What tow car/4x4?

Apr 3, 2018
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I am thinking of buying a new Swift Challenger 480, and wanted some advice of what car/4x4 to buy with it, I have a budget for the car of £25,000, and have been considering Skoda Superb Estate, Skoda Kodiaq are there better options MTPLM is 1367Kgs.

Your help/experiences would be greatly appreciated, - I will also be attending a towing course so any advice of best ones to attend would also be useful.

Many thanks Nick
 
Nov 11, 2009
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I have a Skoda Superb 4x4 estate (see below) and rate it very highly among all of the tow cars that I have owned. It is comfortable, has an enormous load capacity (above E class), excellent leg room for rear passengers I am 6ft 4 inches and can sit in the rear without my knees touching the extended drivers seat. It is economical in everyday driving and when towing. Cheap for main dealer servicing too. It is the 170ps and my caravan weighs 1300kg MTPLM when loaded and the engine and chassis accept it so easily. I would have no concerns towing at a higher load if I wanted to go for a heavier caravan. At your budget the later 190ps would be even better, if you can actually use the extra gumbo!

Given that diesel is on the way out (TIC) :evil: , top of my wish list whether caravanning or not would be the Superb 4x4 280ps petrol estate. It would take me back to my Saab 9000 2.3 CSE days but with roadholding :)
 
Mar 14, 2005
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nick1962 said:
I am thinking of buying a new Swift Challenger 480, and wanted some advice of what car/4x4 to buy with it, I have a budget for the car of £25,000, and have been considering Skoda Superb Estate, Skoda Kodiaq are there better options MTPLM is 1367Kgs.

Your help/experiences would be greatly appreciated, - I will also be attending a towing course so any advice of best ones to attend would also be useful.

Many thanks Nick

Hello Nick,

First, forget the mind set that caravans need a 4x4. 99% they don't. There are still plenty of very capable cars that will to your caravan, unless you are only going to go green field caravanning.

4x4's invariably compromise handling, comfort, economy, servicing costs, not to mention taxation.

You should look for a car that will meet you day to day needs which is where it will be used most of the time, but is big enough to tow your caravan.

You should also be aware that your driving licence could restrict what combination of car and caravan you can drive. If you passed your test after 1st Jan 1997, you will have a combined MAM limit of of only 3500Kg. You need to be aware that Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) refers to the maximum weight limits of car and trailer, not their measured weights.

MAM is the same as MTPLM for the caravan and the cars Gross Vehicle Weight or Mass

3500-1367 = 2133kg for the cars MAM. You would be surprised how many larger cars and certainly 4x4s exceed that figure. The second largest figure on the cars weight plate is its GVW or MAM.
 
Mar 8, 2017
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wandering.me.uk
I swopped a VW Passat for an older Volvo XC70 as we had decided that we needed two things (1) relief from teutonic suspension systems and (2) a 4x4. I'm delighted with with the change, no more wheel slippage on anything other than flat dry roads and no more moans from my wife about a harsh ride. The Volvo isn't a true 4x4, rather its an all wheel drive but the result is the same. There is a downside of course, isn't there always, the fuel consumption is higher, in part because I opted for a 2.4 diesel instead of the 2lt VW, but as I'm retired our annual milage isn't very high and the consumption when towing is not much lower than the VW.

I suppose having done about 5000 miles in the XC70, about half towing our Lunar Clubman, the acid test is the question would I revert to the VW and the answer is a most definite no.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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Strangely we found the reverse. We had a 2010 D5 AWD Xc70 and whilst a good towing car it tended to sway a bit on bends when solo. My wife didn't like it. And it's rear seat legroom is appalling considering it's a long vehicle. The Superb being lower rides better and is not a hard suspension. Both cars use the same Haldex 4wd system as also used on Freelander but with a few less bells and whistles.

Also the Skoda does 10 mpg better solo than the Volvo did. Being lighter, lower and DSG auto.
 
Jun 20, 2017
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Hi Nick

We have a similar caravan, the Corniche 480/2 and tow with a BMW 530 touring.
superb van and tows really well.
cant advise on the car you want but good luck

Kevin
 
Mar 8, 2017
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otherclive said:
Strangely we found the reverse. We had a 2010 D5 AWD Xc70 and whilst a good towing car it tended to sway a bit on bends when solo. My wife didn't like it. And it's rear seat legroom is appalling considering it's a long vehicle. The Superb being lower rides better and is not a hard suspension. Both cars use the same Haldex 4wd system as also used on Freelander but with a few less bells and whistles.

Also the Skoda does 10 mpg better solo than the Volvo did. Being lighter, lower and DSG auto.

:) Just goes to show that nothing beats a long test drive, preferably of about 1,000 miles towing a caravan.
 
Jan 26, 2018
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We tow with a Vauxhall Antara. Its an amazing car to tow with and pulls very easily.
Your budget will allow you to buy something much newer I imagine though.
 
Feb 17, 2018
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I guess it all comes down to personal preference.
I was of the thinking, the heavier the tow vehicle, the safer the unit of car & van together.
We test drove Rexton, Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, but plumped for Jeep GC.
It has 175kg nose weight max tow ball, i can't see us having a problem, and the Car drives like a dream, yet to tow with it but we are happy with our choice.
 
Feb 17, 2018
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Regarding towing courses, look at practical caravan courses/the caravan club, just google them, they have various sites nationwide.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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GrizzlyBathplug said:
I guess it all comes down to personal preference.
I was of the thinking, the heavier the tow vehicle, the safer the unit of car & van together.
We test drove Rexton, Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, but plumped for Jeep GC.
It has 175kg nose weight max tow ball, i can't see us having a problem, and the Car drives like a dream, yet to tow with it but we are happy with our choice.

With car’s 175kg noseweight you will need to make sure that you don’t exceed the caravans maximum if this should be lower.
 
Oct 12, 2013
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I think he means because you've got a suitable and big enough tow car & powerfull enough to pull the caravan that not to overload the caravan so it becomes dangerous heavy than what the caravan is permitted to hold weightwise :blink:
 
Feb 17, 2018
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The Caravan will be sparsely loaded, most of our equipment will be in the boot of the car, but thanks for the heads up.
 
Jun 26, 2017
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GrizzlyBathplug said:
The Caravan will be sparsely loaded, most of our equipment will be in the boot of the car, but thanks for the heads up.

Clive was actually referring to noseweight rather than van payload in general. 175KG is an extremely high noseweight specification for a vehicle/towbar combination, and this is usually the limiting factor when it comes to noseweight. Clive was merely saying that as this is so high, you should really pay attention to the maximum noseweight of the caravan, as with the max. noseweight of the car/towball combination being so high, this will more than likely be the limiting factor in terms of noseweight.

As for your previous comment - Be careful ! - Depending on make and model, a sparsely loaded caravan can very easily have a significantly higher noseweight than a (carefully but) heavily loaded one ! - But in any case, most probably less than 175KG !
 
Mar 14, 2005
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GrizzlyBathplug said:
I guess it all comes down to personal preference.
I was of the thinking, the heavier the tow vehicle, the safer the unit of car & van together.
We test drove Rexton, Volvo XC90 and Audi Q7, but plumped for Jeep GC.
It has 175kg nose weight max tow ball, i can't see us having a problem, and the Car drives like a dream, yet to tow with it but we are happy with our choice.

Hello GrizzlyBP.

It is unsafe to assume that a bigger towvehicles will be safer. They may be hugely competent at slow off road manouvers, but at higher speeds they are less sure footed than most large saloon cars.

One of our regular contributors has indicated that as a percentage high speed towing incidents more often than not involve 4x4's

It is down to personal preference, so ultimately teh choice is yours.

I must bring another factor to your attention, All large 4x4's like the Jeep GC will have a substantial Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) if its MAM when added to the MTPLM of the caravan exceeds 3500kg, you must have Cat BE or B+e on your driving licence.
 
Feb 17, 2018
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Hi Prof
Yes no problems, i have BE accredited on my license, i will just tow nice & steady, cos thats how i drive standardly.
My boy racer days are well behind me.
 
May 24, 2014
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I don't necessarily hold with the theory that 4x4s are more likely to be involved in an accident because of the nature of the beast, Accidents are usually caused by human error unless its a catastrophic mechanical failure.
The point was made about driving nice and steadily, that should be a matter of course for all vehicles.

Lets be honest, if you drive in that manner and you maintain both vehicles properly, learn about all the weights and loading involved and keep your tyre pressures correct, an accident should occur as being one of your fault.

You cannot legislate though for every idiot on the road and you will have to get used to a number of things, such as the bow wave effect, learn how to cope with snaking and be prepared for legions of lemmings to pull out in front of you despite the risk, simply because they don't want to be behind a caravan. Learn too the signs of a badly laden caravan, because swaying from side to side, or rocking front to back is a sign of bad loading. Learn especially how to explain to the missus that "you cannot take everything".
 
Mar 14, 2005
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Thingy said:
I don't necessarily hold with the theory that 4x4s are more likely to be involved in an accident because of the nature of the beast, Accidents are usually caused by human error unless its a catastrophic mechanical failure....

Hello Thingy,
I actually stated that more 4x4's are involved with "towing incidents", not all incidents, and the information came from another respected forum contributor not me. However I do have a large degree of sympathy with the suggestion, and I have my suspicions as to why.

I do agree with you about drivers being the biggest cause of motoring incidents, and becasue there is a cause they're not accidents. That is why the police and fire services do not use the word accident any more, as that implies the re may be no one to blame. All incidents are the result of either an action or inaction on the part of someone at some point in history.
 
May 24, 2014
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Im just waiting for the day to see a Tesla towing a caravan, sans driver.
 
Jun 20, 2005
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The Al-ko AK 3400 is rated with a maximum nose load of 100kgs. All caravan chassis manufacturers quote the maximum nose load on their hitch. Check yours.
4x4s having more accidents :eek:hmy: You can paint any picture you want with statistics, frequency of use, and so on. I’ve used 4x4s for the last 20 years with no worries.
Loading correctly and not speeding, down hill in particular, will go a long way for a safe tow.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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Dodger524 said:
I swopped a VW Passat for an older Volvo XC70... ...The Volvo isn't a true 4x4, rather its an all wheel drive but the result is the same. There is a downside of course, isn't there always, the fuel consumption is higher, in part because I opted for a 2.4 diesel instead of the 2lt VW, but as I'm retired our annual milage isn't very high and the consumption when towing is not much lower than the VW...

I have the 2.4 5cyl diesel XC60 (D4 181bhp) with AWD and an Auto 'box - I find the consumption when towing about the same as when solo - the "Eco-Meter" in the gauge cluster is always in the green when i've got the caravan in tow and the cruise set to 60mph on the motorway! The 90KG towball weight limit is disappointing though.

I find the XC60 a good balance of "4x4" and "Estate" as it is roomier behind the wheel and easier to climb in an out of, while not being too big for maneuvering and parking. With the poverty-spec 17 inch alloys it is much quieter and smoother than my old V50 with 17's and lower profile tyres. But it can be a bit wallowy in quicker corners.
 
Nov 11, 2009
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CustardAvenger said:
Dodger524 said:
I swopped a VW Passat for an older Volvo XC70... ...The Volvo isn't a true 4x4, rather its an all wheel drive but the result is the same. There is a downside of course, isn't there always, the fuel consumption is higher, in part because I opted for a 2.4 diesel instead of the 2lt VW, but as I'm retired our annual milage isn't very high and the consumption when towing is not much lower than the VW...

I have the 2.4 5cyl diesel XC60 (D4 181bhp) with AWD and an Auto 'box - I find the consumption when towing about the same as when solo - the "Eco-Meter" in the gauge cluster is always in the green when i've got the caravan in tow and the cruise set to 60mph on the motorway! The 90KG towball weight limit is disappointing though.

I find the XC60 a good balance of "4x4" and "Estate" as it is roomier behind the wheel and easier to climb in an out of, while not being too big for maneuvering and parking. With the poverty-spec 17 inch alloys it is much quieter and smoother than my old V50 with 17's and lower profile tyres. But it can be a bit wallowy in quicker corners.

Why do you think the noseweight at 90kg is disappointing? I guess that your caravans Alko hitch load is limited to 100kg. So is 10kg really going to make a difference given all of the other variable that come into play when towing a caravan.
 
Feb 23, 2018
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otherclive said:
Why do you think the noseweight at 90kg is disappointing? I guess that your caravans Alko hitch load is limited to 100kg. So is 10kg really going to make a difference given all of the other variable that come into play when towing a caravan.

I suppose its because I am loathe to let the nose-weight gauge go even slightly over the 90KG mark for fear of damage to the car. As you quite correctly state the maximum static load for the ALKO hitch is 100KG, but it would have been nice if the Volvo's towball limit matched this figure. In practice it does not seem to be an issue, as I have been very careful with the loading and payload. The only exception was when I picked up the caravan from the dealer, the nose weight was over 90KG with an empty van + Gas Bottle & Leisure battery.
 

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