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Caravan Novice 101

Skoda Octavia Vrs Estate DSG towing

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Hi,

 

Total caravan newbee here but 

I'm considering buying a caravan and trying to work out what size caravan my car can tow. Looking online I seem to be getting varying figures. 

 

I have the following details from plate in car which is a 2018 Skoda Octavia VRS estate DSG  

 

1978 kg is the maximum permissible gross weight 

3578 kg is the maximum permissible towed weight(towing vehicle and trailer) 

1 - 1040 kg  is the maximum permissible front axle load 

2 - 970 kg is the maximum permissible rear axle load 

 

Can someone please confirm what MTPLM I should be looking at when looking for caravan?

 

I would be a complete beginner and also not sure if I would need to sit test for B&E license as I know can currently only  tow up to 3500kg including car and trailer can someone also please clarify if this would be required. 

 

Thanks for your help 

 

 

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Oh man !!  that's opened a can of worms........prepare to b confused !

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Posted (edited)

OK, lets take this one step at a time.

 

Assuming your car is fully loaded, the maximum it is allowed to tow is 1600Kg (the difference between the first two figures).

 

Now let's look at your licence.  Without a towing test, you're limited to maximum plated weights of 3500Kg.  For you, this would be 1978Kg for the car, leaving a maximum of 1522Kg for the caravan.

 

However, it's recommended that people new to towing only tow a caravan that's 85% of the kerb weight of the car.  You don't quote that, but I believe it's around 1400Kg.    That would give a maximum caravan weight of around 1200Kg.

 

So a caravan with a MTPLM of around 1200Kg would be fine.  Possibly a little more once you've checked the kerbweight of the car (it's often on the V5).

 

Someone will be along to check/criticise my figures in a moment!

 

 

Edited by Tigger
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Posted (edited)

I’ll try and keep this simple but plenty of opportunity to confuse this will follow!

 

So, being new it’s worth being aware of the 85% ‘rule’ (which is actually guidance) but for this you need another weight - the ‘Mass in service’ on the V5; people will argue until the end of time what this figure represents but basically work out 85% of this; the Mass in Service for your car is something like 1450kg (I looked at one), so 85% will be about 1230kg. Use this as your starting point. 

 

1230kg is the MTPLM of the van you are looking to tow - it’s guidance though so if you see something probably 1300kg or under then it will be fine you just need to take a little more care going down hills specifically as this is when a heavier van is at most risk of taking control, likewise in windy conditions. Your car can legally tow 1600kg if the car is fully loaded but caravans are wobbly boxes and you really don’t want to do that.

 

Straight line performance pulling that size van will be superb but don’t let that lull you into a false sense of security.

 

Good news is that your outfit would put you well under a ‘E’ license as you add the 1978kg Gross Vehicle Weight to the MTPLM of the caravan which would get you to something around 3300kg.

 

You’ll now get 4 pages of arguing over the legality of every weight ‘definition’, people saying just take the ‘E’ license for the future and so on!

 

Look for a van under 1300kg (the lower the better) and enjoy!

 

EDIT; I concur with Tigger!

Edited by FrankBullet
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Thanks for both your replies very helpful. I have just looked at v5 and the mass in service figure is 1487 as you mentioned. 

 

I will be looking at caravans under 1300kg.

 

Thanks for information regarding license too meaning I can tow caravan based on current license and don't need to sit additional tests.  

 

Thanks for your help

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Well, that was quick and easy, for a change.:lol::lol::lol:

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9 minutes ago, Flat_at said:

Well, that was quick and easy, for a change.:lol::lol::lol:

 

Give it time, it's never that simple (even when it is 😂 )

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One thing the OP does not say is whether the Octy is petrol or diesel as the VRs is done in both versions. The petrol might be a bit of a handful because of the necessity to use revs to get to the higher torque band of the engine power. Conversely the diesel might actually turn out to be a very good towcar as the grunt is available at lower revs. I would suggest however that the OP should take very great care on the first few runs as towing with an automatic is very different from using a manual gearbox - it might even need an oil cooler.

Finally one point not noted is before looking at caravans check how much the towball can take - i.e. the caravan 'noseweight.' ISTR that the earlier Octy's were only something like 75Kg. Yes weight can be moved around to decrease hitch load, but that might not help with train stability.

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3 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

One thing the OP does not say is whether the Octy is petrol or diesel as the VRs is done in both versions. The petrol might be a bit of a handful because of the necessity to use revs to get to the higher torque band of the engine power. Conversely the diesel might actually turn out to be a very good towcar as the grunt is available at lower revs. I would suggest however that the OP should take very great care on the first few runs as towing with an automatic is very different from using a manual gearbox - it might even need an oil cooler.

Finally one point not noted is before looking at caravans check how much the towball can take - i.e. the caravan 'noseweight.' ISTR that the earlier Octy's were only something like 75Kg. Yes weight can be moved around to decrease hitch load, but that might not help with train stability.

Thanks for your reply. Car is diesel. Not sure if this makes a difference but car can be driven in both automatic or manual gears. 

 

I will look into what tow ball can take as car is fitted with Skoda removable tow bar from factory install. 

 

Thanks again for everyone's help

 

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75kg - plenty enough.

 

Yours is a clean set up, find the van you want under roughly 1300kg and start enjoying your holidays 👍

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48 minutes ago, Caravan Novice 101 said:

Thanks for your reply. Car is diesel. Not sure if this makes a difference but car can be driven in both automatic or manual gears. 

 

That means the gearbox is the VAG DSG "auto" dual clutch gearbox.

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The Skoda Octavia is a well established tow car and you see many towing, however these are more often the Scout 4WD version.  In normal driving condition the car is 2WD so performance will be roughly the same. The VRS Diesel sounds like a very good tow car in my opinion capable of "punching a little above its weight" .

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3 hours ago, Caravan Novice 101 said:

Thanks for both your replies very helpful. I have just looked at v5 and the mass in service figure is 1487 as you mentioned. 

 

I will be looking at caravans under 1300kg.

 

Thanks for information regarding license too meaning I can tow caravan based on current license and don't need to sit additional tests.  

 

Thanks for your help

That sounds sensible.  1487 is a pretty useful figure for the car weight, so keeping yourself to about 1300Kg MTPLM should be very safe.

 

I recommend the caravan club practical towing course - I learned loads of things when I first started out - from how to hitch correctly to practical reversing.   The Caravan and camping club does something similar too.

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14 minutes ago, Tigger said:

That sounds sensible.  1487 is a pretty useful figure for the car weight, so keeping yourself to about 1300Kg MTPLM should be very safe.

 

I recommend the caravan club practical towing course - I learned loads of things when I first started out - from how to hitch correctly to practical reversing.   The Caravan and camping club does something similar too.

Yes thanks as I was going to look into some courses as would rather have some lessons of how to tow etc first. 

 

I have been out to look at some caravans as seen a 2015 Elddis Xplore 526 with a MTPLM of 1317kg I know this is slightly over the figure quoted bit only seen one other under the 1300kg would this be safe to tow as beginner? 

 

Thanks everyone

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Your car is probably a bit heavier than the published figure for example the weight of the tow bracket probably has to be added. You could always weigh it if you're that fussy, but I would expect the outfit to be  well matched one with a 1317Kg caravan. All you have to do is stay within that MTPLM (not easy for any of us)

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If you took a course you wouldn’t be a beginner! 

 

It’ll be fine, just take care

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Posted (edited)

On the mechanicals the Mk3 Octavia vRS use two DSG gearboxes.

 

All diesels apart from the very latest WLTP 2019 models use the 6 speed wet clutch DQ250 which is a well proven reliable gearbox and well suited to towing. The latest 2019 diesels now have the 7 speed wet clutch DQ380 which again is well suited to towing. So no worries with the gearboxes.

 

Most petrol vRS have the DQ250 although the vRS245 got the DQ380 early. All 2019 models now have the DQ380.

 

As for the petrol comments,

The petrol vRS has  245PS and 380NM 1600-4300rpm

The Diesel vRS has 184PS and 380NM 1750-2350rpm.

 

The petrol has the same peak torque which arrives earlier in the rev range and lasts for longer. Couple that with the petrol having a 20% lower final drive and the petrol will have significantly better towing performance.

 

That's not to worry the OP. The Diesel vRS with 1400kg caravan would have more than enough performance. It's just some advice is more about dated stereotypes rather than actual facts.

 

Edited by logiclee

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2 hours ago, Caravan Novice 101 said:

Yes thanks as I was going to look into some courses as would rather have some lessons of how to tow etc first. 

 

I have been out to look at some caravans as seen a 2015 Elddis Xplore 526 with a MTPLM of 1317kg I know this is slightly over the figure quoted bit only seen one other under the 1300kg would this be safe to tow as beginner? 

 

Thanks everyone

Sure - you don't have to load it to MTPLM remember.  Put the heavy things in the car.

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As stated earlier, don't forget that 85% is only a guideline for new 'towers.' Once you've towed a few times and got some experience under your belt 100% is no longer an issue.

One thing not mentioned is speed. Towing you are limited to 50mph (or lower if in a zone,) but 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways, and you are not allowed in the offside lane of roads with three or more lanes.

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4 minutes ago, Woodentop said:

As stated earlier, don't forget that 85% is only a guideline for new 'towers.' Once you've towed a few times and got some experience under your belt 100% is no longer an issue.

One thing not mentioned is speed. Towing you are limited to 50mph (or lower if in a zone,) but 60mph on motorways and dual carriageways, and you are not allowed in the offside lane of roads with three or more lanes.

 

Pedant alert - the outside lane ban only applies on motorways with 3 or more lanes - it doesn't apply on other dual carriageways regardless of the number of lanes.

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Thanks everyone for your advice. Just need to find the right caravan now. 

 

One other question I have is my tow bar suitable or do you need a special type? It's the Skoda one that came with car and is fits from underneath car. No bumper been cut or anything. 

 

Tried to upload photo but file size is too big 

 

Thanks 

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54 minutes ago, Caravan Novice 101 said:

Thanks everyone for your advice. Just need to find the right caravan now. 

 

One other question I have is my tow bar suitable or do you need a special type? It's the Skoda one that came with car and is fits from underneath car. No bumper been cut or anything. 

 

Tried to upload photo but file size is too big 

 

Thanks 

 

If it's a Skoda factory-fit deployable towbar (swings down to use), it'll be fine.

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5 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

 

If it's a Skoda factory-fit deployable towbar (swings down to use), it'll be fine.

Doesn't swing down to use as stays in place. You unlock it and that releases it to remove.

 

Thanks

6 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

 

 

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That's called a "detachable". There's no reason why it shouldn't be ok. Are there any labels or marks either on it or the bit that it plugs into. There should be something somewhere.

 

 

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37 minutes ago, matelodave said:

That's called a "detachable". There's no reason why it shouldn't be ok. Are there any labels or marks either on it or the bit that it plugs into. There should be something somewhere.

 

 

I will have a look again and see if I can see anything under car as only thing on tow bar is aVW and a serial number 

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