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Recommendations? - SUV that can pull 1800 Lbs Safely/Efficiently

eleven

LawnSite Member
We run a business that pulls 6x12 enclosed trailers. We have a couple trimmers a blower and a push mower and a Toro Grandstand....nothing too heavy. 1750 lbs but the 'enclosedness' of the trailer can cause a bit of drag on the freeway.

We currently have a 12' 1/2 ton Ram that does great with one of the trailers, and a 04' expedition, the 'OG' that has done us well for 4 years of business and 7 years of family hauling before that.

We are hoping to get another year out of the '04 in 2021, but obviously we need to be ready for it to be out of commission for good soon.

We are looking to get a 'kid hauler' SUV that the wife and I can use for non business things prior to needing to swing in as the hero when the '04 dies (we have another personal vehicle as well).

I don't have a preference in vehicles.....if it can safely pull and we can get some solid years out of it I'd pull with a cutlass supreme, but it's a daunting task to research all the various classifications of used vehicles.

Does anyone have recommendations for an SUV that can be a workhorse as some point? Would like a 15K budget, but more looking for what CAN actually work... are certain v6s enough to do the job?
 

OakNut

LawnSite Platinum Member
Location
Pittsburgh PA
Is that 1,750 lbs including the trailer, or just what you are hauling. (I assume it's a grand total)

I started in 2010. I had a 2001 Silverado 1500 with 5.3 V8 that was my daily driver/camper puller before starting into lawn care.
My wife drove a 1997 Chevy Cavalier up until 3 years ago when it was clear that it needed to go to be replaced.
At that time, we decided it would be best to replace the car with a small SUV that would be able to tow my trailer "in a pinch". My truck was getting old and the odds of it needing to spend a few days in a garage were good - I needed a backup.

We ended up getting a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe.
Clearly, I'm not suggesting you get a Santa Fe, but I wanted to throw this out as a comparison.
The Santa Fe is (I believe) rated to tow 2,500-3,000 lbs. (that higher number may require a trailer with brakes)
Here's a pic of it and my stuff. (not in the pic is a 30" Toro Timemaster)
The trailer with all 3 mowers and all handhelds, plus gas should be right around 1,500 lbs.

The Santa Fe will pull it - but as it's not designed to tow things, I don't know that I would want to do it full time. It's a bit slow up hills and I have to wonder how fast it would eat up brakes - or the transmission. As a BACKUP vehicle though - it's just fine and has saved my butt about 5 times in the 3 years we've had it.



Fast forward to a few weeks ago...
My 2001 Silverado was rusted out and had enough other things going on that it didn't seem like a good idea to sink more money into it. With the drought this season, I didn't have enough money saved up to get a decent pickup truck, so I started looking at SUVs.

I just picked up this 2006 Chevy Trailblazer LS with the 4.2L inline 6 cylinder.
291 hp and torque is 277 @ 4800 RPM (from what I read, this engine produces exceptional low end torque for the size engine)
The tow rating is 5,200-6,200 lbs. depending on which of 3 gear ratios it has.

Note that I have not towed the trailer with my 36" walk behind (I think it's 450 lbs), but I don't think it would affect much - as it stands, I don't even know I'm pulling anything. It tows my small trailer way easier than the Santa Fe does.



You're going to need to do some homework as you go and research the tow ratings of each SUV you may consider. I would maybe start a chart ahead of time in case a vehicle pops up for sale, so you can quickly rule it in or out based on it's towing capabilities.
Generally any of the body on frame SUVs are likely more suited for towing vs a unibody type SUV. Unfortunately, there aren't many SUVs built now with a frame - most are more or less "cars" unless you get into the full size versions.

Good luck. You should be able to find something that will work.
You have a better budget than I did, and I managed to pull it off!
 

rclawn

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Kansas City
Just get your old lady a different vehicle I wouldn’t want a suv for this business just so it can double as a family hauler
 

Crazy 4 grass

LawnSite Fanatic
Location
Minnesota
Is that 1,750 lbs including the trailer, or just what you are hauling. (I assume it's a grand total)

I started in 2010. I had a 2001 Silverado 1500 with 5.3 V8 that was my daily driver/camper puller before starting into lawn care.
My wife drove a 1997 Chevy Cavalier up until 3 years ago when it was clear that it needed to go to be replaced.
At that time, we decided it would be best to replace the car with a small SUV that would be able to tow my trailer "in a pinch". My truck was getting old and the odds of it needing to spend a few days in a garage were good - I needed a backup.

We ended up getting a 2005 Hyundai Santa Fe.
Clearly, I'm not suggesting you get a Santa Fe, but I wanted to throw this out as a comparison.
The Santa Fe is (I believe) rated to tow 2,500-3,000 lbs. (that higher number may require a trailer with brakes)
Here's a pic of it and my stuff. (not in the pic is a 30" Toro Timemaster)
The trailer with all 3 mowers and all handhelds, plus gas should be right around 1,500 lbs.

The Santa Fe will pull it - but as it's not designed to tow things, I don't know that I would want to do it full time. It's a bit slow up hills and I have to wonder how fast it would eat up brakes - or the transmission. As a BACKUP vehicle though - it's just fine and has saved my butt about 5 times in the 3 years we've had it.



Fast forward to a few weeks ago...
My 2001 Silverado was rusted out and had enough other things going on that it didn't seem like a good idea to sink more money into it. With the drought this season, I didn't have enough money saved up to get a decent pickup truck, so I started looking at SUVs.

I just picked up this 2006 Chevy Trailblazer LS with the 4.2L inline 6 cylinder.
291 hp and torque is 277 @ 4800 RPM (from what I read, this engine produces exceptional low end torque for the size engine)
The tow rating is 5,200-6,200 lbs. depending on which of 3 gear ratios it has.

Note that I have not towed the trailer with my 36" walk behind (I think it's 450 lbs), but I don't think it would affect much - as it stands, I don't even know I'm pulling anything. It tows my small trailer way easier than the Santa Fe does.



You're going to need to do some homework as you go and research the tow ratings of each SUV you may consider. I would maybe start a chart ahead of time in case a vehicle pops up for sale, so you can quickly rule it in or out based on it's towing capabilities.
Generally any of the body on frame SUVs are likely more suited for towing vs a unibody type SUV. Unfortunately, there aren't many SUVs built now with a frame - most are more or less "cars" unless you get into the full size versions.

Good luck. You should be able to find something that will work.
You have a better budget than I did, and I managed to pull it off!
Thanks for sharing.

It might be splitting hairs but would that santa fe even fall into the suv class? Seems like that is more of a cuv
 

Shindaiwa_operator

LawnSite Silver Member
Location
Paxton, NE
With Tahoe or Suburban or any Yukon they all have the 5.3l v8 which is a great workhorse! (Same engine as almost all 1/2 ton GMC and Chevy truck) Obviously their rear suspension is more designed for comfort and not towing massive loads but I do see them yanking 5-10,000 trailers once in a while! Also consider 2005-2007 Toyota 4Runner with the v8... or a Toyota Sequoia with the mighty 5.7l v8... on average you’ll have less repairs on Toyotas than Chevys...
 

Mowing monkey.

LawnSite Bronze Member
Just get your old lady a different vehicle I wouldn’t want a suv for this business just so it can double as a family hauler
You’re under estimating the usefulness. I have 3 dump trucks but I’ve been daily driving a 2500 suburban and I sold it and have a Ford excursion now. I’ll never buy another regular bed truck. 1200 pounds is an easy goal but the 2500 suburban and excursion are pretty capable tow vehicles. Once you throw away all the seats they hold a lot of tools and they’re dry and some degree of secure. Plenty of people put toppers on their trucks but having the side doors is way better for access vs the topper.
 
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