We just returned from our first experience pulling a dingy. 1600 miles trying to find warmth in southern Arizona, cut short with weather forecasts of more highs in the 50's and lows pushing freezing. Not much better than home in Grand Junction, CO.
Flash, our 2010 PC 2551, performed flawlessly (aside from needing a new battery) and nearly effortlessly pulling our 2000 Chevy Tracker, Dash. The Tracker seems to be designed for towing four down. It's an automatic 4WD with high/low range and neutral in the transfer case, decent ground clearance, a comfortable 4 door and pleasant to drive. There is an always-on 12 volt outlet in the console to plug in the RVI brake assist system I had chosen:https://rvibrake.com/products/rvibrake3-auxiliary-braking-system?variant=20046642181
No need to leave the ignition key on. As long as you leave a key in the ignition after shut down the steering wheel does not lock.
It was really nice to have a vehicle for exploring, shopping, getting to trail heads, etc. while leaving a camp all set up.
We weighed at the Port of Entry on our way out of town. Dash clocked in at 3200# with full fuel, our two mountain e-bikes (Crash and Smash) and the heavy duty bike rack needed to carry them, plus assorted accessories for biking and hiking, jump starter and tools, etc. We loaded Flash with the usual way-too-many clothes and toys, full water and food and drinks for three weeks. The scale reported the front axle at 4500# (5000# capacity,) rear axle 8160 (9500# capacity,) 12660# total, or 1840# to spare. Show me another 28' RV with that capacity.
The only thing I wish we had taken, and easily strapped to the roof rack on Dash, was our old Wenonah Minnesota II canoe named...wait for it... Splash. We could have used it several times.
We always log our fuel and water usage. Last year without towing, we averaged 9.141 MPG over 4567 miles. We usually drive at 60 to 65 MPH, but don't push it up hills or in headwinds. With the same strategy pulling Dash we averaged 8.607 MPG over the 1636 miles traveled, an extra 11 gallons. Roughly the same amount of fuel saved by using Dash (24 mpg) instead of Flash on excursions.
Without Dash to use, we would not have been able to drive the two scenic loops in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, (which we absolutely loved!) a trip to Biosphere 2 while camping outside of Tucson, or easy shopping and sightseeing while staying at Lake Pleasant north of Phoenix.
As far as driving goes, there was very little difference to be noticed...slightly more "pull" on the long inclines, and the need to think ahead when stopping for fuel or for the night...you can't use reverse while towing four down. Going down the road, it is like there is nothing back there, just frequent glances in the rear camera to be sure it was still there.
This performance makes sense as I remember my much younger days touring in my 1970 VW leather-shop-on-wheels Bus. You'd feel the suction as you pulled dangerously close to the rear bumper of that 18-wheeler going down the highway in front of you, let off of the gas pedal, and literally coast behind it. That's what Dash feels, hence the smile.