In search of new adventure vehicle for family of 4 and a couple of pups.

Grassland

Well-known member
Excursions are cool but in my area, suburbans are more plentiful and priced better. That’s the way I’d lean.

Spending $55k for a Transit.....yikes.
Come to Canada. I paid $45k for my medium roof 2wd almost 3 years ago.


A low roof Transit would handle the wind better, and they drive more car like than the old E series. They top out pretty low in towing due to unibody construction (is my guess) as the drivetrain is essentially F150 (not including AWD models)
They have a poor suspension design in relations to off road because they are designed as convenient for on road and cargo/hauling duty. They also have a really really stupid OEM tire size and no way to recalibrate speedo for non OEM diameters.
They are roomy tho and reasonably comfortable, and I am far less annoyed spending as many hours in mine per week as I did in E series vans.

If you need to seat 5 and still have room for gear AND tow anything at same time, you are going to be stuck paying a LOT for anything newish.
 
How about a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup crew cab with a bench seat in the front? You'd have 6 legal seats so the dogs don't necessarily have to go in the truck bed. Hard to beat the value of a modestly equipped 4x4 domestic HD truck with a gas engine and modern transmission.
 

AbleGuy

A Son of the Purple Sage
Here’s another one to consider!

The all new, bigger and better 2022 Nissan Pathfinder
https://www.msn.com/en-us/autos/ent...ns-into-the-comforts-of-a-minivan/ar-BB1fip4F

3 rows of seats
Tow rated at 6,000
Better 4wd (not AWD)
Super comfortable for family driving


“For 2022, Nissan decided it's not going to stay on Boring Street. The new SUV has a wider stance and more attitude befitting a middle-aged nameplate that's finding its groove. I really like the new look, especially in Scarlet Ember Red, which sparkles with a fair amount of metallic flake that enhances the lines along its flanks.

If you select one of the trims equipped with the tow hitch and harness (available on SV and SL, standard on Platinum), you'll have the option to haul up to 6,000 pounds, which is a half-ton more than its competitors like the Kia Telluride, Hyundai Palisade, and Chevrolet Traverse.

Trailer sway control is now standard. The towing option alone gives it a significant advantage over a minivan, and the presence of six drive modes (Standard, Sport, Eco, Snow, Sand, Mud/Rut, and Tow) are enticing for overlanding. Behind the third row under the carpet panel is a plastic storage bin with a drain plug for camping or tailgating. That's also a good place to hide gifts from nosy children, but perhaps not at the same time you're icing down frosty beverages.

Under the hood, a whole lot of people are excited that Nissan kicked the CVT to the curb in favor of a nine-speed automatic with paddle shifters. The 2022 model keeps the 3.5-liter V6 powerplant that produces 284 horsepower and 259 pound-feet of torque; Nissan hasn't released the curb weight of the newest Pathfinder so I can't evaluate how well the engine will propel the SUV forward, but I expect it to be roughly the same as the 2021 model....”
 
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phsycle

Adventurer
How about a 3/4 or 1 ton pickup crew cab with a bench seat in the front? You'd have 6 legal seats so the dogs don't necessarily have to go in the truck bed. Hard to beat the value of a modestly equipped 4x4 domestic HD truck with a gas engine and modern transmission.
Why a HD? Cab size/layout is the same as 1/2 tons. Towing 5k lbs is well within 1/2 ton territory. I can’t think of a reason to move to a HD truck in this scenario.
 

rcintx

Adventurer
Foremost, thank you all for the replies. Let me address a couple of things. I drive a crew cab 1/2 ton Ram. I love it and it tows the camper great. However, for the family trips it gets a little cramped. More room in the second row for my growing kids is a priority for their comfort (and my comfort on long trips to not listen to them complain). I'll be looking to replace it in the next few years but the family wagon is first. Second, older vehicles are not for me. I am fairly handy, but positively not a mechanic. I currently have a 2000 Chevy Express 3500 that I bought as a project and it needs to go. The endless issues with a 20 year old vehicle are just not my cup of tea. It doesn't feel reliable and safe for my family compared to the newer vehicles I have.

I need to weigh my camper and find out exactly what I am towing. I believe its significantly less than 5000 pounds which might make one of the mid-size SUV's work. That new Pathfinder looks pretty great. Otherwise, I am leaning hard to the Suburban/Yukon XL. Found a 2016 Suburban that looks very promising. Anyone have direct experience there?
 

Todd n Natalie

Observer
I second the Telluride recommendation.

Can tow 5,000 lbs.
Can hold your family and gear (maybe with a roof pod too).
Is significantly less in price than a Suburban, etc. so it fits your budget
Has great reviews and a good warranty

And most importantly perhaps, your wife will enjoy driving it more than a truck or van.

If has prices are an issue with you, be careful to check into which of the recco’s require premium fuel.
For me, rated to tow and “can tow” are two different things. No way I’d regularly tow 5k camper with a crossover. Get a proper 1/2 ton or suv for that.
I missed the tow 5,000 lbs part. Yes, I would not recommend a FWD based vehicle to tow a 5,000 lbs trailer. Our KL Cherokee was rated for 5,000 lbs and it struggled pulling our tent trailer. (I *think* it was about 3,000 lbs wet? can't recall) This is why we are in the truck we are now.


A full size crew-cab truck with a topper will pull your trailer with ease and should be able to accommodate 2 adults and 2 growing kids.

Excursions are nice but they're old tech and the ones you find will likely have lots of miles. The "newest" Excursion is now 15 years old (2006.) I'm amazed at the improvement in engines and transmissions in just the last 10 years.

Everybody likes to say 'old trucks are better' - except, of course, the person who is driving that old POS day in and day out and waiting for something else to fail. Take it from the guy who burned up two transmissions in an old tech Suburban (2004), the newer ones are better, especially if you are towing through the mountains.
Truck may not work for 2 kids + big dog though. Our small dog (30 lbs) gets moody when he has to share the back seat... :rolleyes:
 
Why a HD? Cab size/layout is the same as 1/2 tons. Towing 5k lbs is well within 1/2 ton territory. I can’t think of a reason to move to a HD truck in this scenario.
Better payload, axles, brakes, and ground clearance, plus large displacement naturally aspirated gas engines that can't be had in a half ton. Similar mileage to a half ton when loaded up with the family and trailer. The overall size is similar as you pointed out so you don't give up turn radius or wheelbase and actually have better breakover/approach/departure angles with the HD. Hard for me to understand getting a half ton for a dedicated adventure vehicle whose primary duty is hauling a big family and towing.
 

phsycle

Adventurer
Better payload, axles, brakes, and ground clearance, plus large displacement naturally aspirated gas engines that can't be had in a half ton. Similar mileage to a half ton when loaded up with the family and trailer. The overall size is similar as you pointed out so you don't give up turn radius or wheelbase and actually have better breakover/approach/departure angles with the HD. Hard for me to understand getting a half ton for a dedicated adventure vehicle whose primary duty is hauling a big family and towing.
“Better” could depend on usage. Rough backcountry or logging road travels, the HD has advantages.

But if you read the original post, the guy is looking for a vehicle for primarily weekend outings. Day trips to parks, mountains, and to the beach. “No hardcore off-roading”. Meaning any stock 4wd should do.
Do you really need an HD truck for that? Half the MPG and ride comfort.

I’m not down on HD trucks. My retirement rig would be an F350, 7.3, Tremor pkg with a FWC.
 

rcintx

Adventurer
Well, thanks to you all, my wife and I just committed to a 2016 Suburban Z71. It checks all of our boxes and is a very nice looking machine. I won't say it is the deal of a lifetime, but I think it is pretty fair in today's market. Once I get it home I'll update with pics and information. Very excited for it. First time in my life I feel as if I am purchasing exactly what I want and not settling for less. Lucky lucky.
 

rcintx

Adventurer
We picked up the Suburban over the weekend. I had my doubts on how the big rig would drive but it is a great truck. Very smooth ride and lots of features. We are in love with it. I also decided to pull the trailer down to the weigh station and find out exactly what we are towing. The trailer stays loaded with everything but clothes and food and currently weighs 4300 pounds. I would guess we add 200 pounds or so to go on a trip which would put us right at 4500. Suburban is rated for 6k or 8k pounds tow depending on which site you look at. I think we should be OK either way.
 

Todd n Natalie

Observer
We picked up the Suburban over the weekend. I had my doubts on how the big rig would drive but it is a great truck. Very smooth ride and lots of features. We are in love with it. I also decided to pull the trailer down to the weigh station and find out exactly what we are towing. The trailer stays loaded with everything but clothes and food and currently weighs 4300 pounds. I would guess we add 200 pounds or so to go on a trip which would put us right at 4500. Suburban is rated for 6k or 8k pounds tow depending on which site you look at. I think we should be OK either way.
What gears does it have? That should help determine your tow rating. If you are unfamiliar, the codes are on the glove box door in alphabetical order. The gear ratio will start with a 'G' like GU6, GT4, GT5 etc.. Also see if you have code G80. This will be for a locking diff.
 

calicamper

Expedition Leader
We picked up the Suburban over the weekend. I had my doubts on how the big rig would drive but it is a great truck. Very smooth ride and lots of features. We are in love with it. I also decided to pull the trailer down to the weigh station and find out exactly what we are towing. The trailer stays loaded with everything but clothes and food and currently weighs 4300 pounds. I would guess we add 200 pounds or so to go on a trip which would put us right at 4500. Suburban is rated for 6k or 8k pounds tow depending on which site you look at. I think we should be OK either way.
Wise choice on vehicle kids and the mid sized trucks don’t work once your doing stuff beyond local trips. I’m a firm believer in 1/2 to 80% max on the loaded trailer vs TV on weight. Especially if you have long trips on the planner. Having that buffer just gives you a superior towing experience and wiggle room which is really important for long trips. So many people treat that max rating like its a green light to go all the way up to it then aren’t happy with the lousy long haul experience.👍. My future trips are some long ones and the trailer factor needs to be as easily towed as possible, most possible places to park/camp, with quick setup, heat, occasional shower or potty use and separate bunks for two kids. Right now only one trailer really fits that description Taxa Mantis. We don’t want nor need a simulated ranch house on wheels so that easily eliminated the tall boxy RV stuff. That rig is 4000ish fully loaded and near exactly roof line height of my Ford Expedition. So 14-15mpg which is 👍. Plus less to worry about regarding high winds and weather that make tall boxy trailers a source of concern.

The Suburban ie lazy boy on wheels is a great family rig👍
 

rcintx

Adventurer
What gears does it have? That should help determine your tow rating. If you are unfamiliar, the codes are on the glove box door in alphabetical order. The gear ratio will start with a 'G' like GU6, GT4, GT5 etc.. Also see if you have code G80. This will be for a locking diff.
Thanks for the information. The 'G' codes I see on the tag are GU6, G1E, and G80. From my research I've got red paint, 3.42 gears, and the G80 mechanical locker. Am I right? The Chevy towing guide from 2016 shows that a Suburban with 3.42 gears and is 4x4 can tow 8000 pounds. However, it lists that vehicle with the 'Max Trailering Package' which I don't think I have. I have added trailer brake controller since there wasn't one. What am I missing?

Wise choice on vehicle kids and the mid sized trucks don’t work once your doing stuff beyond local trips. I’m a firm believer in 1/2 to 80% max on the loaded trailer vs TV on weight. Especially if you have long trips on the planner. Having that buffer just gives you a superior towing experience and wiggle room which is really important for long trips. So many people treat that max rating like its a green light to go all the way up to it then aren’t happy with the lousy long haul experience.👍. My future trips are some long ones and the trailer factor needs to be as easily towed as possible, most possible places to park/camp, with quick setup, heat, occasional shower or potty use and separate bunks for two kids. Right now only one trailer really fits that description Taxa Mantis. We don’t want nor need a simulated ranch house on wheels so that easily eliminated the tall boxy RV stuff. That rig is 4000ish fully loaded and near exactly roof line height of my Ford Expedition. So 14-15mpg which is 👍. Plus less to worry about regarding high winds and weather that make tall boxy trailers a source of concern.

The Suburban ie lazy boy on wheels is a great family rig👍
I completely agree with you. I don't want to be near the max. The trailer is a vintage Airstream Argosy 24'. It pulls great with the rounded shape and tandem axle. Before I took it to the scales I figured it was in the 3k - 4k range. I was surprised to see it over 4k.
 
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