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

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Nov 11, 2009
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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
On my Skoda it was cam belt 5 years or 50 k miles, and DSG 4 years or 40k miles with Haldex fluid every 20 k miles. Not cheap. I was always conscious that the DGS whilst oil lubricated was in effect a set of clutches that were automated and rarely would I reverse the van onto its pitch.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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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.
I made a similar choice and went for the TC. Just playing safe.

I think I need to say a big thank you to all those adventurous people who take the plunge and become guinea pigs in progressing the development and evolution of new power units, (be they diesel, petrol, hybrid or full EV) and gearboxes. Both for solo or towing purpose.

I must admit to being too frightened to make a mistake and/or a financial loss.

But clearly tremendous progress has been made, and continues to be made partly because of these purchases.

I do remember at one time CVT’s were being tested for use in lorries. So for as I know, that came to nothing.

Onwards and upwards. R&D isn’t cheap

John
 
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Nov 11, 2009
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I made a similar choice and went for the TC. Just playing safe.

I think I need to say a big thank you to all those adventurous people who take the plunge and become guinea pigs in progressing the development and evolution of new power units, (be they diesel, petrol, hybrid or full EV) and gearboxes. Both for solo or towing purpose.

I must admit to being too frightened to make a mistake and/or a financial loss.

But clearly tremendous progress has been made, and continues to be made partly because of these purchases.

I do remember at one time CVT’s were being tested for use in lorries. So for as I know, that came to nothing.

Onwards and upwards. R&D isn’t cheap

John
The main reason I bought a Volvo XC70 over a Mondeo estate was the Volvo had what could be termed a conventional auto box. But that model car D5 did show a propensity to increase the sump level caused by unburnt regeneration of fuel. Volvos approach was to advise putting less oil in and tweaking the electronic sensor to show oil at the correct level.
 
Jun 16, 2020
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The main reason I bought a Volvo XC70 over a Mondeo estate was the Volvo had what could be termed a conventional auto box. But that model car D5 did show a propensity to increase the sump level caused by unburnt regeneration of fuel. Volvos approach was to advise putting less oil in and tweaking the electronic sensor to show oil at the correct level.
I have heard that reported before. Also Mazda’s had the same issue. I have had my V70 for 5 years now without a problem. Admittedly I have never checked the oil level, relying on the auto level. But no problem reported at services.

I am impressed with the TC auto box. Towing and solo.


John
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I have heard that reported before. Also Mazda’s had the same issue. I have had my V70 for 5 years now without a problem. Admittedly I have never checked the oil level, relying on the auto level. But no problem reported at services.

I am impressed with the TC auto box. Towing and solo.


John
Volvo would probably have developed an improved solution. Mine was the D5 2010 one if the early models for Generation 3 V70/XC70. Not long after I bought it there was a power upgrade and several changes to the engine, particularly injectors.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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On my Skoda it was cam belt 5 years or 50 k miles, and DSG 4 years or 40k miles with Haldex fluid every 20 k miles. Not cheap. I was always conscious that the DGS whilst oil lubricated was in effect a set of clutches that were automated and rarely would I reverse the van onto its pitch.
Although it was more expensive to buy when new, and more expensive to run in terms of fuel cost, my VW Touareg has the advantage of chain-driven camshafts which will last the life of the engine, a conventional torque-converter autobox and proper 4wd system that doesn't rely on clutches like the Haldex.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Although it was more expensive to buy when new, and more expensive to run in terms of fuel cost, my VW Touareg has the advantage of chain-driven camshafts which will last the life of the engine, a conventional torque-converter autobox and proper 4wd system that doesn't rely on clutches like the Haldex.
Unfortunately Skoda didn’t list those as optional extras. But my Subaru has them and has had the generic 4wd system now for well over 30 years in U.K. and longer elsewhere (1972)
 
Mar 14, 2005
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The motor industry (who is about as s cost conscious as you can get) would have set out on the development of DSG or equivalent systems if the technology did not show promise and during design and testing. There would have been a number of Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) needed to meet before the decision to use the technology in production would have been contemplated.

The trick in this process is to make sure the KPI's and testing actually encompass the range of activities the product will experience in the customers hands. Perhaps Ford got that bit wrong. But other manufacturers seem to have got the DSG technology working very well, and are continuing to fit them to many models, including high performance models.
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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Unfortunately Skoda didn’t list those as optional extras. But my Subaru has them and has had the generic 4wd system now for well over 30 years in U.K. and longer elsewhere (1972)
Subaru use 3 different 4wd systems - the version used on non-turbo petrol automatics uses a clutch similar to Haldex but is very robust, although the transmission fluids needed changing every 30,000 miles on my 2006 Outback.

I did have an extended test drive in an Outback with their then new CVT transmission, which I thought was excellent, very smooth - sadly their diesel engine had developed it's poor reputation by then so I didn't buy one.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Subaru use 3 different 4wd systems - the version used on non-turbo petrol automatics uses a clutch similar to Haldex but is very robust, although the transmission fluids needed changing every 30,000 miles on my 2006 Outback.

I did have an extended test drive in an Outback with their then new CVT transmission, which I thought was excellent, very smooth - sadly their diesel engine had developed it's poor reputation by then so I didn't buy one.
Shortly after your Outback Subaru moved to the Lineatronic CVT which has become their mainstream auto box for Legacy, Outback, Forester and LeVorg. My previous SJ Forester was non turbo petrol and it had the standard Subaru lineatronic CVT similar to my current XT but not beefed up for the extra torque from the turbo engine.
Quite a while back they had a link with Nissan and it was a Subaru TC auto fitted to the first Pathfinders. They are quirky company but our daughter had a W reg Legacy saloon, and we are on our second Forester, and well satisfied.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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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.
It was the Powershift. Thanks for the info as now I know why there was no hassle getting a refund.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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The main reason I bought a Volvo XC70 over a Mondeo estate was the Volvo had what could be termed a conventional auto box. But that model car D5 did show a propensity to increase the sump level caused by unburnt regeneration of fuel. Volvos approach was to advise putting less oil in and tweaking the electronic sensor to show oil at the correct level.
We bought a new 2003 Volvo S80 and had a lot of hassle with the gearbox and the adaptive accelerator. Problem was very similar to the Ford Powershift issue which we encountered several years later. Numerous Volvo owners were complaining about the same issue.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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I am very happy with my 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan DSG not one bit problem so far the only thing i will be at the garage this week I need a top up with Adblue .
 
May 10, 2021
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Talking about tow cars, I am wondering about the availability of rent a tow car companies. I am planning to get a small second hand caravan next year but I don't plan to get a car. So, I am hopeful that that I could rent a tow car that provide a towing service as well.
 
Oct 8, 2006
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I am very happy with my 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan DSG not one bit problem so far the only thing i will be at the garage this week I need a top up with Adblue .
Why the heck are you taking it to a garage for AdBlue at exhorbitant prices plus labour when you can top it up yourself? Your dashboard will tell you how much it needs and you can buy Redex 10L from Tesco forecourts for a tenner or slightly less. So long as the AdBlue is kept correctly topped up there is no effect on warranty or anything like that as it is not noted in the records - at the end of the day the stuff is only a urea solution!!
 
Jan 31, 2018
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Yes I buy it off ebay- https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/113908421959?hash=item1a85789547:g:iXkAAOSwjpldWxHa

£18 for 20l and it comes with a filling spout i pop in the adblue spout, and then just use a jug to transfer it-saves a fortune even over TEsco etc prices in the long run and the 20l container is handy-fill it with water when i go and wash the van! This was just first one i came to-plenty on there and if you are worried about fake stuff on flea bay simply check out the name of the seller-often motorfactors and big names like Eurocarparts etc themselves-just another outlet for them. Delivered to your door free.
 
Jul 18, 2017
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Why the heck are you taking it to a garage for AdBlue at exhorbitant prices plus labour when you can top it up yourself? Your dashboard will tell you how much it needs and you can buy Redex 10L from Tesco forecourts for a tenner or slightly less. So long as the AdBlue is kept correctly topped up there is no effect on warranty or anything like that as it is not noted in the records - at the end of the day the stuff is only a urea solution!!
If BB has a motability vehicle he may not have any choice about servicing.
 
Nov 6, 2005
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Why the heck are you taking it to a garage for AdBlue at exhorbitant prices plus labour when you can top it up yourself? Your dashboard will tell you how much it needs and you can buy Redex 10L from Tesco forecourts for a tenner or slightly less. So long as the AdBlue is kept correctly topped up there is no effect on warranty or anything like that as it is not noted in the records - at the end of the day the stuff is only a urea solution!!
Adblue at VW dealers is fixed price, or should be, at £1.50 per litre including labour - many cars have no indication until the low Adblue warning comes up.

Personally, I buy Adblue from Amazon at £18 incl delivery for 20 litres but it's a PITA as the filler is under the spare wheel in the boot in my car.

I always make sure it's full before a touring holiday as towing increases the Adblue use.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Ad Blue isn't part of the servicing regime as such though they do check it-it's a consumable just like diesel or petrol or washer fluid-another thing they charge a fortune for quite often. If you do it yourself you'll save and not affect any warranty or service requirement.
 
Jan 3, 2012
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My Adblue warning light came on at 600 miles before the Pickering break and every time i started it up it would let me know so today been at the Volkswagen dealer and it been top up they just take my car around to workshop and bring it back nicely washed good customer relations
 
Oct 21, 2020
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Our local fuel station has just introduced AdBlu pumps, think it was 96p per litre so quite comparable to buying it elsewhere.

Kev
 
Jan 3, 2012
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Why the heck are you taking it to a garage for AdBlue at exhorbitant prices plus labour when you can top it up yourself? Your dashboard will tell you how much it needs and you can buy Redex 10L from Tesco forecourts for a tenner or slightly less. So long as the AdBlue is kept correctly topped up there is no effect on warranty or anything like that as it is not noted in the records - at the end of the day the stuff is only a urea solution!!
I preferred to take my car to the garage due to my limited mobility
 
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Aug 24, 2020
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One thing to look out for, is check the specs of the car you're thinking of and make sure it will actually tow what you want. A few years ago I was looking at a big 4x4, much bigger and chunkier-looking than my Jeep. Checked the manufacturer's limits on towing and it wouldn't pull my 1400kg van.

So read the manufacturer's specifications, never assume anything! Oh, and even if buying new from a manufacturer's main dealer, don't assume the salesperson will know the ins-and-outs of towing requirements, check for yourself.

And as others have said, remember you're likely to be driving without a caravan far more than you're towing, so make sure it's appropriate for your day to day use as well.
 
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Jan 31, 2018
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Good point Phil, not sure pump nozzles fit cars anyway and if the dealer gives the car a wash too, why the heck not. Good service by the sounds of it.
 
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Nov 6, 2005
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Good point Phil, not sure pump nozzles fit cars anyway and if the dealer gives the car a wash too, why the heck not. Good service by the sounds of it.
HGV Adblue pump nozzles will fit cars but the flow rate may be too high as cars have much smaller tanks - anecdotally, I've heard that an HGV pump works fine if you control the flow to a slower rate.
 
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