Re: towing jeep--need more hp or torque?
Back to the question at hand, which one is better.
I don't know either vehicle, so here are some things to check.
The aforementioned posts on hp and torque are right on the money. Definitely drive it as well to see how it handles.
Same thing with the gearing, 3.07's aren't going to tow worth a crap whereas 4.56's will. My '95 Trooper has 4.56 gears from the factory, so they can be found.
Brakes, look for quad disc, not front disc and rear drum. Vehicle manufacturers need to get with the 21st century if they're still using drum brakes. My 4 wheel disc brakes stop on a dime, even flat towing. Then again, I have had more weight IN the Trooper than I have towed with it, I used it last winter to haul wood.
Vehicle weight. The heavier the vehicle, the less the towed load will try to muscle it around. I have a lot of time on the clock towing my Zuk and a snowmobile trailer. I typically carry the Zuk's off-road tires in the Trooper because if I put them in the Zuk, it doesn't tow as well and I notice the difference. We're talking 400 pounds of tires here and flat towing, so it's not even the weight of 2 grown adults.
Auto vs. stick. I prefer a stick for towing (but have an auto), it's a fair amount of shifting, but it'll probably last longer than an auto in the vehicles you're looking at. If you do run an auto, MAKE SURE it has an external tranny cooler, if not, make them install it AT THE DEALERSHIP and have it included in your warranty. You have to do this before you buy the vehicle, and make sure it's spelled out clearly or it's not covered.
Buying new? Get the extended warranty, out to 100K or 120K, which ever you can get. It'll be pricey, like around $2K extra, but I guarantee it'll pay for itself, ours always have, on every vehicle. The first time they have to replace gears or a tranny, you'll be glad you have it. Our '97 TJ (we got it in '96) is still under the warranty with 90K on the clock, until this October, when the time limit runs out. Don't skimp here, we have paid about $250 for over $4,000 worth of work ($50 deductible).
We're not towing with YOUR vehicle, and we're not making the payments, keep that in mind as well. You're the one that has to be satisfied, not us. Also don't skimp. We looked at the difference between a stock 4 cyl TJ and a loaded one, and the difference was $100 a month (or $25 a week), which is pretty minor. We have never regretted buying it, or the Trooper, but we did our homework well in advance on the TJ, like 4 months worth.
It's also OK to setup a new vehicle and see how it tows BEFORE you buy it. If the dealership refuses, take your business elsewhere. I took my '95 Trooper wheeling straight off the lot in February, the salesman was having kittens in the back seat, but it was the only way I would buy it. By the way, ALL vehicles drive nice on the road, even Hyundai's and Yugo's, so don't settle on a road test, take it through YOUR real world paces before you buy it. Once it's bought, you're done, it's yours and they won't lift a finger to help you. You also won't be able to trade it in on something else without turning upside down (owing more money than it's worth), so buy right the first time.
Oh, I almost forgot, find out the longevity of both vehicles, do some searches on the Web and ask around. I had no idea our Trooper had a history of lifter problems, and it would have made a difference when buying it. It's been a great vehicle, and at 130K I have no complaints, but it would have been nice to know what to look out for or expect initially. You're not going to get that info from the dealership either.
Winter Harbor, Maine
'81 CJ-8 Scrambled, It's a Jeep, Chevy, IHC kinda thing!
'88.5 Zuki, 5" Calmini, Locked, Swamped, Rolled, and just generally broken in right!