We are new to caravanning and before we buy we need to get a suitable car ..need recommendations please

Page 2 - Passionate about caravans & motorhome? Join our community to share that passion with a global audience!
Jan 31, 2018
1,136
409
5,435
Sound thinking but all A5 s are not equal -some can tow over 2000kg so it's model dependent , but assume you know this. I know it makes an excellent stable towcar as it has such a low centre of gravity, firm suspension etc. Kebweight is helpful but it's not the holy grail it's cracked up to be.
 
Sep 26, 2018
472
92
1,735
The phev Kuga has a CVT transmission which I wouldn't want to tow with. My Kuga was mk2 manual
 
Mar 14, 2005
14,050
936
40,935
Although legally you can tow 1500kg with an A5 its kerb weight is quite light and as a novice im looking for a heavier suv. Thats one advantage of a plug in hybrid they are heavy which helps with stability and getting close to the 85% ratio.
Please don't make the mistake of thinking you need an SUV or 4x4 for towing a1500kg caravan. Just becasue they are bigger (as opposed to heavier) does not always mean they are better tow vehicles. There are several larger cars which can manage this with ease.

I do support you notion a heavier car should be better, or a even better alternative is to look for a lighter caravan.

As I mentioned before you will almost certainly need to have BE or B+E on your driving licence to tow this caravan.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JezzerB
Jan 31, 2018
1,136
409
5,435
I was thinking along those lines when I mentioned the big range of abilities dependent on model of A5 Prof-yes a high SUV 4x4 may look a great tow car but it will possibly need to be 4x4 to be heavier and they are quite often 'jacked up cars'. Some great estate towcars. Skoda Superb, VW PAsssat come to mind.
 
Nov 11, 2009
10,916
1,812
40,935
The phev Kuga has a CVT transmission which I wouldn't want to tow with. My Kuga was mk2 manual
Why not tow with a CVT?

Mine has a CVT it has three engine setting modes, paddle shifts, manual shift and in its “ frantic engine setting mode” the cvt moves into a pseudo 8 ratio box. It’s probably the best auto box I’ve had. Being cvt you are completely unaware of any changes because there aren’t any except in “ frantic” mode. With the engine having lots of torque you don’t get the rapid rise in revs as soon as you touch the throttle like some CVT do. Perhaps the Kuga CVT lacked torque. Or have you not driven one? But quite a number of hybrids now are linked to CVT.
 
Jun 20, 2005
12,385
818
40,935
I tow with a petrol and whilst it’s fuel consumption isn’t as good as previous diesels it tows very well and is a comfortable solo car too. Made the change to petrol again back in 2014, went to diesel then for a couple of years and then when the diesel wasn’t great on reliability moved back to petrol. Unlikely now to move back to diesel. There are some very good petrol cars.
Come into this a bit late. Clive , I don’t understand the reasoning behind your diesel comment. We have had diesel since 2002 bar the family MX-5 which son looks after. None of my previous petrols were any more reliable. Our diesels have never let us down , over 300 k miles since 2002. Have I missed something🤔🤔🤔
 
Jul 8, 2020
204
45
85
I must admit i also have had diesels for the last 10 or so years in the form of cars,vans,suv's etc and they have been great for reliability and would not fault any of them .
 
  • Like
Reactions: Dustydog
Nov 11, 2009
10,916
1,812
40,935
Come into this a bit late. Clive , I don’t understand the reasoning behind your diesel comment. We have had diesel since 2002 bar the family MX-5 which son looks after. None of my previous petrols were any more reliable. Our diesels have never let us down , over 300 k miles since 2002. Have I missed something🤔🤔🤔
Apart from the 2014 Skoda Superb estate which was a “ Friday car’ all of my diesels have been reliable except also for my TD5 Discovery that had been fitted with plastic cylinder head dowels and kept shedding coolant, I then moved to Sorento and XC70. For my latest car the choice was FL2 or Subaru XT . I just liked the Subarus space, and smooth driving. My choice was based on the fact I like petrol engines. Of all my previous cars the Saab turbo, Mondeos and E30 325 M have been reliable too and nice to drive. We also changed our runabout from diesel to petrol too.


PS DUSTY I see where my post gave rise to your query. The Diesel engine on the Superb was fine it was the other parts of the power train. When I decided to change it I looked at the FL2 ( diesel) and Subaru XT petrol. Given that diesels have been getting more complex and Bath and Bristol were planning restrictions etc I decided on the Subaru XT petrol, which I also liked a lot more than the FL2. Now both cars are cam chain and simpler emission control systems with no DPF👍
 
Last edited:
Nov 16, 2015
6,682
659
17,935
One of my sportiest "usefull" cars was a Vauxhal Vectra, 3.0 V6 turbo diesel, Incredibly fast and great road holding, a lovely tow car as well. The engine was a Isuzu unit. I think is was only surpassed by the Vauxhal Omega,
 
Mar 14, 2005
14,050
936
40,935
Why not tow with a CVT?....
I have driven a CVT vehicle (Ford BMax 1.6L ) a few years ago, and as a solo vehicle it worked well, but it did take some getting used to. Its counterintuitive to have the engine at high RPM and the note barely changing as you accelerate. I felt disconnected from the engine.

But the way a CVT work is to keep the engine at it optimum rpm for maximum efficiency, and to match the cvt ratio for the road speed and load. That makes a lot of sense, and also, provided the load sensing systems are working correctly then it should also work for towing.

However CVT boxes in cars are often not designed for vey high torque usage so presently towed weight limits are low or not even provide for some CVT's.

Does anyone else remember DAF cars and of course Invacar's which also used CVT's and centrifugal clutch. The ones I remember seemed to spend quite a long time at the garages being repaired or having new transmission belts fitted.
 
Nov 16, 2015
6,682
659
17,935
As I was reading your post, reminded me of the old DAF cars, and belts drives climinging up conical "things" with Speed limiters.
Ah, times gone by.
 
Nov 16, 2015
6,682
659
17,935
Back to OP Wild suzyblue,
Hyundai Santa Fe. First one I had was 6 years old 40 k miles. Sold it at 80 k miles 4 years later for a brand new one, done 71k now in this one, trouble is I have had to change the tyres. Worn out at 42k.
 
Jun 20, 2005
12,385
818
40,935
The DAF 33 van was great. Tiny engine and rubber belts. A weird experience as the Prof describes. Auto boxes have progressed significantly including lockup of the torque converter once moving
 
Nov 11, 2009
10,916
1,812
40,935
Apart from the 2014 Skoda Superb estate which was a “ Friday car’ all of my diesels have been reliable except also for my TD5 Discovery that had been fitted with plastic cylinder head dowels and kept shedding coolant, I then moved to Sorento and XC70. For my latest car the choice was FL2 or Subaru XT . I just liked the Subarus space, and smooth driving. My choice was based on the fact I like petrol engines. Of all my previous cars the Saab turbo, Mondeos and E30 325 M have been reliable too and nice to drive. We also changed our runabout from diesel to petrol too.


PS DUSTY I see where my post gave rise to your query. The Diesel engine on the Superb was fine it was the other parts of the power train. When I decided to change it I looked at the FL2 ( diesel) and Subaru XT petrol. Given that diesels have been getting more complex and Bath and Bristol were planning restrictions etc I decided on the Subaru XT petrol, which I also liked a lot more than the FL2. Now both cars are cam chain and simpler emission control systems with no DPF👍
 
Nov 6, 2005
4,583
358
20,935
One of my sportiest "usefull" cars was a Vauxhal Vectra, 3.0 V6 turbo diesel, Incredibly fast and great road holding, a lovely tow car as well. The engine was a Isuzu unit. I think is was only surpassed by the Vauxhal Omega,
Designed and built by Isuzu as part of the DMAX GM-Isuzu alliance, it was also used in the Saab 9-5, Renault Vel Satis & Espace - the engine was killed off by Euro5 regulations.
 
Jun 20, 2005
12,385
818
40,935
Thank you Clive, you had me going earlier😬. In the early days we never had diesels as we know them today. Petrol all the way but the engines always sounded thrashed. Towing with diesels at 55mph the engine always sounds relaxed to me and low rpm. Notwithstanding EVs there is no doubt current diesels are super clean compared to their ancestors
 
Nov 11, 2009
10,916
1,812
40,935
I have driven a CVT vehicle (Ford BMax 1.6L ) a few years ago, and as a solo vehicle it worked well, but it did take some getting used to. Its counterintuitive to have the engine at high RPM and the note barely changing as you accelerate. I felt disconnected from the engine.

But the way a CVT work is to keep the engine at it optimum rpm for maximum efficiency, and to match the cvt ratio for the road speed and load. That makes a lot of sense, and also, provided the load sensing systems are working correctly then it should also work for towing.

However CVT boxes in cars are often not designed for vey high torque usage so presently towed weight limits are low or not even provide for some CVT's.

Does anyone else remember DAF cars and of course Invacar's which also used CVT's and centrifugal clutch. The ones I remember seemed to spend quite a long time at the garages being repaired or having new transmission belts fitted.
Prof
you are partly correct wrt CVT. Clearly the Ford B max was just copying he old DAF 33 concept.
I had a Subaru Forester naturally aspirated 150 bhp cvt petrol. I bought it when we had given up caravans in 2014. As a solo drive you weren’t aware of the engine note rising as you accelerated and it was not noticeably divorced from speed, a very quite engine. but when we then bought a caravan it towed very well. But the negative was that the engine would Rev up very quickly as even light throttle was applied. So although it had no problems towing it didn’t make for a relaxed drive. However it’s “ bigger sister” the XT is chalk and cheese. Being turbo it has a very good torque output across the range. It noticeably doesn’t Rev up as load comes on, and spends most of its life between 1500-2000 rpm. In its highest sport setting it sets 8 ratios and if driven enthusiastically it will climb to the redline in each, giving endless satisfaction to those that feel the need to hear the engine rev. But unfortunately noise emission legislation has led to the throaty growl being silenced.

Subaru recommend towing in the middle engine- gearbox setting which sets it at a slightly higher revs compared to the normal eco setting. This allows the turbo boost to kick in whilst suppressing the tendency to Rev up quickly. The XT gearbox is different to the non turbo gearbox to allow for the increased torque. I believe Toyota Lexus suv have been VCT for years and have a very good reputation.
 
Jul 18, 2017
2,988
617
6,935
Our 1996 Toyota Corolla auto has the CVT box. You do not know if it has changed gear. Brilliant car.
 
Sep 24, 2008
586
84
18,935
Have Skoda Octavia 2ltr Elegance dsg, max tow 1400klg solo 60plus mpg on long runs 42mpg overall which includes caravanning . Towing 1325klg I get 30/35 mpg.
 
Mar 14, 2005
14,050
936
40,935
Our 1996 Toyota Corolla auto has the CVT box. You do not know if it has changed gear. Brilliant car.
All CVT's are autos, and there are no fixed gears to change its a continuous process. Some manufactures tried to mimic stepped gear changes mainly to placate drivers who were used to conventional boxes. which ironically is the opposite of what they try to do with auto boxes - to make the changes as smooth as possible.

My current drive is a VW DSG and under normal driving conditions apart from the engine note the mechanical changes are almost imperceptible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: otherclive
Jul 18, 2017
2,988
617
6,935
All CVT's are autos, and there are no fixed gears to change its a continuous process. Some manufactures tried to mimic stepped gear changes mainly to placate drivers who were used to conventional boxes. which ironically is the opposite of what they try to do with auto boxes - to make the changes as smooth as possible.

My current drive is a VW DSG and under normal driving conditions apart from the engine note the mechanical changes are almost imperceptible.
I am well aware that all CVTs are autos however Corollas tend to have had different types of automatic gearboxes over the years.
My personal preference to avoid any vehicle that has a DSG box as past experience has proved that they are terrible gearboxes. Maybe they have improved in the last couple of years, but still prefer the conventional gearbox for instant changes.
Our 2011 Mondeo auto had a terrible gearbox that could not decide which gear to select. I was successful at rejecting the vehicle at 6 months and getting a refund.
 
Nov 11, 2009
10,916
1,812
40,935
I am well aware that all CVTs are autos however Corollas tend to have had different types of automatic gearboxes over the years.
My personal preference to avoid any vehicle that has a DSG box as past experience has proved that they are terrible gearboxes. Maybe they have improved in the last couple of years, but still prefer the conventional gearbox for instant changes.
Our 2011 Mondeo auto had a terrible gearbox that could not decide which gear to select. I was successful at rejecting the vehicle at 6 months and getting a refund.
The earlier DSGs had a poor reputation particularly matched to petrol engines, but for quite a while now the DSG seems to have been okay on both petrol and diesel. There’s a good write up on Wikipedia. Was your Mondeo the Powershift which is a twin clutch synchro similar to the DSG concept. They had a poor reputation. My daughters 2015 1.6 Focus has had two fitted under warranty, and Ford quietly extended the warranty for those who had had problems. In the US there was a class action with the plaintiffs succesful.
 
Nov 6, 2005
4,583
358
20,935
The earlier DSGs had a poor reputation particularly matched to petrol engines, but for quite a while now the DSG seems to have been okay on both petrol and diesel. There’s a good write up on Wikipedia. Was your Mondeo the Powershift which is a twin clutch synchro similar to the DSG concept. They had a poor reputation. My daughters 2015 1.6 Focus has had two fitted under warranty, and Ford quietly extended the warranty for those who had had problems. In the US there was a class action with the plaintiffs succesful.
The problem with Ford's Powershift DCT was massive - not only was there a successful class action in the USA, most Ford models have reverted to conventional autoboxes with torque converter and planetary gears.

"Wet" DCT/DSG gearboxes are fine while under original warranty as they'll get their frequent fluid changes but as they age the cost of the fluid change becomes a bigger % of total cost and likely to be skipped by some owners - a DCT/DSG without full service history is a risky secondhand purchase
 
Jun 20, 2005
12,385
818
40,935
Honest John of the Daily Telegraph is no fan of DSG. After a lot of research in 2019 I concluded a towing vehicle with a conventional torque converter was still the best automatic system for towing a caravan. I did try the Audi A6 avant with DSG. Seemed fine to me but not sure how it would cope with slow reversing manoeuvres. The modern TC systems are well designed , usually with full TC lock up once moving. If I didn’t tow then maybe DSG would suit me but I may be scared off by the long term potential repair costs.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts