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2011 KIA Sportage SX, 2016 Ford Focus RS
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Thursday night I embarked on a road trip from Phoenix to Colorado Springs to be back home by Sunday, just over 1500 miles in 3 days. The part that makes the story interesting is that I was towing a load. In the attached picture you see the small trailer I had, loaded with a large Cornwell tool box and a 110 gallon ultrasonic cleaner. Total weight of items plus trailer was about 1000 pounds and I had it loaded with somewhere between 100-150 pounds tongue weight.

I must say I didn't exactly like towing this load, I wasn't impressed with the trailer and the load was probably a little too big for it. The Sportage powered up mountain passes without any issue but I did't care for how it felt with the load behind me, perhaps I didn't have the weight distribution correct or maybe it was just catching wind or something. The load weighed down the back and pointed the headlights a little high, so I was flashed a few times by people thinking my high beams were on. Otherwise no real issue.

Despite the hills I had to climb and the weight back there I was still able to get about 24-25mpg on the trip computer each fill-up, I didn't compute it manually as I didn't expect much but still not too bad for the drive from Phoenix to Albuquerque to Colorado Springs with that load.

Unloaded and heading home was a different story. I took off from the Springs saturday afternoon heading to Montrose Colorado to visit my parents. The trailer empty couldn't even be felt behind me. I gassed up in Colorado Springs and drove like a mad man towing an empty 200 pound trailer through the mountains. I made it to Montrose, visited the folks in Olathe, and back to Montrose the next morning to fill up. The trip computer indicated 30.3mpg! Calculated though was 266 miles and 9.6 gallons, 27.1mpg! Not bad for a few mountain passes and an empty trailer!

Next fill up was after leaving Montrose, going through Ouray, Silverton and Durango then on to Gallup. There were even more and higher mountain passes here! I managed 256 miles and 9.0 gallons, 28.4mpg. I again was not being gentle with the throttle, but sure was impressed with economy for how I was driving.

I made it home to Phoenix on the next tank, haven't gassed up yet but did about 80mph the whole way, maybe tonight will hit the gas station and find out.

Seems the Sportage really is capable of decent economy, it just really doesn't shine until you are out on the open highway.
 

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2011 KIA Sportage SX, 2016 Ford Focus RS
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466 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Last tank was 26.6mpg. Guess doing 80 for the whole drive and street racing a suburban bumped it down a little.
 

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2011 Kia Sportage SX w/ Premium Package & Nav
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194 Posts
Wow, cool. Thanks for the info. And, glad you had a safe trip. I just got my 2011 SX and it has a hitch already installed/welded to the frame. I also just got roof bars (rhino rack) and not sure if I should tow stuff or use the roof rack w/ cargo pod thingy...

I bought the rails for the old EX before I upgraded to the SX as I didn't feel the 2.4L would cut it up and down hills dragging a small trailer. But, now with the SX and hitch, I think I'd prefer going that route. I also assume towing a trailer gets better MPG than strapping a box to your roof. Not to mention it won't mess as much with the center of gravity etc. and will feel a bit better while driving.

I've never used a roof rack or trailer hitch on any car I've owned so not sure what to do. Since you recently made a trip do you feel towing is my best option when extra space is needed?
 

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2011 Sportage SX
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16 Posts
Glad to read a real life towing story with the SX, must have been awesome scenery. And yes the 2liter engine really shines on open highway, the darn turbo drinks so much during moderate to harsh city driving. I finaly got 10.2 and 500km out of a tank of gas! (included 240 highway km).

Anyway thanks for sharing. Towing a quad on trailer in mild off-road should be just fine.
 
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