Some people call them Toads other call them Dinghy’s. Whatever you call them, know this… They are a required piece of equipment for cross country travel. If you think that you can live without a tow vehicle, you are wrong. If you honestly can live without a tow vehicle, you are limiting your range of possible experiences considerably. A Toad gives you the freedom to explore. It provides an escape pod in case of mechanical issues with the RV and lets you leave the campground without “breaking camp” A Class A Diesel RV will easily tow just about any car on the road without even feeling it and it’s impact on fuel mileage is not even noticeable. With that said the following are my words of wisdom for selecting a Toad.
Do not spend a lot of money on a Toad. Tow vehicles lead a hard life. Rocks are thrown up from the motorhome that cause chips on the front of the vehicle. Diesel engines produce “blowby” which is an oily residue the can make a mess of your towed car. Dinghys or Toads are often used to explore places that you would never take your car. Gravel roads, 4×4 trails, and other types of less than ideal road surfaces are common when camping. I have had Toads that cost anywhere from $32,000 to as little as $1,800. I much prefer the $1, 800 option after seeing the abuse that these vehicles endure. While we are on this topic, I must say that I would never recommend using a tow dolly or a trailer strictly for towing a vehicle. It unnecessarily complicates an already complicated setup. In addition to having another piece of equipment to maintain and store, it also becomes problematic at many campgrounds for where to keep this thing. There are a lot of good choices for flat towing with a simple tow bar and in my opinion, this is the only way to go. Not all cars can be towed behind and RV. In fact your choices are quite limited. The recommendations below can all be easily flat towed.
So what to Buy?
1, 1990-1998 Geo Tracker or Suzuki Sidekick – This is my personal favorite for a variety of reasons. They come in two door and four door models. Many are convertible. They are light weight and great on gas. The engine is bulletproof and the simple transmission works well. They are 4 Wheel drive which is great to have. There are two wheel drive models, but they are not engineered to be towed behind an RV. So avoid those. In my opinion a low mileage four door Geo Tracker or Suzuki Sidekick is the ultimate tow vehicle. Note that the Geo and Suzuki are the same exact car with different badges. Price $2,000-$3,500
2. 1990-2001 Jeep Cherokee – This is my second favorite Toad. They too are relatively light weight. The straight 6 engine is beast. They easily go into the hundreds of thousands of miles. The transmissions tend to hold up great. There were a ton of these Jeeps made and they are easy to find. This is my current tow vehicle and I love it. It can really take a beating. I paid $2,700 for mine with 180,000 miles and it has been great to us. If you can find one with lower miles, even better. Price $2,000 – $4,000
3, Any Jeep Wrangler or Saturn. Almost all jeep wranglers can be towed behind an RV. Many models of the now defunct Saturn can also be flat towed. I have never towed a Saturn, but I see them behind many RV’s and people tend to love them as a TOAD. They are cheap, good on gas and reliable. The major downside in my opinion is they are cars and as such, they are not off road capable. The ability to go off road is very important to me. We have had many of our best camping experiences way off the beaten path where no “car” could go. Jeep Wrangler are of course very off road capable and make a great tow vehicle. Price for a Saturn will be anywhere from $1500 – $3,500 Prices for a wrangler depending on the year will range from about $6,000 up to $35,000 for a new one.