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Old 11-19-2020, 06:01 PM   #1
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2021 16' Caravel
Long Beach , Indiana
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Need advice for tow vehicle!

I just ordered the 16" RB Caravel. My very first travel trailer, and I need some advice. I have a Lexus RX350 but tow capacity is only 3500 lbs, so sadly need to buy something else. I really didn't want a truck. I'm single, and travel SOLO, so luckily don't have a lot of extra baggage (no pun intended!). Looked at the Nissan Pathfinder ( tow capacity 6000). Looks like Grand Cherokee is 6200 lbs. Any recommendations for an SUV that can handle the 16' Caravel easily?
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:07 PM   #2
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Offhand the BMW X5 or X6 might be something you would be happy with, hard to find with factory tow package but easily added after the fact and then rated at 600/6,000. There are many other SUV options for that size AS. Gets more difficult over 20' but not impossible.
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Old 11-19-2020, 06:25 PM   #3
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So many great vehicles to choose from for a 16' trailer! If you start your search with a vehicle with 6000 lb or so towing limit you will not only have a great margin of safety, you will generally have some (limited) cargo capacity. Good suggestions from SYC2Vette. No need for a truck or full sized SUV unless you decide to haul a lot of gear. There are a number of excellent mid sized SUVs. Do stay away from vehicles with limits near the trailer GVWR as there are risks associated with towing near limits. Also watch the vehicle tongue weight limits. Once you have a few in mind post them and people will be happy to comment on them.
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Old 11-19-2020, 07:21 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whyvon2509 View Post
I just ordered the 16" RB Caravel. My very first travel trailer, and I need some advice. I have a Lexus RX350 but tow capacity is only 3500 lbs, so sadly need to buy something else. I really didn't want a truck. I'm single, and travel SOLO, so luckily don't have a lot of extra baggage (no pun intended!). Looked at the Nissan Pathfinder ( tow capacity 6000). Looks like Grand Cherokee is 6200 lbs. Any recommendations for an SUV that can handle the 16' Caravel easily?
My 2014 Ford Explorer with factory installed tow package can tow 16's easily and currently tows 19'. Basically most med SUVs can tow your 16' but all SUV MUST have the factory installed tow package. the DYI or dealer installed tow packages do not help with towing.

I found mine through Cargurus.com it helped me find my Ford Explorer at nearby dealer. At the search engine, you need to check on Tow Package and all the vehicles with tow packages will popup...
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Old 11-20-2020, 10:16 AM   #5
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I have a 2018 Chevy Traverse-High Country

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Originally Posted by Whyvon2509 View Post
I just ordered the 16" RB Caravel. My very first travel trailer, and I need some advice. I have a Lexus RX350 but tow capacity is only 3500 lbs, so sadly need to buy something else. I really didn't want a truck. I'm single, and travel SOLO, so luckily don't have a lot of extra baggage (no pun intended!). Looked at the Nissan Pathfinder ( tow capacity 6000). Looks like Grand Cherokee is 6200 lbs. Any recommendations for an SUV that can handle the 16' Caravel easily?
We have a 2018 Chevy Traverse-High Country which has a 5000 lb towing capacity.My wife and I have traveled from WI to California a couple of times. Lotsa room, great ride, all the electronic technology you can dream of. We purchased with the intent of a tow vehicle for the smaller Air Streams. We are hoping to get one this spring. This model has been very reliable for us. Good Luck
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Old 11-20-2020, 10:37 AM   #6
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I tow our 1969 18’ Caravel with a 2010 Acura MDX. Our trailer is 2800 pounds and two rating is 5000. We have been from Minnesota all through the Rockies and East through the Appalachians. It’s been a superb fit for us. We have a weight distribution and anti sway hitch rig. I’d guess nobody here would suggest you tow seriously without one. Good luck and enjoy this awesome new adventure!
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Old 11-20-2020, 10:38 AM   #7
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I really like the 4Runner. Max tow capacity is 5,000 pounds - and be aware that the current models of 4Runners are not designed to use with a weight distributing hitch - which is a limitation.
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Old 11-20-2020, 11:34 AM   #8
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We’ve towed with two Grand Cherokees (7200 capacity) and liked them for towing as well as an everyday vehicle. Recently we changed to a new Range Rover (7700 capacity) and like it a bit better. Like you, we were wanting something other than a truck. Set up properly I would think either of these vehicles would be great for your purpose.
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Old 11-20-2020, 12:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whyvon2509 View Post
I just ordered the 16" RB Caravel. My very first travel trailer, and I need some advice. I have a Lexus RX350 but tow capacity is only 3500 lbs, so sadly need to buy something else. I really didn't want a truck. I'm single, and travel SOLO, so luckily don't have a lot of extra baggage (no pun intended!). Looked at the Nissan Pathfinder ( tow capacity 6000). Looks like Grand Cherokee is 6200 lbs. Any recommendations for an SUV that can handle the 16' Caravel easily?
After towing my 2010 International 16 for many years with a 2008 Volvo XC 90 with a V-8, I found it inadequate at higher elevations. The newer versions would do much better. I purchased a 2017 Ford Explorer Sport in June and just finished a 900 mile road/camping trip through south-central Colorado. Went over 6 passes over 10,000 ft., 2 of which were over 12,000 ft. The "Sport" has the 6 cylinder EcoBoost engine and it was amazing on the steep, high altitude passes. I would highly recommend a Ford Explorer Sport or the new Explorer ST.
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Old 11-20-2020, 02:44 PM   #10
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Why not stick with a Lexus? Their GX460 has a 6500# towing capacity and will easily and safely handle your AS.
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Old 11-20-2020, 02:53 PM   #11
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You should talk to Andy Thompson at Can Am Rv in London Ontario. We pulled a 22’ Sport with a 2012 Jeep Wrangler 2 door over 45,000km’s. It was hooked by Can Am and it weighed more than your rig. Andy and company are the hitch gurus in the industry. Check out their website.
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Old 11-20-2020, 06:46 PM   #12
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It's unfortunate hitch installers don't follow SAE guidance in testing for oversteer and sway. If they did you'd be able to report sway damping at 62 mph and understeer gradient at .3 and .4 gs. That would tell us if the combination set up for you is stable or not, and you could provide an accurate representation of the Jeep's towing capability and may also have given the installer reason to pause. As it is we have strong reason to suspect it is not stable, given that Jeep does do tests for towing instability and they set towing limits at 3500 lb for the longer and more stable four door but only 2000 lb for the two door model.

Just because a vehicle combination is not stable for sway and oversteer does not mean an owner is going to detect the instability or ever experience it because the is a fairly narrow range of ball articulation angle that if you stay within that window neight sway nor oversteer will amplify. Careful drivers who never experience a panic situation will never exceed the required angles, but it is still unwise to suggest others take the same risk.
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Old 11-20-2020, 07:21 PM   #13
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It's unfortunate hitch installers don't follow SAE guidance in testing for oversteer and sway. If they did you'd be able to report sway damping at 62 mph and understeer gradient at .3 and .4 gs. That would tell us if the combination set up for you is stable or not, and you could provide an accurate representation of the Jeep's towing capability .....
It is equally unfortunate that the SAE test doesn’t consider trailers like Airstreams, or have standards for combination setup that maximize towing performance, which together would make your suggestion that people follow the SAE guidance more relevant.
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Old 11-20-2020, 09:17 PM   #14
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There are lots of tow vehicle options for a 16 footer, which is nice.

I always love reading the comments in these threads about people not wanting a truck. I love my truck, even when I’m not towing. I think many of the people who say they don’t want a truck have never driven a newer truck. That said, if you really don’t want a truck, then you shouldn’t buy one.

I towed smaller trailers in the past with a Porsche Cayenne S, and it was a great tow vehicle. It should be on your list if you don’t want a truck.

Congrats on your Caravel purchase!
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Old 11-21-2020, 08:06 AM   #15
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It is equally unfortunate that the SAE test doesn’t consider trailers like Airstreams, or have standards for combination setup that maximize towing performance, which together would make your suggestion that people follow the SAE guidance more relevant.
The neat thing about the tests are they do not specify overhung hitch trailer type or configuration so a hitch installer can easily conduct the test with an Airstream. The test designs are clever and simple so installers could easily use them to optimize setup too. The multi number limit system combined with industry best practice guidelines further reduces the chance for an owner who follows all guidance to end up with a risky configuration. It is not a perfect system, but it is better than guessing. Those who exceed limits and don't test for sway damping and oversteer have more uninformed faith than do I.
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Old 11-21-2020, 05:28 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Icy View Post
You should talk to Andy Thompson at Can Am Rv in London Ontario. We pulled a 22’ Sport with a 2012 Jeep Wrangler 2 door over 45,000km’s. It was hooked by Can Am and it weighed more than your rig. Andy and company are the hitch gurus in the industry. Check out their website.
We have always owned SUV's but when we it came time to get another vehicle, country girl wanted a pickup and we got a Tacoma; and then when we decided on the 30' Classic, that migrated to a RAM diesel. So, it seems we're a fan of pickup trucks and they come with tow packages and have cargo space which with a small Caravel, you may wish to have. Small trucks by Nissan and Toyota come to mind. At some point you may want to also haul kayaks or bikes and all the stuff for your RV and a topper is possible with a pickup. SUV's don't hold as much stuff and most pickups come with a crew cab for more people.
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Old 11-22-2020, 05:13 AM   #17
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2021 16' Caravel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Icy View Post
You should talk to Andy Thompson at Can Am Rv in London Ontario. We pulled a 22’ Sport with a 2012 Jeep Wrangler 2 door over 45,000km’s. It was hooked by Can Am and it weighed more than your rig. Andy and company are the hitch gurus in the industry. Check out their website.
thanks. I did contact the folks at Can Am at your suggestion - and they were great. Wish we could get across the border to visit them in person! He said I'd have no problem pulling the 16' Caravel with my Lexus RX350 with appropriate WDH, so may keep it to tow the Caravel home, park in the driveway, study all the manuals, become familiar with all the systems, pack it, and practice backing up, etc, then take a couple short practice camping trips. But lots of great vehicle suggestions on this Forum, so will likely upgrade my vehicle in Spring.
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Old 11-22-2020, 06:03 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Whyvon2509 View Post
I just ordered the 16" RB Caravel. My very first travel trailer, and I need some advice. I have a Lexus RX350 but tow capacity is only 3500 lbs, so sadly need to buy something else. I really didn't want a truck. I'm single, and travel SOLO, so luckily don't have a lot of extra baggage (no pun intended!). Looked at the Nissan Pathfinder ( tow capacity 6000). Looks like Grand Cherokee is 6200 lbs. Any recommendations for an SUV that can handle the 16' Caravel easily?
BayouBiker makes the most prescient suggestion.
(not a surprise)

Advising more TV capacity than you need now.
That way you will have the TV you need, after you realize that the 23' you looked at WAS the perfect AS after all.🤔

Sweet Streams...

Bob
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Old 11-22-2020, 07:55 AM   #19
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thanks. I did contact the folks at Can Am at your suggestion - and they were great. Wish we could get across the border to visit them in person! He said I'd have no problem pulling the 16' Caravel with my Lexus RX350 with appropriate WDH, so may keep it to tow the Caravel home, park in the driveway, study all the manuals, become familiar with all the systems, pack it, and practice backing up, etc, then take a couple short practice camping trips. But lots of great vehicle suggestions on this Forum, so will likely upgrade my vehicle in Spring.
If you tow it home empty and dry, great. A couple short trips also fine as long as you keep it light, don't load the trailer with all of the typical accessories, and tow with the tanks empty. Hold your speed below 65 mph to give yourself a safety margin. Get a trailer brake controller. A portable one will let you easily move it to your new vehicle. Inflate your rear tires 5-7 psi over the loaded vehicle recommended pressure, and take 2 psi out of the front. I am encouraged you don't seem to view this a permanent.

For others who might:

If Lexus had their engineering team contact Can Am to get higher recommended towing limits for their lineup they'd have more than a few happier owners and many thousands more sales. Lexus could have saved the trouble of conducting their own tests, determining safe limits and then specifying a receiver mount that is matched to the safe limit to further discourage future owners from exceeding their test based limits.

In order to accept advice from a hitch installer that contradicts the vehicle manufacturer, you have believe the manufacturers engineering design and testing teams were incompetent and failed to do their jobs. It takes great deal of faith in an installer who tests for and reports handling performance but does not properly test for oversteer and sway, the leading causes of serious towing accidents.
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Old 11-22-2020, 08:15 AM   #20
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As a former engineer, tasked with installing systems on time, under budget that met or exceeded expectations, I am confused by the fascination for making SUV’s work as tow vehicles. When managing a project, if you could find a reasonably priced option “fit for purpose” you went for it. Reinventing the wheel was practically a guarantee of an uncompetive or unsuccessful result.
Fifty years ago, trailers were lighter, traffic moved slower, trucks were relatively underpowered and only fit three passengers, and cars were built “body on frame”. Times have changed!
Anybody agonizing over making an SUV work for towing owes it to themself to test drive a current model pick-up. Comfortable, cost competitive and fuel efficient, not to mention being designed to TOW all day long for many years. With a cap, you have all the space and security of an SUV...
Nobody’s gonna make you buy a truck if it’s still not for you, but you will have made an informed decision.
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