We're getting ready to return to the U.S. after 4 years overseas, and revive our poor Sport 22 sitting on jackstands, in a garage, all this time.
We sold our previous tow vehicle back in the US, and began looking at something that could carry family, luggage, and light utility work over here, yet still be able to tow when we got home.
The Sport line was optimized for smaller TVs, and we had good performance with a 2003 Ford Explorer V8 and the Hensley Arrow hitch. Just ditching the white box R-Vision TT and joining the Airstream family raised our towing MPG from 9-10 to 13-14 with this truck-like SUV. And brought us into a whole new RV realm, of course!
Being in Germany, and just up the road from the makers of the newer turbo-diesel SUVs (MB ML 350, VW Toureg, Porsche Cayenne, BMW X5), we decided to have a look at these choices. Yes, they're all premium priced lines, but they're not as "fancy" here, and better deals are possible. The mix of power & torque output, non-towing diesel fuel economy, and road handling were good in all of these models. But based on size, feel, and overall performance (BMW says "Sport Activity
Vehicle") we ended up with the X5.
The German dealer just installed the OEM US hitch package, which I had shipped over. It includes the bumper/receiver assembly, wiring harnesses, trim strip, and a Tekonsha P2 brake controller without the brand label. I think it was the first US towing system install this team had performed, and in German fashion, they followed the tech spec exactly - which places the brake controller in the console, and requires a wide bumper cutout for the receiver assembly.
The crossover/car-like SUV looks to be the smaller TV trend, and I've greatly appreciated the discussions here on choosing, evaluating, and towing with them. When we rejoin the A/S family in the US this fall, and get on-the-road, we're looking forward to enjoying this well-matched setup.