I won't go into flowery prose. The problem is simply stated. What is out there that is a good family car, AWD preferred, and can tow 3500 lbs while getting better than upper teens in the city?
The Equinox we have now is averaging 18 to 20 mpg in mixed driving. Thats on the lowish end of acceptable for me, and OMG WTF BBQ for her (I am not sure what she was expecting....but once we got over $4.30 a gallon she started to complain). We didn't care too much at the time we got the car, and we still love it for all intents and purposes. Honestly if the 4 cylinder would pull 3500 lbs we would trade it in on one, as the V6 is ill-suited to the vehicle (very much a screamer powerplant - would be great in a small sports coupe or a sports sedan, not so good in an AWD SUV).
But, since it doesn't, I am starting to assemble a mental list of replacements in the 1 to 2 year timeframe. Price range would be up to $35,000, and this vehicle would be leased, ideally in the $400 a month range.
What's out there? We might even be willing to go Outback/Volvo route if there's a good option. The 3500 lbs is not really arbitrary, as we are looking to purchase a runabout in the 19 foot class, and many of them on the trailer are sitting on around 3,000 lbs.