What Car Q&A May 2010 - What's best for towing a caravan?

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Q) I’m looking for a new car that’s capable of towing a 1415kg caravan. Is a Volvo V70 D5 or a BMW X5 xDrive30d up to the job?
Robert Langlands


A) Either of the cars you’ve suggested is up to the job. To safely tow a ‘braked’ weight – such as a caravan – the towing car must:

...be physically capable of towing the weight. Towing limits for every new car can be found at whatcar.com, or on the relevant car manufacturer’s website.

...weigh at least 18% more than the caravan. Just divide the car’s kerbweight – again on whatcar.com or the car manufacturer’s website – by 0.85. If the figure is greater than the caravan’s weight, it’s safe to tow.

The Volvo V70 D5 weighs 1732kg and has a braked towing limit of 1800kg. That means it can safely pull 1472kg. The BMW X5 xDrive30d can physically pull 3500kg, but because it weighs 2150kg, you shouldn’t consider towing more than 1827kg.

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