With the new cars/SUVs that are on the market that are hybrids, is it worth it to purchase one if you are in need of a vehicle to tow 4,000 pounds? What would you recommend that is economical and efficient?
Your choices are fairly limited right now if you need to tow 4,000 pounds and also want a hybrid. The full-size, truck-based Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon hybrids have a towing capacity of 6,200 pounds for rear-wheel drive models and 6,000 for four-wheel drive. The Toyota Highlander and Lexus RX400h hybrids are the nearest competitors and are each rated at 3,500 pounds. Ford’s Escape Hybrid is rated to tow 1,000 pounds, and the Saturn Vue Green Line hybrid is rated at 1,500 pounds.
The SUV hybrids may be worth it if you need to make full use of that towing capacity. In his review of the 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe Hybird, Mike Hanley writes,
“Some consumers may wish that full-size SUVs would go to the corner of the scrap yard and die, but the fact is many folks use them to tow their campers or boats. If they're going to do it anyway, it makes sense to do it more efficiently, and that's what Chevrolet has achieved with the Tahoe Hybrid.”
The Tahoe and Yukon are big SUVs, however, and mileage ratings are 21/22 mpg city/highway for rear-wheel drive and 20/20 for four-wheel drive. While that may seem low, the Tahoe and Yukon hybrids are much more capable as far as towing than other hybrids. Non-hybrid Tahoes are rated at 14/20 mpg with two-wheel drive and 14/19 with four-wheel drive.
There will be more options this summer when the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango hybrids hit the market with towing capacities of 6,000 pounds. Mileage ratings have not been released yet, although Chrysler claims a 25 percent overall improvement over the regular Aspen and Durango, which would put it around 20 mpg.
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