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philip697

Soon to be newcomer after some advice please!

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Hello guys, we really want to get a caravan pretty soon and I'd really appreciate some help.

 

Our car is a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso 1.6l Diesel, xx14 model. I've been doing a lot of swatting to try and understand what I'll be able to tow, so we can look at what 'vans we can look at, or indeed if we need to be looking at a new car first. These are the figures I've found.

 

Kerb weight 1395kg

Maximum towing capacity 1500kg

VIN figures, 3350 x 2150 = 1200kg (a local tow bar installation place said this is the actual towing limit, is that right?! seems low!!)

Nose weight limit 70kg (manual actually calls this 'recommended nose weight' but I'm fairly sure this is the maximum)

 

We were looking at a Bailey Phoenix 650 as this is ideal in terms of layout with our 2 young kids (end washroom, 2 bunks with a spare you can make up if they want to bring a friend), we love how it looks, and the quality of the interior finish compared to say the Xplore range, it pretty much ticks every box for us. The figures are;

 

MIRO 1229kg

MTPLM 1394kg

 

A local dealer said this would be fine, and we could tow this. Bearing in mind I doubt we would load 165kg in the van, it would still probably be around a 95% match. Then I also wonder if the 70kg nose weight limit would be workable in practice, or if in fact, it doesn't matter that much if you're a little over? We'd look to put heavier stuff in the car boot, then ensure we load the van correctly, putting stuff over the axle.

 

I might be over thinking this, and it would be fine. Also, we would not ideally want to lose this car as we love it. With that said, I would not want to be dangerous on the road with my family in the car, especially having never towed anything before. So I guess I'm saying, if you had this car, would you pull this van? I'm looking a general consensus "Quit worrying, you'll be fine", or "I wouldnt bother, get a heavier car" either would set my mind at rest :lol:.

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Posted (edited)

That kerbweight sounds a bit low. I've a 66 reg Zafira 1.4 petrol, bottom of the range variant which completely empty ie. no driver, weighs 1580kg.I say this because the Citroën seems about the same sort of size with seven seats etc. 

Edited by Dobloseven
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Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I would highly recommend that you need a more substantial car to tow this caravan safely especially as you have never towed before. Whilst you think that you will never put 165kg in the caravan you have to factor things in like bedding, crockery, cutlery, kids games, toilet chemicals, gas bottles, ramps, security devices, etc, etc. It soon goes. Therefore you really want to be looking at a car with a kerb weight of @1650kg giving an @85% match on the caravan that you want. 

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1 hour ago, Dobloseven said:

That kerbweight sounds a bit low. I've a 66 reg Zafira 1.4 petrol, bottom of the range variant which completely empty ie. no driver, weighs 1580kg.I say this because the Citroën seems about the same sort of size with seven seats etc. 

 

It's correct, the c4 is a really light car for its size 

 

45 minutes ago, madasmad said:

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I would highly recommend that you need a more substantial car to tow this caravan safely especially as you have never towed before. Whilst you think that you will never put 165kg in the caravan you have to factor things in like bedding, crockery, cutlery, kids games, toilet chemicals, gas bottles, ramps, security devices, etc, etc. It soon goes. Therefore you really want to be looking at a car with a kerb weight of @1650kg giving an @85% match on the caravan that you want. 

 

That's fine, we'll trade the car in then. Looking at it, the Ford S-max is a good option, looks like it'll pull a tank

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Just in case you aren’t aware, a heavier car will have a heavier maximum gross weight which when added to the caravan MTPLM could push you into B+E licence category IF you obtained your license after January 1997.

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From his username could he have been born in 1997? And only be 23? What a variety of ages our members are!

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No idea but mentioned having two young children. It’s good to see younger families using touring caravans but so many are unaware of the limitations of a B category licence.

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Didn't one of the CT regulars tow a Bailey caravan of some sort with a Grand Picasso? 

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2 hours ago, GaryB1969 said:

Just in case you aren’t aware, a heavier car will have a heavier maximum gross weight which when added to the caravan MTPLM could push you into B+E licence category IF you obtained your license after January 1997.

 

Reading about that, if it's the maximum laden of the car AND caravan, then I'd need that licence even if I used the Citroen! That's an eye opener c4 is 2150 ± 1394, which takes over 3500kg even without a new car. Is that right? 

 

2 hours ago, WispMan said:

From his username could he have been born in 1997? And only be 23? What a variety of ages our members are!

 

If only I was 23 again! 35 here, and counting...! 

 

2 hours ago, AndersG said:

Probably a different engine but Practical caravan is very happy towing a heavier caravan in the test.

https://www.practicalcaravan.com/reviews/citroen-grand-c4-picasso

 

Yea I saw that, I think it's a different model. It's the 2L version, and potentially even a new model as the model changed halfway through 2014. The figures in my manual and on my VIN plate don't match the figures they're stating in that review. For starters my kerb weight is not 1505, according to the manual. I found it odd they hooked up a van stating a MIRO, as that is not an accurate test unless you plan on putting absolutely nothing in your van. That said, is it generally OK going very close to 100% match? I just worry about snaking and lord knows what else. Or constantly worrying that you've loaded your van heavier than your car

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Just now, philip697 said:

 

Reading about that, if it's the maximum laden of the car AND caravan, then I'd need that licence even if I used the Citroen! That's an eye opener c4 is 2150 ± 1394, which takes over 3500kg even without a new car. Is that right? 

 


Yes, that’s right and it goes on the plated weight rather than actual weight so you can’t get away with just light loading. A few on here have done the test and a lot pass first time, doing it opens up a much larger range of caravans and will give you some good practical training. Also search YouTube as a few have filmed it.

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1 hour ago, philip697 said:

I found it odd they hooked up a van stating a MIRO,

When reviewing tow cars, practical caravan often pick a van that (When empty) is close to the limit of the car. It’s a bit confusing for newbies, but it saves them having to load and weigh a van, that is usually loaned from a dealer

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One other thing to consider is to get ATC fitted (@£350-500) to your caravan if it doesn’t already have it and when getting a towbar fitted I would suggest buying the dedicated 13 pin electrics as, if whatever car you end up with, has specialist software then the car will use this whilst towing making you much safer.

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165 kg as a payload can be swallowed up very quickly especially by the kids. Mine managed to squirrel away all kinds of ‘essentials’ when they came with us, in the end we gave each of them a pair of overhead lockers for clothes and a plastic folding crate for anything else they wanted to bring which went in the back of the car.

Regarding the car and van matching debate, I’m firmly in the 85% camp as a maximum towing ratio. It may be an outdated concept but I can’t see the point of risking the lives of your family towing with an outfit where everything is on the limit. Get your B+E on your licence, the training will make you a better ‘tower’ then get a car easily capable of towing your chosen van which when laden has sufficient reserves of power, weight and interior space to enable towing your van to be  a pleasant experience rather than an uncomfortable, cramped,  white knuckle ride. 

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2 hours ago, Tuningdrew said:

165 kg as a payload can be swallowed up very quickly especially by the kids. Mine managed to squirrel away all kinds of ‘essentials’ when they came with us, in the end we gave each of them a pair of overhead lockers for clothes and a plastic folding crate for anything else they wanted to bring which went in the back of the car.

Regarding the car and van matching debate, I’m firmly in the 85% camp as a maximum towing ratio. It may be an outdated concept but I can’t see the point of risking the lives of your family towing with an outfit where everything is on the limit. Get your B+E on your licence, the training will make you a better ‘tower’ then get a car easily capable of towing your chosen van which when laden has sufficient reserves of power, weight and interior space to enable towing your van to be  a pleasant experience rather than an uncomfortable, cramped,  white knuckle ride. 

This is where I'm at now I think. It removes a level of stress if you're not constantly worrying you're going to come to a hill and the car struggle. The costs are constantly going up before we even consider buying a van though! Looks like circa £500 for b+e training and test, £400 for a tow bar fitting, and I imagine I'm only getting started on the costs! :lol:

 

There's no one round here in the Chesterfield / East Midlands, South Yorkshire area that can recommend a good place to gof ro the b+e training? Or how to find local reputable trainers? 

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I live in North West Leicestershire and see a few people having B&E training so there must be a few locally, try a Google search.

 

Yes, there are additional costs on top of the caravan itself, all of the additional bits & pieces including an awning can easily be £1,000. However if buying second hand some people throw a lot of extras in but full service history and a damp check are essential. Some dealers offer discounts on accessories as well which can save a few pounds. Kids usually live it though so it’s worth the outlay!

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Well I have to agree with Tuningdrew on both accounts, In my opinion much better for the long run.I did comment on hear about doing the test and a member said the cost was about £750.

While your currant car doesn't seem heavy enough, One thing I found is that when choosing a new vehicle, look at one which may be capable for the next caravan it might be heavier than this one.

Might point its a big cost changing both if the towcar isn't heavy enough.

Enjoy the search for your family,  I'm some of us still get a buzz out of buying a new vehicle.

 

Cheers

David

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For info, I tow a nice size family van (1420kg) with my Octavia vRS Estate without the requirement of the additional test. In no way am I suggesting to not do the test, but is possible without. This thread should give you some more thoughts: 

 

 

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Philip697

Try Peter Smythe at Sutton in Ashfield, They have there own test centre.

Not sure if he's still offering discount but register on Trucknet and use your user ID for discount.

Good luck

David

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, philip697 said:

This is where I'm at now I think. It removes a level of stress if you're not constantly worrying you're going to come to a hill and the car struggle. The costs are constantly going up before we even consider buying a van though! Looks like circa £500 for b+e training and test, £400 for a tow bar fitting, and I imagine I'm only getting started on the costs! :lol:

 

There's no one round here in the Chesterfield / East Midlands, South Yorkshire area that can recommend a good place to gof ro the b+e training? Or how to find local reputable trainers? 

There are many driving schools catering for the B+E, some LGV trainers have now added it to their schedules as the tests are carried out from Goods vehicle testing centres. 

Edited by Tuningdrew

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29 minutes ago, philip697 said:

This is where I'm at now I think. It removes a level of stress if you're not constantly worrying you're going to come to a hill and the car struggle. The costs are constantly going up before we even consider buying a van though! Looks like circa £500 for b+e training and test, £400 for a tow bar fitting, and I imagine I'm only getting started on the costs! :lol:

 

Sadly caravanning is not generally the cheap and cheerful activity that it is sometimes perceived as.

It is possible to do it on the cheap but it is not easy, and to do it that way involves enjoying overcoming the problems.

There are cheap cars out there on the used car market with towbars ready fitted.

The +E test is a one off expenditure at the start.

The reliability issues of making an older, used car do so much work can be viewed as either a challenge or a problem!

There are ways of avoiding high pitch fees by using club rallies, CLs etc.

Been there, done that, but don't think I want to go back!

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Posted (edited)

I think it was Ancell who had a Citroen Grand Picasso for a while but it was probably the 2 litre diesel. Citroen often quote towing limits greater than the plated train weight less the gross vehicle weight but this is by reducing the car maximum payload. If the max tow is 1500kg vs a plated 1200kg, this is by reducing the car payload by 300kg. 

 

If you put L plates on the caravan and have somebody as the front passenger who already has B+E, then the driver does not need to have B+E. This can help whilst practising when the car gross weight plus caravan MTPLM are over 3500kg. Not sure how driving tests and lessons are happening now due to the need for social distancing.

 

When choosing a caravan beware that young children grow quickly so if the bunk beds on the one you think you like are not that large, you may be having to change the caravan sooner than you would like. When trying out a caravan at the dealer or wherever, see if an adult can fit in all the beds and then you will be future proof. Many people use site facilities so a decent bathroom is not that important to them, for us an end bathroom would be a waste of space.

Edited by Paul1957

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I can vouch for the lower bunk bed in our Adria having spent a few nights on it swapping with our 2 year old. Very comfortable! 

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I'm really struggling to find a suitable tow car to move to, at my price range. It needs a kerb weight of 1650kg+ to be a good match for the Phoenix 650, decent torque, be practical for use other than towing, a good family car with ample space. Research settled me on the Ford S-Max, but it's just a touch too expensive (2015+ models are coming out at £13k). Passat Alltrack seems a good match too, but that's coming out at £17k. Anyone got any suggestions?! Ideally we wouldn't want to go much above £10k

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Stick with the car you have. Sounds like it would be a great tug and family car.

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