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Toyotapro, ASE master tech
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 9974
Experience:  ASE Certified, 10+ years Lexus and Toyota Certified
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Can a Toyota Highlander with towing capacity of 5000 lbs. pull

Resolved Question:

Can a Toyota Highlander with towing capacity of 5000 lbs. pull an ultra lite travel trailer?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 8 years ago.
Thank you for using just answer.
What year is this highlander and is it a 4 or 6 cylinder or a hybrid?
Factory tow prep package?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
2009 6 cyl
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 8 years ago.
ok does your new highlander have the factory tow prep package and how much weight will be applied to the tounge of the truck and how much will your trailer weigh when loaded down?
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We have not bought the car yet. We are trying to decide if it will pull a travel trailer first. Or do we need to move up to the 4Runner. We will loose gas mileage if we do that so we would like to stay with the Highlander. What would be best?
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 8 years ago.
ok, here is my take on it.
The highlander (if equipped with the proper tow prep package) can tow some moderate weight. However the highlander is built on a uni-body style frame and no relly intended for maxing out the tow capacity, also if you put a travel trailer behind this truck you will find that the vehicle will not be very stable at higher speeds (especially in the wind) and the brakes on this vehicle will be very weak if you are having to hard/panic stop with a trailer attached.
The 4-runner however is built on a solid frame (like a pickup or large sport-utility) and has a stronger brake and suspension setup. when factory equipped with a tow-prep package the 4 runner also comes PREWIRED for trailer connection and also is prewired for a trailer brake controller. I personally have used the 4 runner to tow a double axle car trailer long distances and it did GREAT!
On the highlander I think you will find that the truck is lacking in power to pull a trailer and you will commonly find yourself having to manually downshift- thus reducing your fuel mileage and costing yourself more in fuel then if you had a 4-runner.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Is the 4Runner considered a large SUV?
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 8 years ago.
No, the 4 runner is a mid-size SUV. The sequoia or the Landcruiser are LARGE suv's. The 4-runner is offered in several trim lines, has 2 engine options (v6 or v8) can be ordered in 2wd or 4wd,etc... It also has a third row seating option.
The only downside to a 4 runner that you may not like (and I didn't thus the reason for trading in) is that the cargo area in the back is not large enough if you need the maximum cargo space, but I guess that's what you get for a mid-size suv.
If towing is going to be a common thing for you I would consider the v-8 4 runner.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We are just two adults and a small dog that will be traveling, so is the cargo space really an issue? The V-8 and not the V-6?
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 8 years ago.
Cargo space will not be an issue for you then.
If you are towing a travel trailer on a regular basis then yes the v8 is going to be a better option for you then the v6. I recommend you also check out to see all the options/pricing/features of the vehicle. Note also that the 4-runner holds resale value better then most suv's as toyota does not over flood the market with these as commonly found with the highlander and other models from other companies.
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you Peter. You just answered a question that we have been trying to get answered for the last month or so. I I guess it is a 4Runner that we will be buying. I hope there are some buying incentives. Would a 2008 4Runner also be okay?
Expert:  Toyotapro replied 8 years ago.
Yes, a certified preowned 4-runner is not a bad way to go to save some $$$$. The year-end incentives are starting to roll out at the dealers on 2009 models as the 2010 models are currently under production.
Be sure to find out how much your travel trailer weighs to determine if you need the v6 or v8, if your trailer will weigh any more then...let's say 2,500 lbs. I would recommend the v-8 4runner for your towing needs. The v8 is harder on fuel mileage when driving around the city but if you are going to be traveling around with this trailer the v-8 will save you $$$ in fuel because the smaller v6 will require more fuel to push the smaller engine to tow the weight.
Let me know if I can be of further assistance and please remember to accept the question so I get credit for my time if you need no further input. Have a good weekend.
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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thank you