MPG hit with a small trailer?

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Fuel Economy' started by oil_burner, Mar 11, 2017.

  1. oil_burner

    oil_burner Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2017
    58
    17
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    We are looking at a road trip this summer about 3 weeks long and 10,000 miles. We would like to get a small harbor freight tow behind trailer to stow our luggage in. Wondering if anyone has experience of any MPG hit we might take, since the trailer is so small I wonder if it would even be noticed?

    600 lb. Auto; 200 lb. Motorcycle Capacity 78 in. Tag-Along Trailer
     
  2. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    9,794
    3,388
    90
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Do you plan to do anything besides driving? And when might you squeeze it in?
     
  3. 'LectroFuel

    'LectroFuel Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    743
    527
    0
    Location:
    San Juan Capistrano, CA
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    I'm guessing you'll lose 1-2 MPG. That's a small trailer. Good luck on making 10,000 miles in a 2006 Prius(y)
     
  4. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    9,794
    3,388
    90
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    I'd be astounded if the drag is that low. I lose at least 7 mpg with a hitch mount rack carrying two bicycles.
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  5. Kevin_Denver

    Kevin_Denver Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2016
    313
    138
    1
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Vehicle:
    2009 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    For that amount of gear I would look into a trailer hitch cargo rack or a roof rack instead. You can put a few hundred pounds on the trailer hitch. If youre taking cargo, I would just put the heavier things in the Prius and the lighter things on the cargo rack. The aerodynamic drag will be significantly less than a trailer.

    The Prius is not a good vehicle to tow a lot of gear a long distance. For such a long trip (10000 miles?!) I'd likely buy a van, which would be much more practical.
     
  6. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Lapsed Cargo Cultist

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    20,000
    8,673
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    My first thoughts went further: reduce what you're taking, and/or really try, to make it fit in the car. It's a big step, to lumbar a Prius with a trailer, or even roof rack.
     
    fuzzy1 likes this.
  7. mmmodem

    mmmodem Taste Tester

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    2,414
    1,268
    0
    Location:
    Milpitas, CA
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    I hope your handle doesn't describe your Prius. Anyway, I wouldn't recommend taking a 10 year old vehicle on a 10k mile tour. The risk of breakdown ruining your vacation plus expensive tows and repairs at destination and wear and tear on your car outweigh... actually, what is the reason for driving your own vehicle for this purpose? This has rental written all over it.

    There are weekly rental rates that can be had for relatively cheap. I rented a Chevy Suburban for a week a couple year ago. I only needed it 4 days but the weekly $350 rate was cheaper.
     
  8. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    9,794
    3,388
    90
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    I'd be vastly more concerned about a Harbor Freight product with cheap 8 inch wheels being able to make that distance. If / when it fails, what is the backup cargo plan?
    Maybe on a full size SUV, though watching friends overload theirs (and produce horrid headlight aims), I'm not so sure it is good there either. Certainly not on a Prius.
    Bingo!
    Note: this is 500 miles of driving per day. This leaves very little time for stopping to do anything else.
     
    #8 fuzzy1, Mar 13, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2017
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  9. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Lapsed Cargo Cultist

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    20,000
    8,673
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Yeah, that would be punishing. :eek:

    And an older car, with spec'd tow capacity zero?
     
  10. CooCooCaChoo

    CooCooCaChoo Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2015
    234
    60
    0
    Location:
    Fresno, CA
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    N/A
    Just keep this in mind:

     
  11. 'LectroFuel

    'LectroFuel Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2016
    743
    527
    0
    Location:
    San Juan Capistrano, CA
    Vehicle:
    2016 Prius
    Model:
    Four
    Well, the trailer is behind the car so I though it would have less of a drag than a roof box. The trailer looks like a wheelbarrow.
     
  12. oil_burner

    oil_burner Junior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2017
    58
    17
    0
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    thanks but the entire point of buying the prius was to take this trip across america, sleep in the vehicle most nights, and not spend a fortune on fuel. I already have a truck. I do not trust hitch racks, any kind of bump or dip in the road and the vehicle bounces a lot. I would think a roof rack would make a much bigger hit to MPG because of the aerodynamics. The trailer is effectively in the cars slipstream the entire time.

    Will the car make it? I don't really care. If it died I would have no problem hopping in a rental or buying a plane ticket home. But what I am NOT doing is taking my truck which gets 17mpg on the highway.

    Fuel cost:
    10,000 miles / 17MPG = 588 gallons x $3 = $1764
    10,000 miles / 45MPG = 222 gallons x $3 = $666

    Difference = $1100

    I paid $1500 for the prius. If I can complete this trip (laughable that some people don't think a 2006 can do another 10k miles), the fuel savings alone paid for the car.
     
  13. dolj

    dolj Senior Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    1,671
    530
    0
    Location:
    Wellington, New Zealand
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    I agree. FWIW, I drove a 2006 Prius a total of 15,000 miles around the UK and Europe, the longest single trip being ~7,000 miles, and it never missed a beat. I don't think you need to worry about whether the Prius can make it or not. Lol.

    Btw, we fit everything in the car, for three adults on the 7,000 mile trip, but were not sleeping in the car, though.
     
  14. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    9,794
    3,388
    90
    Location:
    Western Washington
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius
    Model:
    Three
    Less? Yes. Just 1-2 mpg? That would be astonishing.
     
  15. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    9,065
    2,264
    1
    Location:
    Northern VA (NoVA)
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    My roof top box would be about 10-12 MPG loss, but it's a fairly wide one.
     
  16. tvpierce

    tvpierce Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2015
    200
    69
    0
    Location:
    Maine
    Vehicle:
    2008 Prius
    Model:
    Five
    The Prius is a pretty slippery car, so any alteration is likely going to have a significant effect. A total guess, but I'd bet you'd lose somewhere in the 10mpg range. Look at the specs for a Prius vs a Prius V: you lose 7 mpg simply by raising the rear hatch about a foot.
     
  17. RobH

    RobH Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2006
    1,943
    517
    56
    Location:
    Sunnyvale, California
    Vehicle:
    2006 Prius
    I build a small travel trailer on a Harbor Freight frame. About 600 pounds. Mileage hit was 32 mpg instead of 47 mpg without the trailer. More info, including a picture of the trailer at Update on Towing with Prius | PriusChat .
     
    Kevin_Denver likes this.
  18. Davidude

    Davidude New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2017
    27
    5
    0
    Location:
    Georgia
    Vehicle:
    2004 Prius
    Model:
    Base
    I sure wouldn't plan on that lasting 10,000 miles. Those wheels will probably wear before 1000. I would look into an actual trailer that's small, or a roof rack. Can find a trailer on Craiglist that will for less that $500 easy. While you will lose some mpg(not sure how much), you know it'll last the trip unlike that tiny thing. To be honest I would be worried your harbor freight trailer would flip in heavy weather.
     
Loading...