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SUV research, news, reviews and towing

 SUV’s and You

SUV research, news, reviews and towing.


First 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…. SUV research, news, reviews and towing.

 


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 4×4 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. More…

New 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
4×4.. 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 and tranny…More…

2007 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. More….

Cadillac Escalade ESV Platinum and B&W’s newTow & 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? More…
2006 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 ahead, more…

All
 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. Ilike the folding passenger seat for my laptop. If you think driving using cell phones are dangerous, wait till you see me driving & reading email. More
Ford just 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.

2004 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 Much more..

I
 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.More…

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.


04
 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…
    04 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

    Nissan 04 Pathfinder Armada, go
fast SUV new this year. Fun to drive with 300 horse Power V-8 and gated
shifting. Click
for more…

    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 Bowl XXXVIII.

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 resist.”

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 V-8.

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 America club.

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 said.

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 Center (RIC)

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

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FORD VOLUNTARILY RECALLS CERTAIN EXPLORERS/MOUNTAINEERS FOR UPGRADES

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 cable.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 dealer.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 product upgrade.Replace Recliner Seat Back Bolts: 1998-2001 Explorer/Mountaineer; 2001-02 Sport/Sport Trac

FOR RELEASE: May 8, 2003

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 www.gm.com .

Numbers back SUV safety, automakers say

By Harry Stoffer Automotive News / February 25, 2003

WASHINGTON — 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
real-world data.”

Commentary: The
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
time low.

“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.”

    The 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 the Elk.

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 weightcarrying 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 higherreceiver 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 SUV.

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 trailerwith 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.

The Weight Distributing Hitch will help control and
balance your SUV

SUV Innovations

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 stationwagons 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.

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. 



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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 info. Georgia H, Gibsonton, Fl USA

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Quadrasteer, for an Amazing Trailering Experience!


All it takes is one test drivepulling a trailer and you’ll be hooked! I was, it’s so amazing you have to try it to believe it. You’ve seen the commercials on TV but that’s just the extra ease of backing,  but wait until you pull a trailer and just try to get it to misbehave! This is the greatest leap forward in pulling a trailer since the Weight Distributing Hitch. First time haulers as well as the veteran truck owner will enjoy the excitement of Quadrasteer! Think of it as an automatic steering axle for your trailer. Rest of the Story..

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