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Subaru Baja Turbo or Toyota Tacoma 4x4 Double Cab?



  • jimqpublicjimqpublic Posts: 23
    I'm not sure what your last question was about. I do have a Toyota but it's a 1989, now listed in my profile. It has an interesting list of tow ratings:

    2000 pounds maximum Automatic without tow package.
    3500 pounds maximum Manual transmission.
    5000 pounds maximum Automatic with tow package.

     I assume the tow package is probably at least a transmission fluid cooler, possibly different fan clutch, possibly different thermostat, maybe more?

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    Yes, last fall I have checked the 4Runner, Tacoma, Sequoia and Tundra owner's manual regarding towing and trailer brakes. I have not checked the Land Cruiser's manual, but I'm assuming since these other Toyota trucks follow that pattern, so does the Land Cruiser. I've also checked Subaru's owner's manuals too.

    As I recall, in the Toyota manuals, the info was in a callout, and not in the running narrative, sort of a warning balloon with copy. It may even have had a gray or color backaground to flag the info, and it was under the "Towing" section.

  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    "recommends" an anti-sway device for trailers over 2000 pounds, not 1000. Is this what you meant by brakes? There is a slight difference here.
  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,661
    I'm talking about trailer brakes.

    Bear with me, because this was 6 months or so ago, so my memory is a little fuzzy as to where the trailer brake info was—but it was there. IIRC, throughout Toyota owners manuals, they have these little warning blurbs which call out special info regarding whatever item happens to be discussed. I think that is where that trailer brake info is located, within the towing section. These were I believe 2003 Toyota Owners Manuals. I can't speak to any other year Toyota Owners Manuals.

    What Toyota do you have (year & model)?

    I often go to car dealers and ask to look at owner's manuals, because you get info there that's just not found in brochures, and the sales people are rarely any help either. In fact, I pointed this out to the sales guy whom I was dealing with, and he was completely unaware of this issue.

    BTW, trailer brake restriction of 1000 pounds is very common for mid-size SUVs and pickups. Chevy is very clear in their brochures about this. Even their full-size Silverado and Suburbans are restricted to 2000 pounds if the trailers don't have brakes. The mid-size Trailblazer is limited to 1500 pounds and the old Blazer is limited to 1000 pounds. Same with the Nissan Pathfinder and Xterra, they're limited to 1000 pounds if the trailer doesn't have brakes. Land Rover and Range Rover (in their brochures) even go as far as to telling you how much you can tow in high range and low range, with and without trailer brakes; the numbers do differ.

    I bet if you go to any SUV/pickup dealer, and ask to check the owners manual, you will find this info. It's almost universal these days. Be careful with Ford, however. They don't mention anything in their owners manual about trailer brakes, however, they have a separate trailering brochure in which they recommend "every" trailer have its own braking system! Jeep too is a bit cagey on this issue. I think the wording they use is they "recommend" trailer brakes on any trailer over 1000 pounds.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Keep something in mind, folks, we're talking about the 2.5l light-pressure turbo engine that just arrived. We don't see 2400 pound trailers behind those engines because they have not existed until now.

    If the 5 speed drives like the Forester XT, yowsah, it'll be an easy choice. At least if the type of hauling you do is more like mine, i.e. fun driving.

    A pickup designed to haul heavier loads will probably tow better, sure, but your needs are still light duty and this might be overkill since it's still your daily driver.

    My suggestion? Keep the old pickup to tow on those rare occasions, and get the Forester XT instead. But a Baja turbo is about as close as you'll get to a car that can meet all your needs.

    The 2.5 light-pressure turbo engine is fantastic. My guess is it'll haul with the best of Tacomas, maybe even better at altitude because turbos don't get wheezy. You won't need a low range to make it up that steep hill.

    How is the gearing? Well, the XT redline 2nd gear at just 53 mph, so that's pretty short. I think the Baja gets the same final drive and similar ratios, so it too should be geared pretty short for towing.

    I've towed about 1500 lbs with my regular 2.5l Forester, and it handles that kind of load just fine. Brake distances are increased of course, but the turbos have 4 discs that are bigger than my disc/drum setup.

    The Baja weighs more than my Forester and has a longer wheelbase, so if anything it should be better able to handle the load, more steady and stable. The chassis is from the bigger Legacy, while the Forester is based on the small Impreza.

    I think a Baja turbo will be fine for that kind of towing. The question is, is that bed useful enough for you? It's kinda small. Check the rear seat accomodations, though here both are tight.

    I bet if you drive a Baja turbo that's what you'll buy. The 2.5T engine is a gem, it pulls like a V8 even from 2000rpm.

  • jimqpublicjimqpublic Posts: 23
    Juice said:
    "My suggestion? Keep the old pickup to tow on those rare occasions, and get the Forester XT instead. But a Baja turbo is about as close as you'll get to a car that can meet all your needs."

    Unfortunately, I don't have garage or driveway space for three vehicles. I want something that is somewhat safe for carrying my daughter and son in, which the regular cab, 1988 Toyota is not. Our towing is limited to a camping trailer, so the tow vehicle needs to be able to carry four people.

    Then Juice said:
    "How is the gearing? Well, the XT redline 2nd gear at just 53 mph, so that's pretty short. I think the Baja gets the same final drive and similar ratios, so it too should be geared pretty short for towing."

    I would still get the automatic for towing though. The VTD with "Sportshift" sounds like the best automatic Subaru has ever made (OK, maybe not saying much). With a transmission cooler and trans temp guage I think this would be very reliable and tolerably responsive.

    Final drive on this model is 4.44:1, with a fairly normal 1st gear and really good low end torque. This should be quite good at towing. I do wish they put the gear ratios from the 2003 Legacy GT which are about 20% lower in first and 10% lower in second, with the same VTD gearbox.

  • kajkokajko Posts: 70

    I can see why you are facing this decision. It boils down to your driving habits and needs...

    Had we not gotten the Forester last year, i might've been in similar shoes, contemplating Baja Turbo vs. Tacoma double cab. I went from a 1995 Tacoma 4x4 to a Forester because of the percentages you mentioned in your post. I was really driving the 4x4 roads <5% of time while the rest of the time it was the daily driver. We also do a lot of long-distance trips and Tacoma is not a highway car... the flip side is I'll always miss getting muddy on nasty rocky backcountry roads when going hunting. hey, what are friends for that week of the year?

    Instead of lamenting what I can't do in my Forester, I am always pleasantly surprised at the things I can do. Just last weekend I was up in the mountains on norhtern NM, at the end of a 12 mile muddy road camping in a herd of Dodges, Chevies, and Ford trucks. Have i ever bottomed out? No. Stuck. No. We took our friends and all of our gear and got 30.3mpg for the trip. Fun driving the Forester on a windy mountain road: priceless!

    I thought of getting the Baja at first, but there was not much word on turbo and i felt that the NA 2.5 liter engine on a Forester (which weighs IIRC 600lbs less) would do much more in comparo to the Baja. The new turbo engine overcomes the power/weight issue, although there is an issue (or rather a very HOT topic, see Forester Turbo here on Edmunds) about EPA estimates on mileage. I'd hold the judging until we get estimates from real drivers after 10,000 miles. EPA kindly estimated my Forester at 21/27 and 13,100 miles later my overall average is 26.3mpg...

    Get Baja Turbo AT and you get LSD in back and VTD. i miss the LSD in the Forester.
    Having a nice AT would be handy for not burning your clutch going slow or pulling that trailer. the Baja get 2,400lbs rating regardless of the tranny, so pulling shouldn't be a problem. Speaking of which, make sure you go overkill on AT cooler and use synthetic oils, etc. then you are ready to go, no worries. I wouldn't worry too much about being close to the towing limits, etc. Sure, a frame-based truck will tow better than a car, but if you go to Europe or Australia and see what people haul with their cars, you'd have much more confidence...
    I researched a bit on the net about towing with the Forester and of course i found ppl who would not think to tow anything but a utility trailer with a X-mas tree. However, I was unswayed by the philosophy that automakers use here in USA: you NEED more power, bigger is better, get a Silverado 2ton to tow that camper! etc... it's so much hype that today your std car has to be "V-6" or better yet "V-8".

    I'll end my monologue by saying that in your shoes, I'd go with the Baja Turbo, get King Springs to get a 1.5" lift and a stiffer backend, and talk A.R.E. into making a taller cap for the Baja so you can load it up for the trips (BTW, A.R.E. does have a cap for the Baja). As for the tires, you probably won't be able to get 15" rims because of large brake rotors, but check into Pirelli Scorpion S/T tires. Seems like a good tire and comes in your size (almost). For those days where you need to zip around town or make long highway trips, you'll be glad you got the Subaru. For those roads where the Toyota with a Torsen diffy would come in handy you can get out the mountain bikes and make everyone in your family breathe some non-airconditioned air.

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  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I think the VTD would be nice for towing, you could for instance pick a lower gear for engine braking down those long descents.

    If you end up with a Forester, well, I've had 2 6'x8' sections of fence on the roof rack. Also, I've carried 5 sheets of 3/8" thick plywood on that roof. It's not a pickup, but it works for small jobs.

    For bigger jobs I borrow a trailer.

  • saddaddysaddaddy Posts: 566
    car or truck??? simple question.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    This is only a reference, but the Forester XT hit 60 in 5.3 seconds in C&D tests. That gives you an idea of how torquey the 2.5T engine is. That's quicker than a Honda S2000!

This discussion has been closed.