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Old 03-03-2017, 11:41 AM   #1
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Buena Vista , Colorado
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Used Midsize SUV recommendation for 1970 globetrotter?

Hi, I'm about to purchase both an airstream and a tv (need a new car anyway). The airstream will be a 1966-1970 19 footer to 22 footer depending on how inspections go. Heaviest dry weight of those is 3,500 lbs.

My budget for the tow vehicle is about 10k, I could go up to 15k for the right vehicle.

I'm drawn to Toyota 4runner, VW Toureg, BMW 5x all with a v8. Thoughts on those? or recommendations of something else? I'm trying to stay away from a giant vehicle, but do want to be smart about towing.

Thank you kindly for your time and wisdom!


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Old 03-04-2017, 09:59 AM   #2
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Lexus Gx470 shares the same platform as the 4Runner but with nicer leather, higher ceiling and rear air suspension. The drivetrain was meant for 500,000 miles with routine maintenance (e.g. Timing belt, fluids, etc.). Sometimes they can be found for less than a comparable 4Runner despite the Lexus tag. Not all have a tow package which included the transmission cooler.

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Old 03-04-2017, 11:08 AM   #3
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The full independent, well tuned suspension of the Touareg and X5 will remind you the solid rear axle Toyota handles like a truck compared to the others' a sports car. You'll notice the stability in less than ideal towing conditions.

But the Toyota probably wins hands down in maintenance and repair expense so it may be wise for the budget-minded Airstreamer. It needs a first class weight distribution and sway control hitch and setup.
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Old 03-04-2017, 11:34 AM   #4
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Thank you for your replies! I am surprised by the 4runner price tag. I'll look into the lexus. I was turned off of the bmw x5 for the cost of repairs after 100k miles. Thank you for your help! Something reliable is definitely a top priority.

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Old 03-04-2017, 12:22 PM   #5
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Keep researching. Spend some time on the CanAm site. They have some solutions for budget challenged RVers. They also have ideas on how to optimize a rig to improve performance. Knowledge is your friend.

The hitch attachment on the Lexus is reported to conflict with the full sized spare tire. Believe aftermarket hitches may address this by connecting outboard and bridging around the tire.

Good luck with the investigation. Pat
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Old 03-04-2017, 01:37 PM   #6
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I have no interference problems on my 05 GX with factory hitch and full size spare.

The aftermarket hitches only attach to the side frame rails whereas the OEM hitch also attaches to the rear cross member like on other land cruiser chassis.
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Old 03-05-2017, 12:38 PM   #7
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Kenton , Ohio
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I tow a 1978 28' Ambassador with a Lexus RX350. I believe the Toyota version is a Highlander. Love it. Have been coast to coast and it handles beautifully. I have a Hensley hitch which helps tremendously. I had Andy Thompson at Can-am install the receiver. I used to tow with a 1999 3/4 ton Suburban...I much prefer the Lexus. Handles great and is comfortable. I researched tow vehicles extensively and found Toyota and Lexus to be rated very high in reliability. The down side is a smaller gas tank and the need to fuel up more frequently. Hope this helps in your decision.
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Old 03-05-2017, 01:33 PM   #8
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Hi Beth,

They are all very capable tow vehicles - despite those on here who believe that one can & should only tow with a big ole truck/suv .... but there's more to it on the details of the ones to which you're drawn.

First - you'll need to base your TV rating not on the dry/empty weight - but on the trailers' actual wet & loaded gross wt. - & the hitch wt. may also be a limiting factor. So look at the factory towing, hitch & combined vehicle/rig ratings for any tow vehicle (TV) which you consider.

As for trailers - you may also want to look at some of the Vintage Kin "Silver Twinkie" trailers out there too - such as Avion, Silver Streak, Curtis Wright, etc. - which are all as well or better built than the vintage ASs (I know that's heresy to some on here, but it's the facts), & will be more unique when you go to vintage trailer rallies, etc. Note that my wife & I are Avion owners, for full disclosure!

I see that you're in mountainous CO, so I agree wityh your V8 leaning - & if you're going to do much mountain road/freeway towing, then you may want to get either a V8 or diesel powered TV, vs. the gas V6 - even if they are rated to tow your eventual trailer. Note that the V8s will usually get the same or better mpg when towing as the V6s - since the more powerful V8 is working less hard, than the smaller & less powerful V6s. The V6s only have an mpg edge when unhitched, & then it's often only 1-2+/- mpg more - so the benefit isn't much in many cases.

FYI - We had rented several new 2013 4.0L V6 Nissan Pathfinders back in 2013 for our TV with our 3500+/- lb. wet & loaded 1960 Avion T20 (20'-6" L.) - & found that they were constantly revving high & droning on even modest grades (US-101/PCH Camarillo to Thousand Oaks) - which would drive us nuts on a longer hilly/mountainous trip!

When you consider the Touareg - also include the Audi Q7 & Porsche Cayenne cousins in the VW/Audi/Porsche Group (V/A/P), since they're all about the same pricing range in the used market - & are often less than Toyota/Lexus comparables - usually with more miles & harder use. However, try to stick with the later series ones in 2007/08> in order to avoid earlier issues (I'm most familiar with the Cayennes & those are best `08> & had no `07).

They are mostly all of the V/A/P trio in any motor choice rated to tow 7000-7700+/- lbs. with 700 lb hitch wt. - with Hybrids down-rated a tad to +/- 6000 lbs/600 lbs., as are the slightly longer 3-row Q7, due to a bit more basic vehicle weight. So all will work for most of what you're looking for in trailers' gross weights. Also note that their 3.0-3.6L gasoline V6s are only about +/-2 mpg better than the comparable V8 versions, as noted above (excluding Turbos) - so you're not giving away much.

You can glean a lot more info on the V/A/P trio & other mid-sized SUVs at this link on here:


My V/A/P & BMW, MBZ, Toyota/Lexus & Honda etc. Factory Tech trained mechanic of 41+ years steered me away from the BMW X5 & Nissan/Infinity SUVs for quality & reliability reasons (also Consumer Reports says same), but likes Toyota/Lexus & VW/Audi/Porsche SUVs - & he also likes Honda/Acura (but we want a V8 & they only have V6).

He also thinks that the VW/Audi/Porsche Diesel V6 is a great machine & all his owners love them (as do owners on here & my PCA buddies with them) - but he said it's best to avoid them, even when the legal settlement is approved with Cal/CARB & EPA smog fixes, because whatever the approved emissions fix is - it won't run like it did originally, & because VW Group is washing their hands of diesels in the USA/Canada, so the parts & support will eventually just go away (he knows the I keep our vehicles long term). This caution only applies to the VW sourced 3.0L diesel V6 - not other makes.

So there may be some great deals on new V/A/P diesels sold at big discounts as used once the issue is approved - as well as used ones, but it may not be such a great deal once the factory warranty is over.

We're likewise looking for a mid-sized V8 powered SUV for the above reasons & due to our narrow streets & driveway with tight maneuvering quarters as well as because my wife won't drive a big pick-up/SUV, & are focused on an `08-14 Cayenne S with the normally aspirated V8.

We also looked at the 4Runner & GZ470/460 & drove a couple, & we didn't like the tall/narrow stance coupled with compliant off-road-intended suspension for resisting sway & side-forces/winds/18 wheelers, not to mention seats in the GX which were hard as a park bench & uncomfortable on a short 15 min. test drive. We also HATE the "Gaping Maw" styling of the newer Lexus cars - just plain ugly! Of course - those are all more personal taste, so if you feel differently, then you cannot beat the known long term reliability of Toyota/Lexus.

However - YES they do have a hitch receiver conflict on the GX (& 4Runner) with the Hensley Cub stinger I use (took it with me to test drive), which would force me to take out the spare & carry it in the rear cargo area. Not a good design, & even if your tow bar/hitch bar/stinger will fit butted up against the spare tire - would you really want to trust a WD hitch to just +/- 3" of receiver!!??

This topic at the link below was also posted on here a few days before we test drove a really nice GX, & while much of the cause was driver error, I was concerned about the high center of gravity & sway of the GX when I did "practice evasive maneuvers" in a parking lot during our GX test drive.


I'd suggest you & your other potential drivers &/or an objective friend go out & test drive some of your top candidates, in order to find which ones suit you best, then you can look for only specific ones of those which you like whenever you're ready to buy.

As for the interim, you can rent a Ford F250 from Enterprise Commercial - or if a local Toyota/Lexus dealer has any properly tow equipped SUVs/Pick-ups in their TRAC rental fleet (most only have cars for when yours is in service - so you'll have to call around) - near you to tow your trailer home, if you have it before your TV (as we've done since July 2012). If you get the TV first, then you just need to size the trailer for the towing specs of the TV. So no need to rush the decision for either trailer or TV.

Hopefully this was helpful to your decision process.

Tom T (janabanana48's other half )
Orange CA
1960 Avion T20, #2 made, Hensley Cub, TV tbd- looking for 08-14 Cayenne S
1988 VW Vanagon Westfalia CamperGL (Orig Owner) + 1970 Eriba Puck
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:42 PM   #9
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1968 22' Safari
Smith Mountain Lake , Virginia
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Consider Honda Ridgeline

I have been towing a 22' 1968 Safari for 6 years and about 40,000 miles including three cross country trips. Dry weight is 3600 and fully loaded for 3 months on the road is right at 4000 lbs.

Have been driving a 2006 and then a 2011 Honda Ridgeline with a Reese WD hitch. Great ride with no problems. Slows some in the Rockies and long steep grades but otherwise hardly know there is something attached. When not towing this V6 rides like a luxury sedan and gets 21-23 mpg.

Just something to consider. Good luck.

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