Recently I had the opportunity to use an HQ19 for a couple of months in the fall while working in Vermont. That time with the trailer and pulling it across the country (well not the whole country, but from Colorado to Vermont and back) gave me a new appreciation for the trailer. During the trip, I posted some photos of the trailer on social media (@sea2sum and @sea2summitexp on Instagram). Many of you had some questions about pulling the trailer with a new Defender and I thought I’d answer some of those questions.
“Does the Defender have enough power to pull that much trailer?”
First of all, for the sake of transparency, I pulled the trailer across the country with a Cummins-powered Nissan Titan XD. With that said, having pulled both with the Cummins Nissan and a 6 Cylinder MHEV new Defender, the Defender pulls it very well. On flat terrain, it pulls it beautifully. You’ll notice some power loss up some of the steeper grades, and you’ll need to use the gearing downhill to control your speed.
“Did you have to modify the Defender for it to work with the trailer?”
This one is easy; NO. I did have to install the brake controller into the vehicle. Any Land Rover Dealer can install the wiring harness and universal brake controller. The vehicle uses a common pigtail harness that is common to Ford products, which will allow the brake controller to be easily installed.
“Does it HAVE TO have a brake controller?”
Yes, absolutely. I wouldn’t even think about pulling a trailer with electric brakes and not using them. Just don't even think about- installing the controller.
“How is the trailer off-road?”
It’s eerily good. It takes a while to get used to driving off-road with any trailer, let alone a very long and heavy one. You have to really pay attention and plan ahead in the more technical areas. But the trailer capability exceeds my comfort level, at least at this point. It sucks up normal dirt roads like it's paved, and in technical terrain, it just follows along. Its long travel suspension is very compliant with obstacles, and if you can drive over it, and not bottom out, the trailer will likely do just fine. Release the poly block shock blocker which really allows the trailer to smoothen up.
“Do I need to have a weight distribution hitch?”
While this isn’t my area of expertise, I never used anything other than the poly-block hitch with either the Nissan or the Land Rover. I never had any indication of sway or pulling. It pulled straight as an arrow on every terrain I drove it and at every speed.
“Would you recommend this trailer for an owner of a new Defender?”
I think the HQ19 is the perfect trailer for many new Defender owners. It’s comfortable, and the vehicle will handle it well. You do have to be mindful of how you load the trailer, as you can exceed the towing capacity of the vehicle. I’d probably not recommend it to Defender 90 owners, or 4-cylinder vehicles as the extra wheelbase is helpful to control the trailer, and you’ll want the horsepower. I’d also only recommend it to owners with air suspension. This isn’t the right trailer for a coil-sprung Defender. This combination will take you well out into the backcountry in comfort and style while enjoying nature.