Can you recommend a good car to tow behind our motorhome?

Gentleman JackOur Gentleman Jack Bancroft is an irredeemable motorcaravaning enthusiast. His family have been camping, caravanning and motorcaravanning since 1928. Jack and his wife Flora are now on their tenth motorhome, a 2003 Auto-Sleeper Pollensa on a Ford Transit base. They have toured extensively at home and abroad, including a period of full-timing. Here, Jack answers your motorcaravanning queries:

 

Q: We want to change my wife’s Polo 1.4-litre automatic for a small car suitable to tow behind our Auto-Trail Apache. If possible, we would like an automatic in the lower tax range. What do you suggest?
John Temple

West Midlands

 

 

A: I assume that you are veering towards using an ‘A’-frame, so you must make sure that any car purchased can actually be towed with all four wheels down (sometimes called ‘flat towing’). In the past, the manufacturers of some popular small automatic cars, such as the Smart, strongly advised against towing in this manner, claiming it will damage the gearbox. This is hotly denied by some readers who say they do just that without (apparently) damaging anything! (In fact, one of the companies listed below specialises in towing frames for Smart cars.)

 

Ensure that the combined weight of your intended car (plus trailer if applicable) and motorhome does not exceed the motorhome’s Gross Train Weight. On motorhomes this can be found on an information plate which is usually under the bonnet or in a cab door jamb. Don’t forget that a towbar will add to the motorhome’s unladen weight and will commensurately reduce the available payload.
 

 

If you decide to use a trailer, then any small automatic would be suitable. My personal favourite at the moment is the Fiat Fiorino Combi with Comfortmatic Transmission. Unlike all micro-cars, quadricycles and Smart cars, it’s a ‘proper’ five-door four-seater mini-MPV and is equally suitable for urban jousting and long distance press-on miles, but it lacks the 
fun factor of the others.

 

 

Points to ponder
(1) Consider whether you really need to tow a car. By doing so, the motorhome will use more fuel and you will be charged more on ferries, toll bridges, toll motorways, and on some campsites. Another solution would be to hire a car locally on the odd occasion one is needed. Some of my pals who spend the winter in Spain or Portugal favour this arrangement. Local car hire can be surprisingly cheap for ‘off-peak walk-in’ customers (ie, who haven’t booked in advance).

 

(2) Choose between a trailer or an ‘A’-frame.

 

(3) Do not buy anything without both of you having a meaningful test drive.

 

(4) If the car manufacturer advises against towing with all four wheels down, then by doing so you will void your warranty.

 

(5) Ask ‘A’-frame manufacturers (see below) which small automatic car is the most suitable.

 

(6) My own opinion is that towing on an ‘A’-frame is perfectly legal, though many of the combinations 
I see are not. In the eyes of the law, a car on an A-frame becomes a trailer. If any trailer has brakes, they must work. This has nothing to do with whether the towed car weighs more than 750kg or not. Braking can be achieved by using an overrun system, an electronic one, or by a device such as the Brake Buddy.

 

(7) By “low tax” I assume you mean cheaper Road Fund Licence (the tax disc). RFL is quite a small proportion of the overall running costs; by far the biggest expense is depreciation.

Contacts

• Bantam Trailers www.bantamtrailers.co.uk; 01296 397 775

• Car-A-Tow www.caratow.com; 01202 632 456

• Smart-Tow www.smart-tow.com; 07950 908 348

• Towbars 2 Towcars www.tow-bars2tow-cars.co.uk; 01469 560 402

• Towtal www.towtal.co.uk; 01782 333 422

 

 

Can I add support to Jack's

Can I add support to Jack's first "point to ponder" above?

If you only need a car occasionally, hiring locally is likely to be better value than buying, running and towing an extra vehicle - plus, if you're abroad, it'll be a "local" vehicle, right way round, and less likely to attract unwanted attention (lawful or otherwise!)

If, on the other hand, your normal pattern is to pitch up on a site for several days at a time, and you don't then want to move the van for local excursions, I'd urge you at least to consider changing to a towed caravan, which is designed for that lifestyle. Then you'd always have a full-sized car available to enjoy your touring, and significant fuel saving (only carrying the weight of one engine for one thing!)

Motorhomes are at their best when they're on the move. They suit us very well, because mostly we do our "visiting" or sightseeing as we travel, during the day, then just look for somewhere to stop for the night when we're ready to, so we don't need a "base camp."

Caravans are far better for those who prefer to have a base from which to explore a local area.

So it comes down to which of those you do more of.

I wish you well with your decision-making.

Voluntary Moderator

Home-from-home: 2008 Horizons Unlimited Cavarno, Ford Transit SWB

"If God had intended us to fly, He wouldn't have given us motorhomes!"

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RE: Can you recommend a good car to tow behind our motorhome?

Car is a vehicle that becoming necessary for people because it helps you to transport from one place to another. But if you are from some different place and visited to some other place and you need a car then I would like to suggest you for hiring a private one instead of buying a new one. You want to advise Jack about it then better to choose the rental car rather than to hire a new one. But after hiring better to erify the car properly.

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RE: Home » Blog » Touring » Can you

On motorhomes this can be discovered on an details dish which is usually under the hood or in a cab entrance jamb. Keep in mind that a towbar will add to the motorhome’s unladen bodyweight and will commensurately decrease the available payload. 

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Towing a car depends on your

Towing a car depends on your need. See first that is it really necessary to tow then take decisions. Switching from big one to a small car is good and economic decision. You can see the pros and cons of  fuel efficient cars and and eco-friendly cars. I apprecaite your decision and jack has given exact and excellent answers. I am impressed by jack's way of writing and his vast knowledge in car industry. You must have seen the road conditions and the rise of cars on roads and the accident rates. Volkswagen Service Portland

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