TinMan is a Nissan Frontier truck. He joined the family in summer of 2014 after we had ordered Toto. Toto was scheduled to hatch the following November, and we wanted to bring our tow vehicle on board a few months in advance so we could get used to driving it. Trucks are different, ya know.
We started out being practical and looking at Just Enough Frontier. But the shiny red one with the leather interior and pre-installed roof rack (handy for hauling kayaks) caught our eye. We rationalized quickly and easily. After all, we only buy vehicles every 11 or 12 years, right? Why not make sure we’re comfortable? Right.
Just before pulling the trigger on the purchase, I made the mistake of publicizing our intention on the Escape Forum. I was hoping for a lot of “Yeah, that’s a great choice there, that’s just right for your new Escape 21.”
But no. It turns out there are a lot opinions about what makes an adequate tow vehicle. Everyone agrees about meeting a minimum standard–the tug needs to be rated by the manufacturer to be able handle the trailer weight, tongue weight, combined weight of both vehicles, and the tug’s own capacity for carrying contents plus tongue weight. (All the theory around this is enough to make you get a motorhome instead, but we didn’t want to do that.)
But just meeting the standard isn’t good enough for everyone. Many think a tug should have extra capability — rated capacity not used up by the trailer and cargo — because it’s needed to go up long grades, or to make up for the loss of power experienced at high altitudes.
There are those who want to keep driving at their chosen cruising speed no matter how steep or how high the road gets. Who can blame them?
But to do that with a trailer like Toto, one has to get a full-size truck. And Team Toto did not, does not want a full-size truck. Too hard to park! To hard to fit in the garage! Too expensive! Etc. We’d rather compromise a little on high-altitude, steep-grade capability, and have a mid-size truck like TinMan.
It might be that we will regret this decision from time to time (say, when we’re traveling through the Canadian Rockies or other lofty terrain). We will almost certainly be in the slow lane, watching others pass us.
But, so far, we sure do like TinMan. And what’s our hurry?
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