Behind the wheel of the 2008 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab TRX4 4 x 4 towing the 2009 Hi-Lo TowLite 15T telescoping trailer, we traversed the winding roads to and through Carrizo Plain to test ride this duo and to explore this National Monument in Southern California.
The test Dakota’s 4.7-liter V-8 engine maintained power up a 5-mile, 5-percent grade, starting the trip out with vigor. Producing 302 hp at 4,600 rpm and 329 lb-ft of torque at 3,600 rpm, this midsize truck packed more than enough power to handle this scenic freeway. Also, the Dakota is rated to tow up to 6,800 pounds, so it towed the 2,700-pound wet weight of the TowLite 15T up the grade with little effort. And for an added perk, Dodge designed this truck to also operate on E85 ethanol, making it a flex-fuel vehicle.
Once at the campsite, with a push of a button, the trailer’s roof raised in less than a minute using its lifetime-guaranteed hydraulic system, turning it into a livable height of just less than 6 feet 4 inches. Although it’s a 15-footer, we noticed its spacious interior feel right away after entering. We used the two-burner stove to make a quick meal and pulled out a cold one from the three-way fridge. There was plenty of elbowroom, even with three of us sitting at the dinette; but we had to take turns (two at a time) moving about the kitchen area – not unlike many small trailers.
We set up the convertible dinette to a 50-inch x 80-inch bed, and then pulled down the large optional bunk from above. The two sleeping areas were a perfect fit for the three of us, and we could have easily and comfortably had a fourth member in our party.
Driving away the next morning, we discovered how very similar the Dakota handles hitched up to this low-profile trailer compared to its solo drive. Enjoying the small size and ease of this package, we can pretty much say that this test ride was golden.
Pick up the July 2008 issue of Trailer Life magazine for more info about the Hi-Lo TowLite 15T & Dakota Crew Cab TRX4 — then subscribe to Trailer Life, so you can stay informed on the latest tests, previews, tow vehicles, and technical and RV-lifestyle information. Trailer Life is also available in digital-issue format.
Hi-Lo Trailer Company, (800) 337-6490, www.hilotrailer.com