Originally Posted by AnnArborBob
If you are considering the minivan approach, I would encourage you to contact another member of this forum (MrUKToad.)
I haven't contributed to this thread as the OP said that he was after a truck. If the original idea has shifted then yes, I can speak about my experiences with the 2011 Toyota Sienna minivan and our 2011 28' International Serenity.
First off, our TV has had the Can Am treatment with a beefed up hitch, WD, sway control and the works. Also, the TV suits our needs; it's our daily drive and is quite easy on the juice when not towing. We're largely weekenders and do travel very light, even with the kids and don't haul a generator or canoes or firewood or bikes.
AABob is quite right to point out that we're in flat southern Ontario but I don't fear for the Sienna's pulling power; as others have shown, it'll go up just about any hill, albeit that it's not going to win any races doing so. We've towed through the hills in New Hampshire and Tennessee without issue.
I've not weighed our setup when fully loaded but I know that it has a high tongue weight, which gobbles up a big chunk of the payload. That said, apart from people, we don't haul much stuff in the van so even if we're close to the limit, or even slightly over it, it's not caused us any problems.
The Toyota published tow limit is, in my view, a red herring. When set up and loaded we sit level, pull and stop comfortably and handle as well as anything else towing a few tons of trailer. The Sienna is low slung, wide and handles well, even when braking. Over three and half seasons we've had no mechanical issues with the TV and reports from my local Toyota dealer don't highlight any abnormal wear during the service schedule.
The issue as I see it is not with the numbers but your use of the TV. If you're going to haul those heavy and dirty items like a generator or firewood, then a minivan won't be for you. If you do travel light and you want a TV that is reasonably economical when not towing, then maybe a minivan will suit your needs.