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Verny

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Hi folks, in January I purchased a Suzuki vitara 1.4 allgrip automatic. It has a kerb weight of just 1265 kg. Suzuki say it can tow up to max 1200 kg safely. Good I thought, I'll have one of those. Now then, my caravan is a 1998 sterling europa. It has an unladen weight of 960 kg. I took the van out for a test run last night and the car struggled to tow it. It felt like the van was towing the car.

UK Tow voted it best lightweight tow car. I'm not sure. Any ideas folks.

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Have you had much experience towing? With a lightweight car you will always feel the effect of the caravan.

An old rule of thumb is that you need 40php per tonne of total train weight for reasonably relaxed towing, in your case this would be close to 100bhp. How does your engine rate?

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Although the 1.4 engine power is around 138ps the torque figure is going to be relatively low.  Small turbo petrols need to be revved to produce sufficient torque.

The caravan you have is a good match weight wise regarding stability. 

The figure often banded around is the 85% of the kerb weight, so 1265Kg kerb weight gives a MPTLM of 1075kg.

Even if the old cc figure of 40 bhp per ton is recommended as a minimum your car easily exceeds this at 62 bhp/ton.

Progress on the flat should be ok but inclines will regard a lot of gear shifting.

 

 

Of course all this assumes your car is performing correctly.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

The feel of towing is often sensitive to the noseweight, especially too little - so check the car's noseweight limit, the towbar's limit (it may be less than the car) and the caravan hitch limit (probably 100kg on your caravan) - use the lesser of those as your target and check/adjust each trip.

Edited by Black Grouse

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Last year I regularly towed a 1000kg caravan with the new shape Vitara (same style as yours) 1.6 na petrol engine, at no point did I feel like the caravan was controlling the car.

 

Maximum torque for your car comes in at 1500rpm so while it's not going to be a rocket off the line you should have no issue towing it and should feel perfectly fine doing so

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4 hours ago, Gd485 said:

  Small turbo petrols need to be revved to produce sufficient torque.

 

 

 

 

The 1.4 in this case produces 162lbft from 1500rpm to 4000rpm while not massive by modern turbo diesel figures lets view it in context. 

A mid 90's Mondeo 2.0 had 133lbft at 4000rpm and the Mondeo 2.5V6 had 162lbft at 4250rpm.

 

So the little Vitara that only weighs 1265kg has the same torque as a 2.5V6 Mondeo at just 1500rpm.

 

What the OP will have to do is rev the engine for enough power and that is the same for any engine.

 

For the Gross Train Weight in question the power and torque should be more than sufficient. The OP is not clear whether is main issue is power or stability.

 

Lee

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