Rav4 PHEV to tow Swift Sprite?

Mar 3, 2024
10
2
15
Visit site
Beginner here contemplating taking up caravanning in retirement.

We are thinking of buying a Swift Sprite or the Bailey equivalent of it.

I was wondering if a Rav4 PHEV would be able to tow that effectively? The towing capacity is 1500KG so that should be acceptable, but the maximums nose weight is 70KG. Am I right in thinking that's a bit on the low side for that size of caravan?

cheers
 
Nov 11, 2009
20,282
6,224
50,935
Visit site
No; I towed a Sprite 1300kg on 70 kg and it never ever gave me any cause for concern. Some do tend to get obsessed by bigger is better when sufficient is good enough. Recommended range of noseweight is 5-7% of MTPLM. What is the weight(s) of your proposed caravan.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Hutch
Mar 3, 2024
10
2
15
Visit site
No; I towed a Sprite 1300kg on 70 kg and it never ever gave me any cause for concern. Some do tend to get obsessed by bigger is better when sufficient is good enough. Recommended range of noseweight is 5-7% of MTPLM. What is the weight(s) of your proposed caravan.

That was my concern because we were tentatively looking at the Swift Sprite Major 4SB - MPTLM of 1442 so 5% of 1442 is already 72KG, so I guess we would be outside the recommendation there. Also neither of us have ever towed before so we probably shouldn't go for something that's on the margines of what is acceptable.
 
Aug 12, 2023
285
109
235
Visit site
When comes to towing heavier tow vehicle is compared to trailer better. RAV4 once loaded is going be >2200kg making 1500kg caravan 65% of tow vehicle, light enough that tail shouldn't be wagging dog. I wouldn't get to hung up on towball weight, 70kg is lot downward pressure.

If you've never used or owned a caravan before dip your toe in water by hiring That way you will find out pros and cons of different layouts. Also see how vehicle handles with different size caravans.

This site has Sprites for hire.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Javert
Nov 11, 2009
20,282
6,224
50,935
Visit site
When comes to towing heavier tow vehicle is compared to trailer better. RAV4 once loaded is going be >2200kg making 1500kg caravan 65% of tow vehicle, light enough that tail shouldn't be wagging dog. I wouldn't get to hung up on towball weight, 70kg is lot downward pressure.

If you've never used or owned a caravan before dip your toe in water by hiring That way you will find out pros and cons of different layouts. Also see how vehicle handles with different size caravans.

This site has Sprites for hire.
It’s unusual to compare the ratio of a fully loaded car to the caravans MTPLM. The more normal advice for the inexperienced is that the MTPLM should be no more than 85% of the cars kerbweight. Quoting it as you do could cause some confusion. With modern cars the 85% isn’t a hard and fast figure so 90% wouldn’t be unreasonable for some cars.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Javert

Mel

Mar 17, 2007
5,366
1,311
25,935
Visit site
We tow a Swift Sprite Alpine 2 with a car with a towing capacity of 1500kg and nose weight of 70 kg with no problems. The MPTLM of the van is 1284 kg. Just need to load carefully and check the noseweight.
We generally only take 1 gas bottle but the spare wheel is in the front locker and we can still achieve 70kg noseweight.
Mel
 
  • Like
Reactions: Javert and Hutch
Mar 14, 2005
17,627
3,095
50,935
Visit site
Beginner here contemplating taking up caravanning in retirement.

We are thinking of buying a Swift Sprite or the Bailey equivalent of it.

I was wondering if a Rav4 PHEV would be able to tow that effectively? The towing capacity is 1500KG so that should be acceptable, but the maximums nose weight is 70KG. Am I right in thinking that's a bit on the low side for that size of caravan?

cheers
Hello Javert,

Welcome to the world of caravanning. Based on your figures and confirming the cars specification from the Toyota Web Page it would seem your proposed outfit should be a sensible match for the car.

The conventional caravan towing ratio is calculated:-

Towing ratio % = (Caravan MTPLM x 100/Cars Kerbweight)

77.7 % = (1500kg x100) / 1930kg

This is well under the UK caravan industries advisory 85%

As for the noseload, the data page I used does not declare the "S" value for the tow hitch, but EU regulations expects the "S" value of the hitch to be at least 4% of the permitted braked towed weight limit :- which would be 1500kg x 4 /100 = 60kg You tell us the hitch is good for 70kg which is fine.

I strongly suggest you research how to load items into your caravan, as this is how you produce a nose load, and help to keep the caravan towing experience as good and safe as possible.

I can also recommend considering doing a caravan towing course with one of the caravan clubs.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Javert
Jul 18, 2017
12,110
3,385
32,935
Visit site
The 85% guideline is totally antiquated and out of date with cars of this era. It may have been okay for cars in the eighties of the previous century. I wonder why they are sticking to that guideline and have not done another test with a modern car? Also i would not get hung up on nose weight of 72kg when the car is limited to 70kg as easy to load the caravan so that nose weight is 70kg.
 
Nov 11, 2009
20,282
6,224
50,935
Visit site
The 85% guideline is totally antiquated and out of date with cars of this era. It may have been okay for cars in the eighties of the previous century. I wonder why they are sticking to that guideline and have not done another test with a modern car? Also i would not get hung up on nose weight of 72kg when the car is limited to 70kg as easy to load the caravan so that nose weight is 70kg.
Not all caravans are easy to load to 70 kg. My Sprite was nose heavy when empty and so it took quite a bit of trialing to find a load distribution that met 70 kg. This involved only one gas bottle, some water in cassette and flush tank, light load in fridge, nothing in front under seat lockers, holdalls and clothes towards bag, bedding tv etc.

In theory I was compelled to load the caravan contrary to the guidelines. Others have had similar problems. I think some Bailey’s were problematic too. But my car to caravan weight ratio was well below 85% and I never had any qualms when towing the outfit. .
 
Jul 18, 2017
12,110
3,385
32,935
Visit site
Not all caravans are easy to load to 70 kg. My Sprite was nose heavy when empty and so it took quite a bit of trialing to find a load distribution that met 70 kg. This involved only one gas bottle, some water in cassette and flush tank, light load in fridge, nothing in front under seat lockers, holdalls and clothes towards bag, bedding tv etc.

In theory I was compelled to load the caravan contrary to the guidelines. Others have had similar problems. I think some Bailey’s were problematic too. But my car to caravan weight ratio was well below 85% and I never had any qualms when towing the outfit. .
However you were able to manage and I am sure that with careful loading the OP could manage. The Sprite Major has a nice family layout.

The Buccaneer has a nose weight of up to 150kg, but people are towing them with vehicles where the load on the towball cannot exceed 100kg due to careful adjustment of the the load in the caravan.

The OP could consider a roofbox on the car to carry additional stuff?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Javert
Nov 11, 2009
20,282
6,224
50,935
Visit site
However you were able to manage and I am sure that with careful loading the OP could manage. The Sprite Major has a nice family layout.

The Buccaneer has a nose weight of up to 150kg, but people are towing them with vehicles where the load on the towball cannot exceed 100kg due to careful adjustment of the the load in the caravan.

The OP could consider a roofbox on the car to carry additional stuff?
The difference between me and a newbie is that they may not feel confident in loading to the rear and having fluids in tanks as it’s contrary to the advice given on courses, websites etc. Also I am a bit OCD about weighing everything that goes into the caravan and keeping my spreadsheets up to date. Yes a roofbox would go on some trips too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Javert
Mar 3, 2024
10
2
15
Visit site
However you were able to manage and I am sure that with careful loading the OP could manage. The Sprite Major has a nice family layout.

The Buccaneer has a nose weight of up to 150kg, but people are towing them with vehicles where the load on the towball cannot exceed 100kg due to careful adjustment of the the load in the caravan.

The OP could consider a roofbox on the car to carry additional stuff?
Thanks for all the replies everyone this is all very helpful.

It seems like the legal restrictions are a bit different to what is "recommended".

I am just trying to figure out whether to keep Rav4 on my shortlist of potential tow cars. I have cars with higher nose weight restriction 100KG above on my list as well so I will be test driving a few cars eventually.

We may well also try hiring caravans some time this year as well, but we need a tow car as neither of our current vehicles is rated for towing whatsoever, and I need to change my car soon anyway.

In the meantime I also found out that with the latest Toyota Rav4 PHEV, you need to select the cheaper spec model as it has a higher towing capacity - I am not sure why that is but I guess it must be something to do with the weight of the car body where the more expensive model can have a panormaic roof as an option (if it's not that I have no idea what it is that would reduce the tow weight).

I have also read somewhere that you can go to a higher limit than the headline limit if you keep your speed below 60mph but I'm not sure I fully understood that part?
 
Mar 3, 2024
10
2
15
Visit site
Hello Javert,

Welcome to the world of caravanning. Based on your figures and confirming the cars specification from the Toyota Web Page it would seem your proposed outfit should be a sensible match for the car.

The conventional caravan towing ratio is calculated:-

Towing ratio % = (Caravan MTPLM x 100/Cars Kerbweight)

77.7 % = (1500kg x100) / 1930kg

This is well under the UK caravan industries advisory 85%

As for the noseload, the data page I used does not declare the "S" value for the tow hitch, but EU regulations expects the "S" value of the hitch to be at least 4% of the permitted braked towed weight limit :- which would be 1500kg x 4 /100 = 60kg You tell us the hitch is good for 70kg which is fine.

I strongly suggest you research how to load items into your caravan, as this is how you produce a nose load, and help to keep the caravan towing experience as good and safe as possible.

I can also recommend considering doing a caravan towing course with one of the caravan clubs.
Thanks - the specific model we are currently considering is Swift Sprite Major 4SB with MPTLM of 1442kg and a fixed bed at the middle of the caravan.

I also figured out after going to the show in Birmingham that various dealers have their own branded version of this so I guess you have to check the exact specs of the one you are buying.
 
Mar 3, 2024
10
2
15
Visit site
Regarding the comment about getting used to layouts - we have rented a few motorhomes in the past with various layouts so we are familiar with the layout options, and from looking around it looks like caravan layouts aren't that disimmilar to motorhomes. We are more leaning towards a caravan as a) it seems to be better value for money to buy a car plus caravan and b) we will most likely be stopping several nights in various places and we prefer to have a smaller vehicle to explore around.
 
Nov 11, 2009
20,282
6,224
50,935
Visit site
Thanks - the specific model we are currently considering is Swift Sprite Major 4SB with MPTLM of 1442kg and a fixed bed at the middle of the caravan.

I also figured out after going to the show in Birmingham that various dealers have their own branded version of this so I guess you have to check the exact specs of the one you are buying.
Yes they do and depending on the "extras" it could affect your MTPLM and payload. My last Sprite had a payload increase which whilst not mega was slightly more than the weight of the movers so in effect my useful payload was retained. In your case you may be able to have payload increase but of course not beyond your car's nmaximum towing load.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Javert
May 7, 2012
8,521
1,772
30,935
Visit site
Thanks for all the replies everyone this is all very helpful.

It seems like the legal restrictions are a bit different to what is "recommended".

I am just trying to figure out whether to keep Rav4 on my shortlist of potential tow cars. I have cars with higher nose weight restriction 100KG above on my list as well so I will be test driving a few cars eventually.

We may well also try hiring caravans some time this year as well, but we need a tow car as neither of our current vehicles is rated for towing whatsoever, and I need to change my car soon anyway.

In the meantime I also found out that with the latest Toyota Rav4 PHEV, you need to select the cheaper spec model as it has a higher towing capacity - I am not sure why that is but I guess it must be something to do with the weight of the car body where the more expensive model can have a panormaic roof as an option (if it's not that I have no idea what it is that would reduce the tow weight).

I have also read somewhere that you can go to a higher limit than the headline limit if you keep your speed below 60mph but I'm not sure I fully understood that part?
The towing limit will normally be based on the cars ability to restart the outfit on a 12% incline. Sometimes the towing limit looks to be variable between versions of the same car. Presumably if the more expensive car is heavier that would reduce the towing limit by the extra weight but sometimes no. What you will not know is that there may also be drive train and other changes between the models and this could also be relevant. You just have to take the makers word for the weight it can tow.
Bearing in mind the basis for assessing the towing weight, driving slower will not change it but it will reduce fuel consumption and in bad weather is safer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Javert
Mar 14, 2005
17,627
3,095
50,935
Visit site
The 85% guideline is totally antiquated and out of date with cars of this era. It may have been okay for cars in the eighties of the previous century. I wonder why they are sticking to that guideline and have not done another test with a modern car? ...
I have researched this subject extensively as well as contacting industry insiders I know, and I have been unable to discover who, how or exactly why the caravan towing advice came into being. There are many theories, but they are unsubstantiated!I have found zero evidence in the public domain of any research or studies used to inform whoever came up with the advice.

And cruishially no one in any of the associated organisations or manufacturers is prepared to hold their hands up to the creation of the advice.

The obvious organisation that would seem most likely to be involved would be the NCC - the industry trade body. They do have several technical teams who do sit on various standards committees. But I stress no one from the NCC will confirm or deny to me any involvement in the creation of the perpetuation of caravanning advice.

Clearly transport specialists were not involved in the formulation of the , as the criteria they have chosen ( Kerbweight and MTPLM) are not consistent with standard industry or legally stipulated terms, or methods.

The advice takes no account of the specifications the car manufacturers have to legally provide. In fact there are circumstances where following the Industry advice could lead to an illegal outfit.

The advice focuses on the weight ratio as the defining, and whilst it does impact good towing characteristics, arguably the way the caravan is loaded and the drivers driving style is actually significantly more important than the weight ratio.

As for updating the advice, I totally agree it needs revising, but it would need a vast array of vehicles and trailers to be tested and I doubt the industry would be prepared to finance the necessary research to validate or revise the current advice.

It has to be questioned whether the advice which is restrictive is actually necessary. We now have far more technical information about cars and their capabilities . No other European country has such advice, yet virtually the same laws apply and we don't see loads of reports about continental disasters involving caravans.
 
Mar 14, 2005
17,627
3,095
50,935
Visit site
...

I have also read somewhere that you can go to a higher limit than the headline limit if you keep your speed below 60mph but I'm not sure I fully understood that part?
In the UK there is no trade off between speed limit and weights for domestic cars and towing. Cars towing a caravan has a national speed limit of 60 MPH unless a lower limit applies.
 
Mar 3, 2024
10
2
15
Visit site
I also just read on another forum that actually the noseweigh can be deducted from the caravan weight is that correct?

So for example if I have a noseweight of 70KG and a caravan weight of 1442, I am actually only towing 1372 so I can actually tow that with a car certified for 1400KG. Is that correct or not?
 
Jul 18, 2017
12,110
3,385
32,935
Visit site
Just to add that many, many years ago it is supposed to be the was the University of Bristol that came up with the now antiquated 85% guideline.
 
Mar 14, 2005
17,627
3,095
50,935
Visit site
I also just read on another forum that actually the noseweigh can be deducted from the caravan weight is that correct?

So for example if I have a noseweight of 70KG and a caravan weight of 1442, I am actually only towing 1372 so I can actually tow that with a car certified for 1400KG. Is that correct or not?
That is correct... BUT you would have to make sure the nose load was genuinely 70kg onto the car.

This is how the regulations are defined, The car manufacturer specifies the "Maximum Towed Braked Weight" which only relates the weight carried on the trailers road wheels. This means the nose load is not carried on the trailers road wheels but it is carried by the tow vehicle, and so it has to accounted for within the loads on the tow vehicles capacities.

The MTPLM is a weight limit for a trailer and relates to the total weight of the caravan - not just the weight carried by the road wheels.
 
Mar 14, 2005
17,627
3,095
50,935
Visit site
Just to add that many, many years ago it is supposed to be the was the University of Bristol that came up with the now antiquated 85% guideline.
I could not find any evidence of this study.

Unfortunately the internet has caused a lot of hearsay comments to be repeated and by such exposure the myths have become popular beliefs.

If anyone has verifiable evidence please let us know.
 
Nov 11, 2009
20,282
6,224
50,935
Visit site
Just to add that many, many years ago it is supposed to be the was the University of Bristol that came up with the now antiquated 85% guideline.
I’ve never seen it in any of the University of Bath reports. They did a lot of work for Bailey but I think that post dated the 85% guidance. But the OP proposed out fit is well within any guidelines and with a short rear overhang should make a good outfit. In addition whilst not substitutes for a well matched, well loaded and well driven outfit, there’s most probably the added assurance from a hitch stabiliser, ATC and the cars trailer stability control too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: GaryB
Nov 11, 2009
20,282
6,224
50,935
Visit site
And your point is what? The report was extensive and looked at several parameters of which caravan mass was one, and one conclusion is that mass doesn’t have a significant effect. But where is 85% mentioned? As I said above 85% predates University of Bath research as evidenced below

 

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts