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Towing With A Toyota Highlander 4 Cylinder?


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#1 Bob Dupree

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 06:55 AM

Has anyone used a Toyota Highlander 4 cylinder for towing? I have a 16 ft, Casita SD right now and I am thinking a getting a mint used Highlander as replacement for our old car. Right now I tow with a v6 Toyota Tacoma and just wondered if would be practical and safe to use the Highlander also for towing.
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#2 Babs&Chris

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Posted 08 July 2013 - 04:13 PM

What do you think of the 6 cylinder Tacoma?

Edited by Babs&Chris, 12 July 2013 - 08:15 AM.


#3 Bob Dupree

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Posted 24 July 2013 - 10:54 AM

We traded a brand new GMC Canyon for our used Tacoma with 15,000 miles on the Tacoma. The GMC Canyon could barely get 16 to 17 mpg without towing the Casita. We have had no problems towing with the 6cyl. Tacoma. We usually travel from 60 to 65 mph on interstates and what ever the speed limit is on back roads. Gas mileage towing is 16 to 17 mpg on the interstate, sometimes a little more on back roads. Of course going up some eastern mountains the mileage would drop. We have just a standard factory Toyota hitch and a sway bar as far as towing equipment. The nice part of the Tacoma is once we arrive in an area and unhook, the Tacoma often gets into the mid 20s for just driving around. We also have a cap on the Tacoma which I think may help with air resistance as it is about even with the top of our 16ft SD. The Tacoma is a 2005 and the only thing we have ever had to do other than oil changes, is one brake adjustment and replace the battery and tires. Put a set of Michelin LT tires on the truck, what a world of difference from the Goodrich tires it came with. Now we can't hear the tires and even our gas mileage improved just by switching tires. We are thinking of getting a Toyota Highlander to replace our 97 Toyota Camry which has nearly 300,000 miles on it and also needed almost nothing but routine oil changes.

Edited by Bob Dupree, 24 July 2013 - 11:02 AM.

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#4 sajack

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 05:37 AM

A 4 cylinder Highlander might work on level road for a short distance, but I wouldn't plan on using it for any serious trips. Check to see what Toyota lists as the towing capacity. Your Tacoma is a real truck, rear wheel drive, body on frame construction. The Highlander is Camry based, front wheel drive on a unit platform. There is quite a bit of tongue weight with the Casita. I personally would not be comfortable with a hitch bolted to the unit platform.
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#5 trumpetguy

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Posted 20 October 2013 - 02:42 PM

Stick with the truck for towing. A four cyl Highlander prolly doesn't have the towing package which would include tranny cooling.
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#6 Babs&Chris

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 11:56 AM

Highlanders have gone through some size changes in the past few years so without knowing the year it is hard to make a determination. The owner's manual would be your best guide. Also, with some of the advice, be sure that people realize that you have a 16' Casita rather than a 17' because the weight and balance of the two is quite different and a vehicle marginal for a 17 might be quite happy with a 16'.
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#7 cmac

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:27 PM

We had a Toyota Highlander 2004, guide said we could tow up to 5,000 pounds, after putting a hitch, brake controller and all that stuff, was not even comfortable towing the casita around, felt every bump and pebble in the road. Plus the engine, coolant (i.e.) and all that stuff (without a factory tow package) seems like it was real hard on the Highlander. But love really LOVE our Ford F-150 its is rockin it... :danc:
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#8 Babs&Chris

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Posted 21 October 2013 - 12:41 PM

We just returned from Smoky Mountains rally in Cherokee with our 2013 Highlander. We couldn't have been happier with the vehicle. I think our wheelbase is longer than a 2004 and I think it is going to be extended even a little more in the 2014 model. My only problem was trying to stay under 65 (because of the trailer tire rating), and even in the mountains we never got over 3,000 rpms, and were itching to pass many times when we got behind other rigs going up a mountain. Averaging 17.9 mpg for the 1700 miles wasn't a bad feature, either.
I guess it is all in what you expect and get used to as long as you are within certain safety parameters. Not everyone can purchase a vehicle strictly on its suitability to pull a Casita--some of us have other lives, too, that involve transporting Scout troops, grandchildren, and elderly parents.
So please everyone, do not get on here and tell me how inadequate my tow vehicle is. Instead of listening to all the automotive and structural engineers who post on this site, relax and just look at all the beautiful pictures Casita owners have posted on the forums and Facebook sites. And then after you look at the scenery, notice the vehicles in the pictures and ponder how they all managed to get their Casitas to those places with such a poor choice of a tow vehicle.

#9 sajack

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 02:06 AM

The newer Highlanders appear larger and beefier than older models. I'm sure a V6 2013 Highlander factory equipped to tow can do the job, but an older 4 cylinder model would be stressed trying to tow 3,000 pounds.
I am a loyal Toyota owner. I tow with a 1995 T100 that I bought new over 18 years ago. We just completed a 1,000 mile trip in it to buy our Casita. It has a 3.91 rear axle ratio and a 4 speed automatic trans. with elec. overdrive lockout. It is rated to tow 5,200 pounds. I have towed 5,000 pounds in the Ozarks in the summer with no problem. The 2013 Highlander V6 has more horsepower and torque than my truck's 3.4 V6.
Toyota lists the towing capacity of a 2013 Highkander with the 2.7 liter 4 cylinder at 1,500 pounds.
Toyota lists the towing capacity of a 2013 Highlander with the 3.5 liter 6 cylinder at 5,000 pounds.

Edited by sajack, 22 October 2013 - 02:15 AM.


#10 Babs&Chris

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Posted 22 October 2013 - 08:24 AM

Sajack--you are correct about the 1500 pounds. I was looking at Edmunds which gives the 3500 weight, but I see that Toyota's own brochure states the 1,500 pounds, which I would consider to the authority when it comes to vehicle specs. (http://www.edmunds.c...ures-specs.html) Always good to check the owner's manual. Just goes to show you can't believe everything you read n the Internet!

Even a 16'deluxe is 2,185 pounds with a 255 hitch weight, way out of the league of the the 2.7 4-cyl. Highlander.
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