The reason why this hasn't been an easy decision (say, snagging a F-250 or something) is because of the multiple purposes this vehicle will need to have. Currently, we have no vehicle capable of hauling a horse (I have a CRV, he has a Civic) but we have a horse and I really REALLY hate having to ask favors of other people if I want to go trail riding or compete. I'd rather be self reliant, especially in the event of a vet emergency, thank goodness the large equine vet is technically within riding distance.
In a perfect world, we would trade in both of our cars for electrics (perfect perfect, they would be Teslas... a girl can dream, right?) and just have a towing vehicle for horse only. We do not have the driveway space for that, unfortunately, so the current plan is trade in the civic, he gets the crv, I get a vehicle that is multi-purpose. I can keep a trailer at my barn.
It needs to:
1. Haul a horse trailer with 1 horse. I have a friend willing to sell me their trailer. I'll include a picture.
2. Have 4 doors. We have 1 child, so space in the backseat for a car seat is a must, the husband would prefer ease of access to the backseat, so 4 door it is. We also plan on one more kid, so having the space for a rear facing car seat is necessary. Right now the kiddo is rear facing and has room in the crv to sit behind me without me feeling like my knees are in my chest.
3. Decent gas mileage. This will also be a commuter car for me. I don't have far to travel, but keeping it between 18-25 mpg would be ideal.
From the reading that I've done online, smaller size SUVs (a notch better than the CRV, for instance) aren't ideal because while their tow weight is where we need it, they can't stabilize a shifting load due to length and vehicle weight. Please correct me if I'm off base here. I want to learn!
And of course, stopping power is more important than pedal to the metal. I live in the Pacific Northwest so there will be hills and mountains to travel up and down.
Please help teach me. We'd likely be buying used, either direct from a seller or through a dealer and doing a trade in. I'm not interested so much in the newest models, but something older that you've found is nice and reliable and gets the job done. I really hope our specifications aren't going to totally nix any vehicle. If my husband had his way we'd be getting a Honda Pilot (for example) and that would be that. I'm not certain a Pilot will be safe enough for the horse and think we need at least a step better.
The trailer in question with the beasty-beast at the end (not the grey Arabian). It's a 4 horse straight load/stock, from the 70s, but pretty much rebuilt everything. My mare gets into it, it's cheap (buying from a friend) and it's safe.
The Goober and her kid.
TL;DR: Any decent large size SUV's/4 door trucks that get okay gas mileage, can haul a horse and fit 1-2 carseats? Am I pretty much going for the suburban's of the car world?