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Old 11-30-2014, 10:13 PM   #29
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1975 27' Overlander
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Originally Posted by rostam View Post

I am going to offer a different perspective...

I think your Volvo is an excellent vehicle. Very safe and capable (I am a big time Volvo fan). I will stick with the manufacturer tow ratings though. Why?

I have been frequenting this forum for more than a year or two. Most folks that exceed their vehicle's tow ratings reside in Canada. Whats OK/legal in Canada is not necessarily OK/legal in the US and vice-versa. There are folks south of the border that greatly appreciate the under rated tow vehicles. If you look at their profile, many actually own full size pickups (sometimes, diesel/heavy duty versions of it). Could you tow more than what the manufacturer recommends? probably yes. Should you tow more than what the manufacturer recommends? IMO, probably no. But you need to decide this on your own.

In the past year or two, I have seen many folks that tow with under rated tow vehicles. When you ask them about their set up, everything is fine: pulling/stopping power, handling. There seems to be no ill effect on their tow vehicles towing thousands of pounds more than what they are designed to tow. Then after a while, the same folks, suddenly (and quietly) upgrade to a proper tow vehicle for seemingly un-related reasons. My observation has been that under-rated tow vehicles are not a long term solution (unless maybe you tow a small/vintage trailer).

Just my observations.
And they are interesting observations. We towed with the Volvo S60 for 6 years because it was what we had, and because it did the job well (albeit somewhat slowly into a headwind or on grades above 4 or 5%). The S60 has been a very economical choice, with excellent fuel economy and modest repair costs (I do 90% of my own work).

My approach is to go with the smallest vehicle that meets our needs. Mid-size cars make a lot of sense to me, and I really believe they offer the best combination of economy and utility for most people. We have owned a number of Volvos because I fit (I'm a bit bigger than average), life cycle costs are comparable to most other cars, and they drive well. We now tow with a 2008 V70. In my view, it borders on full-size, and it makes sense for our family.

Would I go bigger? Maybe, if we can afford it and decide to go with a SUV like the new XC90 in the future. However, I expect that we will go back to a sedan once our sons no longer travel with us. There are more and more interesting options, and high-torque turbodiesels are becoming more available.

There are many options for TVs and TTs. We all work out what we can afford or justify at the time.

Regarding legality, I determined a number of years ago that only two jurisdictions in Canada and the US actually regulate trailer weight relative to a tow vehicle. The province of Saskatchewan limits trailer weight to the GVWR of the tow vehicle unless it's a fifth wheel or you use WDH - then the max trailer weight is 2 times the GVWR of the TV. And California requires a TV that weighs more than 4000 lbs if the trailer weighs more than 6000 lbs. However, the law doesn't seem to specify actual weight or GVWR.

Insurance and liability are other matters, but I have never seen or heard of a real world issue actually arising.

Also, for what it's worth, we have towed our Airstream with a car in 21 different states to date. No police officer has questioned what we are doing (unlike the curious folks at almost every gas stop!).

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Old 12-01-2014, 07:14 PM   #30
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Another thing to keep in mind is that people's needs change over time.

Right now, our minivan serves us just fine. We tow our trailer mostly in Southern Ontario, far from serious mountains, and we're mostly weekend and holiday campers.

As the kids grow older, and we will want to carry more stuff like bikes and canoes, we will most likely outgrow the capabilities of our current car. When that time comes, we will get a larger tow vehicle, either a large SUV which will double as a family car, or we keep the, paid for, van as our main car and get an additional TV.

When that decision comes it will in no way invalidate the decision we made to tow with a minivan when this made sense, it just means that the responsible thing to do at that future date will be to buy a vehicle with higher payload capacity.

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Old 12-01-2014, 07:46 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by AlbertF View Post
We have owned a number of Volvos because I fit (I'm a bit bigger than average), life cycle costs are comparable to most other cars, and they drive well. We now tow with a 2008 V70. In my view, it borders on full-size, and it makes sense for our family.
This is my third Volvo, having been away for a while, and I had forgotten how great they drive. I had a 2001 XC70 that I really liked, and this 2007 XC90 with the V8 is just a joy to drive.

Originally Posted by andreasduess View Post
Another thing to keep in mind is that people's needs change over time.
I think this is going to be my strategy. Get a smaller AS that can be towed with this vehicle. We're currently a one-car family, since my wife doesn't drive, but with three teenagers soon ready to learn, perhaps when this one is paid for I'll look for a pickup as a second vehicle. Then we can move up to the model we hope to full-time in someday, the EB 27FB.

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didnít do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." Ė Mark Twain​
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