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Old 12-30-2014, 04:51 PM   #81
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...The only thing that would make my minivan better is if it had that turbo V6 that's available in the new Ram 1500. It's a torquey and maybe a bit more powerful (and possibly more fuel efficient) turbo diesel engine. And all-wheel-drive and an 8 or 9 speed automatic instead of a 6 speed automatic would be nice. And maybe a stiffer suspension so the back end wouldn't squat so much (both for looks and to keep a bit more weight on the front wheels - even with the weight distribution the front end still lifts up a bit). That would make the ultimate tow vehicle! Comfortable, safe, capable...
Not to pick on you JutSomeGuy, but the ideal vehicle you are describing exists and is called Ram 1500 EcoDiesel :-)
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Old 12-30-2014, 05:39 PM   #82
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Not to pick on you JutSomeGuy, but the ideal vehicle you are describing exists and is called Ram 1500 EcoDiesel :-)
Except for the solid axle rear suspension, poorer handling, higher centre of gravity, less rigid structure, and reduced occupant safety. But a great engine and transmission. And a good choice for those who want a pickup, even with the inherent trade offs.
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Old 12-30-2014, 06:08 PM   #83
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If that engine and transmission (or something similar) was available in an AWD Town & Country minivan, that would be perfect! I know most people think minivans aren't stylish, and trucks look cooler. But, I actually like minivans. I also like pickups. But, for my needs, I've always found minivans to be the best fit for me. Lots of interior space, comfy, not too tall for my elderly parents to climb into, and the new - current since 2006, and I believe part of the previous generation - of Chrysler minivans has stow 'n go seating. Mine has the full stow 'n go, so all of the rear seats fold into the floor making it a cargo van when I need it to be. Or I can just fold in the rear bench. Or one or both of the the center row captain's seats. No need to lift them out and store them. They're always there.

And, as mentioned, the minivans have a nice long wheelbase with short rear overhang, and a nice wide stance, which makes for good handling and towing. But, I have to admit, I really like the new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Nice to get a diesel engine in a half ton pickup, and it's not a monster diesel engine that sounds like a tractor trailer. Mind you, that's pretty cool too, but in some cases, a half ton pickup with a more sedate diesel engine will be plenty good. Maybe in some applications, like heavy construction, a Ram 3500 dually with a monster Cummins diesel engine is better. But if I ever consider looking at a half ton pickup, would definitely check out that new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Compact and mid-size trucks seem to be dying breed in North America now, so looks like we'll only be left with full size pickups. Again, not that I need a pickup now, but if I did, that's one I'd have to look at. Until then, I think my minivan will work out nicely for me, and now I have a better understanding an appreciation for it as a good tow vehicle - in some respects (like lower, wider stance, long wheel base, short rear overhang), even better than a taller pickup.
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Old 12-30-2014, 06:24 PM   #84
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If that engine and transmission (or something similar) was available in an AWD Town & Country minivan, that would be perfect! I know most people think minivans aren't stylish, and trucks look cooler. But, I actually like minivans. I also like pickups. But, for my needs, I've always found minivans to be the best fit for me. Lots of interior space, comfy, not too tall for my elderly parents to climb into, and the new - current since 2006, and I believe part of the previous generation - of Chrysler minivans has stow 'n go seating. Mine has the full stow 'n go, so all of the rear seats fold into the floor making it a cargo van when I need it to be. Or I can just fold in the rear bench. Or one or both of the the center row captain's seats. No need to lift them out and store them. They're always there.

And, as mentioned, the minivans have a nice long wheelbase with short rear overhang, and a nice wide stance, which makes for good handling and towing. But, I have to admit, I really like the new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Nice to get a diesel engine in a half ton pickup, and it's not a monster diesel engine that sounds like a tractor trailer. Mind you, that's pretty cool too, but in some cases, a half ton pickup with a more sedate diesel engine will be plenty good. Maybe in some applications, like heavy construction, a Ram 3500 dually with a monster Cummins diesel engine is better. But if I ever consider looking at a half ton pickup, would definitely check out that new Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Compact and mid-size trucks seem to be dying breed in North America now, so looks like we'll only be left with full size pickups. Again, not that I need a pickup now, but if I did, that's one I'd have to look at. Until then, I think my minivan will work out nicely for me, and now I have a better understanding an appreciation for it as a good tow vehicle - in some respects (like lower, wider stance, long wheel base, short rear overhang), even better than a taller pickup.
Was just teasing you JustSomeGuy. Happy upcoming new year!
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Old 12-30-2014, 06:31 PM   #85
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Except for the solid axle rear suspension, poorer handling, higher centre of gravity, less rigid structure, and reduced occupant safety. But a great engine and transmission. And a good choice for those who want a pickup, even with the inherent trade offs.
You can now get Air suspension on Ram 1500 (and on Ram 2500/3500 starting next year). You guys talk about truck handling as if its an ocean liner. My neighbor has a 1500 and ride/handling is OK. Reduced safety claim is debatable, but lets now start on that today. Happy new year.
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Old 12-30-2014, 07:12 PM   #86
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Thanks, you too!
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Old 12-30-2014, 08:09 PM   #87
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I am 100% for you using the tow vehicle you like and am glad that you are happy with your set up. What I take issue with is you (and your friends) justifying your decision at the expense of the car companies. "Minivans are intentionally underrated by car companies", where even you agree no none has done any tests to show this. Or "Car companies do not understand towing". I agree that most dealerships are clueless, but do you for one second believe that engineers at Mercedes (the biggest manufacturer of commercial trucks in the world) do not understand towing? Or "European car makers do not understand weight distribution hitches", where WDH is just a fancy form of crowbar, but apparently the engineers at Porsche and Volvo, that makes some of the most complex vehicles on earth, somehow do not understand it. And the list of rubbish claims goes on and on and on and on...

I appreciate how the OP was upfront on why he chose a minivan and the experience he has had using it.
I wanted to chime in on this one, because I think your post illuminates the root of the disagreement we're having.

You appear to be thinking, and quite reasonably so, that engineers (or people in general) make decisions based in rational observation, choosing the best of many available options.

Unfortunately, the opposite is often true.

I've got over 25 years experience working as a marketing professional, the last 10 years C-Suite level. I've worked with some of the world's largest technology companies, companies that create the products you're using every day to make phone calls, connect to the internet, send email. Many of them invented the products they are selling.

What most of them had in common is that they were led by engineers, or people who were sympathetic to engineers. You would think that, as a result, the decisions made by these teams would be rational, numbers and research based, with emotions taking a firm back seat.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Especially working in an international environment, it quickly became apparent that many Europeans think the Americans are a bunch of overbearing yokels who use brute force to solve all problems, whereas many Americans think the Europeans are lazy and predictable, to pick just two of many mutual prejudices.

You are mentioning the Mercedes example and WD hitches. WD hitches are illegal in Europe, not for any rational reason but because of protectionism, thus nobody has any incentive to research them.

Add to this that most European automotive engineers sneer at American car technology - watch any episode of Top Gear, the UK car show, featuring US cars for a sobering insight on what Europeans think of US engineering -in many cases without any justification.

There are fundamental differences in engineering philosophies separating our cultures. In the US, "bigger is better" is still a valid mantra - perfectly understandable in a society that never had to worry about availability of resources, or space, or wealth.

So while a Mercedes engineer will understand a WD hitch, that doesn't mean he or she will like it. The "not invented here" syndrome is alive and kicking. WD hitches are illegal, so why bother researching them. They rely on simplicity and brute force to work, the exact opposite to the school of European engineering.

You might not believe any of the above, but it is based on personal observation and professional struggles trying to overcome prejudices (on both sides) and get the product to market that is the best, not the product that appeases the egos of the majority.
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Old 12-30-2014, 08:12 PM   #88
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Reduced safety claim is debatable, but lets now start on that today. Happy new year.
Unlike towing parameters, safety claims are uniform and rigorously tested, so I don't think they are debatable.

But you're right, a conversation for another day.
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Old 12-30-2014, 08:25 PM   #89
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You might not believe any of the above, but it is based on personal observation and professional struggles trying to overcome prejudices (on both sides) and get the product to market that is the best, not the product that appeases the egos of the majority.
Sounds very logical to me! I'm feeling more reassured with my decision to use a minivan now. I was hoping for a Hensely hitch, but that's also a topic for another discussion.
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Old 12-31-2014, 11:52 AM   #90
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If the tow vehicle is large enough and stiff enough they don't feel the trailer anymore but unfortunately they may not really be any more stable or safer. However psychologically it feels better.
Which is the equivalent of removing the fire alarm from your home, reasoning that for as long as you hear no alarm, there's no fire - makes total sense.
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Old 12-31-2014, 02:20 PM   #91
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Great post #87 Andy. Jim


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