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Old 10-16-2015, 11:39 AM   #1
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Looking for opinions on vehicles towed by Interstates

I am trying to decide which (small) tow vehicle to get for my 2015 Interstate. For now, I have limited the choices to Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa Note, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent Hatchback. Does anyone tow or have experience with any of these?

Another interesting approach is not to tow at all but have Enterprise deliver a rental car to your camp ground if you don't want to use your Interstate for local transportation. The idea is the rental car would be more convenient and comparable (or better) to the cost of the tow vehicle and associated costs of towing and upkeep.

Thanks.
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Old 10-16-2015, 01:03 PM   #2
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We did the car rental last winter in key west and it worked out great but we are also evaluating a toad for longer trips
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:03 PM   #3
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I am trying to decide which (small) tow vehicle to get for my 2015 Interstate. For now, I have limited the choices to Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa Note, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent Hatchback. Does anyone tow or have experience with any of these?
I tow a 2013 Honda Fit— the last model year Fit that was towable four-down. Beginning in 2014 they changed the transmissions and so the 2014 and newer Fits must be dolly-towed (the last towable Honda CRV model year was 2014, so in 2015 there were no towable Hondas at all).

I've got over 11,000 miles towing my Honda Fit behind my Interstate, and have never had a problem to speak of, not even when I crossed the continental divide in a scorching New Mexico summer. I lose about 1mpg towing versus not towing, so at current diesel prices it costs less than a penny a mile to tow the car. And since the car is a hatchback, I can load it up with stuff and use it as a de facto trailer to let me carry more gear without cluttering up the limited cargo space inside the van— that's one advantage over calling Enterprise to have a rental delivered!

On more than one occasion, when either my Interstate or my Honda was due for regularly scheduled service, I hitched up the car and towed it to the dealer, and then dropped off whichever vehicle needed the service, using the other as my daily driver until the vehicle was ready to be picked up. No need to get a loaner or a rental.

The Honda Fit tows very easily; without looking in the rearview monitor it's easy to forget it's even there. And the car exactly tracks behind the van as you go around a turn; if the van can make a given turn without the toad, it can also make the turn with the toad. Thanks to the toad's supplemental brake system, the stopping distance is the same with and without the toad as well. The only changes you need to make in your driving style are, never back up with the toad, and allow extra clearance when passing or changing lanes.

I chose the Roadmaster towbar and baseplate system because the way it mounts to the Honda puts the towbar exactly level, directly in front of the car's bumper. Blue Ox would have put the towbar a bit lower, under the front bumper, so that I'd need as 2" drop hitch to keep the towbar level. Given the Interstate's already small departure angle, I really didn't want a drop hitch making it worse. But that will vary from vehicle to vehicle, so measure the height of your receiver, and get a towbar baseplate system that puts the toad's crossbar as close to the same height as possible. Roadmaster and Blue Ox aren't the only towbar and baseplate manufacturers, but they are the best custom-fitted ones.
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:16 PM   #4
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We towed a Fiat 500 Abarth on our recent trip to the west coast. It only weighs 2500 lbs. It worked out great. Plus it is entertaining to drive when you use the toad car. I used the Blue Ox system which worked very well along with a Brake Buddy for stopping the Fiat. I did not need a drop down hitch bar. There is a Blue Ox base plate for a Fiat 500 for sale on the local Charlotte Craigslist.
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Old 10-16-2015, 03:16 PM   #5
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Some folks like the Smart Car, marketed by MB. Last time I looked, they didn't have a manual coming into the new model year, but now I see that you can configure it with one. They are also very light (just under 2000 lbs) and may not require supplemental brakes.

They are very inexpensive (very nicely equipped under 20K) If you can get a used one all the better. Don't know if MB does CPO on these but that would be the way to go. They are also very safe and fuel efficient.
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Old 10-17-2015, 06:27 PM   #6
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Possibly wait for the NEW Elio Autocycle that will soon be out with 46.000 reservations already at 6800.00 base price and over 80 miles to the gallon, with seating (enclosed) for 2 persons with A/C and power windows standard. I can't wait to have mine delivered. Will be made at the old Hummer factory in Louisiana.
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Old 10-17-2015, 08:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by curmugeon View Post
I am trying to decide which (small) tow vehicle to get for my 2015 Interstate. For now, I have limited the choices to Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa Note, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent Hatchback. Does anyone tow or have experience with any of these?

Another interesting approach is not to tow at all but have Enterprise deliver a rental car to your camp ground if you don't want to use your Interstate for local transportation. The idea is the rental car would be more convenient and comparable (or better) to the cost of the tow vehicle and associated costs of towing and upkeep.

Thanks.
We've done two, month long + trips and didn't take a toad either time. The first time was 5 years ago and I skipped the toad then because I was recovering from a motorcycle accident with 11 cracks in 5 ribs and I didn't want to deal with hitching and unhitching a toad, although at that time we had a Honda CRV that was rigged for towing. Our rv at the time was an Itasca Navion IQ (B+). We used the rv for everything on that trip including trips to town for dinner etc. At one 3 day stop we rented a car because we wanted to drive into Philadelphia and we had booked a guided tour of Gettysburg where the guide drives your vehicle. Last year we did another month + trip to the east coast in our AI Twin. We already knew we wouldn't need a toad so again we used the AI for everything. We're doing a 3rd similiar trip next year and, once again, no toad. A couple things we do a little different from most folks is we don't use the onboard shower so we don't deploy the macerator hose unless one of the tanks is near full. We also don't connect city water but keep the onboard tank 2/3 or more full and lastly we use the over the air antenna so we don't even hook up the cable tv. We travel with a Stoway II hitch mounted carrier where we store the shore power cable and surge protector so it is easy to connect and disconnect. Bottom line is it only takes a few minutes to set up or put away unless we have to deploy leveling blocks which of course takes a bit longer. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 10-17-2015, 08:03 PM   #8
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Hi from AZ. . . see, these posts are exactly why I like this forum ! Good real world experiences, from some different people with different experiences/views & none of that 'well I don't have one of those, BUT' kinda posts. thanks to the responders for that. informative & interesting, what more can we ask ! Be careful out there, Craig
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Old 10-18-2015, 02:00 PM   #9
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While a tad wider than an AS, our LTV Unity was chosen because we didn't want to tow another car. After two years and half a dozen trips, we still don't see the need for a toad. I have used a 24' aluminum tilt trailer to haul hot rods and a Porsche to car events with the Unity.
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Old 10-19-2015, 10:44 AM   #10
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Question-like Protags 2013 Honda Fit, does it need to be manual tranny, not 4WD, or yes to 4 wheel drive?
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Old 10-19-2015, 11:32 AM   #11
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Question-like Protags 2013 Honda Fit, does it need to be manual tranny, not 4WD, or yes to 4 wheel drive?
My 2013 Fit is an automatic, front-wheel drive. I can't tow over 65mph according to the Honda owner's manual, but that's fine— and it's a relatively common limitation for towable vehicles with automatic transmissions. I routinely tow at 60 mph so I have a few mph in reserve for the inevitable increase in speed on downhill grades or for passing someone going even slower than me.

I thoroughly recommend getting your hands on the Motorhome Magazine "Guide to Dinghy Towing." It's published annually, and covers all of the towable vehicles for that model year— so for example if you want to tow a 2012 vehicle you'd need the 2012 edition to see if it's towable. If you need a specific prior edition you can usually find it in PDF for download with a Google search.
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Old 10-21-2015, 01:53 PM   #12
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Got the guides. Great suggestion Protag. Thanks
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Old 10-21-2015, 01:54 PM   #13
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Oh, do you have supplemental brakes? What weight above which you recommend them?
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Old 10-21-2015, 03:20 PM   #14
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Oh, do you have supplemental brakes? What weight above which you recommend them?
Yes. The requirements for supplemental brakes— legally— are the same as for a trailer registered in your state. So toad GVWR of 3000 pounds or over in most states, 1500 pounds in some states.

The requirements for supplemental brakes— practically— are that every toad should have supplemental brakes. I've never gotten a good answer about whether the Sprinter brakes are designed to handle GCWR or only GVWR, so best to play it safe and not overwork the Sprinter brakes trying to stop the toad as well. Especially if you foresee a lot of downhill grades sometime in your future…
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