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Toyota Yaris: Towing Questions

kawligakawliga Posts: 1
I commute 90 miles one way to work and would like a small car that I can trust. I also need to tow a small trailer only a few miles each year. Total weight of less than 700 lbs. Do any of these sub-compacts allow any towing or is this impractical?


  • lucynethellucynethel Posts: 81
    Best of luck towing anything! My wife & I have a combined weight that exceeds the car's GVRW by 3 pounds!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,402
    No towing allowed with the xA, and the Yaris has the same drivetrain, so I'd guess no-go on that one, too. Don't know about the Fit but it doesn't look good for towing on paper...or on pavement for that matter :P


  • I just purchased a Yaris 3-door hatch. The manual says Toyota doesn't recommend towing with it in the U.S. The next page says, "Towing - Canada Only", and says you can tow up to 700 pounds with a Toyota-approved hitch. I'm thinking there's nothing different about the cars purchased in Canada vs. those in the U.S., and I believe that gravity and the physical laws are probably similar in both countries. ;-) So what's the difference? I emailed a Canadian dealer yesterday concerning availability of a hitch there. Hopefully I'll get a response.

    I won't even go into how it hard (or impossible) it is to get options and parts for my Yaris here in Vermont, when the Canadian border is only 50 miles away. Major manipulation by Toyota/Scion and probably Big Oil / Big Car to boot. And I thought this was a free country!

    I saw some online references to Yaris trailer wiring harnesses, and some about hitches for the sedan, but nothing yet on the hatch. But why would they mention it in my manual if it wasn't available?
  • Go to Google and search "honda fit accessories"
    found a couple websites offering trailer hitches for the fit. All have 1 and 1/4" receivers- price range about $125,
    and is a bolt on hitch. I think tow rating is 1000#
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,402
    That IS interesting. I crawled under the xA and it doesn't look like it would be very easy to mount a hitch unless it bolts up way back there. There doesn't seem to be anything to support a hitch very well.

    I've loaded my xA on a steep hill with cargo (a lot) and then launched it uphill and it struggles. I'd venture to say that with 750 lbs or so behind an xA or Yaris, if you aren't on the straight and level, you're going to be buying clutches. I could SMELL my clutch last time. Not good--but in all fairness, fairly radical hill.


  • I own a '93 ford festiva with 60-70 hp with a manual 5 spd tranny. Your Yaris weighs a bit more but also has 106 hp. I went to Uhaul a couple years ago and asked them if they offered a hitch for a festiva. They looked at me like I had four heads and laughed. Then they looked it up on the computer and voila! there was a custom hitch for my car. Cost about $350. I popped it on, bought a small utility trailer (about 300 lbs empty, 4x8 bed, with or w/o stake body), loaded my 300+ lb honda helix scooter up, piled myself, my girlfriend, my dog, a few bags, and we did a round trip to New England from Baltimore. About 1,000 miles all told. Went up through Pennsylvania and some Upstate NY. Lots of hills. Had to wind it out now and then to keep the RPM's up. Just downshifted when necessary and kept an eye on the tach (you can choose a cheap tach guage from the auto parts store since I believe the Yaris 3-door doesn't come with one). I downshifted to 4th and even 3rd on occasion (keeping it at a minimum 55). These little cars are much tougher than you think. My manual also says no towing. Go to Uhaul and see what they offer. If nothing, just wait awhile. They will come out with a custom hitch. They want every car on the market to be able to tow their trailers so they can rent$ to you. Oh, yes, I once towed 1,200 lbs of stones plus the 300 lb trailer itself about 10 miles to my girlfriend's mother's house (though admittedly I took it pretty easy on that one!). Good luck.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    If you ever lived in Europe or Asia you'd see tiny vehicles towing all sorts of things. In America it just looks funny because of all the big vehicles we have.
  • There are hitches on the market now for the Fit. Try a google search. I found two sites but cannot remember them.
    Also try "Honda Fit accessories"
    My Fit is so low I would not want a hitch, even thoughit would be nice. A hitch would scrape on too many things
  • note that your '93 Ford Festiva is made by Kia Motors for Ford. I am not surprised at your success towing with the Festiva. Kia makes a fine and tough rig, that they do! ;)

    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    Doesn't make it a good idea. If the vehicle manufacturer recommends AGAINST towing, I would be concerned about legal implications if involved in an accident while towing, regardless who was at fault.
  • Doesn't say "against". Just "not recommended." Have made multiple long distant trips in the past couple years. Great stability. Hitch has total eight mount bolts in two locations along the unibody. Has held up extremely well at all contact points. I think the question for a small car is stress on those points and driving characteristics. With this car, trailer tracks perfectly, no adverse effect on steering or lane changes. I'm a long-haul trucker and am actually rather surprised to be honest. Though you could be correct, I'm sure things are written in such a way that if something stupid does happen, the manufacturer is absolved.
  • daysailerdaysailer Posts: 711
    In my state, contributory negligence will effectively absolve other parties of responsibility. It could well be argued that ignoring the manufacturer's recommendations for use constitutes contributory negligence. And if there were no case for negligence or illegal acts of other parties, could the towing owner be held responsible?
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,676
    I would also be concerned about warranty issues. If the dealer sees a hitch and can connect any troubles with towing they could refuse to repair it under the warranty.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • My owners manual for the Yaris gives towing information but only for Canada. Wouldn't think they make a different model for Canada only.

  • ummmm........Don't tow with a Yaris, but it is okay to tow a Yaris.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    I don't know what the big deal is with towing for any car. They're designed for 5 passengers, so if you had 4, 200lb people in the Yaris (yes, not to comfortable) or you had one 150lb person towing a 500lb trailer, which would be harder on the car?
  • so if you had 4, 200lb people in the Yaris (yes, not to comfortable) or you had one 150lb person towing a 500lb trailer, which would be harder on the car?

    The main difference would be where that wieght is located. The wieght when towing with a fit will be on the back bumper (toungue wieght)and I doubt Honda had in mind more than 200 lbs directed to the back bumper.

    If you hook up a trailor even some of the smallest trailors, the trailor itself will probably wiegh 2-300 lbs. Once you start loading it, the wieght adds up quite quickly.

    Although the engine would probably be okay, though struggling mightily on any sort of incline, my main concern would be damaging the transmission. There is no transmission cooler in the Fit.

    I've seen pics of a Fit towing an ATV. It probably works, but I can't help but think that guy is slowly ripping up his tranny. I think towing an ATV behind the Fit on any sort of incline would be strongly ill advised by Honda.
  • bobw3bobw3 Posts: 2,997
    Even though the weight of a trailer might be a total of 500lbs, there's not 500lbs pushing down on the rear bumper. Just like pulling a wagon with 100lbs is easier than carrying the 100lbs on your back. So then we're back to the towing weight being similar to the carrying capacity of the car. There would have to be someplace solid for attaching a hitch. But I doubt if the transmission would know the difference between pulling 500lbs and carrying 500lbs.
  • How the hitch is bolted to the car makes all the difference. Had an '89 F-150 with hitch attached directly to the bumper (as is intended when sold in auto parts stores) and slowly began to bend and twist and tear bumper from body of truck. If it's a customized hitch with multiple connection points, and the trailer is balanced and loaded properly in relation to car, the automobile takes almost no down force. Look at four 200lb people in a liftback (or midsize for that matter) and whole car sags. A properly laden trailer, however, set level with car, just glides along behind car. Same can be said for heavily laden panniers on a bicycle as a opposed to a one-wheel trailer behind. The former is cumbersome and the latter tracks effortlessly. The hitch and balance mean a great deal. And let's face it, after just recently testing a Yaris manual liftback, it's like a rocket/cadillac compared to my manual Festiva. See you at the RV park!
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