Might buy a High/Hy
Join Date: Mar 2015
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Towing 3500 lbs -- is it realistic?
I'm shopping for a new SUV. I tow a 3500 lb trailer about 6 or 8 times a year, in the Northeastern U.S., mostly small hills but some longer climbs through the Appalachians. Overall, I drive about 20,000 miles/yr, of that about 3000 to 4000 miles is towing. Have never had a hybrid before (never had a Toyota, for that matter). The MPG ratings are obviously attractive, and the Highlander seems like a very comfortable vehicle. Also considering the non-hybrid Highlander, and other non-hybrid mid-sized SUV's.
1. Does anyone have experience towing 3000 to 3500 lbs with a 2014 or 2015 Highlander Hybrid? Any problems?
2. How will the CVT transmission handle towing? Is it strong enough? Will it keep the engine at the proper RPM when towing up a hill?
3. How well will the regenerative braking work? Any concerns about the effectiveness of this system, with a 3500 lb trailer behind? (the trailer has 4-wheel electric brakes and I will install a brake controller in the Highlander).
4. I have read reports that the hybrid system on older (pre-2014) Highlanders "shuts down" if overloaded (e.g. on long, steep hills) or if traction is poor (snow, steep/wet areas) ... is this still the case with the 2014-2015 models? Any remedies?
I have searched the Forum and read previous posts on towing, particularly CedarMtn's problems with boat ramps, and the guy who towed a U-Haul from Ohio to Texas. Most of the posts are about earlier models (pre-2014), and I don't know if the 2014-2015 models are any different. It appears that very, very few people tow anything with a Highlander Hybrid, which worries me.
Any advice (or better yet, actual real-world experience) much appreciated. THANKS!