What do REAL RVers say is the best toad for RV travel? Here are their top picks for towed vehicles…
No, we are not talking about taking an amphibious creature RVing with us. In the RV world, the word toad is slang for a towed vehicle. It's a silly wordplay that brings a smile to RVers' faces, much like a stinky slinky and other RV terminology. A towed vehicle is also often called a “dinghy,” like on a ship.
But I digress. This article is about the most popular toad vehicles that real RVers tow behind their rigs.
A member of our RV Lifestyle Facebook group recently asked the following:
“Alright, friends, what's your vote on the best toad for RVs? Do you love/hate yours?”
She received a lot of helpful answers, and there was quite a bit of overlap with the answers. So, we cover some basic RV toad information that's good to know, and then jump into the most popular options that our RV community and other RVers recommend.
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How to Choose a Toad for Your RV
Choosing a good vehicle to tow behind your RV requires careful consideration to ensure that the vehicle is safe, reliable, and easy to tow. Here's an outline of the steps you should take when choosing a vehicle to tow behind your RV:
- Determine your RV's towing capacity: The first step in choosing a good vehicle to tow behind your RV is to determine your RV's towing capacity. This will help you determine how much weight you can safely tow.
- Consider the weight of the vehicle: The weight of the vehicle you choose to tow is crucial. You want to make sure that the weight of the vehicle does not exceed your RV's towing capacity. Additionally, you want to choose a vehicle that is light enough to be easily towed by your RV.
- Look for vehicles with flat tow capability: Some vehicles are designed for flat towing, which means they can be towed with all four wheels on the ground. This is typically the easiest and most convenient way to tow a vehicle behind an RV.
- Choose a vehicle with a neutral gear option: If the vehicle you choose does not have flat tow capability, make sure it has a neutral gear option. This will allow you to tow the vehicle with two wheels on the ground using a tow dolly. (Though, a flat-tow car is best.)
- Consider the braking system: Most states require a supplemental braking system for vehicles being towed behind an RV. Make sure the vehicle you choose can accommodate a braking system.
- Check the towing setup compatibility: Make sure the towing setup you have on your RV is compatible with the vehicle you choose. To ensure compatibility, you may need to purchase additional equipment, such as a baseplate or tow bar.
- Consider the ease of setup and hookup: Finally, consider how easy the vehicle is to set up and hook up to your RV. You want to choose a vehicle that is easy to prepare for towing and doesn't require a lot of time and effort to hook up to your RV.
Manual vs. Automatic Transmissions for Towed Vehicles
When choosing a vehicle to tow behind an RV, the type of transmission you choose can impact your towing experience. Here are some considerations when deciding between manual and automatic transmissions for vehicles you tow behind an RV.
- Generally, manual transmissions are easier to tow than automatic transmissions because they do not require any special equipment to disengage the transmission from the engine.
- However, some manual transmissions require periodic running to lubricate the transmission gears, which can be inconvenient while on a road trip.
- Manual transmissions are also becoming less common in new vehicles, so finding a vehicle with a manual transmission to tow may be more difficult.
- Automatic transmissions require a transmission pump to lubricate the transmission while being towed. This pump is powered by the vehicle's battery, which can drain the battery over time if the vehicle is towed for long distances without being started.
- However, many newer vehicles with automatic transmissions are designed to be flat-towed, which means that they can be towed without any special equipment to disengage the transmission from the engine.
- Automatic transmissions are generally more convenient and easy to drive, which can be an advantage if you use the towed vehicle daily during your travels.
Both manual and automatic transmissions can be suitable for towing behind an RV, and the best vehicle depends on your preferences and the specific vehicle you plan to tow. It's important to consult the vehicle's owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for towing the vehicle to ensure a safe and enjoyable towing experience.
7 of the Best Toad Vehicles for Your RV
We have compiled a list of cars that are some of the most popular toad vehicles that RVers recommend.
Just to be clear, these vehicles are great for being towed behind an RV to use as a “drive around” car whenever you're at camp.
Do not confuse a “towed vehicle” or “toad vehicle” with a “tow vehicle.” I know the lingo can be confusing, but a “tow vehicle” is what tows a travel trailer or 5th wheel behind it. A large pickup truck, like a Chevrolet Colorado, typically serves as a towing vehicle.
A toad, as you can guess, is usually a small car that people can zip around town in and easily tow behind their RV. However, some RVers opt to tow trucks and SUVs.
Okay, now that that's cleared up, let's dive into what RVers say are the best toads for RV travel…
1. Jeep Wrangler
The Jeep Wrangler is a popular choice for RV owners due to its off-road capabilities and flat-tow capabilities. It has a powerful engine and can easily navigate rough terrain, making it a great option for adventurous travelers.
2. Jeep Liberty
Another popular choice from the Jeep lineup, the Liberty is a mid-size SUV with a comfortable interior and good towing capacity. It also has flat tow capability, making it easy to set up and use with your RV.
Jeep has discontinued making the Liberty model. However, buying a used Liberty is still a good option.
3. Jeep Grand Cherokee
By this point, you shouldn't be surprised that another Jeep is on this list. The Jeep Cherokee is also equipped with flat-tow capabilities, making it a great choice for RV owners who want a comfortable, more spacious tow vehicle.
As Bill put it in the Facebook post, “75 % of towed vehicles are jeep – there has to be a reason !!!!”
4. Honda CR-V
The Honda CRV is a versatile and reliable SUV with a good balance of towing capability and fuel efficiency. It also has a spacious interior and comfortable ride, making it a great choice for day trips away from your campsite.
5. Chevrolet Spark
The Chevy Spark is a popular choice because it's a smaller vehicle with a smaller price tag. BUT only Sparks with a manual transmission can be flat towed. Standard models with auto transmissions are not equipped for flat-towing.
6. Ford Focus
Both manual and automatic Ford Focuses can be flat-towed. However, a manual Ford Focus is usually easier to tow than its automatic brethren. An automatic Focus may require special features or accessories, depending on model years and features.
Like the Jeep Liberty, Ford has retired the Focus model. However, it's still considered one of the best cars to pull behind an RV if you don't mind a used vehicle.
7. Ford Ranger
If you want to pull a truck behind your RV, you're not alone. Some RVers opt to hook up a Ford Ranger to the back of their rigs. One big benefit is you can haul more toys in the truck bed!
Another popular truck toad is a Ford F-150, despite its large size like the Ranger. So, don't think you can only tow compact or subcompact cars! It just depends on your RV's tow capacity and what you're comfortable with.
Speaking of Towing Vehicles…
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