Oh, the work of a Trailer Life editor! We drive around in brand-new tow vehicles,
pulling the latest of trailers … then we stay at lovely campgrounds to test the new
units. Sound a little like paradise?
Well, to fully test the 2010 Hi-Lo 2310H travel
trailer and the 2010 GMC Acadia FWD SLT-2 midsize crossover, we actually made Paradise our
destination: Paradise Campground in Santa Barbara, California, that is. The name alone
evokes thoughts of beauty and carefree living, which set the scene for our test of this
There’s no question that this travel trailer and crossover
SUV look smart together – the 2310H with its sleek, low travel profile and stylish
gelcoat and the well-proportioned Acadia with its in-your-face stance, sweet grille and new
Red Jewel Tintcoat exterior ($395). But the majority of our oohs and aahs came after
checking out the trailer, which is part of Hi-Lo’s first-ever totally redesigned product
Raising the Roof
We previously tested the 2009 Hi-Lo TowLite 15T (“To the Fields of
Gold,” July 2008 issue), and though that test was golden, when comparing it to the
company’s 2010 lineup, we noticed some big updates – inside and out. The 2310H has more
windows, including the huge front panoramic glass, nicely finished Formica countertops by
Wilson Art, maple cabinetry and Beauflor flooring with a textured nonskid topcoat, all with
tasteful earthy overtones. The designers at Hi-Lo made excellent use of space in this
22-foot 4-inch trailer.
But, of course, we first had to raise the roof to check it out.
Saying that Hi-Lo’s hydraulic lift system is an engineering marvel might be an
overstatement; but all we had to do was reach inside the door, pull a cable to unlock the
lift and simultaneously push a button. In seconds the upper half of the trailer rose to its
6-foot 6-inch interior height. A lifetime warranty is attached to the hydraulic lift, but
the trailer comes with a backup manual raising system, just in case.
We were immediately
impressed with the amount of elbowroom in the trailer, even with all four of us moving
about. To the right of the door is good floor space with a couch along the front wall. It
converts to a queen-size bed, under which we stowed away blankets, hiking shoes, backpacks
and other equipment. Over the couch and surrounding the entire trailer are overhead
cabinets, which are quite handy for any loose odds and ends. Opposite the door is the
refrigerator and next to it is the roomy kitchen with more cabinets.
Directly left of the
door is the dinette, where we found even more storage under one of the benches as well as
extra optional overhead cabinets ($413) above. Spread across the entire rear of the
trailer, we loved the placement of the bathroom. It’s huge. The vanity has a rack for
hanging clothes or wet towels and floorspace for cleaning supplies. Still more cabinets
hold bathing supplies, toiletry essentials and more than you might need in such a space.
The bathroom is partitioned off with nicely textured wall fabric, which helps to retain
great visual privacy, but allows for little to no audible privacy – something that could
bother the more modest of folk.
The 2310H sleeps four to five, though an optional
swing-away overhead bunk ($413) can help to squeeze in another. It had just about
everything we would like to see in a trailer, but knowing ahead of time we would have no
microwave or conventional oven ($406 each), we planned accordingly and brought pots, pans
and good old-fashioned stovetop popcorn for the three-burner stove. The decent counter
space and dual-basin sink made cooking and cleanup easy, and we listened to the AM/FM
stereo with CD player ($357) while we chatted at the dinette, before moving outside to the
very convenient curbside flip-down table.
Radio reception is aided via a manual antenna on
the roof, which must be pulled up while the trailer is still in travel mode; otherwise it
will take a small step ladder – or a very tall person – to reach it once the roof is
We slept well on the convertible dinette, which was comfortable enough that we
didn’t need the air mattress or foam topper we generally use on test trips. The large
bathroom made showers and dressing easy. There’s even an outdoor shower on the streetside
of the trailer we could have used if needed.
Two skylight vents let in the sun and fresh
morning air, as did the many windows surrounding us. A Fan-Tastic vent with a built-in
thermostat ($266) is optional, and if the weather had called for it, we would have
appreciated using it. Rather, we had a pleasant breeze, which was perfect for keeping the
windows open. It was good that it wasn’t so hot to need the air conditioner, because
figuring out how to get power to it took some time. The unit isn’t hard-wired and must be
plugged in manually, and its plug and receptacle are in an inconspicuous spot: the
bathroom. Pull the cord out of the back wall from behind a circular cover (attached to a
portion of the wall accessible only when the roof is raised), plug it into the outlet
located behind the vanity (on the lower half of the trailer) and, voilà, cold air. The
system works well, but it’s one more thing to remember to unplug and put away before
hitting that button to lower the roof.
Living in the trailer was comfortable, undemanding
and uncomplicated. When it was time to go, we properly stowed away everything inside, and
with another push of the button, the Hi-Lo was ready again for travel.
The 2310H is a close match with the Acadia, but Hi-Lo’s low-profile travel mode certainly
would give most any tow vehicle an advantage. The 2310H has enough length and weight to
require a weight-distributing hitch, and once it was installed, we barely felt as though we
were pulling anything.
We put the Acadia’s towing prowess to the test heading up a
7-percent grade. Taking it out of overdrive, this 3.6-liter V-6 engine with its six-speed
automatic transmission responded immediately, smoothly maintaining power up the grade with
little effort. This front-wheel drive crossover is capable of producing 288 hp and 270
lb-ft of torque, and its stability and traction control, hydraulic rack-and-pinion steering
and advanced suspension obviously work well together, because the ride was quiet, smooth
The Acadia is available in SL, SLE, SLT-1 and SLT-2 trim levels – all
dressed up with their own set of features. We must admit that we think GMC went a bit
“bling” with the shiny chrome wheels, but otherwise this vehicle is downright handsome.
Inside our test SLT-2, we first noticed the perforated leather upholstered bucket seats.
This model gave the four in our group plenty of room, as it holds up to seven passengers.
By optionally changing out the second-row captain’s chairs for the 60/40-split bench, it’s
possible to fit eight. All second- and third-row seats fold flat, giving the Acadia 117
cubic feet of storage space or 24 cubic feet in the back when all of the seats are in use.
Being that we didn’t need the third-row seats for this trip, we folded them flat to hold
some of the bulkier items for our trip to Paradise.
Those bucket seats are surprisingly
cushiony. With two of us taking turns driving on this test – one at 6 feet 2 inches and the
other in the low fives – the eight-way power driver’s seat fit both perfectly with plenty
of headroom and no troubles seeing out the windshield, and adjusting the seat was easy
using the driver memory settings. Also, the driver’s seat and four-way power front
passenger seat have a temperature-control option ($650) that heats or cools the seats
within minutes, a comfort we enjoyed. In fact, we enjoyed all of the options GMC placed on
the test Acadia.
Looking up, we had a dual-pane Skyscape sunroof and a second-row skylight
for those sitting in the back ($1,400). Both are equipped with sunscreens, which worked
well during the afternoon hours when the sun was directly overhead.
Forward, we can’t help
but rave about the head-up display. The optional Technology Package ($1,000) includes a
projector of sorts that reflects a lighted display of vehicle speed, engine rpm and other
information on the windshield. The driver has control of how bright or dim to make the
projection – even to turn it off – but it was helpful and completely non-obtrusive. It
never interfered with the view of the road, so we kept it on the entire drive. This package
also includes cargo-area controls and HID headlamps.
All dashboard gauges are clearly
viewed, with user-friendly knobs and buttons. Using the touch-screen navigation system with
rearview camera display ($1,890) – another option we relished – we mapped our way to the
campground with 3D routes and used it when touring the area. The system even alerted us
with a text and map display when we were approaching 45 mph congested traffic; however,
this real-time traffic reporting costs yet an additional fee (first three months included).
Another optional package is the rear entertainment system ($1,445). It includes a DVD
player with a flip-down display and a 120-volt AC power outlet to entertain the backseat
passengers. Also available is surround-sound, a second-row center console, rear-parking
sensors, power liftgate with sensors, power-folding heated mirrors with driver-side
auto-dimming, all-wheel drive and plenty of other options.
The Acadia has some nice
standard equipment as well. The SLT-2 is the only Acadia model that comes standard with
trailering equipment, which includes heavy-duty cooling and a factory-installed hitch
receiver and wiring. For safety, it’s equipped with StabiliTrak stability control system,
antilock disc brakes and a set of six air bags along with a passenger sensing system, which
turns off respective airbags if the front-seat passenger is under a certain weight. A
one-year OnStar Directions and Connections2 plan comes standard, as do
steering-wheel-mounted controls, which include buttons to initiate a call or adjust the
volume for the built-in Bluetooth cell phone connection.
With the 2310H and the Acadia FWD
SLT-2, we enjoyed our tough work of testing. And if there weren’t other tow vehicles and
trailers waiting for our review, we’d take this duo out again – to Paradise or any other