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Old 28 February 2013, 10:27   #1
Country: UK - England
Length: 4m +
Engine: etec 40
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 20
Advice on potential hatch back tow vehicles

Hi all,

I am looking at replacing the current under-powered hatch back this year to as it struggled last year on the steep slip we regulary use.

I currently tow a Zodiac pro 7 (4.2m) which is relitively light, but would like the car to be able to tow, launch and recover a 5.4 SR (future boat maybe).

I have been looking at VW Golfs with the 1.6, 1.9 and 2.0 Tdi engines, has anyone got any experience with either? I will be looking at older models due to price.

Could you give me any and all advice on vehicle options and whether 4WD will be requirement with a 5.4SR?


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Old 28 February 2013, 10:56   #2
Erin's Avatar
Country: UK - Channel Islands
Town: A large rock
Boat name: La Frette
Make: Osprey Vipermax
Length: 6m +
Engine: 200 Suzzy
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 2,853
I used to launch my 5.8m rib with a front wheel drive Audi A3 which had the 1.9Tdi 100Bhp engine. No problems at all. Towing capacity was somehting like 1.5t.

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Old 28 February 2013, 11:41   #3
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Nos4r2's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Town: The wilds of Wiltshire
Boat name: Dominator
Make: SR5.4
Length: 7m +
Engine: Yam 85
MMSI: 235055163
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 12,814
I once pulled my Searider with a Rover 418 SLD, and it coped pretty well. It used a lot less fuel than the Isuzu 4x4 I had at the time too.

I don't think you've got a lot to worry about as long as

1) You buy diesel.
2)you're not pulling/recovering something right on the limits
3)you're sensible about using a rope on a really steep slipway..
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Old 28 February 2013, 15:24   #4
Trailer Guy's Avatar
Country: UK - England
Town: Hampshire
Boat name: Altea 2
Make: Narwhal
Length: 5m +
Engine: 90 Mariner
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 855
Agree with the above.

1.9 & 2.0 diesels are the way to go in my opinion. I've had lots of them - the same engine in lots of different vehicles (Golf, three Passats and a Seat Toledo).

Really great; lots of grunt, economical and easy (ergo cheaper) servicing.

If I was buying a hatchback, on a fairly modest budget, it'd be a 1.9tdi or 2.0tdi Golf.
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Old 01 March 2013, 02:07   #5
Country: UK - Scotland
Town: Argyll
Boat name: Helena
Make: Birchwood
Length: 5m +
Engine: Inboard Diesel 250hp
Join Date: Jun 2011
Posts: 116
We use a vauxhall astra estate with the 1.9 cdti 150hp diesel and have been regularly astonished at what it can pull up a slipway. We have pulled a 6.5m Humber up a steep slip with no problems at all. The modern diesels are definitely the way to go.
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Old 01 March 2013, 05:29   #6
Country: Ireland
Town: Castlebar
Boat name: Clewless
Make: Valiant DR 490
Length: 4m +
Engine: 60 hp ETEC
MMSI: Awaitng one
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,329
The torque converter on an automatic gearbox also help a lot when towing as it allows the engine to hit the optimum rev range for torque with out the assoicated spinning of the wheels you get with a manual box

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Old 01 March 2013, 09:18   #7
Country: UK - England
Town: Plymouth
Length: 10m +
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 360
Agreed a 2.0l disel either automatic or manual with a low first gear would be fine. Going back a few years, I had a Peugeot 406 diesel which pulled the 5.8m Tornado I had at the time very nicely. The Mondeo diesel I replaced it with really struggled on a slipway due to 1st gear being to high.
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Old 03 March 2013, 02:50   #8
Country: UK - England
Make: Avon Searider
Length: 4m +
Engine: Yamaha 50
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 5,622
Golf will be fine. I'd get a diesel auto. CJL on here used to launch and recover a Ribtec 585 with one with no problems.
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Old 03 March 2013, 03:55   #9
Country: UK - England
Length: 4m +
Engine: etec 40
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 20
Many thanks for all the advice. seems all i need to do now is find one at the right price and miles.
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Old 04 March 2013, 07:31   #10
Country: UK - Scotland
Boat name: Wildheart
Make: Humber/Delta Seasafe
Length: 5m +
Engine: Merc 60 Clamshell
MMSI: 235068449
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,650
a bit late i nthe thread, but +1 for the 2-ish L diesel.

I have same in a 2WD Focus, never failed me yet.

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