Re: What gear to use when towing?
The 2 Mode will use gears when it can and modes when it must. It has NO torque converter so the excessive heat from constant stall (converter) while in OD is not a problem. Run in drive. Your vehicle will easily tow at up to 12,000 lbs COMBINED total weight. Again NO torque converter that just makes heat.
You can monitor the transmission temperature if you want. You probably will not exceede 185 F. If you ever hit 200 F back off a little. (see below) I tow a 5000 lb Sea Ray as shown in my vehicle photo gallery. The day of that photo I was a little over at 12,601 for the whole rig, family, and dog on the scales. It's real easy to get up to that even with a 4500 lb camper or boat. All the extra stuff...
If you want to maximize FE while towing don't use cruise control. Let the vehicle slow down on grades up and allow the V4 fuel off to help while going down hill. Your instant FE may worry you on up hill but coming back down it will work out well.
"M" will keep the engine running on ALL 8 and deprive you of V4. M also will use the engine as a drag/brake on steeper grades down. Keep it in drive unless you need the M3, M2, M1 for engine braking on down grades.
If you want to make time you can stick your foot in it on up grades. It will shift to Mode 1 and if floored keep the engine at about 5100. Then the electrically variable ratio of the two motors will maintain peak horsepower to the wheels. Without overheating.
I have done this "drive it like you stole it" but I also dropped to 8 mpg doing it. But I can run posted speed on every grade I have ever encountered. I paid for it too at the pump.
So drive on flat and going up. M if you want to keep the brakes cool. The hybrid battery is not that big. Re-Gen braking down hill it fills up fast. Especially with the extra mass.
Keep the fluids full, watch the temperatures, and have fun.