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SUBJECT: # 13539: Chevy Equinox for towing............

Submitted by Jim/TN from TENNESSEE on 6/25/2011 7:46:00 AM

I'm considering a new tow vehicle in a couple of months. The one that's really caught my eye is the new Chevy Equinox with the 265hp V6. Drove one yesterday and fell in love with it. The problem is the factory tow package gives me some concern. The hitch is a 1.25", rated for 3500lb. My boat is a 98 Triton TR20, single axle trailer. The greatest distance I tow is 60 miles round trip, but usually only 14 miles one way to Kentucky Lake. I don't have any idea of the weight of the rig and whether or not this would handle it safely. It's a front wheel drive and I have some concerns about the ability to maintain traction on steep ramps if they're wet. I could use some advice here guys


  1. 6/25/2011 9:46:00 AM Submitted by Jeff Hahn from OH says Looks risky to me
    I'm thinking that the Equinox might tow an aluminum Bass Tracker OK, but I wouldn't want to tow a big glass boat with it, especially without brakes on the trailer and maybe not even then. The Equinox might be rated for 3500 pounds. But, in my experience the towing capacity listed is right at the limit of the vehicle's ability. The minimum I would use to tow your TR 20 would be a Trailblazer, but of course a Tahoe or Suburban would be much better.

    Others may disagree, but if I were you I'd pass on the Equinox and look at a used Trailblazer, pick-up, Tahoe, or Suburban.

    Jeff Hahn


  2. 6/25/2011 11:27:00 AM Submitted by MikeF from FL says my rule of thumb
    You never want to tow more than about 70% of rated capacity for any vehicle. And never tow a boat with a vehicle that has front wheel drive. Coming up a ramp you will be on a wet surface and all of the weight will be transferred to the rear wheels.


  3. 6/25/2011 1:32:00 PM Submitted by Jim/TN #11065 from TN says OK, what if...............
    I opted for the AWD model instead of front wheel only? I don't go long distances. Total weight of the rig is slightly under the 3500lb limit.


  4. 6/25/2011 4:33:00 PM Submitted by Jeff Hahn from OH says Still think it's risky
    As Mike and I said, your boat is almost at the limit of the Equinox towing capacity. If you buy it, I think you will find that it will tow your rig very poorly, AWD or not. Even if you don't travel very far, you might find yourself in a panic stop on a wet road and the Equinox will be all over the road with your big boat pushing it.

    Let me give you an example. A friend of mine bought a new camping trailer that weighted 4800 pounds. He had a GM Trailblazer, which is rated at a 5400 towing capacity. So, he thought he was OK. He and his wife left NE Ohio, heading for a week of camping in the Smokey Mountains. He got as far as Columbus, a 2 hour drive from here, and realized that his Trailblazer was not doing the job. It was extremely sluggish going up hills...and we're talking small hills here, not mountains. One time he had to hit the brakes hard and was sure he wasn't going to stop in time. He and his wife decided to cancel their trip and turned around and headed for home. The next week, he bought a nice used Tahoe that tows his camper just fine.

    Hey, it's your call. But, I'd never tow a boat that big and heavy with a vehicle that small....you're asking for problems.

    Jeff Hahn


  5. 6/25/2011 5:51:00 PM Submitted by clayslayer from AL says Need More Truck!
    I tow my 17' Skeeter (~3000lbs total weight full of crap & gas) with my '07 Envoy (I6, 3.73s, weighs 4700lbs, rated to tow 5700) that has an aftermarket computer and wouldn't tow it with anything less. My personal rule of thumb is if you're going to tow something pretty often don't exceed 50-60% of the vehicle's tow rating for safety, reliability, & performance related reasons. Round trip for me to the lake is ~80 miles with a couple of small mountains/hills along the way. I run 70mph in OD on the flat parts and drop into 3rd when going uphill and don't have any problems. The I6 after a tune has the same HP as the 5.3 but is still down ~50lb-ft of torque but it weighs ~500lbs less so the difference isn't that much...it's the ole-school 4-speed they put behind the I6 that really hurts it compared to the newer 6-speed trannys...


  6. 6/25/2011 7:04:00 PM Submitted by MikeF from FL says agree with Jeff
    You only solve one problem by going to AWD and that's the ramp issue. It's still right at the limit when you tow and especially when you have to stop.


  7. 6/26/2011 7:43:00 AM Submitted by Jim/TN #11065 from TN says OK, you all got me.....
    I've dumped the idea and will stick with my '05 PreRunner V6. It's done an admirable job for the last 5 years and I imagine will continue to do so.

    Hey Jeff...shoot me your email addy if you would.


  8. 6/26/2011 8:54:00 AM Submitted by Jeff Hahn from OH says Jim
    Jim: My e-mail is hahnjl at mountunion dot edu.

    Jeff Hahn


  9. 6/27/2011 9:46:00 AM Submitted by Skipper from KY says It's the ability to stop and control the trailer
    Not it's ability to pull it that is in question.

    You are attempting to tow a trailer that when loaded with gear will weigh more than the truck.

    Several things happen:

    1. Since the boat outweighs the vehicle, stopping becomes an issue. I guarantee the brakes GM puts on a vehicle that size were not designed to stop twice the weight. You sound like you are in flat country, but if you ever get into a situation of descending a steep grade with that load in that truck, you'll burn the brakes off of it quick.

    2. Spring rates on these small vehicles aren't designed to handle the weight. A 20' bass boat can at speed wag a vehicle a little. Hit a chug hole with one once and you'll see what I'm talking about. Get on a road that is grooved or just sorry blacktop and it can get interesting. A half ton truck or larger is built with this in mind and they can readily handle a wagging trailer without the trailer throwing the truck off the road. The lighter the suspension, the less ability it has to handle it.

    3. Tires that come on the vehicle: For towing that size rig you need a heavier C rated tire that can be aired up to 45 to 50 pounds. With the A/B Rated tires that come on vehicles like that they call for 30 psi. The difference is the ability to stiffen the spring rate of the sidewall with air pressure.


  10. 6/29/2011 1:55:00 PM Submitted by Fish On #15267 from TX says Chevy Traverse
    If you like the Equinox you may look into the Chevy Traverse. It has a towing capacity of 5k lbs.

    Fish On...


  11. 6/29/2011 11:46:00 PM Submitted by clayslayer from AL says ....
    Equinox weighs ~4,000lbs so the load isn't going to weigh quite as much. The boat trailer has it's own brakes so the vehicle won't be trying to stop twice as much weight. The main concern is evasive maneuvers (sway) and wear and tear on the drive-train. The rear tires having to support an extra ~350lbs total isn't going to overload them...you could add a few PSI to account for it. Most passenger tires are good for 40psi. Agreed the suspension might sag a little too much which would magnify any sway problems.


  12. 7/1/2011 10:26:00 AM Submitted by jbz7 #13144 from MA says my take...
    I would not even attempt to tow anything much bigger then a utility trailer with an Equinox. My mother has one and its a nice little suv but a tow mule it is not. There is a lot working against it for towing as bassboat thing like..

    Really short wheelbase. Its going to be squirley going down the road with a load on it. Most of us would never even dream of towing with a Jeep Wrangler why would an Equinox with a similar wheelbase be any different?

    Brakes. They just wont cut it period. They stop the vehicle just fine but when i have driven my mothers i notice it when 4 people are in the vehicle. Even with trailer brakes id bet stopping would be hairy.

    Engine. Its got plenty of pep but no bottom end power at all. Below 2500 RPM its gutless, you have to stomp on the gas to make it go anywhere. I could not even imaging pulling a heavy load from a dead stop with it.

    Bottom line is its a grocery getter, sticking with what you have is the right choice in my opinion.

    Reality is none of these small crossover suv's make decent tow vehicles. I have a buddy that has a rav4 and he tows a 17" tracker tin with it and he is tearing it apart. Hes already popped a transmission, a set of head gaskets and put front brakes in it twice in under 30k. Every time he pulls it smells like anti freeze at the front of the car too, has since day 1, not good... It struggles to pull on the freeway at speed and the fuel milage sucks because he has his foot in it constantly to go 65(he gets a lot less then i do in my silverado pulling a 19' glass). It also doesnt stop worth a damn and any wind will send it into a nice sway on the edge of out of control and his boat doesnt even weigh 2k. That rav 4 is similar in size to the Equinox and i would think they would both tow pretty similar.


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