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Fixing to buy new suv/truck, and need opinions for towing/babyseat/large dog

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Fixing to buy new suv/truck, and need opinions for towing/babyseat/large dog

Old 09-08-2019, 08:38 AM
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Default Fixing to buy new suv/truck, and need opinions for towing/babyseat/large dog

So, my wife and I are expecting our first child! Besides being scared crapless for many reasons; I now want to buy her a new suv/truck capable of towing. I drive a company vehicle daily, and cannot use it to tow boat.

The problems:
Our current tow truck is a 1gen Tundra with ~340kmiles on it, and wife has said that it has to go! Our 2nd vehicle is an older Toyota Highlander with ~190kmiles on it. (we like toyotas, and drive them into the ground if you cant tell) The Highlander only has a 4cyl, and I do not want to use it as a tow vehicle.

Our first "child" is a 160# Great Dane. He currently rides in the entire back seat of the Highlander on trips. Now that a baby is on the way, he needs a new riding spot. Unfortunately, the current Highlander has a very small trunk space.

Desires:
something fuel efficient-ish, and mid-size truck/suv. Can tow ~current 17ft keywest with possible larger boat down the road. Can carry babyseat in backseat and dog in trunk or (bed with topper?)
95% of driving will be city (south Florida) commute and parking; hence not wanting a larger vehicle. 4% will be driving 5-8 hours to visit family with Baby and dog. 1% will be towing.

Top of list so far:
Tacoma V6 crewcab, Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Highlander. They all have about a 5000# tow capacity, and I will not need more than that for a long time.

I am leaning towards the Highlander at this point, as we can still tow, but will have room for our Dog in the trunk space.

I guess my question would be: IF, I put a topper on a mid-size truck, would any of you feel comfortable putting a large dog back there for long trips? By the time we add a topper, we are almost making the truck an SUV?

I would appreciate any suggestions.








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Old 09-08-2019, 08:53 AM
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Well if you put a top on there make sure the windows open easily. Other then that it sounds like a new Highlander is in your future....what colour you leaning towards?
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:00 AM
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The bed area of trucks with with toppers on them get hella hot even with side windows open. Have you looked at something like a Chevy Tahoe?
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Old 09-08-2019, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by 1720keywest View Post
dog in trunk or (bed with topper?)
will be driving 5-8 hours to visit family with Baby and dog.
I would appreciate any suggestions.


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Old 09-08-2019, 09:58 AM
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Thanks for the comments. Typing this all out, convinced me more of a mid-size suv vs truck. I would rather have a 4Runner, but the mpg drops quite a bit.

I would like a tahoe, but the mpg is lower and its overall bigger which wont help with parking.

I guess putting the dog in the bed might be a little dangerous for him if we had to stop hard too.

If anyone is wondering if I will lose my mancard driving a Highlander, dont worry, I drive a minivan every day for work
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:20 AM
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No matter what, there is a trade-off somewhere . Whether it be fuel, size, bluetooth, etc.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:26 AM
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The answer is : Toyota 4runner...
?

Although the Hilander would also be fine.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:37 AM
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Suburban or expedition EL

Hear me out. I know that sounds huge. they are the same size as a regular cab, short bed pickup. With a backup camera, they are hardly cumbersome to drive. Add to that a real truck drivetrain, tons of interior space, and 18ish or so mph, you have the perfect all around vehicle.

Personally, I would not tow anything on a frequent basis with a front wheel drive or transverse AWD. Ok for short distance on occasion, for instance if you have no need to tow anything more than a Home Depot run trailer to pick up mulch twice a year.

Re: dogs in a topper. Works great. Throw them a bed back there and a bucket of water, and open up the windows and they are happy as can be. May as well get a full size truck though. Midsize have little to any fuel economy advantage.
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Old 09-08-2019, 10:53 AM
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Since you like to hold on to vehicle until they are run to ground, I would second the long wheel base versions of full size SUVs from Ford and GMC if you’re not going with a truck.

Your dog will pretty much take up the entire 3rd row. The extended wheelbase will give you the cargo room you need for babies. You will be surprised how much stuff such a little person needs. On that first overnight trip, you will thank your lucky stars you went as big as you did. When more kids come, you will already be set. Same goes for when you get bigger boat.

Do it once. Go all in.

(FYI...4 kids, former “big dog” owner, regularly tow “heavy”)

Last edited by richeerich; 09-08-2019 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 09-08-2019, 02:54 PM
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I'm not a huge fan of the Highlander from a looks perspective and the fact that it's a FWD vehicle but I don't think you can go wrong. They are extremely versatile inside, can easily tow your boat and have a good bit of room in the trunk. A lot of the large RWD full-size SUVs lose room behind the 2nd row compared to the FWD options. And this is coming from someone who drives a full-size SUV that I love. My wife's Mazda CX-9 actually has more room behind the 2nd row. That's another vehicle you should potentially consider, FYI. This is all based on personal experiences with Nissan Armadas, Ford Expeditions, Toyota Highlanders, Ford Explorers and Mazda CX-9s.
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by briclark904 View Post
I'm not a huge fan of the Highlander from a looks perspective and the fact that it's a FWD vehicle but I don't think you can go wrong. They are extremely versatile inside, can easily tow your boat and have a good bit of room in the trunk. A lot of the large RWD full-size SUVs lose room behind the 2nd row compared to the FWD options. And this is coming from someone who drives a full-size SUV that I love. My wife's Mazda CX-9 actually has more room behind the 2nd row. That's another vehicle you should potentially consider, FYI. This is all based on personal experiences with Nissan Armadas, Ford Expeditions, Toyota Highlanders, Ford Explorers and Mazda CX-9s.
step up to a full length SUV and that loss of space problem won’t be an issue. IMO anything smaller than a suburban is not full size.
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:19 PM
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I appreciate all the replies. My wife will be driving this 99% of the time, and does not like larger vehicles.

I think the midsize SUV will suffice. I found a Ridgline owners forum, and there are some there who do travel with dogs inside their bed with a topper. This does intrigue me, and I think we will need to test drive those as well.
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Old 09-08-2019, 03:27 PM
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Anyway you look at it a SUV or a truck with cap, you CANNOT leave the dig unattended or you will cook him. With a truck you can get a custom dog box made of SS that is insulated with a fan to keep the dog in. That is how we transport or hunting dogs. It can be over 100 out and dog stays cool. They are not cheap, but its the best protection you can have for your dog, both summer winter and in an accident.

https://mtck.com/

Ainley Kennels Home for Dog Trucks and Trailers
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Old 09-08-2019, 04:49 PM
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Sorry I’m late
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 1720keywest View Post
I appreciate all the replies. My wife will be driving this 99% of the time, and does not like larger vehicles.

I think the midsize SUV will suffice. I found a Ridgline owners forum, and there are some there who do travel with dogs inside their bed with a topper. This does intrigue me, and I think we will need to test drive those as well.
Did you say you live in Fl? And dog in the bed with a topper? That’s a bad idea.

Is the the length of a Ridgeline really any different than a Tahoe or Expedition?
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by 1720keywest View Post
I appreciate all the replies. My wife will be driving this 99% of the time, and does not like larger vehicles.

I think the midsize SUV will suffice. I found a Ridgline owners forum, and there are some there who do travel with dogs inside their bed with a topper. This does intrigue me, and I think we will need to test drive those as well.
Dog, baby, car seat, diaper bag, stroller, boat. Wife needs to change her thinking on a full sized SUV
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by 1720keywest View Post
I appreciate all the replies. My wife will be driving this 99% of the time, and does not like larger vehicles.

I think the midsize SUV will suffice. I found a Ridgline owners forum, and there are some there who do travel with dogs inside their bed with a topper. This does intrigue me, and I think we will need to test drive those as well.
Your wife is popping out a baby. Getting used to driving a long wheelbase vehicle in comparison...easy peezy.
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Old 09-08-2019, 05:49 PM
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Wife has a Tahoe premier. Absolutely loves it and drives it like a car. They are really easy to park. She has a 25 mins commute one way and is averaging 19-21mpg on that platform.we have a soon to be 3 year old and a boxer. A little advice, go bigger than you think you’ll need. You will thank me later! Congrats to you and your wife!
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Old 09-08-2019, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by 1720keywest View Post
I appreciate all the replies. My wife will be driving this 99% of the time, and does not like larger vehicles.

I think the midsize SUV will suffice. I found a Ridgline owners forum, and there are some there who do travel with dogs inside their bed with a topper. This does intrigue me, and I think we will need to test drive those as well.
Has she driven one though. I say that as the husband of a spouse that refused to consider anything bigger than a RAV4. Talked her into a Pilot. My dad is on his probably 10’th suburban. Once she was finally convinced to drive it she saw the error of her thought process.

She may not like it. But at least drive one. They are small vehicles compared to a crew cab pickup.
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Old 09-09-2019, 04:01 AM
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Originally Posted by 1720keywest View Post
Thanks for the comments. Typing this all out, convinced me more of a mid-size suv vs truck. I would rather have a 4Runner, but the mpg drops quite a bit.

I would like a tahoe, but the mpg is lower and its overall bigger which wont help with parking.

I guess putting the dog in the bed might be a little dangerous for him if we had to stop hard too.

If anyone is wondering if I will lose my mancard driving a Highlander, dont worry, I drive a minivan every day for work
I can't speak to a Highlander, Ridgeline, or Tacoma, but I can speak to a 4Runner... I just traded my 2018 4Runner Limited with 13,500 on it... only had it for 10 mo., for a new 2019 Chevy Tahoe and I couldn't be happier. The Tahoe tows my boat, an 18 ft. Wellcraft 182F, MUCH better than the 4Runner did. Truly a night and day difference. Also, with you, your wife, Great Dane!, new baby, baby bag, stroller, and so on and so forth, by the time you got all that/their stuff into the 4Runner, there wouldn't be room for anything else! There probably wouldn't even be enough room for all that stuff Let alone trying to tow a boat with a loaded-up 4Runner. The infotainment/tech on the 4Runner is inferior. I don't know, but I'd expect the same system is in the Tacoma.

The Tahoe has a ton more room, tows the boat better, and gets better mileage than the 4Runner as well. I also think I'd get better mileage than the Tacoma. I don't know about the Ridgeline or Highlander. The tech is better, much better in the Tahoe, more storage, more places to put things.

First Long Haul with the Boat

Let me know if you have any questions.
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