Author Topic: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?  (Read 6772 times)

KiloRomeo

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I'm slowly coming to terms that there is nothing out there comparable to my old car and I'll have to just deal with the fuel mileage hit.

Things I need:

Tows 1,500#'s
Maximum mpg (road trips/commute queen)
DIY ability

Things I want.:
Manual transmission (seems hard to find nowadays)
Leather - almost a need.....cloth gets too dirty with my hobbies
Hatchback

Best I can come up with is the latest generation Ford Focus, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord or Mazda 3/6. That being said I was hoping to spend closer to $10k.

Any ideas?

Grimey

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2014, 07:46:31 AM »
Used Toyota Matrix (Corolla hatchback) 1500# towing and manual trans.

My experience says 1500# is the max, as braking is your real concern.

Angie55

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2014, 08:47:22 AM »
Subaru Outback. Not the best on mileage. But the 2005 and earlier are rated for 2700# (half if you don't have brakes on the trailer). I get around 22mpg pulling my camper up the Rockies. I calculated its around 800-900lbs empty. Without towing its around 18city and 26 hwy so still fairly acceptable mpg.

Inside is plenty large (max width is 40"). I can easily put two fully assembled bikes in the back. Or throw some sheets of plywood on the roof. 

Got mine 2 years ago for 8k with 80000 miles on it.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2014, 01:02:37 PM by Angie55 »

RWD

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2014, 11:09:57 AM »
A lot of vehicles can tow at least 1500 lb. Apparently even a 2002-2005 Toyota Celica can tow 2000 lb (technically a hatchback, but probably not what you're looking for)...

Some options:
Toyota Matrix/Pontiac Vibe (1500 lb)
Hyundai Elantra (1500 lb)
Subaru Impreza (2000 lb)
Subaru Legacy/Outback (2700 lb)
Volvos and Saabs (2000 lb+)

Source:
http://autos.aol.com/car-finder/year-1999-2006/style-hatchback+.wagon/transmission-manual/1500-lb-towing-capacity/sort-gpm/

The Architect

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2014, 11:18:40 AM »
A Ford brochure I just found online says the Ranger can be equipped to tow up to 6,000#, and gets 22-27 mpg. Edmunds says a 2004 manual with vinyl seats gets 21-27 mpg, tows 2,000#+, and with 100,000 miles should cost ~$2,500. I'd trust one of those towing more than any passenger car as a Ranger is designed to tow, while a passenger car is not (always - Subaru's might be). No hatchback, obviously, but you can always get a topper.

ketchup

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2014, 11:20:36 AM »
1991-1996 Buick Roadmaster Wagon


Tows 3500lbs (5000 if you find one with the towing package).
Very DIY friendly (old-style Chevy 350 V8).
Leather.
Hatchback.
Way less than $10k (We got our 1992 for $700).
Unfortunately not available as a manual (I was disappointed too).

Can get 22MPG on the highway (probably better if you go at a more reasonable speed than we do on the highway), more like 16MPG in town, but for the price it can't be beat as a cheap towing vehicle that nobody would ever think of.

I guarantee it's nothing like what you were thinking, but that's what we're all about around here.

greaper007

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2014, 11:33:53 AM »
My 2000 Sienna can handle 3500lbs.    MPG is only 19-25 though.   

The thing is really a beast though, and if you're traveling alone or as a couple you may be able to forgo the trailer and just sleep in the back.   You also have 7 seats to use when you're the DD or someone comes to town.

Bob W

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2014, 11:41:28 AM »
1991-1996 Buick Roadmaster Wagon


Tows 3500lbs (5000 if you find one with the towing package).
Very DIY friendly (old-style Chevy 350 V8).
Leather.
Hatchback.
Way less than $10k (We got our 1992 for $700).
Unfortunately not available as a manual (I was disappointed too).

Can get 22MPG on the highway (probably better if you go at a more reasonable speed than we do on the highway), more like 16MPG in town, but for the price it can't be beat as a cheap towing vehicle that nobody would ever think of.

I guarantee it's nothing like what you were thinking, but that's what we're all about around here.

How awesome is that!   How many miles were on the one you purchased.   

We used Lincolns in the construction business.   Huge trunks, tow a lot, leather, decent hwy mpg, buy em cheap, run em hard.   

Forcus

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2014, 11:45:52 AM »
I think those cars (the OP's list) are good choices but you might have to up your budget a bit. A 2012 Focus hatch that hasn't been wrecked goes for $12-15k here. On the flip side, new ones are $14-$15k without leather.

KiloRomeo

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2014, 12:36:12 PM »
It should be noted that this will also be my daily driver so the older, fuel ineffiecient cars are out. I'll also be towing a boat, so no need for sleeping space . The toyota's are good suggestions, I'll look into them

totoro

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2014, 12:58:53 PM »
98 Tercel.

91-98s can tow 2000 lb.  Manual transmission.  No leather.

Bought it in 2003 with 36,000 kms on it for $8000 and it tows our car trailer and small boat.  Probably worth $3000 on the market, maybe a bit more because of the tow package. 

ketchup

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2014, 01:05:16 PM »
How awesome is that!   How many miles were on the one you purchased.   

We used Lincolns in the construction business.   Huge trunks, tow a lot, leather, decent hwy mpg, buy em cheap, run em hard.
We got it with 158K on it; it has 164K right now.  Strictly for long roadtrips involving multiple (up to 4) set up dog crates.  We've used it almost exclusively on the highway and it's been great.  Haven't used it for towing yet at all.  It can also seat seven.  It's a beast.

AgileTurtle

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #12 on: November 24, 2014, 01:25:39 PM »
No way would I tow anything with a Focus or similar size car. They are way to light in my opinion and are not made for towing. I think it would destroy them.

2000 or so Cherokees are dirt cheap and plenty strong. Not great gas mileage but easy to work on.

This is totally anecdotal but my friend had late 90 Ranger with a 4 cylinder that he used to tow a trailer with a single dirt bike. The motor was trash by 100K miles. It was just too weak for where he was taking it (mountains). But you see tons of Tacoma doing the same thing and are fine so who knows. I wouldn't use a 4 cylinder to town anything.
 

 

KiloRomeo

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #13 on: November 24, 2014, 01:28:58 PM »
Agile, other countries do it all the time. MY current car has been towing for the past 85k miles and consistently gets 30-45 mpg TOWING (depending on what I tow)....still going strong.

Pretty sure the Focus was tow car of the year in Denmark.

AgileTurtle

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2014, 01:34:19 PM »
Agile, other countries do it all the time. MY current car has been towing for the past 85k miles and consistently gets 30-45 mpg TOWING (depending on what I tow)....still going strong.

Pretty sure the Focus was tow car of the year in Denmark.

That is nuts. I wonder if they build them different. Do they come with hitches? Ford will void your warranty here if you use your Focus to tow anything. I dont know if this is their official policy but I have read in multiple places.

StartingEarly

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #15 on: November 24, 2014, 03:01:10 PM »
Many vehicles that didn't come with leather can be converted.  One I was thinking about doing before is an S10 with seats out of a blazer, black heated leather doesn't show any stains.

KiloRomeo

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #16 on: November 24, 2014, 03:36:39 PM »

That is nuts. I wonder if they build them different. Do they come with hitches? Ford will void your warranty here if you use your Focus to tow anything. I dont know if this is their official policy but I have read in multiple places.

Generally the same car, sometimes there are some variances. It's been said that manufacturers will void a warranty but I've never seen it happen (doesnt mean it hasn't). That being said, how can they tell if I have a hitch on my car to tow a boat or if it's just for bike rack use? Plus, all the vehicles I buy are generally out of warranty so  I don't care.

Angie55

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #17 on: November 24, 2014, 03:41:03 PM »
I'd be more concerned towing with a car that doesn't authorize it and getting into an accident. I would think the disclaimer on the car warranty would void any claims you'd have against insurance no?  That was the main reason I got a car with a towing capacity.

Forcus

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2014, 03:32:56 PM »
No way would I tow anything with a Focus or similar size car. They are way to light in my opinion and are not made for towing. I think it would destroy them.

Well, if you are one of those people that bombs along at 80+ downhill in the mountains with 20k lbs behind you, then yeah, a 4 cylinder / FWD car will not be adequate.

But a smaller aluminum or steel utility trailer (like 6 x 10') loaded properly, used for certain purposes, and driven conservatively is fine (in most situations). By loaded properly, I mean very little tongue weight (~100 lbs or so) and keeping the load fairly light (under 2k). Even those things might not be a "comfortable" ride. That is part of it too, would I want to tow 2k with an automatic Focus in the mountains, no. But here it's fairly flat and a non issue. I would also not want to try to pull a boat out of the water with a manual FWD car either, or try to pull a trailer up a steep, slick hill with FWD even with snow tires. If those are on your list and you must have a manual then you'd probably have to go to a small pickup / SUV and even then, pulling a boat out of the water, you'd need something with low range 4x4, not just AWD (our boat ramps tend to get pretty slick and I've been there done that with manuals). So yeah, there's disclaimers. I guess when I see most people around here that "need" trucks and aren't construction workers, what they really "need" is flexible hauling - something with good MPG for the commute and a small trailer for Home Depot runs on the weekends. If you are talking something else, like towing a large camper then yeah, not an option, don't bother trying to do the car thing.

greaper007

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #19 on: November 26, 2014, 07:58:30 AM »
Why not buy 2 cars?  Say an older Prius or Fit for great gas mileage, and a 15-20+ year old 4x4 truck or Suv for towing?   Especially if you're just towing the boat locally.

I find that with most all in one packages you end up doing lots of things poorly.

ketchup

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #20 on: November 26, 2014, 08:10:21 AM »
Why not buy 2 cars?  Say an older Prius or Fit for great gas mileage, and a 15-20+ year old 4x4 truck or Suv for towing?   Especially if you're just towing the boat locally.

I find that with most all in one packages you end up doing lots of things poorly.
This is exactly what we have.  In addition to the beast pictured above, I have a '99 Metro that gets 42MPG on a bad day.  And it's never a bad thing to have a backup vehicle in case something really stupid happens.

kib

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #21 on: November 26, 2014, 08:19:18 AM »
Can't say enough good things about my 2004 Matrix, I've been using it to tow up to a filled 5*8 U-Haul for years.  The cost of a Matrix means that at $10,000 you'll probably be out of warranty anyway, but I don't recall any warning about voiding it, the car's rated for towing, after all. 

Greg

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #22 on: November 26, 2014, 08:58:56 AM »
My understanding is that for towing, an automatic transmission (with transmission fluid cooler) is preferred over a manual.

jba302

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #23 on: November 26, 2014, 09:04:00 AM »
I'd be more concerned towing with a car that doesn't authorize it and getting into an accident. I would think the disclaimer on the car warranty would void any claims you'd have against insurance no?  That was the main reason I got a car with a towing capacity.

The denial would not based on the car warranty, but based on policy wording. There is a clause that allows insurance companies to deny claims for "avoidable accidents." Driving under the influence, excessive speeding, letting an underage person drive, etc. are part of this. Loading a vehicle with a trailer that isn't rated for the weight, then plowing into someone would be an avenue for a denial, but only if the excess weight contributed to the accident. If you are overloaded just don't rear-end anyone.

guitar_stitch

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #24 on: November 26, 2014, 12:14:08 PM »
Consider the Honda Element.  Plastic flooring, stain resistant seats, cargo space, tows 1500# (US rating, higher elsewhere) and has my personal approval for reliability.  Mine is going on 180,000 hard earned miles, was my only vehicle for DD as well as towing my 2200# enclosed trailer at highway speeds for 3 years, and has not complained once.  Total non-maintenance repairs I've done on the vehicle: 1 - starter.

KiloRomeo

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #25 on: December 03, 2014, 09:28:56 AM »
This is actually geared towards towing a boat. I currently tow my boat with my Jetta TDI manual and it does just fine pulling the boat out of the water.

pagoconcheques

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Re: Need a new tow vehicle with a hint of mustachian - does it exist?
« Reply #26 on: December 03, 2014, 03:03:50 PM »
Consider the Honda Element.

+1, this is a good suggestion.  They are available with a 5-speed manual, though that option disappeared the last couple years of production.  The Element is an incredibly versatile vehicle except for the strange door configuration (deal killer for some people).  Test drive one before ruling them out.