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rampagex7

First Towing Experience with Aviator GT

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With the good weather and loosening of some restrictions at marinas and campgrounds (at least here in Ontario) decided to finally get my boat in the water this weekend.  This was my first time towing my boat with the Aviator GT and I was quite impressed.  Here's the pros & cons:

 

Pros

- LOTS of power, surprisingly even in EV mode it had no problem towing the 3,500lb boat although it did decrease the EV range by about 30%

- As soon as trailer is connected and you turn on vehicle messages pop on the screen saying "trailer detected" and prompt you to enter the length and width of the trailer so that it can adjust the BLIS to cover the trailer (which worked really well) you can also save these settings if it is trailer you tow regularly it will remember for next time

- The tow/haul mode activates automatically and controls transmission shifts to give better RPM range for towing, this worked very well and kept the engine nicely in the 2800-3200rpm range when I was driving on the highway.  This is great feature and takes all the guesswork out of finding the right gear for towing.  My previous vehicle (2017 MKX with 2.7Turbo) was terrible for towing and had to put it sport mode and manually downshift all the time to get good engine performance.

- Braking was good, although my boat trailer has surge brakes which help a lot too

- Gas mileage was mind blowing!  Started with full gas tank and fully charged battery and drove to pick up boat from storage and brought it home on Wednesday night, then drove up to to boat launch Thursday morning (about 140km) left it at campsite, and then drove back home Saturday afternoon (another 140km).  The entire round trip did not even burn through 1/2 tank of gas (see final stats below) and my average fuel economy was 10.8L/100km  (just under 22mpg) which is incredible for towing.

- Air suspension!  Nice smooth ride with no bumps and also put it into deep conditions mode at boat launch which raised it up a good 3" or so to give extra clearance in the water when launching

 

Cons

- No manual air suspension adjustment on demand.  Having the air suspension is great and made for nice smooth ride but one major flaw is there is no way (at least that I'm aware of) to raise or lower the suspension on demand, the only way to get it up or down is to change the drive mode, lock/unlock the car, or open the liftgate.  When I was trying to connect/disconnect the boat trailer from the vehicle the suspension stays at "normal" height and it forced me to crank the jack of the trailer almost fully to get the hitch ball below the tongue and couple the trailer until I realized that if I open the liftgate the suspension would lower the ass end down 2" which did the trick and made for much easier coupling.  There should definitely be a button somewhere or option in touchscreen to raise/lower air suspension on demand for situations like this.

- The "kick-to-open" liftgate sensors are way too sensitive, when you're trying to attach the safety chains and plug in trailer wire harness it keeps mistaking the movement under the bumper for you trying to open the liftgate almost got hit in the head twice unintended opening/closing.  My 2017 MKX had this problem as well but wasn't as sensitive, I think the sensors were spaced a little further away from the trailer hitch.

 

 

Overall, I really think Ford made a winner here with the PHEV powertrain on the Aviator it has power, performance and efficiency all in one package.  And you get the best of both worlds with some EV range for daily commute to save gas and a FULL 3L V6 engine with performance (and towing capability) for long trips.  It's too bad they are not offering the same PHEV powertrain on the Explorer in North America, I think if consumers had this kind power and efficiency available in the Explorer as well they would be flying off the lot despite their other design/quality flaws (which Ford should still fix as well).

 

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