By on April 11, 2017

Audi 5000 towing

There are quite a few differences between Europe and the United States. Which, if you think about it, was kind of the point of having a United States in the first place. A hundred years from now, when Europe and America are both part of the Caliphate, these differences might not be as pronounced as they are today. In the meantime, however, we are still two continents separated by a common, fast-vanishing heritage. Which leads us, quite naturally, to the subject of towing.

Serge writes:

Since you asked for questions, what would you say from grapevine and experience is a good option for a car that can tow a trailer about 2500 pounds, new or used? This really goes to which car has the tranny and brakes that are good enough for this task. Don’t need big engine; a six-cylinder max. Volvo S60 is rated at 3500 pounds, but many other cars seem to carry as big loads in Europe but they’re not rated as such here. I’ve seen Saab 9-5s tow similar loads pretty well.

It’s very common, as Serge notes, for a car to carry very different tow-capability ratings on different sides of the Atlantic Ocean. If you’ve ever spent any time on the Continent, you’ve certainly seen plenty of cars towing small campers, equipment trailers, or even the occasional full-scale car hauler. Here in the States, however, most manufacturers specifically prohibit towing with any of their products that have a trunk. Nor will you see too many people flouting that prohibition. As a society, we tend to think of an F-250 diesel as the absolute minimum equipment necessary to pull a lawn mower.

This is the kind of situation that lends itself very well to the “COOL BRITANNIA VERSUS FAT STUPID DIABETES AMERICA” because it reinforces the stereotype that we are all overfed, over-equipped, hugely insecure morons. Why else would the Superior European Manufacturers deny us permission to tow the same kind of stuff they permit in the Fatherland? If you want to get a sense of the boilerplate used in these discussions, try posting on VWVortex that you’d like to tow a 32-foot Bayliner with a new Golf 1.4T and see what everybody says. A solid 50 percent of the commenters will assure you that only fat Americans would disapprove of such an efficient enterprise.

Yet I have to wonder if “stupid Amerifats” is really the answer for the difference in tow ratings across the pond. I rather suspect that it’s really a difference in expectations. Yes, Europeans tow 5,000-pound trailers with plain-Jane cars. They also believe in a different set of rules for vehicles that are being used in the fashion. Never have I seen a car with a trailer in the left lane of the fabled Autobahn. In Europe or in the UK, when you are towing, you are expected to behave in a predictable, relaxed fashion, the same way that an art car or joke car in LeMons does. Move over early and often, make the passing easily, and stay out of the way.

Contrast that with the behavior of the 3/4-ton diesels on the American road. They will run with six horses or a 28-foot car hauler behind them at 85 mph. Into a turn. Up a hill. When it’s raining. The idea of moving over or driving slower just because you’re pulling a trailer simply doesn’t enter into the mind of an average American driver. Nor should it, because as a nation we tend to be remarkably unpleasant to people who are “holding us up” on the road. I’ve done some low-speed towing myself, using compromised equipment, and I can tell you this from experience. There’s a lot of deliberate swerving and honking and sometimes even a flash of a middle finger or a steel barrel out of the passing window.

That, I believe, is why Mercedes-Benz does not want you pulling three tons with a four-cylinder turbo E-class. You simply can’t go, turn, or stop at the level that American consumers expect. The Germans have no interest in the negative customer interactions that would occur if they told customers that a 5 Series is interchangeable with a Tahoe from a towing perspective.

So what is Serge to do? Well, he could just find a shop willing to put a Class III hitch on a Euro-sedan and damn the torpedoes, with the understanding that he might find an Audi pulling 2,500 pounds to be a trifle frustrating in certain circumstances. But I have a different idea, one based on personal experience.

Long-term readers of this website will recall I once owned a 2009 Ford Flex Limited. It was an early build, prior to the availability of the Ecoboost motor. I used it to tow my Neon race car on a steel open-deck trailer all over the Midwest and I was rarely unhappy with the ability to the Flex to climb or safely descend a grade. That was about a 4,700-pound load, considerably more than what Serge wants to tow.

The Flex is part of Ford’s large-car Lego set and is constructed in a manner very similar to the Taurus or Lincoln MKS. I think that a Taurus SHO or MKS Ecoboost would have enough power, enough brake, and enough transmission durability to satisfy the needs specified by Serge. It wouldn’t have the long wheelbase that made the Flex very docile under load, but it would have the rest of the package. And it’s not really that much larger than, say, a Volvo S60.

Don’t forget that when you buy an MKS you have the option of the outstanding THX sound system, which to my mind entirely justifies the car’s existence. That’s my advice. What’s yours?

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197 Comments on “Ask Jack: Towing With a Trunk?...”


  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    ” If you’ve ever spent any time on the Continent, you’ve certainly seen plenty of cars towing small campers, equipment trailers, or even the occasional full-scale car hauler.”

    When I went to Europe last year and was driving around Normandy on a weekend, I saw plenty of cars towing horse trailers. Not the big ones we see here stateside; generally smaller one horse units.

  • avatar
    N8iveVA

    Damn that’s a good looking wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      Never will any style doubts be placed upon any 5000 variation!

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      Thanks, that is my 1984 Audi 5000S Avant.

      I got the Avant for my wife to match my 1987 Audi 5000S Quattro.
      But later she insisted on another vehicle because the air conditioning was next to useless even when functioning as designed.

      So I put the Audi Avant into storage a couple years ago and bought my wife a 2001 Blazer. As a plus the plastastic Blazer requires way less work to keep running than either of the two Audi’s.

      I will be driving that Avant on my 110 mile round trip work commute on the Detroit freeway system in another month after I put the 1987 Audi up for sale. I will sure hate exposing it to road salt next winter!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Nor should it, because as a nation we tend to be remarkably unpleasant to people who are “holding us up” on the road.”

    Yeah right… that’s why I NEVER get held up by some idiot in the passing lane who is going 70 in a 75 mph zone while passing a semi going 68.5 mph.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      PrincipalDan,
      It’s more to do with the promotion of large vehicles manufactured in the US.

      There is a raft of barriers and regulations protecting large vehicle manufacture in the US.

      As the data illustrates, the EU on a whole has far less road fatalities. So it is quite safe and practical to tow with smaller vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        So, wait, your response to PrincipalDan’s sarcasm about slow drivers camping out in the passing lane is to somehow say that its being driven by trade barriers?

        Please clarify. Because I think maybe you know, bad drivers are just bad drivers, and probably aren’t thinking about (or even know or care about) trade barriers….or much about anything really, beyond their nose.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I recommend at minimum a dual-rear wheel Ram 3500 with the Cummins, Aisin, and 4.10 gears.

    /RV.net

    • 0 avatar

      Exactly. I have towed with a 4cyl toyota pickup and with a H6 subaru both were fine with loads up to around 3k lbs. On the other end of the spectrum I once towed close to 25k lbs with a 460 F 250 that was slightly scarier then pulling a center console with a 4cyl.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Even the Saab 9-5 owner’s manual states that if the transmission light comes on while towing, pull over and rest the car until cooled off. The brakes are very robust for close to 4,000 lbs with a non-biased trailer. You just have to plan ahead when slowing or stopping. Can’t do that with a Honda sedan.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      Just about anything will tow a small trailer just fine. I used a 4×8 utility trailer from Harbor Freight both when I moved to from the Seattle area. Used my Impreza on the way there, and my E class wagon on the way back. Both cars performed flawlessly, and the wagon was very overloaded.

      https://goo.gl/photos/xzBGNrHBriC1veQ66

      https://goo.gl/photos/Qv6Er2ae94fCSAhE6

      A small utility trailer is a better option for most people for the occasional Home Depot run. No insurance or constant fuel penalty of a truck. Of course I completely ignored my own advice and just got a Silverado. I will bude it for more than just the utility trailer could do.

  • avatar
    jimble

    Jack can’t even write a post about towing without throwing in some gratuitous White Nationalist blather about “two continents separated by a common, fast-vanishing heritage”? And what does it even mean to be separated by something you have in common?

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      This is because he’s hoping you’ll make this exact comment and engage in a multi-page slapfight.

      It took me some time to learn this about TTAC (and life in general) but the reason things are the way they are is because the person who signs the cheques wants it that way and isn’t going to change it without a seriously compelling reason (and “decency” isn’t usually sufficient)

      In this case, as much as I’m not a fan, and as much as I’ve lodged a comment or two, I know it isn’t going to change. Your best option is, frankly, to install an ad blocker and avoid commenting on articles. When the site’s revenue falls, nature will take it’s course.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      He’s established on many occasions that he can’t do math. He appears to think the roughly 1% of the U.S. population that’s Muslim, which is growing just a bit faster than the population as a whole, is going to absorb everyone else within his kid’s lifetime.

      • 0 avatar
        Sloomis

        I’d imagine it’s more the fearsome invading hordes of foreign Islamofascists Mr Baruth fears than the native-born birthrate…

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          The whole “1%, growing just a bit faster than the population as a whole” bit encompasses both native-born and the fearsome invading hordes.

          Muslims of all stripes are projected to reach a whole 2% of the US population right around the time I’m actuarially expected to kick the bucket.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Putting aside the fact that I “do math” for a living, now is a good time for the old story about one grain of rice on the first square of the chessboard.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          How can you use decimal? With 6 thumbs on one hand and 7 toes on the other?

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Long before you got through the first rank of that chessboard, Malthus would start doing his thing. And in any case at the current growth rate you’d get through that first rank, oh, sometime around 2500.

          In the real world, as places get more educated and wealthier, population growth slows way down. If you are worried about invading hordes, do what you can to promote education and economic development in the places they’re coming from.

        • 0 avatar
          googly

          I don’t follow the logic as in demographics there is a natural death rate and any increase in the population has to be because the rate of births is more than the rate of deaths, and not just a matter of the doubling of a population in every generation. So the ‘grain of rice on..’ example or to use another example, Moore’s Law, doesn’t make sense here.

        • 0 avatar
          Robert

          I said I would let this pass….but this is just to silly not to comment.

          There is a radiolab podcast about two ant colonies that have taken over seperate portions of the hemisphere, and the brutality of their warring along the line of demarcation.

          As far as this statement goes, both in the article and in your response, “Come on man.”. That’s ridiculously intractable (and I suspect you know as much). Do you really believe … Sincerely. Not in the, “it’s good for my ratings” sense an argument that only one segment of the population will somehow double frequently enough for it to be a problem. I get you do math for a living, and I love the tragi-comedy of Idiocracy’s cold open … but the implication that frequent doubling of a minority will overrun any population in a vacuum is a simpletons argument. If that’s your fear, then it must be a subset of the fear of a 56B population base…because that’s the sort of numbers implied by your grain of sand comment.

          And, if we are attempting to be racist idjits, the catholic Hispanic population will surely preclude an American caliphate as the growth rate is exponentially higher.

          And finally, if you want to look like a real scholarly type you could just say this is simply he latest version of Crusades that has been a dynamic over many hundred years and is more rooted in haves and have not’s than in religious extremism, which usually takes roots when there is no opportunity.

          Which is why I’m far more worried that the quality of life my son will lead is going to be impacted by ruinous decisions around climate change, population density, and the demolished middle class and economic instability globally than any Brietbart fetish over people coming to America to make a better life for themselves.

    • 0 avatar
      silentsod

      There’s zero possibility that it’s a riff on “two nations separated by a common language.”

      No, sir, none whatsoever; and certainly not alluding to the whole shared Western civilization background with the Greeks, democracy, penchant for heavy infantry fighting, liberal arts, etc….

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      I saw nothing “white nationalist”.

      You could argue “Islamaphobic”, maybe, though the people pushing for a Caliphate at gun-and-bombpoint are not the same as Muslims generally, and I’m pretty sure Jack is well aware of that.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        Adding this reply solely to put a break between your comment and my reply to the original comment. TTAC’s vintage WordPress implementation makes this stuff a bit obscure.

        I’ve worked and competed with Muslims for years. I’ve raced under the crescent of Islam both here and in Asia. Most of them have zero interest in a caliphate — but it also has to be said that very few of them subscribe to the modern progressive sex-positive value-neutral catechism either. Those chickens will eventually come home to roost for the Doubleplusgoodthink crowd.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      You know how I know you’re not very smart?

      0. You have a very dim grasp of white nationalism;

      1. Your cultural literacy is low enough to not recognize the source quote.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        “two nations separated by a common language”

        If one follows proper “dictionary” English then there isn’t going to be any separation.
        Slang and subtle and not subtle accents, inflections and intonations will create differences in a “common” language. There are even variations within a country.

        But in the end, what does that have to do with Islam?

        If one looks at the top 10 spoken languages in the world, English comes in at #3.
        English used to be #2 but has been pushed out of that spot by Spanish.

        That explain the desire for a wall.

        Arabic is #5.
        Drones and cruise missiles will decrease that number. One must understand that for every civilian killed in the war on extremism, that causes at least 5 to convert to the cause.

        Those pesky trade deficit Chinese hold the #1 spot with Mandarin.

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          “you say ”erb,’ we say ‘herb.’

          Because there’s a f**king ‘H’ in it!”

          – Eddie Izzard

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            JimZ,
            The silent H was caused by the French.

            I would assume correct and proper English originates from ……. England not the USA or Australia, we in Australia have a better grasp of the language than America.

          • 0 avatar
            OldManPants

            “we in Australia have a better grasp of the language than America.”

            I could of told you that!

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “I would assume correct and proper English originates from……. England”

            English is Germanic in ancestry.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou (English slang for toilet(sh!tter)), it’s appropriate in this case,

            And ……… if you go back far enough our primate ancestors made all kinds of noises in Africa.

            English is English from England. Read and learn, why must I continue developing and mentoring you.

            Read about the King who used the language of the commoners and the Courts stopped using French. There is also a very large French influence in English. Just look at the many French words we use.

            Really Lou?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “if you go back far enough our primate ancestors made all kinds of noises in Africa.”

            Some of those primates currently make all sorts of noises from Australia!

            “English is English from England.”

            Wow………

            Thanks for pointing that out.

            No wonder why you are a chairborne ranger!

            We huddled masses from the colonies are not worthy.

            Looks like Australia is still used as a “penile’ colony.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I didn’t need you to de-construct a f**king Eddie Izzard joke.

            and you in Australia don’t so much speak the language as you chew on it and spit it out.

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            “…we in Australia have a better grasp of the language than America.”

            Royt!

      • 0 avatar
        jimble

        Obsessing over foreign cultures encroaching on a “fast-vanishing heritage” is as clear a hallmark of white nationalism as you’re going to find, Jack.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “fast-vanishing heritage”

          I guess that inscription on the Statue of Liberty no longer means sh!t?

          “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
          With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
          Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
          A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
          Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
          MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
          Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
          The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

          “Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
          With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
          Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
          The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
          Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
          I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

          • 0 avatar
            Land Ark

            Everyone always forgets the last line:

            “But no Irish.”

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            “I guess that inscription on the Statue of Liberty no longer means sh!t?”

            we’re full, because some middle-aged white guys said so.

          • 0 avatar
            everybodyhatesscott

            The statue of liberty came 100 years after the constitution. That poem means jack. I’d kill for President Trump to somehow have it removed just so I don’t have to hear about it being some founding principle of America. It never meant sh!t.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “everybodyhatesscott” – I see the logic in your choice of blog name.

            But since you mentioned “the constitution”:

            “Immigration and the Constitution –
            The Constitution does not delegate to the federal government power over immigration, only over naturalization”

            “The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution underscore the truism that all persons have the same natural rights, irrespective of where their mothers were when they delivered them.”

            “But the Constitution itself—from which all federal powers derive—does not delegate to the federal government power over immigration, only over naturalization. Thus, when the government’s motivation for enacting immigration laws is to further genuine compelling foreign policy goals, the laws will be upheld. But when the government’s motivation is nativism or fear or hatred or favoritism, strict scrutiny will operate to defeat those laws.”

            “The Fourteenth Amendment requires this, and its language is inclusive: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States…” Though written to protect former slaves, its language is not limited to them.”

  • avatar
    mike1dog

    I think in Europe, the law actually says you can’t drive over 80 kmh(50 mph), and the way the trailer is configured with a very low tongue weight that the trailer would probably sway back and forth dangerously if you towed it at 85 mph. In other words, about what Jack says.

    • 0 avatar
      Tinn-Can

      That was my understanding as well. The trailer takes most of the weight but isn’t as stable as the US counterparts. Jackknife city, Yurop… I put a hitch on my Mazda3, it was only rated for 200lbs tongue, and 1000lbs tow. It was good for a bike rack and would probably be super sketchy to tow with.

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        The S60 cited in the article has an allowable tongue/hitch weight of 185 lbs and can tow a trailer which weighs up to 3500 lbs. I know this because I owned an S60 which I sold when I bought my Tacoma. I sold the S60 mainly because it could not tow (per its specifications) my 3500 lbs trailer which has a tongue/hitch weight of approximately 380 lbs.

    • 0 avatar
      bhtooefr

      There are some countries with higher towing speed limits, but that’s the norm.

      They typically run 4-7% tongue weight, which greatly reduces rear suspension load, but also reduces stability at speed.

      Also, to tow more than 750 kg (about 1650 lbs), or drive a vehicle with more than 3500 kg GVWR (about 7715 lbs), they need special licensing that’s even stricter than their norms – basically, the equivalent concept in the US would be the requirement for a CDL for over 26,000 lbs vehicle GVWR or 10,000 lbs trailer GVWR, but think of needing a CDL to drive a heavier configuration of an F-150, or tow what we think of as a light trailer.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    What a coinkydink, CC is covering this same topic with a SWB Patrol and a Sprinter cutaway van.

    http://www.curbsideclassic.com/cc-global/cc-global-2001-nissan-patrol-and-2013-mercedes-benz-sprinter-classic-car-haulers

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Our Honda Oddy minivan was available with a towing package. Besides the towbar, I think it was a tranny cooler and stiffer rear shocks and springs and the wiring harness. Don’t know if that’s still available on the new models.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    For a regular tow vehicle, a small-ish SUV or truck is really a better choice. Putting a hitch on a sedan in itself is an ordeal, it might require substantial modification depending on the sedan in question.

    Maybe consider something like an Audi Q5? Drives just as well or better than a lot of sedans, has all the luxury toys, not too huge, has hitch as a factory option or easy aftermarket install.

    • 0 avatar
      Mark_MB750M

      I wouldn’t think getting a hitch would be so difficult. Serge mentions a Volvo S60 – I have both a V70 (turbo 5 cyl) and an XC70 (NA 6 cyl), and both were spec’ed with the tow hitch. It’s also a dealer accessory from Volvo. Both are rated for 3300 lbs – same as the EU spec which is 1500 kg.

      I’ve towed with both vehicles loads up to 2000 lbs with no issues. I’d expect an S60 to perform similarly.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        I put a hitch on my GTI recently, rated for 2000lbs, IIRC, which is plenty for my needs. Working by myself, it took me 1/2 hour. Those IKEA bookcases aren’t going to get themselves home. I had a utility trailer for my old Golf TDI and used the heck out of it renovating my first home. Pickups are silly – you can’t even put 2K in the back of most 1/2 tons these days, and you will break your back getting things in and out of a chest high bed. So much easier with a ramp-equipped utility trailer that sits lass than a foot off the ground.

        I actually towed my Land Rover SIII with a Volvo 745T on a U-Haul battleship trailer once. Slowly and carefully, of course. The GMC Jimmy I borrowed to do the job broke down. The sad thing is the Volvo towed that load better than the Jimmy – since it had actual brakes and suspension, unlike the excrable GMC product.

        Towing at 80mph is why I see random boats scattered over the Maine Turnpike in the summer, usually with an upside-down pickup nearby. I tow a 6500lb boat with my Land Rover, which is rated well in excess of that, and I have never once exceeded 50mph doing so. There is just no reason to.

        • 0 avatar

          740 towing story.

          A buddy of mine helped his brother move from Cape Cod to FL a while back. The brother said he would get a U haul and they would take turns driving it down. My friend shows up and there is a tandem axle U haul trailer hooked to his brother 740 wagon. There is also stuff filling the entire interior of the wagon as well as the roof rack and I believe he said a mattress strapped to the roof of the Uhaul. Basically the guys life in a volvo and trailer (including close to a 1000 lbs in tools). He said every time they stopped he felt the tires and they were almost too hot to touch but somehow they made it. He said in the last 100 miles he was driving and he noticed heat around the shifter, apparently the transmission was heating up so bad you could feel it just touching the tunnel. But apparently it survived and some how moved under it’s own power for 2 more years after that.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      For towing on the highway, longer is better. A short wheelbase BOF SUV like a Tahoe isn’t as stable as a long wheelbase pickup truck of similar mass. Not sure how a compact CUV would do. Good point about the availability of hitches for sedans. They’re definitely available for the Camry/Avalon/ES 350 and the Impala/XTS which can be purchased with a NA V6.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Does track width affect the stability? As in, the Tahoe’s wheelbase-to-track ratio is 1.68:1, while an Impala’s is 1.8:1. A crew cab pickup is over 2:1.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Drzhivago138 – track width must matter since my full sized pickups always felt more stable than my Rangers. Even short box regular cab pickups I’ve driven felt more stable.

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “For towing on the highway, longer is better. A short wheelbase BOF SUV like a Tahoe isn’t as stable as a long wheelbase pickup truck of similar mass.”

        Meh, I had a 25′ SeaRay behind my ’07 ‘Hoe last weekend. The whole thing is just under 36’ long. That boat weighs close to 8K pounds sitting on the trailer. It towed like a dream, no sway at all. But then consider that the boat and trailer are set-up correctly, which makes all the difference on the world. But ‘ll agree that a longer wheel base provides more stability as I used to pull it with my GMC crew cab pickup before I sold it.

    • 0 avatar
      Scott_314

      Your local hitch place has a bolt on hitch for your car. In stock, right now.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Mandalorian,
      Not really. Here in Australia we have similar towing regulations as the EU.

      Most US pickups can’t tow the weights that are permissible in the US.

      I owned a Nismo enhanced Pulsar, the size of a Corolla. It had a 1000kg (2200lb) tow limit.

      Google Hayman Reece Australia. This is one after markrt towbar outfitter. They also supply many OEM towbars.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Mandalorian
      Quite common to have bumper tow bars on cars in Australia. Growth of SUV’s and Pickups has killed a lot of that

  • avatar

    I think it is also a defensive move on the part of the euro car makers. To avoid our liability system, just don’t spec an OE hitch in the US. We also, along with the “need” for all seasons and four wheel drive, think you need a truck for towing anyway.

    I drop a jetski on a beach style ramp, so I actually do need a truck with AWD. If it was all paved ramp, though, a car would work just fine (and both my SAAB 900 and Mercury Mystique er, Ford Contour, did)

    A euro car maker can afford to miss the one sale towing would give a normal car in the US, and just let that guy use his truck for the trailer towing. Someone else gets the liability issues….which leads to….

    I saw somewhere a good answer to this, which has been mentioned above. There is an oscillation at speed, which a long wheelbase truck and trailer deal with better than a short wheelbase car. Basically euros can be trusted not to go 80 mph, Muricans’ can’t…and we can sue if we mess up.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      And it isn’t as cold or even colder in the EU.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Speedlaw
      Hate to say it, but regulated Speed limit on British roads is 82mph.They are supposed to be towing at 60mph on a Highway ( A Road or Motorway), but a Van passed me pulling a 20ft Caravan at a lot more than that. I was doing 70mph

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      I think most trailer tires are rated for no more than 65 MPH. If one abides by this rating, one shouldn’t have too much of a problem with trailer sway. Trailer sway becomes much more pronounced at speeds above 65 MPH.

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    “you’d like to tow a 32-foot Bayliner with a new Golf 1.4T”

    Need Yukon Denali 6.2L.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    Tongue weight during towing moves the weight distribution to the rear. That improves traction if your tow vehicle is rear wheel drive. It does the opposite with front wheel drive.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      If your traction is that marginal you have bigger problems.

      If it isn’t, a few hundred pounds of weight at the trunk shouldn’t be a problem given sane driving.

      (Remember, 10% forward weight distribution; every thousand pounds of trailer should be 100# of weight on the hitch.

      If your car loses traction with a guy standing on the rear bumper, don’t tow things with it.)

  • avatar
    Rday

    Had a grandcaravan in 2002. Was given a 5k enclosed single axle trailer to pull for demos. i checked with Dodge and given the ‘frontal area’ of the unit it did not pass. the wind resistance was too great. So i got a ridgeline and it worked fine. Another rep had the same kind of cararvan and pulled the same trailer. his transmission did not last long at all and he replaced the van with a suburban.
    So remember towing is not all about weight. Frontal area/wind resistance is a big factor in towing trailers. i used to sell heavy duty trucks and had to calculate not only the horsepower/torque needed to move the load at different speeds but the horsepower to overcome wind resistance which was very significant especially at highway speeds.
    Hardly any automotive truck dealer salesmen understand these different factors which is a shame and leads to unhappy customers due to performance and high maintenance costs for major repairs.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      A 2002 Grand Caravan didn’t have a 5000 lb rating in the first place.

      http://www.trailerlife.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Trailer-Life-Towing-Guide-2002.pdf

      Checking other years, no DGC had a capacity over 3900 (and that required the towing package). So you were in trouble even without frontal area taken into account.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh yes. I pulled a u haul box once with a Golf. The two just didn’t like each other and and the feedback from the trailer buffeting was huge-the Golf was smaller frontal than the box… Same size Trailer behind an MDX, no buffett at all, and much easier pulling at 60 mph…not a HP issue.-the MDX from the front almost exactly the size of the box.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    We tow an early ’80s 16′ V-hull bass boat (150hp Mariner 3-cylinder two-stroke) with our ’08 Sienna, and it does it without complaint. But, the boat and trailer only weigh about 1100 lbs.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      I towed 5 500lbs off road with my BT50, without a problem. Granted the track was not severe. The off road boat trailer helped. The boat was 22′ long.

      Using the correct trailer helps.

  • avatar
    Not_a_luddite

    I’ve done a ton of towing with sedans and wagons over the years. My Crown Vic with the HPP package was probably the best for loading down since the airbags would return it to level once the engine was switched on, it was heavy too and had decent torque, but it had terrible range with a trailer behind. My WRX was used extensively for towing, I moved seven times using that car and my 4’x8′ utility trailer. It got decent fuel economy and was comfortable with about 2500lbs gross behind it. In fact, that car probably had 30k miles with a trailer behind it. My LS430 was the most competent tow vehicle, lots of torque, good suspension, decent heft… Actually, my trailer ruined my LS430 when I was rear ended sitting at a crosswalk and the the tounge pushed a hole through the trunk into the interior. Amazingly, the trailer required new lights and a new piece of steel for the tounge and is back on the road. My Outback XT works better than my WRX but not as well as my LS430, I packed a 300ft/sq roof into the trailer this weekend, sheeting shingles and all and hauled it to the dump, my trailer was a little overwhelmed, but the Outback was quite competent. I also hauled (in separate loads) all the roof sheeting I needed and shingles too. The XT motor needs a little extra motivation to get moving, but since the car is a manual, you can get it going without much drama.

    To Jack’s point about towing in the right lane and driving slowly, I call shenanigans. I put car tires on my trailer to have a reasonable speed rating and tow regularly at 80. If the trailer is properly loaded with decent 10-12% tounge weight, and has properly serviced bearings, go at your own pace. With two dirt bikes, camping gear, and dirt bike gear was about 1400 lb gross I would nearly forgot the trailer was behind, and set the cruise at 75-80 all day long. It was nice since the WRX was around 3500 rpm in 5th and I didn’t need to downshift up hills in western MD.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      1) Pet peeve – “tongue”.

      2) A 1400# trailer is rather different than heavy trailering, which is more common in America (based on what I see).

      Yes, you can drive more or less normally with a powerful car and a 1400# trailer; the brakes can handle it, for one thing.

      Try doing that with one over 6000# even on a heavy vehicle, and you begin to see the benefit of slowing down a bit.

      • 0 avatar
        Not_a_luddite

        I’ve driven professionally and used to have a CDL (I gave it up when I changed states and the rules in MD were more stringent) I used to tow 35-38′ boats all over northern Ohio with a clapped out F350, and when I worked for another company I used an F450 to haul a 35′ enclosed trailer across the country several times. I also used to haul an equipment trailer loaded with ~8k from northern MD to Pittsburgh across Rt30 which is nothing but hills and hairpins. The conversation was using a sedan to haul 2500lb not a pickup to drag 25k. Even then, my trailers were two or three axle and had electronic brakes.

        Rolling at 75-80 even heavily loaded was never an issue. If you’re not an idiot, leave plenty of following distance and keep your load strapped the dynamics aren’t horrendous. In fact the only near close call I ever had was moving three yards of mulch behind my CJ5. The trailer didn’t have much axle setback and with the load equally distributed, the tongue weight was nill. Once I got over 50 I had an oscillation start and fortunately I was able to coast it out. I kept below 35 the rest of the way home. I’ve often thought about putting surge brakes on my 4×8, but typically, it’s not heavy enough to necessitate them.

        Smooth driving and understanding the whole, tail-wagging-the-dog phenomenon is far more important than worrying about what speed you’re traveling. I saw a guy upend a landscape trailer at 35 once simply because he made an aggressive lane change and stuffed trailer tires in the soft shoulder. Going slower wouldn’t have fixed his problem.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          “If you’re not an idiot”

          Key point.

          Unfortunately, idiots don’t know that they are idiots.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            At least you know that you don’t know.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @ToddAtlasF1 – that coming from the guy who didn’t understand my earlier comment.

            “At least you know that you don’t know.”

            That by definition is a sentient being and the first step on the path to enlightenment.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    The Euros are just sour-grapes that their governments taxed large displacement engines out of reach of most people such that their ONLY choice is small displacement car based vehicles.

    If their laws were more reasonable you bet your behind more Euros would be driving around in Tahoes. Most people from there I talk to are open to the idea and the ones lived in state side often had one, but always say “ja but it is so expensive to register a V8 SUV where I live so no”.

    • 0 avatar
      doublechili

      I think you are onto something. When my kids were small I was watching Sesame Street with them and they showed a third world guy sitting in the dirt tying up some strings he had gathered, and they said he was “recycling”. He wasn’t “recycling”, he was just dirt poor and had no other choice. Maybe the 4 cyl turbo hatchback tow vehicle is like that.

      • 0 avatar
        Corey Lewis

        Just like the Top Gear camping holiday, with the Kia!

        “What is it? A Kia… Seduko. James, it’s not a good car.”

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @doublechili
        No, restrictions are geographical. Small roads, limits on weights on roads, speed restrictions.
        Europeans do tow a lot, but use cars instead. Much more user friendly than Pickups

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      “If their laws were more reasonable you bet your behind more Euros would be driving around in Tahoes.”

      [Citation needed]

      • 0 avatar
        bikegoesbaa

        Anecdotally, 100% of the dozen or so European expats I’ve worked with have acquired the following within 1 month of their arrival in the US:

        -BOF fullsize truck or SUV
        -Big-bore crusier motorcycle
        -Gun(s)

        They are generally excited about the prospect of getting to own and enjoy things that would be illegal or ruinously expensive in their homeland.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @bikegoesbaa
          They are doing what everyone else does. You see a lot of ” big bore motorbikes” in Europe, roads favour them. Cruiser Motorcycles? Guns?Probably the type of people you know.
          A full size Pickup would be pretty impractical in many parts of Europe. Europe has roughly 500 million inhabitants and each country varies as regards to what they drive.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @TwoBelugas
      No, they would certainly not be driving around in Tahoes,it would be extremely inconvenient. Driving a F250 down a Welsh country road would be definition of impossible,
      They use Vans or Cab Chassis Vans for towing or moving large objects. Trucks or ” Lorries” for larger ones.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        @RobertRyan

        Why are you bringing up an F250 in a discussion about Tahoes? You do know they are a *little* different, right?

        If you look at the length and width of a Tahoe and compare it to say an S-Class or a G-Class, they are surprisingly close. Given a (cost effective) choice I do think a segment of european market would buy GMT class SUVs.

        Besides, Europe is a wonderful and diverse place where many places have multi-lane roads that are wider than some one lane Welsh path. Seems like you have a rather outdated view of Europe as if all of Europe is composed of quaint little villages or town centers built in the Roman times or middle ages.

        I have driven in many places in Europe in an Uncle Sam paid for Tahoe and I survived without any accidents.

  • avatar
    George B

    Jack, an automatic transmission will also experience more stress on a tow vehicle in the US vs. Europe. The distances are larger and the summer daytime temperatures are higher. An auxiliary automatic transmission oil cooler is a standard part of the “tow” package. I’d be curious what precautions Australians take when they use a car-based ute for towing.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      Are longer distances really more stressful, if it’s flattish highway miles?

      I’d far rather tow all day on the Interstate than run across town with a trailer, both in terms of personal stress and wear on the vehicle

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @George B
      We used to use manual and automatics for towing. From what I remember special oils, ect. Most Car based Utes were certified for 5,000lb towing.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Having driven decent chunks of the width and breadth of “Europe” a couple times in the last decade, I can assure you “Europe” is not a small place. Individual European countries, which are very analogous to US States, can be. The continent is quite vast, and everywhere you go in the summer, you will see somebody from the other side of it towing a trailer. It’s pretty much the Dutch national pastime – hook the caravan up to the Golf or Volvo and hit the road. Remember, they also get a LOT more vacation than we do – they have time to do this stuff. By contrast, here if you are towing a boat 50 miles to the lake you are adventurous…

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @krhodes1
        Or Campervan Motorhomes, a lot more prevalent than in the US

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @krhodes1 – “here if you are towing a boat 50 miles to the lake you are adventurous…”

        For most people that is true.

        There are many places I go where it takes 2-3 hours to cover that 50 miles.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          You live in the backside of beyond. For most, it is suburb to nearby lake or the ocean. For me, it is ~15 miles to Sebago lake, or ~5 miles to Casco Bay to put the boat in the water. Once you get very far from the water it gets more cost effective to just get a slip or a mooring and leave the boat in the water. Gas and time are expensive when you have limited time to actually use the boat.

          For campers, there are some who tow decent distances, but in my experience from when my folks were into that, once you start going more than a couple hundred miles you usually graduate to an RV.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        “By contrast, here if you are towing a boat 50 miles to the lake you are adventurous…”

        horses**t. stop acting like the handful of people you know are representative of the entire country.

    • 0 avatar
      Guitar man

      It gets to 45 deg C in Italy or Spain every year. And northern USA (particularly the east side) could hardly be described as “hot”.

      The general precaution in Australia is to never exceed 80 km/h in your V8 Landcruiser while listening to AM talkback at maximum volume.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        45 Celsius would be record-setting in the Midwest, but even in northern MN it’s expected that at least one week in summer will top 35 every day. The Dfa humid continental climate really wreaks havoc on roads.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          The south central interior of BC routinely gets in the mid to high 40’s C in the summer. A friend used to be a manager for the provincial railway and he told me there are days where it gets so hot that the rails warp.

  • avatar
    duffman13

    One of the reasons we got a Santa Fe was the traditional automatic and the 5000lb tow rating, since that’s around the exact weight of my S2000 on top of a car hauler for when I take it to the track.

    One of these days I’ll invest in a lightweight aluminum one for some peace of mind so I’m not right at the limit.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I wonder if this is also a mountain range thing. For example other then Alps (which are insane) isn’t most of Europe just rolling hills, similar to maybe the state of SC in localized elevation change? I’ve been to France, Italy, UK, Germany, Holland, and Russia. Granted I was mostly in coastal areas or city centers but I don’t remember seeing any warnings regarding steep grades (once again not counting the Alps). I’ve been all over Germany and I swear its no more hilly then NJ.

    Check the data here:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_average_elevation

    The US is pretty much in the middle of the list. Granted the US includes Hawaii and Alaska which must skew the numbers up. Looking at Germany for example it less hilly then Iraq and Australia but those are places I would consider pretty “flat”.

  • avatar
    AlfaRomasochist

    The P2 (2001-2009ish) Volvos are really quite good as tow vehicles. My ’06 V70R had the factory 2″ hitch as well as the OEM wiring adapter, which integrated with the vehicle electronics. It had an auxiliary turn signal indicator on the dash, which illuminated when the trailer turn signals were activated so you didn’t have to keep wondering if the trailer lights were working. Pretty slick!

  • avatar
    dal20402

    What sort of modifications, if any, are needed to put a hitch on a Taurus SHO or MKS?

    My LS460 would be pretty good for towing, mechanically. It has RWD, lots of power, an understressed and proven reliable transmission, a long wheelbase, and good brakes. But to put a tow hitch on it is a butchering operation that requires cutting up the rear valance and a couple of underbody fairings, so I’ll never do it.

    • 0 avatar

      This guy has done a lot of overweight towing with a Taurus.
      http://www.canamrv.ca/

      He modifies the hell out of the hitch mounts thou.

    • 0 avatar
      SkookumFord

      Curt makes a Bolt-on Class 3 hitch for the 6th gen Taurus that is rated for 4000 lbs GTWR / 400 lbs tongue. It literally bolts right on, even has the mounts for the dual exhaust.

      https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Curt/13552.html

      They make one for MKS too but its only rated at 3500/350

      https://www.etrailer.com/Trailer-Hitch/Lincoln/MKS/2016/C12088.html?vehicleid=20168721

    • 0 avatar
      Junes

      Hey dal20402… do you have any info or online reference for putting a tow hitch on an LS460? I have a 2011 model (with Sport Package and the huge six pot Brembo front brakes, FWIW), and I’m also a biker — the pedal yourself sort of bike.

      I would love to be able to haul a couple of bikes on a hitch-mounted rack, as opposed to a trunk rack, which I have, but I don’t appreciate how it messed up the paint on the trunk lid and bumper of my IS350. I’d rather keep the paint, trunk lid, and bumper on my LS in pristine condition. Every shop I have asked in the DC area has said they won’t put a hitch on my car because Lexus discourages it. Indeed, the owners manual states that you shouldn’t tow anything.

      To me it’s preposterous to think that an LS460 can’t handle a hitch and bike rack whose total *loaded* weight would never exceed 150 pounds (hitch, rack, and a couple of bikes). I have not been able to find information about whether the mere existence of a hitch would affect the manufacturer extended warranty coverage — my car is covered through 2021.

      Thanks for any help or info. I’m more of a lurker than an active contributor on this forum, but I always appreciate your perspective on things (especially about how great a car the LS460 is!).

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        http://www.lexls.com/tutorials/body/trailerhitch.html

        May need to reflash Central Processor Module to compensate for trailer electrical load on newer models.

        • 0 avatar
          Junes

          Thanks, desertcat. That lexls site is great for older LS models. I am familiar with it from my days of owning an LS400. For some reason the tow hitch issue is not as straightforward with the LS460s.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            I’ve had excellent results at Hitchworld in El Paso, TX. They have stores nationwide, or at least they did.

            At one time they were owned by U-Haul.

            They use quality brands like Reese, DrawTight, Curt, etc and actually adapt a standard 2″ hitch to the vehicle with steel bars they cut and weld to fit.

            Like with all later model vehicles the devil is in the details, like the CPM that does the electrical load balancing.

            Most newer vehicles without a factory tow pkg need a reflash.

            But if you don’t need trailer lights, no reflash required, and adapting a 2″ hitch is purely mechanical since it won’t be carrying a 500-lb trailer-tongue load.

      • 0 avatar

        Odd Curt makes hitches for the 2012 and up LS but not earlier LS460’s. I assume they must have facelifted the bumper.

        In general the hitch should not affect the warranty. Magnuson Moss warranty act says the presence of an accessory can not void the warranty. The issuer of the warranty has to prove the accessory caused the damage.

        • 0 avatar

          Here is the install steps for the newer (2012 cars)
          http://www.etrailer.com/instructions.aspx?pn=C12114

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            That’s interesting. The picture shows a 2012, but the facelift bumper didn’t come until 2013. Mine is a 2008, only slightly different from the pictured 2012.

            The installs I’ve seen on the forums for earlier cars didn’t poke out below the valance like that (which is very very low!) but went through a hole in it.

            Junes, the 2011 should be exactly like that 2012 that mopar4wd posted.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “but went through a hole in it.”

            Yeah, I had to do something similar (cut a hole in the valance) on a 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited.

            That was the difference between the factory tow hitch and the aftermarket hitch. The factory tow hitch went through the valance and the aftermarket underneath it.

            On the LS that may cause some scraping when going onto driveways or dips in the road.

          • 0 avatar
            Junes

            Thanks, mopar (and dal20402 and highdesertcat). Very helpful. Yeah, I’ve noticed the discrepancy in that Curt makes a hitch for the 2012 LS460 but not for the 2011. I even called Curt to talk to them about the fact that as far as everyone at Lexus I have spoken to goes, there were zero changes in the rear bumper/frame/suspension area from 2011 to 2012. So why don’t they sell one explicitly for 2011 (and earlier models). The Curt fellow said that while it’s “likely” to fit a 2011 just as well as it does a 2012, they have not tested it on an actual 2011 model, so they can’t say that it’ll work for it.

  • avatar
    whitworth

    Car transmissions are just not built as rugged as they used to be, it’s now all about squeezing out every last mpg.

    It’s not worth risking a blown transmission on a car when you can rent a U-Haul truck for like $20. Cheap insurance if you ask me.

    I’m sure some can handle it, but it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.

    I had a friend tow some stuff in a small rental trailer with his Lexus RX, and even though it’s rated for towing light loads, it blew out shortly afterwards.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      “I had a friend tow some stuff in a small rental trailer with his Lexus RX, and even though it’s rated for towing light loads, it blew out shortly afterwards.”

      This anecdote is rather useless without quite a lot of context. Like model year, specific model, miles on vehicle, maintenance history, weight of trailer, amount of towing, geographic locale. And what does “blew out” mean? The engine? Transmission?

      • 0 avatar
        Not_a_luddite

        True, also when was the transmission last serviced? If you already have burnt fluid, the modifiers are broke down and internal stressors will be higher. My friend used to use a Corolla to two two vintage Vespas everywhere, after trips in excess of 1000mi her transmission needed to be serviced, nearly every time. But, she towed with it frequently, and as long as she kept up on the maintenance, it never experienced an issue.

        • 0 avatar
          whitworth

          But I would argue “servicing” a transmission every 1,000 miles is not exactly normal for the type of duty a Corolla goes through.

          That’s sort of my whole point, it’s not set up to do that. I’m sure some can handle it, but it can still take years off the life of the transmission.

          Some transmissions are more durable than others. What would have happened had that been done in a 2000’s era Honda Accord with an automatic?

          • 0 avatar
            Not_a_luddite

            No one would argue that it was severe duty for a Corolla, but since she was smart enough to be over the top on maintenance she managed to keep that little car intact. In fact she’s still driving it after using it to move from Pittsburgh to LA trailer and scoots in tow.

      • 0 avatar
        whitworth

        Corey,

        Than disregard the anecdote if you don’t think it applies.

        I obviously don’t have all the ridiculous specifics you listed as it wasn’t mine, but it was a small trailer with an apartment-sized move and on a newish RX. It wasn’t like he towed a boat or anything. He was able to convince the dealership to replace it under warranty even though they thought he was at fault.

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      Even large SUV trannies work hard pulling. Our ’98 Yukon broke three trannies occasionally pulling a 5500# horse trailer even after taking care to not tow in the overdrive/direct position (in “D” only). More modern vehicles equipped with more esoteric transmissions (CVT’s, dual-clutch autos) designed more for economy and non-towing performance will most likely fare much worse. In a CVT you are pinching a belt or chain between a couple of sheaves; DCT’s are exercising a couple of tender clutch packs. All this being said, my old ’81 Vanagon with an MT-4 and 74 LEAPIN’ HORSEPOWA towed a U-Haul loaded with around 3000 lbs and loaded with six ankle biters w/associated stuff from Bremerton, WA to San Diego, CA up and down over mountains on I-5 without issue (other than the normal wind sensitivity) and still averaged around 18mpg.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        What kind of speed did you maintain over the Grapevine?

        I have a lot of four-speed Vanagon seat time.

        • 0 avatar
          bullnuke

          If I remember correctly (it was long ago), I never fell below 45 or so, about par for any of the VW vans I’ve owned climbing toward the sky. Any less than that I would surely remember as it was somewhat of a point-of-honor for me to stay above 45. I do remember that I didn’t use my old standard cruise control I’d used on my previous Type 2’s – the old tool box sitting on the accelerator – for my east to west cruises into the prevailing wind on I-80 climbing from Nebraska through Big Wonderful. I was usually loaded down with cases of Schoenling Little Kings for my deprived friends out west.

  • avatar
    SkookumFord

    I have a 2011 Ford Taurus SHO, which is my daily driver and weekend tow rig. Ford rates the Taurus as “Not recommended for Towing,” but as Jack said, the Explorer and Flex are on the “same” platform and drivetrain (actually D4 platform, whereas Taurus is D3). This platform is evolved from the Volvo P2, which underpinned the S80, V70, and even the early XC90. So yeah, as a car, it tows light loads just fine. The weak point, however, is the transmission, which went out at a little over 100k miles.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I’m having flashbacks to hauling wood with a ’84 Nissan 4×2 truck. A big ol 12′ trailer loaded with wood, and the bed also stacked up. It moved, but the 3 speed auto was not happy.

    The Roadmaster I had – tow optioned – was rated for 5000 lbs, if remember correctly. Even the 3.4L V6 in my departed T100 could do the same job – those 4.10 gears out back helped.

    Regarding the Crown Vic, I never saw a tow rating for the vehicle in the manual. Some site mentioned a measly 1000lbs which is pretty funny for a BOF car with a V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      The promo video for the Fleetwood Brougham (hilariously ’90s) touted the towing capacity of 7,000* pounds. I believe that was the most for any sedan available at the time.

      Here, waste 8 minutes of your life.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7CSVefi_lw

      *Corrected

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Toward the end of production of the rounded mid 1990s Fleetwood was rated for 7000 lbs. Car and Driver tested the “whale” Caprice, Roadmaster, and Fleetwood against each other and noted that the Caprice and Roadmaster were rated at 5000 lbs but the Fleetwoods 7000 lb capacity was almost enough to tow the other two.

        • 0 avatar
          CaddyDaddy

          Want to tow a large trailer with a trunk and hang with the Big Boys, get a LT-1 powered B Body with the correct options from the factory. The Ike Gauntlet or Vail pass with a 4K trailer is is never a problem for my Caprice.

      • 0 avatar

        Back in the early 90’s as a teenager I remember reading in Popular Mechanics did a tow test hauling a Four Winns boat across several states.

        and I found it
        http://books.google.com/books?id=4-MDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA36&dq=cadillac+towing&hl=en&ei=4dkXTeaROcP68AbVwPmJDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDEQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=cadillac%20towing&f=false

    • 0 avatar

      I had a coworker who towed a Pearson Ensign (23′ sailboat about 4,000 lbs on the trailer) all over the country to races with a Grand Marquis.

      • 0 avatar
        Not_a_luddite

        No one would argue that it was severe duty for a Corolla, but since she was smart enough to be over the top on maintenance she managed to keep that little car intact. In fact she’s still driving it after using it to move from Pittsburgh to LA trailer and scoots in tow.

    • 0 avatar
      mankyman

      I have done years of towing in my ’07 CVPI. It is technically rated to tow 1500 pounds, and I am fairly sure I’m right at that with my 16′ boat. It has no problem towing the boat, going up hills, stopping, etc. (I used to have an ’02 CVPI and that thing had a 3.55 rear end, which made towing even easier.)

      I have towed up to 3000 pounds with the CVPI on the interstate (on a 600 mile road trip) and I did not feel comfortable going faster than 60. I was being passed by big rigs going 80, and the wind as they went by made my whole rig shudder. I would not tow more than that with a CVPI.

      And you actually have to be careful too. If you exceed the stated towing capacity in the manual and get into an accident, one of the first things a plaintiff’s attorney is going to do is check for evidence of statutory negligence.

  • avatar
    Luke

    Jack nailed it, it’s all about expectations. To wit…

    When my niece moved to New Jersey after college a couple years ago we towed a small U-Haul enclosed trailer with her Honda Fit. The hitch and wiring was professionally installed and the load was both well-balanced and about equal to the rating found on Honda’s UK website. The rig even looked relatively level and didn’t seem terribly awkward driving around town. I have a lot of experience pulling a largish boat and car trailers with various Jeep SUVs and gas-powered pickups. I wasn’t too worried.

    How did it go? Well, it worked but it isn’t something I will do again.

    Even the most modest hills were a struggle and cross winds were a real issue. The rear suspension bottomed regularly on the crappy urban freeways in Chicago and Cleveland. Merging, passing, stopping, and just driving in traffic required much more concentration and forethought than I was used to with my trucks. Pennsylvania, home of not a single straight line, was frequently pucker-inducing. Worst of all she had little experience towing, and since this was no time to learn I did pretty much all the driving.

    The safest practical speed was about 60, and when we didn’t push it and drove hyper-carefully and defensively it worked okay. The whole setup would have been completely acceptable for the much shorter distances that I assume are typical to European trips. It just didn’t work well for the vast stretches here in the New World.

    Since Serge doesn’t specify the distance or geography he’s going to be facing it’s hard to make a definitive recommendation. If it’s a short distance or just a couple hours here and there I wouldn’t be too concerned. If it’s really hilly or he’s going to driving all day, I’d say look for something better equipped for the task.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    2,500#?

    Anything with a 6 or a good turbo-4 rated for 3,500 or above.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    I always thought the low towing limits in this country were because we are so litigious.

  • avatar
    TR4

    American car manufacturers weren’t always afraid of towing. Lucy and Desi pulled a huge trailer with an Oldsmobile and a dolly in “The Long Long Trailer”. My father pulled a travel trailer with our ’66 Dodge Polara with a 318 and a class III receiver and a weight distributing hitch. I did the same thing with my ’85 Astro with Chevrolet’s blessing. What happened?

    • 0 avatar
      bullnuke

      There’s quite a story on the “Long, Long Trailer”. The car Lucy and Desi were seen driving around in without the trailer and on the flats was a Mercury Monterey with a 125-hp flathead. It was substituted with a Lincoln Capri (which looked very similar) during the mountain towing scenes due to the larger engine available (205-hp Y-block) in that car.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      How fast did you tow those things?

  • avatar
    Willyam

    “…as a nation we tend to be remarkably unpleasant to people who are “holding us up” on the road”

    Jack is NOT kidding here. I’ve wondered why, decades ago, my father and I fished most of the midwest in an aluminum boat pulled by a 4-cylinder, 2wd Datsun 720 pickup with a loaded bed and shell topper. It seemed relaxed and pleasant, but then again I wasn’t driving.

    Nowadays, I drive a couple of 15-year-old vehicles, and I’m not sure if the constant truck grille in my mirror is a reflection or a sticker someone put there to prank me. I think it’s real, as it blares its horn whenever I slow to turn.

    The roads are a LOT more crowded, and the patience of the Stone Tahoe Pilots around me is very low.

    This number was kinda hard to find, but here’s the DOT table I could dig up. During my lifetime, 111 million registered highway vehicles has shot up to 260 million.

    https://www.rita.dot.gov/bts/sites/rita.dot.gov.bts/files/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/table_01_11.html

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      ” the patience of the Stone Tahoe Pilots around me is very low.”

      This made my day*

      *source: married to a Tahoe owner who likes to blaze

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Don’t tell Jeff “unhealthy practice, we’re seeing real violence” Sessions.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Why do you have such disdain for AG Sessions?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “This is a new era. This is the Trump era.” he said. “It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first … we first take our stand.” Judging by prepared remarks published ahead of his speech, however, Sessions stopped short. The full sentence reads: “It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.”

            Are they going to set up bathroom and shower facilities along that wall?
            Seems to me to be the simplest way to deal with filth.

  • avatar
    balreadysaid

    http://www.tractorbynet.com/forums/trailers-transportation/229094-diesel-cars-9.html

    This is the place you will see the real deal diesel car towing. If you have anything to do with excavators, backhoes, or any tractors and attatchments, this is the go to info source. Other forums out there don’t really have the depth of info.

  • avatar
    chaparral

    2500# towed weight requires 250# tongue weight.

    Assuming ordinary sedan proportions, that’s no more additional weight on the rear wheels than having three men in the back seat.

    So my recommendation is any five-seat car, and an inertial or electric trailer brake.

    If you use passenger-car tires so you can tow at 85 MPH, make sure they’re rated for 1250# load each. Ideally, you’d use the exact same wheels that come on the car, so one spare can cover all six wheels and tires.

  • avatar

    “Here in the States, however, most manufacturers specifically prohibit towing with any of their products that have a trunk.”

    Not just vehicle manufacturers. I needed to rent a small trailer with a ramp to move a Hammond M-111 organ that I bought for my collection of musical instruments (the tonewheel Hammonds are magnificent examples of mid 20th century American engineering and they also sound cool too). Since it was a Sunday and none of the other trailer rental shops were open, I went to UHaul, which simply won’t rent you a trailer if you don’t have a vehicle rated to tow it. As we were using my cousin’s F-250 4X4 and it was a little 5X9 open trailer, the questionaire was a bit superfluous but the guy at UHaul had to ask all the questions (which included whether it was a crew cab, club cab etc.). On their website, you can’t even reserve a trailer if you don’t indicate a tow vehicle that UHaul says can handle the load.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    You know what makes a great tow vehicle? A B-body GM sedan. I would imagine a CVPI would be even better.

    Also, if we expect slow drivers to get out of the fast lane and stay out, then we absolutely have to respect the right of slow drivers to trundle along at the speed limit (or even a few mph lower) in the slow lane. Seems intuitive, right?

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      Crown Vic’s are not good tow vechiles. Their unibody structure in the rear is not up to the task of towing or for things like rear end collisions.

      • 0 avatar
        mankyman

        They’re BOF, not unibody. I know – I mounted my class III hitch to the frame.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          ????

          The Crown Vic was the last body on frame car out their.

          This is an interesting tidbit:

          “If the Ford full-size line were to be considered as a single shared lineage, it would comfortably be the longest-running in the car industry with staggering collective production numbers. The Crown Victoria and Police Interceptor were produced until September 2011, 103 years after the introduction of the 1908 Model T.”

          2nd place for a continuous model line would go to the Suburban.

          ” By comparison, the longest-running nameplate in the industry, the Chevrolet Suburban (which has also been branded as a GMC and a Holden at various times), has been in use for 83 model years.”

          • 0 avatar
            RobertRyan

            Lou_BC
            If the Suburban was launched in Australia instead of the US, it would have rivalled the Edsel in longevity

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            RobertRyan – that wasn’t my point and I don’t see the point of yours.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The Suburban /was/ launched in Australia (GMT400 model). And it /did/ have the longevity of the Edsel. Instead of rigging up a RHD version of the regular Suburban/CK interior, they thought it would be better to make a RHD S-10 Blazer interior, then stretch the center and passenger side to fit. It went over about as well as a pitcher of warm Hamm’s on a rainy day.

            But yeah, I don’t understand the link here.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Drzhivago138 – thanks.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    “If you want to get a sense of the boilerplate used in these discussions, try posting on VWVortex that you’d like to tow a 32-foot Bayliner with a new Golf 1.4T”

    Ah, if only such a unicorn existed…. I love the VW 1.4T engine, and found it more than adequate (and making very pleasant noises to boot), but it’s NOT available on Golf…. yet anyway

  • avatar
    slap

    I’ve thought about getting a trailer for my MX-5. A lightweight yakama trailer is 160 lbs, and my kayak is 50 lbs. Combined (with paddles, etc) it would be around 250 lbs.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      I know a guy that tows a small trailer behind his Miata for track days. He has a complete set of extra wheels/tires and two rather large tool boxes. It looks like a utility trailer one might drag behind a large riding lawn motor for hauling yard debris around.

      Also know someone who towed a small (14′) boat with a Ford Focus.

      As mentioned below sometimes its not the weight but the aero load that is the problem. Even my small 16′ boat is like pulling a parachute around. The boat’s shape is basically an upside down airfoil, thus the drag it creates is pretty high. On windy days I really notice it even my V8 Dakota which has the tow package (different rear gears, oil cooler, tranny cooler, etc).

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    This question may be quite relevant in a hundred years when America is part of the Caliphate. The women can be towed around in the trailer while the men sit up front in the car. Does a car with a trunk have enough capacity to tow all your cattle, I mean women, around?
    .
    .

  • avatar
    Rday

    The point i was trying to make earlier is that when pulling a cube trailer, even though the weight rating of the trailer falls withing the guidelines of the towing vehicle, the frontal area may be too large for the same towing vehicle. so you need to check this out before you buy your truck or van. Chrysler told me that my grand caravan could not pull the high cube trailer i was given even if it was ’empty’. The actual trailer weighed prox 3500lbs which met their weight guidelines but companies are known to overload their demo fleets as new items become available. Better to have an over sized truck than one that is ‘unsafe’. that goes for the trailer too.

    • 0 avatar
      Carlson Fan

      I believe the MDX at one time had a 4500 lb tow rating for a boat and a 3500 lb rating for a box trailer. Said it more than once that when towing it’s pushing the wind out of your way that can be the issue, not moving the weight.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    If you want to really trigger the “you need a truck to tow” crowd, send them over to these guys:

    http://www.canamrv.ca/

    They specialize in load distributing sway management systems and regularly set up cars to pull 30 foot Airstreams.

    I agree with Jack’s assessment of why in North America we feel the need to over-equip, but the guys at can-am go as far to make some great points as to why vehicles with lower centers of gravity are better for towing than tall trucks.

    What it really comes down to is that a modern truck is designed to have a trailer that meets it’s published specs dropped on the bumper and dragged at the limits on the freeway to the limits of the ST tires without much hassle. We can afford such luxuries.

    Cars and minivans can be set up for such things, but require careful consideration and investment, but can do it when equipped.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      danio3834 – well said and very true. I’d rather have “too much” tow vehicle than just barely enough. “We can afford such luxuries.”

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Yup. As the owner of an Airstream travel trailer, I sometimes hangout at the Airstream forums. The Can-Am guys have their fanatic supporters and their fanatic adversaries, who claim that nothing less than a 3/4 diesel will suffice to tow a 25-foot Airstream. That said, a few years ago, there was a sad and pathetic thread by a CanAm customer who blew up his Pentastar engine in a Chrysler 300 while towing an Airstream. Lucky for him, the engine was still under warranty and Chrysler apparently didn’t ask too many questions about the circumstances that led to massive cooling system failure, etc.

      There is a big difference between the occasional user who tows a moderate distance (say, for weekend trips) over moderate terrain and someone who is gone for months at a time covering many thousands of miles. The difference is the expected duty cycle of the engine and the rest of the drivetrain components. Regularly exceeding the recommendations on towing weight and or cargo for long periods of time most likely will exceed the designed duty cycle of lots of engine and drivetrain components, which makes early failures more likely.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        All this being said, I’m strongly considering fabbing up a load distributing setup for a Hellcat Charger and using that as my everything vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Cool. That load distribution setup could be used as a mounting point for wheelie bars if one wanted to drag race with slicks.
          On second thought, don’t wheelie bars work better mounted to the rear axle?

  • avatar
    poggi

    The best of both worlds? My ’11 335d. Lots of torque. Same tranny that goes into the Rolls. Mileage takes a hit, say drop from 35 mpg to 26 but rides great, pulls easy.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    If someone wants to tow with a trunk, just put a rigid tonneau cover on your pickup or buy a Ridgeline.

    Problem solved!

    • 0 avatar
      Funky

      I agree. I personally went with the rigid tonneau cover on my pickup. It keeps my stuff dry and secure. And, I have a vehicle which has specifications that exceed my towing needs.

  • avatar
    WallMeerkat

    In Europe you will see mid-size (usually diesel) hatchback, sedans and wagons towing small trailers. Used to be that they would tow larger trailers too.

    However these days for towing larger trailers, caravans and car trailers, a pickup truck or an SUV is a must. Again, usually diesel.

    The manufacturers stipulate a maximum towing weight that must be adhered to or the vehicle is illegal.

    Plus there are maximum speed limits – usually 10mph less than the regular speed limit on highways.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    Its not all that long ago we used to have cars here rated for serious towing. In the b-body’s final years you could tow a factory rated 7000lbs with it. That’s more than nearly every crossover on sale today. I used to tow with my Caprice wagon; worked out just fine.

  • avatar
    jxpatt

    This is nicely observed. I tow my Puma (total load c.3,300lbs) with my 530d and the whole train is perfect.

    But then, the culture here (UK) means that you get the head down, observe braking distances, never generally stray further than the middle lane, and observe the National Speed Limit (that limit is not a fixed number; it means 60mph on a single carriageway and 70mph on a dual carriageway or motorway, and you deduct 10mph if you’re towing in a car).

  • avatar
    DirtRoads

    There’s a towing option on my 1986 Corvette. ‘Nuff said.

  • avatar
    focus-ed

    I’ve seen old Focus loaded to the roof while pulling uhaul trailer (not the smallest one). Them safety chains arcing on the highway.
    Better yet, once I saw a Smart pulling a trailer (the size of coffin but still) through mountains in AZ.

  • avatar

    I used to have a 2002 subaru outback and we towed a 4×8 trailer PACKED with our stuff, all over the country. Drove close to 3000 miles with it. Had a hitch put on by u-haul. That car did great for us but I was glad to upgrade soon after to an ’01 Tacoma.


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