can a 2006 Prius pull a small trailer?
We are interested in pulling a Cricket trailer on a road trip. Can a Prius handle a weight of
1460 (unloaded)? If so, how expensive is it to install a standard 2 " ball hitch?
Toyota recommends that the Prius not be used as a towing vehicle. There are of course some people that install hitches and pull very light trailers (under 1,000 lbs) with them, but it is not recommended. I would NOT do it.
Here's your biggest problem. The Toyota Prius has a very small 1.5 litre engine and does not rev that high. It does this to save fuel and uses the electric motor for torque. Pulling the trailer is going to be like going up a sustained hill causing the battery to eventually run down. When that happens, you're going to be running on the 82 foot pounds of torque and 76 horsepower motor. Depending upon the weight of your rig, it may cause your car to crawl. Also, if it were to ruin the transmission, Toyota won't know who you are, assuming you are under warranty. And , even if you have an extended warranty, it will be voided. We actually took our car without towing over the Eisenhower Tunnel in the Rocky Mountains over 11,000 feet. The car worked fine for a while, until we got 3/4 of the way up the mountain. The hill climbing depleted the battery to zero. There was nothing showing on the meter for electric power and the engine was struggling. We stopped and let the battery charge . It worked better, but, honestly, these cars are not ready for sustained hill climbing. It's great for shorter climbing, just not really long climbs. This is where the battery just wears down and has no way to replenish itself. We finally made it to the top going 20 to 25 miles per hour, I wasn't sure the car was going to make it, but, we did! Everything is fine now once we passed the summit and since. BUT, I DON'T THINK THAT WE WILL EVER DO THAT AGAIN!
OK, that's a very nice trailer, the Cricket, I was jus perusing their website http://crickettrailer.com/specs/, and their main page showing http://crickettrailer.com.
You're going to ruin your Prius. My Subaru Outback easily pulls my teardrop trailer as pictured here, but, your Prius is not going to fare well and will not be heavy enough to balance out the excessive weight you intend to pull. It's going to be a safety hazard towing.
I disagree with these people. It can do it. You might overheat the transmission as any underpowered car would if going to fast with heavy loads but it can do it. I think the better rule of thumb is to treat the car as you would any car, but remember it's under powered like a geo metro. With that in mind, a geo can tow and climb hills but don't expect to pass a Ferrari while doing it.
Peachy23 - you can disagree as much as you like, but, it explicitly says in the owners manual that this car cannot tow anything. And, if the car itself has to be towed, it has to be off the ground.
Markw1952, Just because you can read an owners manual does not make you informed! Absolutely you can pull a trailer, the car will not know the difference between 500lbs of passengers in the car and 1000 pound trailer! The one doing the towing will need to brake far in advance, leave extra extra room between you and the cars in front of you! The regenerative braking in the car is the limiting factor, not the transmission. Toyota says don't tow, because if they say you can then they are on the hook for repairs. Be smart and tow away!
Frontal area of the trailer causes drag in addition to the trailer weight but go ahead and prove us all wrong by towing with your Prius,
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