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Car Buyers' Guide: Towing power is key for caravan buyer
The caravan/tow vehicle dilemma
Martin is semi-retired and is planning on spending this winter on a road trip around New Zealand before heading to Australia next winter to join the ‘‘grey nomads’’.
He wants to know if he should buy a motorhome or a caravan, so he could park it for a few days at times but still have a vehicle for day trips.
“I’m prepared to spend around $110,000 on a motorhome and am using the same budget to purchase the caravan/tow vehicle combination,” says Martin.
His caravan of choice weighs around 1500kg and the tow vehicle must have a high seating position, towing capabilities, 4WD, fuel economy and be either new or within manufacturer’s warranty.
The budget: $60,000
Diesel power for the tow vehicle is a given due to its ability to handle such loads without using excessive amounts of fuel by keeping engine revs as low as possible.
Braked towing weight recommendation from car manufacturers should be strictly adhered to.
Their dealer network should offer an approved towbar and the vehicle-to-caravan wiring harness needs to link correctly to the onboard electronics.
Another critical point about the vehicle-caravan marriage is the towbar height in relation to the caravan coupling. If the differences are extreme it can affect the way the caravan tows and dramatically reduce the ground clearance of the caravan jockey wheel if the towball is too low.
The CX-5 2.2-litre diesel AWD Limited (from $56,795) is well equipped and on the technical side the engine produces 129kW/420Nm with braked towing capacity of 1800kg.
Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe 2.2 diesel auto (from $64,990) comes with a impressive all-round comfort and safety package. The engine produces a healthy 147kW/440Nm and has a 2000kg braked towing capacity.
Double cab utes
The beauty of using a double cab ute fitted with a canopy for your travels is that you can place bulky tools and gear in the back. It helps keep the caravan and vehicle better organised.
Make sure you take the tape measure along when you check out caravans and suitable vehicles. That towbar-caravan coupling height difference may be the most important box to tick to ensure you get off to a good start.