Q: Can my 2.0-litre Honda CR-V 1998/99 ES model tow a single horse trailer at 770kg and pony at 350kg safely? I believe the kerbweight is around 1400kg, and the maximum braked towing weight is 1500kg. I am also not sure if the car's pulling power (134 lb ft @4200rpm) is suitable. Sally Clarke
A: Your car and trailer should be a good match - at least in terms of weight. The car's kerbweight is actually 1460kg, but you're right about the maximum towing weight.
From a safety point of view, what's important is the kerbweight. Any trailer you tow should never exceed the car's kerbweight, because you never want to have a trailer that's as heavy as the car.
That's because in the rare event of a 'snake' (a scary phenomenon where the trailer swings violently behind the car), you stand a far greater chance of exiting the snake if your car is heavier than the trailer.
In your case, your horsebox, even with the horse inside, will weigh a maximum weight of 1120kg. That's 76% of your car's kerbweight, making it a very sound match indeed. Most towing experts recommend you don't tow anything above 85% for the reasons outlined above.
Where your car may struggle is with its torque (pulling power). Honda's petrol engines are very strong, but their power and pulling power is all at the top end of the car's rev range - in your case, 4200rpm. When you're towing, you need most of a car's pulling power when the engine is revving much less quickly.
You may find your car struggles a bit on hills and when overtaking, and it won't be very economical, either. Next time you change your car, you would do well to consider a diesel if you plan to tow a lot - they develop their pulling power much lower in the rev range - as low as 1500rpm.