towing weights

Mar 23, 2006
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Help! I've just bought a Suzuki Grand Vitara 5-door, 2.0 litre ,manual, petrol, 4wd. 2001 model. Can anyone tell me what is the max. weight I can tow. The Nov.05 issue of P.C. shows (best towcars) Suzuki GV 1.6 with a towing wt. of 1600 kgs. The Caravan Club state max. towing wt. for my car is 1185 kgs. They can't both be right!
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The 1600kg figure is the manufacturer's specification and is the absolute legal limit. The 1185kg is calculated as 85% of the kerbweight and is only a recommended maximum. Whether you choose to stay within the latter or make full use of what is allowed is really up to you. However, if you wish to tow over 1394kg (100% of the kerbweight of the Vitara) you must have passed your driving test before the 1st January 1997 or you will need a category B+E licence.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Alec,when talking about towing weights you can perform all sorts of tricks with numbers until you get the number you would like,DO NOT GO THERE,it is someones life you are playing numbers with. The weight the club has given you is the "safest" that your car can handle under all conditions,and that after all is what is most important to all of us I think.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Hello Dennis.

Lutz and other including myself are not playing with numbers. They are the facts. The club are playing with numbers by putting a blanket 85% figure. This does not take into account the true abilities of individual tow cars, and of course it take no account of the drivers abilities.

Despite my comments above I do agree that 85% is a sensible target for caravans, but it may not be relevant to other types of trailers.

The 85% is only a guide not a rule or regulation.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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I agree with you fully, John L, but would just like to add a few extra comments. When defining maximum permissible towloads, the manufacturers do not (normally) distinguish between caravans and any other trailer. Low loader trailers are inherently more stable so there is no reason why an experienced driver should not make full use of what is allowed. However, with high sided caravans, the situation is more critical. I refrain from saying what is the maximum that one could go over 85% and still be safe because, as you say, it depends on so many factors (the skill and alertness of the driver, the weather, whether the towcar is fitted with a trailer stabilising system, and so on).
 
Mar 14, 2005
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We almost bought one of these a month ago, we looked at 2, a 2.5V6 petrol 1997, which was too high on fuel consumption, and a 2001 2.0 petrol, which was slightly out of our price range and also quite high on fuel consumption. I looked on www.parkers.com for the full spec, and also www.whatcar.com as well. Then multiplied the kerb weight by 85% to get a guide weight. It's true the manufacturers towing limit is 1600kg, but I got 85% to be around the figure the CC state for the 2.0l and about 1250kg for the V6. Even though Jason is an experienced driver and tows well, he would never exceed the 85% guideline, just in case!

In the end we went for a Ford Maverick which we will be trying out this weekend.
 
Mar 14, 2005
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To stay below 85% is fair but on the other hand to say everything under 85% is safe and everything over 85% is unsafe is eyewash. There are so many other factors affecting safety, I mentioned some in earlier replies, that weight ratio is only one of many that are equally important. An example that I failed to include was to ensure proper weight distribution and noseweight. Also, due to their design layout, not all combinations are equally stable, regardless of weight.
 
Mar 23, 2006
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Thanks everyone for your advice and comments. I am still a little confused but my confusion is better informed.

My request was to clarify the issue for future reference. my current van is 250 kgs below the 85% mark.

Janet, good luck with your Maverick. I wanted a diesel but there were none available so I took the petrol. I'm quite pleased so far and am doing a trial run this w/end before an extended trip after Easter when I can get some idea on fuel consumption. Keep us posted on your experience. Bon voyage to you both.
 

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