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Caravan = 1500kg, is there a car that’s under 2000kg but meets the 85% rule?


RubyAnn
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Hi,

Completely confused novice. I’ve put a deposit down on a caravan that is 1500kg thinking that it was kerb weight that mattered, but just realised it’s maximum weight. Is there a car (preferably estate over suv) that can safely pull the caravan without taking the test? Or should I go for the test, and how many lessons did it take?

Thank you,

Ruby

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Just to clarify on the 85% - it's not a rule, just a bit of guidance aimed at new caravanners

 

But

 

Finding a car that will pull a 1500Kg caravan under 2000Kg maximum weight is going to be a challenge

 

Legally, my wifes Vauxhall Mokka Diesel Auto has a towing limit of 1500Kg and a Gross vehicle weight of 1900Kg, so legal on a B only licence.

 

Would i use it to tow a 1500Kg as an experienced tower though - probably not, but others might.

 

 

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Look on YouTube for videos on taking the B+E test, apparently it isn’t as daunting as some think.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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Done the test recently, just do it. Lots of great tips re safety and it gives you flexibility for future caravans if you want larger etc. 

 

I think the only way you will achieve this is to get a lighter caravan to give headroom on the car. 

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That is getting tight

 

One thought is a Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 litre Gross Weight is 1924kg.

 

Towing limit is 1600kg, so gives a margin with 1500kg van.

 

Only fly is the kerbweight which is listed as 1279kg, though for that range Skoda tried to be clever and didn't include the 75kg allowance for driver that's usually included in the weight. So more realistically your talking 1354kg for the base model whilst, say, an SE L would probably be nearer 1400kg. That still means a 107% towing ratio which is quite a way outside the 85% ratio recommended for those new to towing and some insurance companies might baulk at it.  

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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Posted (edited)

85% ‘rule’? No such thing, mention it to anyone in Europe and they’d just look at you blankly and shrug.

 Far more important for ‘safe’ towing is ‘mechanical’ things like a long wheelbase and a short rear overhang - helps stop the tail wagging the dog.

 

My Honda CR-V can haul 1,500kg no problem.

Edited by Whomer
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I have the vRS 2L petrol estate and it pulls a 1420kg van with no issues in terms of stability. I'd use it for 1500kg as well - being familiar with the car, knowing how to load the van etc...

 

It's worth noting that non-vRS and non 4x4 variants of the Octavia have torsion beam rear suspension which may or may not affect stability whilst towing. It may improve it! The vRS and 4x4 models have independent rear suspension.

 

No mention of budget, but at least go for one of the higher spec variants to increase the kerb weight.

1 hour ago, Whomer said:

My Honda CR-V can haul 1,500kg no problem.

 

Gross weight is above 2000kg, so no good in this instance.

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Thank you everyone. Looks like passing the b + e is the way to go. What car would you ideally recommend for towing a 1500kg caravan by a novice? 

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1 minute ago, RubyAnn said:

Thank you everyone. Looks like passing the b + e is the way to go. What car would you ideally recommend for towing a 1500kg caravan by a novice? 

I was a novice and used the Octavia estate (I think I mentioned in the post above!?) for 1420kg... Didn't do the B+E training or test. Researched into driving techniques, nose weights, correct caravan and car loading, other maintenance / checks to reduce the likelihood of the car/caravan becoming unstable whilst towing. The relevant discussions on this website have been a massive help to me. 

 

In an ideal health and safety world everyone would do the training and test prior to towing. Even our elderly 'expert' friends with grandfather rights. With good research and careful intial towing miles, I don't think the B+E is always essential. 

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31 minutes ago, RubyAnn said:

Thank you everyone. Looks like passing the b + e is the way to go. What car would you ideally recommend for towing a 1500kg caravan by a novice? 

 

Unfortunately that's a question that will generate 1,000's of answers as it depends on what you want to spend, personal car type preference etc.

 

In an ideal world, my things to consider when towing a 1500kg caravan:

  • Towing capacity over 1500kgs (a 1500kg limit will suffice but I prefer not to tow at the vehicles towing limit).
  • Unladen weight/kerb weight/mass in service of the car over 1500kgs.  Yes, the "85% rule" is a pure guideline, but the heavier the tow car in relation to the laden weight of the caravan will help to keep things stable (BUT there are lots of other influencing factors to safe and stable towing!).
  • A decent nose-weight limit, ideally 100kgs to save trying to balance the load to achieve a lower limit.
  • A towbar installed with a dedicated wiring loom.  While universal wiring kits will often suffice, a dedicated wiring loom is vehicle specific and helps to eliminate any electrical compatibility issues with the more sensitive electronics found in today's cars.

Manual, auto, petrol, diesel, new, used etc, etc.  There is so much out there and everyone will want to convince you that theirs is best!  Do plenty of research so you understand any models potential pitfalls.  For me personally the best tow cars I have had (towing around 1500kgs) have been two Mercedes C Class estates, a BMW 520D and now a Volvo V90 (all diesel, the Mercedes were 6 speed manual transmissions, the others auto).

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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Like others 85% rule is guidance only. Time that industry and government woke up in that motor vehicle and to a certain extent caravan technology has moved on and is on the whole much safer. start to look forward to electrification and consult with the leisure industry. I would include in that consult with Joe public first.

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Hi Ruby, First as most have said there is no “85% rule”!

When we started out the main influence on our van choice was what could our car tow-we could not change so the van had to fit the car and that has been our approach since.

Our first outfit was near 100% but everything went in the car and I had been towing trailers for many years .

We choose the car for its suitability over our near 20k mileage not the couple of thousand, in a normal year, towing.

 

Not knowing what tow you have I am presuming from your question you don’t feel it suitable but would echo comments that it’s virtually impossible to say what’s best for you.

You will need to do your research on what you can combine with your van which will have a tow limit of 1500kg, or greater, and be within the MAM of 3500kg.

We have towed with many estates, all Audis, and have a Q5 now but our fondest memories are for our first Audi 80 GT with a kerb weight of just 1097kg.

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An ideal car for a B license holder to tow a caravan would be around 2000kg max gross, with a greater than 1500kg towing limit, and a kerb weight of 1750kg. This leaves a very meager payload in the car (such that 4 real adults would put the car over its limit even without the caravan attached) so such a car doesn't practically exist.

 

You have to compromise something to make towing on a B class license work. From a safety point of view the best place to start would be compremising on the size of the caravan. Failing that, getting closer to a 100% towing match is the next place which will get squeezed.

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A dacia duster might be suitable 🤔

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The Duster is more an SUV than an estate.

 

Towing Limit 1500kg for the 1.5 litre, so no margin on the van's MTPLM.

 

It would have to be the 4X4 version as the 4X2 is a tad light. 

I've got nothing to do on this hot afternoon

but to settle down and write you a line.

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If you placed the deposit with a caravan dealer, did they not ask about towcar - they should have?

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49 minutes ago, Lagerorwine said:

If you placed the deposit with a caravan dealer, did they not ask about towcar - they should have?


Why should they? The buyer could be putting the caravan on a seasonal site?

 

It is not the dealers responsibility to check the tow car, no more than it is their responsibility to check whether the buyer has a BE category on their licence, or even a licence for that matter.

Jaguar E-Pace 180D HSE R Dynamic - 2008 Swift Conqueror 540

 

"Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk"

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5 minutes ago, Steven said:

It is not the dealers responsibility to check the tow car, no more than it is their responsibility to check whether the buyer has a BE category on their licence, or even a licence for that matter.

But surely the dealer has a “duty of care” to ensure that prospective purchasers understand the basic legality’s and guidelines  of towing. 

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I have had seven caravans over 20 years and never been asked by any dealer what I was towing it with. The only nod towards it was when purchasing a new one in 2016 I had to sign a disclaimer saying I had done my own checks for the tow car suitability.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, RubyAnn said:

Thank you everyone. Looks like passing the b + e is the way to go. What car would you ideally recommend for towing a 1500kg caravan by a novice? 

 

Budget and preferred type of vehicle would help narrow it down.

 

Small/Medium/Large SUV, Hatch, Saloon, Estate?

 

Do you have a preferred type of fuel?  Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid, EV? 

 

Manual or Auto?

 

Don't get too hung up on 85% as a newbie but as a newbie I'd want something with a good weight margin, and a good power/torque margin.

Edited by logiclee

Yeti 2.0TDi EU6 150 DSG 4X4 L&K, Octavia TSi Manual, Fabia TSi DSG, Swift Challenger.

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10 hours ago, RubyAnn said:

Thank you everyone. Looks like passing the b + e is the way to go. What car would you ideally recommend for towing a 1500kg caravan by a novice? 

An Audi A6..... 60 mpg solo. We've not towed with ours yet....thats in a couple of trips time

 

 

Online blog and travels, although sometimes there is a lack of travel due to work!

 

It's an uncharted sea, it's an unopened door but you've got to reach out and you've got to explore.

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5 hours ago, Lost in the wilderness said:

But surely the dealer has a “duty of care” to ensure that prospective purchasers understand the basic legality’s and guidelines  of towing. 


None whatsoever, but it would great if they did.

Jaguar E-Pace 180D HSE R Dynamic - 2008 Swift Conqueror 540

 

"Unless otherwise stated, my posts will be my personal thoughts and have the same standing as any other member of Caravan Talk"

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I thought that there was a duty of care in place. When the law changed with regard to 3.5T towing limit.

I could be wrong.

I have only bought two caravans in twenty years both dealers asked about my tow car.

First was selston caravans and I  had a Audi 100 avant 2.8 it was just within and only liked 50KG on the nose.

The latest was from Couplands with another Audi this time a A8 4.2 tdi.

Swirly 182 Do you think that as you felt comfortable with your set-up it has anything to do with the Adria having a longer A frame.

If it had been a UK caravan do you think that you would have taken the test?

Please don't think I'm criticising you or anyone else, But just wondered.

 

David

 

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Citreon dispatch or Peugeot expert ( same van) weigh in at 1800kg empty and will easily tow your 1600kg, leaving you plenty of weight allowance.

 

Now this is when the weight trolls kick in with their  utter rantings and dribble.

 

Just for the trolls, 85% is not a rule, law, regulation or any thing else, other than a good idea.

 

My van fully laiden on a weigh bridge and yes its a real life weigh bridge is 2585kg wet with us all in, the caravan weighs in at 1645kg wet, yes i have the larger weight licence.

 

But with sensible weight allowances and loading it is very able to come in under 3500kg,

2000kg on the van and 1500kg on the caravan

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Posted (edited)

The rules for a B category license holder are based on the tow cars maximum plated gross weight which with a van is likely to be way in excess of the 2000kgs the OP has left after deducting the 1500kgs MTPLM of the caravan.

31 minutes ago, german in the blood said:

I thought that there was a duty of care in place. When the law changed with regard to 3.5T towing limit.

 

 


Look at “duty of care” through the eyes of a dealer. If dealer X told a punter that their car/caravan was a good/legal match and it turned out he was wrong, the liability has shifted back to the dealer. The purchaser is ultimately responsible for doing their own research.

Edited by GaryB1969

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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