OK so you’ve decided you want to try caravanning, and obviously you want to be as safe as possible, so your first thoughts might be to opt for a 4WD car to tow with. Seems sensible, right? Yes it does, and in an ideal world, that’s exactly what most would recommend.
Lets take a large 4wd car to give you an example:
Land Rover Discovery 3.0 TD6 – an excellent car for towing (and Practical Caravan’s overall Tow Car winner 2017), has a large towing limit far bigger than anything you’re likely to want to tow, of 3500kg so would be very comfortable towing a normal sized caravan.
The problem with this type of 4WD, although excellent and safe for towing, is that the car alone has a Gross Vehicle Weight of 3170kg. This leaves you with 330kg left of your Maximum Allowable Mass (MAM) of 3500kg. There isn’t a caravan weighing that little, you’d be lucky to tow a trailer tent within your limits!
*You can legally tow up to 750kg with a vehicle weighing up to 3500kg, but no caravan weighs this little.
The Caravan Club’s tow car of the year is a VW Passat Alltrack Estate, a great tow car but has a GVW of 2220kg, leaving you with 1280kg for the caravan, something that will allow you to choose a small 2 berth at most, not great if you have a family.
So, rather counter-intuitively, the tow car you choose has to be light enough to allow you a reasonable weight remaining for the caravan, but not too light and near it’s towing limit, to be unstable on the road. It’s a tricky balancing act.
We aim to advise you on the best tow cars and largest caravans towable whilst remaining legal and safe.