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swirly182

Over 85% and a Petrol!

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I am still new to towing having only bought the caravan last October but thought I would share my experience so far with an outfit that's more than 85%. I did plenty of research before committing so this may also help others in a similar situation. 

 

I have a 2018 Skoda Octavia vRS Estate. It's a manual 245 petrol version and for me it's the perfect family car. Kerb weight is 1462kg / gross 1976kg.

 

Caravan is a 2016 Adria Altea at 1420kg MTPLM. This is a 6 berth entry level family caravan. Combined the weight is below 3500kg so I can tow with my license obtained in 2003.

 

So far, I've towed it five times all covering motorway miles and in mixed weather conditions including wind! I was nervous towing it back after the purchase. However now, and acknowledging I still have limited experience, I have no problem with it. Obviously I know it's there, but it feels stable and continuous monitoring of cars and vans overtaking I can anticipate any movement of the caravan. Clearly acceleration and maintaining speed uphill is not a problem with ~245bhp and 273lb/ft. Fuel economy is around 23mpg at 60mph. Has been down at 17mpg thanks to windy conditions. Price I have to pay for towing with a petrol. 

 

The point is, I could have replaced the Octavia with a larger, heavier estate which probably would provide some more stability. But would also be less efficient, or worse - could have been a diesel! Without the caravan I: repeatedly achieve 40mpg+ during normal driving, enjoy a smooth, quiet (more socially acceptable 😁) engine, don't have the trouble of parking a larger estate car and can have a good blast down a country road when I feel like it. 

 

Hopefully helps others looking at lighter and slightly less-typical tow cars. 

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Exactly what I would have expected!

  • I do not understand 2

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45 minutes ago, Stevan said:

Exactly what I would have expected!

This is reassuring. Prior to purchasing I had more comments around sticking to the 85% guideline. 

  • Haha 1

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I would add have you put the Octavia on a weigh bridge as the kerb weight like all Skoda’s has a huge variation - the vRS estate DSG with driver is cited at 1500-1629kg; I suspect you’ll find it weighs more than 1462kg!

 

As for the performance, economy notwithstanding that’ll have no issues 

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Well done that man:)! It is about time that the myth that the world will end if you tow at more than 85% was debunked. 

 Tin hat on time I think

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39 minutes ago, Flat_at said:

Well done that man:)! It is about time that the myth that the world will end if you tow at more than 85% was debunked. 

 Tin hat on time I think

 

A handful of people towing in benign conditions proves nothing.

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1 hour ago, Flat_at said:

Well done that man:)! It is about time that the myth that the world will end if you tow at more than 85% was debunked. 

 Tin hat on time I think

 About time?

From time imoral people have been debunking it.

It is after all a Recomendation for inexperianced caravaners.

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A car with wide track, long wheelbase, sports suspension and low profile tyres tows stable at less than 100% and the relatively light outfit performs well with 245PS and 273lbft.

 

Nothing to see here folks. ;):D

 

But seriously if you are inexperienced check loading no matter how short a trip, watch your speed and leave yourself much more space on the road. Anticipation is the key.

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Posted (edited)

 

4 hours ago, Artleknock said:

 About time?

From time imoral people have been debunking it.

It is after all a Recomendation for inexperianced caravaners.

As late as 2008 Avondale said in their handbooks that:-

 "conventional petrol engines up to approximately 1500cc should be adequate for towing a caravan weighing around 85% of the kerb weight of the towing vehicle. Above 1500cc such engines should manage a caravan weighing up to 100% of the towing vehicle and still give adequate performance."

 No mention from them, or many other manufacturers, of inexperience!

 

Edited by Flat_at
Doh, again

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Posted (edited)
6 minutes ago, Flat_at said:

 

As late as 2008 Avondale said in their handbooks that:-

 "conventional petrol engines up to approximately 1500cc should be adequate for towing a caravan weighing around 85% of the kerb weight of the towing vehicle. Above 1500cc such engines should manage a caravan weighing up to 100% of the towing vehicle and still give adequate performance."

 No mention from them, or many other manufacturers, of inexperience

 

 

Avondale's advice has been superceded by the NCC Caravanning Code and Towing Ratio

Edited by Black Grouse

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1 hour ago, logiclee said:

A car with wide track, long wheelbase, sports suspension and low profile tyres tows stable at less than 100% and the relatively light outfit performs well with 245PS and 273lbft.

 

Nothing to see here folks. ;):D

 

But seriously if you are inexperienced check loading no matter how short a trip, watch your speed and leave yourself much more space on the road. Anticipation is the key.

 

:D Stating the obvious then am I? I know the Octy wins tow car awards but from what I've seen its usually pulling small 2 berth vans.

 

Always have the weight gauge out before hitching, thanks to the 70kg limit. The van has a huge front locker but not much in it!

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Black Grouse said:

 

Avondale's advice has been superceded by the NCC Caravanning Code and Towing Ratio

 Which is a recommendation, NOT a law as some on here would have us believe.

 From the "NCC Towing Guide" page 8

The caravan industry recommends: For a novice caravanner, ideally, this ratio should not exceed 85%. For an experienced caravanner the maximum recommended ratio is 100%, provided the figure is permissible in respect of the tow car’s published capability

Edited by Flat_at
oops

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2 minutes ago, Flat_at said:

 Which is a recommendation, NOT a law as some on here would have us believe.

 From the "NCC Caravanning Code" page 8

The caravan industry recommends: For a novice caravanner, ideally, this ratio should not exceed 85%. For an experienced caravanner the maximum recommended ratio is 100%, provided the figure is permissible in respect of the tow car’s published capability

 

We know what the recommendation states.

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Subjective though isn't it. Define the point at which a novice caravanner becomes an experienced caravanner.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, swirly182 said:

Subjective though isn't it. Define the point at which a novice caravanner becomes an experienced caravanner.

As you can probably see it is a very emotive subject and always upsets some of "us". It all depends on how you feel about your outfit, how many bad experiences you have had and how confident you feel that you can cope with anything which happens when you are towing. When you passed your driving test did anyone "recommend" that you only drove a car with a small engine? Of course not!

Edited by Flat_at
Sausage fingers

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A recommendation is just that, a statement of good intent, but without any consequence. If it were conclusive it would, or should, be a requirement and not a recommendation. For that reason it must be up to the individual how serious it should be taken. or whether to ignore it

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30 minutes ago, swirly182 said:

Subjective though isn't it. Define the point at which a novice caravanner becomes an experienced caravanner.

 

When he or she survives a snake.

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34 minutes ago, swirly182 said:

Subjective though isn't it. Define the point at which a novice caravanner becomes an experienced caravanner.


Good question.
 

I’ve only been at it 3 1/2 years but in that time I’ve been to France 3 times, driven probably towed for 3500+ miles using two different cars - I’ve had to take evasive action a few times (usually as a result of people joining on a slip road who have no spacial awareness) been exposed to significant side winds driving at 45mph on a dual carriageway to keep it safe and had my only real moment overtaking a car transporter with the car and van empty (it all moved more than I wanted!)

Do I consider myself experienced? No, but I’m not a novice any more! I’d have no qualms with your outfit.

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There are so many factors at play on this subject;

 

1. When the 85% recommendation was decided, by who and using what parameters 

2. The experience of the person towing

3. The confidence (or overconfidence) of the person towing

4. The power and design of the tow vehicle 

5. Single or twin axle 

5. Towing aids on the car

6. Towing aids on the caravan

7. Speed

8. State of the road surface

9. Weather conditions 

10. Other motorists

11. Air pressure and condition of the tyres of car & caravan

12. The state of the maintenance of the car & caravan 

 

You can go on and on. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is that you feel comfortable, safe and meet all the legal requirements surrounding your license, the cars legal weights and any other legalities that appertains to towing the caravan that you do. A guide is useful for those who have no idea where to start.

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Posted (edited)

Having towed Pegasus Verona at 1450kg with a Dacia Duster 1.6(109bhp) petrol for over 30I miles in every type of condition ( overweight 1280kg so 113%) I can vouch for the op! yes we had emergencies and no the van never ever deviated from the line I wanted it to take. Average towing mpg 24mpg. We load the car not the Van and am fastidious about three erc. No atc on a verona either.

 

To dispel another urban myth we now tow a Buccaneer with a Nissan Navara. There is no lack of rear grip when towing nor any tail light induced sway. Rock solid!

Edited by Jezzerb

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14 hours ago, Black Grouse said:

 

A handful of people towing in benign conditions proves nothing.

It's the low centre of gravity and low profile tyres with firm sporty suspension much preferable for stability in my opinion than a wallowy suv.

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On 18/03/2020 at 05:53, Jezzerb said:

Having towed Pegasus Verona at 1450kg with a Dacia Duster 1.6(109bhp) petrol for over 30I miles in every type of condition ( overweight 1280kg so 113%) I can vouch for the op! yes we had emergencies and no the van never ever deviated from the line I wanted it to take. Average towing mpg 24mpg. We load the car not the Van and am fastidious about three erc.

 

Same here we towed a big TA caravan with a mondeo well over 110% ratio and never had the slightest bit of bother.

Now this will really upset people....i have never used a nose weight gauge!!!

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1 hour ago, tom_1989 said:

 

i have never used a nose weight gauge!!!

 

And you know your are legal and safe, How?

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Most manufacturers quote a Kerbweight including a 75kg allowance for a driver. Indeed Skoda did, up until they introduced the 2013 Octavia when they decided to quote kerbweight without the 75kg allowance. Some motoring journalists were taken in and trumpeted the enormous weight saving between it and the previous model. It was, nearly all, smoke and mirrors, though there was a small weight reduction between the two. 

 

So, compared to the figure that had historically been used to calculate the 85% ratio, the 1462kg of Swirly's car should read 1537kg, which gives a ratio of 92% to the MTPLM of his van.

 

And I'll repeat my mantra that the 85% guideline was invented to assist purchasers of vans/cars in assessing whether they were a suitable match, when very little other information or limits were available. It was never meant as a figure to live your caravanning life by.

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2 hours ago, logiclee said:

 

And you know your are legal and safe, How?

 

Common sense and experience. Its only caravaners who have this fascination with nose weight, I would bet good money that 99.99% of trailers on the road which arent caravans haven't had their nose weight checked.  Most people just load up and make sure it looks right.

 

Have you ever heard of someone being prosecuted because the nose weight was too high??

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