow a vRide which is similar to your Sunscape but not exactly the best tow vehicle.  The only thing that saved it was the air suspension in the rear.  It did ok on short trips under 45 miles but the brakes definitely got a workout.  If it was windy I also felt every bit of boat back there.  Bought a Tundra in 2016 and haven't been happier (don't sell me on a Ford/GM/Dodge/diesel).  It works for what I need it for and couldn't be happier with it.  First slightly big trip was up north Wisconsin from Milwaukee.  Towed like a champ.  The TBSS would've made it just fine, but the unknown weather factors and actual towing play into a full size truck/SUV for actual towability over a longer trip. 

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I have towed my vtx with a 14 durango and jeep grand cherokee v6 4x4. The durango with its longer wheel base was better but both are good. The grand cherokee wheel base is actually only 1 inch shorter than a tahoe. Has plenty of power and 6200lbs tow rating with the v6. If your looking for something less expensive than the germans its a great option. I also get 20 mpg average in mixed driving. 

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11 hours ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

Starting only in 2018. And then it changes again in 2019. My truck is 17. But again, whatever. I’m glad you like your truck, we all are.......

Where are you getting your incorrect information?  The 8L90 8-speed started with the 6.2L in 2015 and an option on the 5.3L starting in 2016.  In 2019, the L83 is gone, with the L82 and L84 5.3L engines being available.  L84 gets the 8 speed, L82 gets the 6 speed.  10 speed only goes to the 6.2L.  

So you could have had an 8 speed in your 5.3L  I drove both in the 5.3L and preferred the 8 speed.

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2 hours ago, Nitrousbird said:

Where are you getting your incorrect information?  The 8L90 8-speed started with the 6.2L in 2015 and an option on the 5.3L starting in 2016.  In 2019, the L83 is gone, with the L82 and L84 5.3L engines being available.  L84 gets the 8 speed, L82 gets the 6 speed.  10 speed only goes to the 6.2L.  

So you could have had an 8 speed in your 5.3L  I drove both in the 5.3L and preferred the 8 speed.

Ok so it was only available as an option in the LTZ/LTZ Z71, and High Country trim packages. Not on all models and i searched for sales numbers but couldn’t find a breakdown by trim package let alone by what transmission that had but I can’t imagine they were anywhere near the majority of number of trucks sales. I would bet that 90% of 2016-2017 GM trucks with the 5.3 still had the 6 speed in it. 

And no, I could not have had the 8 speed as I didn’t not want an LTZ or high country. 

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Go look at Ford / Lincoln SUV's . They come with Eco boost that pull like a diesel and the low end torque makes them a very very fun daily driver. The are not going to get any or much better fuel economy towing but they will tow very well. I think the mid size and full size now have the 10 speed trans. I know the full size do. and you can get two sizes full size Regular or extended. If I remember air suspension is an option if you wish. We pull trailers over 6500 lbs with the standard suspension with no issues.    

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15 hours ago, asp13 said:

Cayenne Turbo. One of the most amazing suv's ever. Tow a ton of weight one day, take it to the track the next. Love mine, fun to drive, tows my boat with ease, rocket ship fast. 

I had really wound myself up to go with a cayenne turbo, especially given their huge depreciation curve. I looked at them online for years and studied all of the common maintenance issues.

Then, when a candidate finally came up locally, I went and looked at one in person and couldn’t get past how small they are inside. Basically CRV/RAV4/Escape sized. Too tiny!

so if you really are looking for the smallest possible SUV that can tow, I agree it’s the Cayenne. 

Still, the gas mileage sucks. Bang for the buck/cost per mile of ownership, the full size long wheel base American SUVs really are the best value. 

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I started with an older V6 Pathfinder towing my VTX.  The towing capacity was 6000 and was not enough.  With surge brakes they stop easy and it pulled it out of the water fine.  The problem is in cornering. The boat wants to go straight and not follow the vechile.  The tail pipe was submeged when launching also. It only had a  4wire connector, which I know is an easy fix. Just a few other things to consider before making a switch. I upgraded to a Yukon Denali only 2 weekends out. 

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I’d look at a Grand Cherokee EcoDiesel. Great MPG, easier size for everyday use, and a stable towing platform. 

This is going back several years, but I used to tow my 5500 pound stern drive with an 05 Hemi GC and it did great. Even in the mountains of Colorado. 

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Check out an Explorer Sport and see if you can add airbags to those.  Bit smaller than your Burb and with the 3.5L Eco, they go like stink.  For towing a 21' V drive up north and back, I wouldn't go much smaller than that, even in WI.  Wheelbase is everything.

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