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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

RAY MASSEY: Some of the best cars for towing caravans

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With air journey in chaos, households are various choices for holidays nearer to residence. 

However with demand and costs for inns within the UK additionally rocketing, many individuals are looking for higher independence — together with shopping for a touring caravan. About 555,000 UK households have already got one, and the 2 principal caravan golf equipment have seen memberships rise quickly. 

The caravan is just half the story, although. It is one factor to have your individual cell residence on wheels. However have you ever received an appropriate automobile to tow it — whether or not a giant 4×4 like a Land Rover Discovery or Defender or rough-riding Jeep, or a extra modestly sized SUV or property automotive, petrol, diesel, hybrid or absolutely electrical model? 

A little bit of oomph: The Tow Automobile Awards 2022 – have you ever received an appropriate automobile to tow your caravan?

Bear in mind, it isn’t simply pulling energy and stability which might be key components, but additionally vary and gasoline prices. Including a wheeled residence to your automobile will greater than halve your gasoline financial system. And there are explicit challenges in case your automobile is electrical, as ministers have decreed all new automobiles should quickly be. 

Helpful locations to go for assist are the 2 principal caravan and tenting organisations: the Caravan and Motorhome Membership (caravanclub.co.uk), which this yr is celebrating its one hundred and fifteenth anniversary with a file membership of 390,000 households; and the Tenting and Caravanning Membership (campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk) with a file 350,000 family members. 

Each are properly represented on the Motorhome & Caravan Present (mcshow.co.uk), happening at Birmingham’s NEC from October 18 to 23 — with greater than 1,000 leisure automobiles on show, plus towing classes and take a look at drives — for which tickets have simply gone on sale.


The annual Tow Automobile Awards 2022, held collectively by Client journal WhatCar? and The Tenting and Caravanning Membership, not too long ago named the 201bhp Audi Q5 40TDi diesel Quattro Sport as its high decide and ‘the very best allrounder’. The Q5 additionally gained the highest accolade in 1,700kg to 1,899kg weight class. 

Vehicles can tow automobiles solely to a set proportion of the automobile’s personal weight. Most have been examined to 85 per cent, however some have been at a decrease restrict if it was specified. 

Exams on the observe included driving at 60mph (the authorized restrict for towing on a motorway), 30mph to 60mph acceleration time and stopping distance from 30mph to stationary. Practicality and boot area have been checked to see if it might accommodate ‘a typical caravanning load of bags’, as have been puncture restore kits and whether or not a trailer stability system is fitted. 

Worth for cash, security and operating prices have been additionally thought of, as was how good the automotive was to drive with out a caravan. Judges stated of the profitable Audi Q5 that it was ‘exceptionally secure’ and towed ‘serenely’ in any respect speeds, with a ‘close to excellent mix of efficiency, stability and practicality’. Costing £46,650, it isn’t low-cost, however residual costs are sturdy for resale. 

Top gun: Overall winner, Audi Q5 Quattro Sport was top pick and ‘the best allrounder’

Prime gun: General winner, Audi Q5 Quattro Sport was high decide and ‘the very best allrounder’

Judges praised the diesel engine’s sturdy pulling energy which takes the caravan ensemble from 30mph to 60mph in 10.6 seconds. 

Prime-rated electrical automotive was the brand new 321bhp Kia EV6 77.4kWh all-wheel drive GT line, costing from £48,195, which was additionally WhatCar?’s total Automobile of the 12 months. 

It has a towing restrict of 1,600kg (lower than 85 per cent of its 2,090kg kerb weight), however is among the quickest automobiles to speed up between 30 mph and 60 mph in simply 5.5 seconds with a caravan in tow. However its towing vary was simply 101 miles (in comparison with its solo vary of 232 miles). Greatest towing vary for an electrical automotive was the BMW i4 eDrive40 M Sport at 113 miles (in contrast with 258.2 miles solo). The bottom was 78.1 miles by the BMW iXxDrive40 M Sport in contrast with 198.8miles solo) 

The typical gasoline financial system drop for an electrical automotive towing a caravan is greater than half (54.6 per cent) in contrast with a 3rd in a petroleum or diesel. 

WhatCar? famous: ‘So it will likely be essential to cease extra typically with an electrical automotive. Plus, topping up is prone to be rather more sophisticated.’ 

‘Nevertheless, not one of the motorway providers run by the three principal operators within the UK at present permits caravanners to cost with out first unhitching. And as a consequence of one-way programs, some make it unattainable to get again from the chargers to the towing parking space.’

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In the meantime, the rival Caravan and Motorhome Membership Tow Automobile of the 12 months Awards 2022 named the SEAT Leon Property as its total winner, in addition to within the 1,100-1,200kg weight class. It was praised for its ‘highly effective petrol engine, composed dealing with, consolation and practicality’. 

Priced from a extra reasonably priced £29,005 OTR, the SEAT Leon Property FR 1.5 TSI 150PS DSG-auto can tow as much as 1,700kg (max braked trailer weight) and might be fitted with a retractable towing hook for a further £710. The Caravan and Motorhome Membership tow automotive jury stated: ‘The Seat Leon is a good all-round household property. Judges beloved the spritely, 1.5- litre TSI ­petrol engine, which labored properly with the 7-speed DSG-auto gearbox. 

Of exams carried out on the Millbrook proving floor in Bedfordshire, they stated of the SEAT: ‘On the sooner sections of the route, it remained calm and composed, whereas on hilly, twistier roads it felt agile, the engine coping rather well with the inclines.’ It proved snug, roomy and with a decent-sized boot.


Nick Lomas, director basic of The Caravan and Motorhome Membership, stated: ‘With the rise in recognition of the staycation, it is extra vital than ever that the membership continues to offer certified and unbiased data to assist members discover the proper tow automotive for his or her wants. 

‘We have additionally been receiving an growing variety of inquiries in regards to the technicalities and practicalities of towing with hybrid and electrical automobiles.’ 

You do not want a particular driving licence to tow a caravan, however there are guidelines in regards to the load that you may tow, relying on whenever you handed your driving take a look at and your automotive’s suitability for towing.

Consultants at automotive finance agency moneybarn.com stated motorists ought to observe producers’ directions when coupling the trailer to the towball, test tyre tread, and guarantee insurance coverage covers you for towing. 

Train warning whereas towing, particularly when slowing down, stopping and at bends: ‘­Trailers have a tendency to chop corners when turning, so it is very important permit further room.’ 

Additional vigilance is required with parking and street positioning, significantly when pulling over alongside kerbs, coming into toll cubicles or stopping at petrol stations.’ 

If storing your caravan at residence, in your driveway, or on non-public land. test the principles on planning permission — and particularly whether or not there is a ‘restrictive covenant’ on the lease of your property. 

Are you braced for frantic Friday? 

Because the summer season vacation getaway begins in earnest as we speak with ‘Frantic Friday’, are you geared as much as navigate your means by it. 

It is advisable to be, as UK households take extra UK ‘staycations’ and even single ‘daycations’ to keep away from international flight journey chaos and cancellations. 

The RAC is predicting there might be 4.29million leisure drivers on roads throughout England and Wales as we speak with almost 19million automobiles on the street over the weekend. 

Beat the jams: As the summer holiday getaway begins in earnest, plan your trip ahead

Beat the jams: Because the summer season vacation getaway begins in earnest, plan your journey forward

INRIX, the transport analytics specialist, is recommending drivers plan properly forward and begin their journeys both early within the morning or later within the night. 

The worst jams are anticipated on the M25 — particularly close to the Dartford Crossing, the M3, and the Surrey part between the M23 and M40. The A303 close to Stonehenge, M4 between Cardiff and Newport and M5 south of Bristol are additionally prone to see large queues over the weekend, with automobile breakdowns including to issues. 

Sat nav app specialists Waze says solely a 3rd (32 per cent) of UK motorists plan to spend their holidays overseas this summer season, whereas 59 per cent count on to take day-trip ‘daycations’ — outlined as a visit over ten miles from residence with no in a single day keep. Waze predicts that home journey will surge as drivers put together to go away earlier and spend as much as 12 hours on the roads.

 Coastal roads, nationwide heritage websites and mountain climbing spots face the most important will increase in visitors with the Lake District (23 per cent), Cornwall (20 per cent), and Yorkshire (18 per cent) topping the record of locations.

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