Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply:
Thomas asks: Eric, What’s the best late model SUV to tow a 5,000 lb. camper in the Rockies? What is your thinking on Hemi technology? Thanks.
My reply: Hi Thomas! The good news is you have a lot of options given your 5,000 lb. tow criteria. There are many SUVs rated to handle that, including some that are based on car-type/FWD platforms (as opposed to truck-type/RWD-based platforms).
But that is their maximum – they have no reserve to spare.
I italicize that with reason given you will be towing in the Rockies.
That is extreme duty – extreme grades. A vehicle that’s maxed out towing 5,000 lbs. will likely be struggling; at the least, it will be working very hard to keep up. This means it will probably be unpleasant to drive it while towing your camper (it’s no fun being the slow poke in the right lane, struggling to maintain 60 on a 9 percent grade) and it’s hard on the vehicle – all its systems – which will probably reduce its service life.
I would therefore be looking at SUVs that can easily pull that weight – with reserve to spare.
Something with a max tow rating around 7,500 lbs. at the least.This will give you power to spare as well as (probably) cooling/brakes/transmission ands other such hardware that can handle the load without being maxed out or close to it.
My personal choice would be something truck-based, with a V8 or diesel engine. There are models such as the Ford Expedition which can tow like a Clydesdale but they have turbo (gas) V6s and the jury is out as far as how they’ll hold up over time.
V8s are known to be long-term reliable, as are diesels.
Speaking of that…
I’d love to recommend the diesel VW Touareg – but they are no longer available.
So, which ones can I recommend?
Even though I am at odds with GM over their politics (vs. mine) they make an excellent (and very capable) vehicle, the Tahoe/Suburban (and its higher-trim GMC equivalent, the Yukon). 4WD models are rated to tow 8,400 lbs. (I’m assuming you’ll want 4WD, given Rockies!) and the 5.3 V8 has ample reserve power. This is also a full-frame/truck-based SUV that is tough and durable and ought to last 15-20 years with proper maintenance.
One caveat: The new/2018 model got “upgraded” with GM’s new 10-speed automatic, if you buy the optional 6.2 V8. I’d avoid this transmission for now – as the jury is still out about its reliability.
The Toyota Sequoia is another similar – and similarly excellent – choice for this kind of work. You will read that it’s an “old design” in the Metrosexual Press – which is true. It does not have an “eco” turbo gas V6 or ten speed automatic or the other prone-to-break/over-complex/over-expensive stuff you don’t want in a vehicle that will be used for real work. Like the Tahoe, this is a simple, rugged SUV that won’t let you down. And – I promise – it is also not a crude beast, as the Metrosexual Press implies. They hate it because it isn’t as “green” as they like.
Ok, but what if you need something smaller? You might take a look at the Jeep Grand Cherokee. But you’ll want the optional Hemi V8, not the standard gas V6. With the Hemi – which seems to be a generally reliable engine (and plenty strong) you’ll have reserve power for pulling that 5,000 lb. trailer int he Rockies.
Sadly, the diesel which was available in this model last year is currently – and probably permanently – on hiatus, because of the Emissions Imbroglio.
Hope this helps steer you in the right direction!
. . .
EPautos.com depends on you to keep the wheels turning! Clovers hate us!
Goo-guhl blackballed us!
Will you help us?
Our donate button is here.
If you prefer not to use PayPal, our mailing address is:
721 Hummingbird Lane SE
Copper Hill, VA 24079
PS: EPautos magnets – they’re back! are free to those who send in $20 or more to support the site. Also, the eBook – free! – is available. Click here. Just enter you email in the box on the top of the main page and we’ll email you a copy instantly!