Saturday, September 15, 2007

Are 4x4s Really Needed for Towing a Caravan?

A supporter recently wrote us questioning why people insisted they 'needed' a 4x4 to tow a caravan. She writes:

"My husband and I recently joined the Camping & Carvanning Club. Their newsletter carries a letters page, and in the one we received with our joining pack was a response page to a previous post - the jist of it appeared to be that a gentleman driving a Mondeo was complaining that many campers were driving huge 4x4s and justifying this as being necessary to pull their caravans, while his argument was that his Mondeo was well up to the job and the 4x4 was for reasons of fashion only.

Needless to say there was a whole host of angry replies, although interestingly a majority were accusing him of hypocrisy over the fashion charge (apparently he was using a fancy five berth caravan although only he and his wife were using it).Some you could agree with, and in fact a very good friend of mine owns an elderly Land Rover which is used for caravanning but she and her husband like very remote campsites where they usually need to cross muddy fields and the 4x4 is not used for town driving.

My favourite reply came from a camping family who "needed" their 4x4 as they had to pack children, tents etc in it. I liked this one particuarly as that is the same scenario my family faces and which is dealt with in exemplary fashion by our Ford Focus and a trailer!

I thought that this correspondence was interesting beacause while there are plenty of comments now about the use of 4x4s in towns, one area where their owners could "justify" their use was in the towing of caravans and apparently even this is now being brought into question. Personally, I have no problem with a 4x4 towing a large caravan (although in my area only a tiny proportion of 4x4s have towbars fitted), its when that vehicle doubles up its use as the family town car that offends me.

The C&C club recently recommended the following towcars (from lightest to heaviest caravan):

VW Golf TDI 1.9 (Caravan up to 1425 kg - 2/3 berth I think.)
Volvo V70 (1426-1525)
VW Passat 2.0 TDI (1526-1725 - getting quite big now and we're still not using a 4x4...) This one won the overall award so I imagine they think this is the average weight caravan.
Audi A6 Allroad (1726-1990)
Land Rover Discovery TDV6 (1900+)