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Old 02 October 2013, 11:53   #1
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has anyone switched from large tow car to smaller?

I am after some advice to make sure I don't make a decision I will regret.

Currently have an Isuzu Bighorn (Trooper) as my tow car. It has been utterly reliable in the ten years I have owned it, and will tow almost anything (3500kg).

It seems overkill now the only thing I tow is a searider 4, and the 20 something mpg is a killer. I'm thinking of selling it and buying a new or nearly new sensible car to tow the sr4, something like a Fabia or Octavia. Has anyone else downsized tow car and was it a good move or did you regret it?

The Isuzu is only going to fetch very little money if I sell it and finding another reliable one will be hard once its gone.

Your thoughts?
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Old 02 October 2013, 12:12   #2
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Hi, I have a 4m rib with a30hp 2stroke, my advice would be to pop down to your local weighbridge, cost me 10

it ways 470kg inc trailer, which as un-braked removes loads of "small" cars
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Old 02 October 2013, 12:23   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris.moody View Post
I am after some advice to make sure I don't make a decision I will regret.

Currently have an Isuzu Bighorn (Trooper) as my tow car. It has been utterly reliable in the ten years I have owned it, and will tow almost anything (3500kg).

It seems overkill now the only thing I tow is a searider 4, and the 20 something mpg is a killer. I'm thinking of selling it and buying a new or nearly new sensible car to tow the sr4, something like a Fabia or Octavia. Has anyone else downsized tow car and was it a good move or did you regret it?

The Isuzu is only going to fetch very little money if I sell it and finding another reliable one will be hard once its gone.

Your thoughts?
I have the option of two tow cars, Mercedes ML270 and Peugeot 3008 1.6diesel.
My usual tow trip is 250miles round trip, mostly motorway and dual carriageway. I tow my 5.4 Searider on a 1300kg max braked trailer and take advantage of the load carrying capacity of both car and trailer; diving equipment, bikes, family stuff etc.

Personally I prefer the ML! The weight of the trailer is virtually un-noticeable and I like nothing more than setting the cruise control to bang on 60mph as soon as I get on the motorway. Being an auto with so much torque it just stays steady and you see the revs climb when you reach a hill but the speed never moves and when it comes to stopping I don't notice the effect of the trailer brakes it is just an absolutely superb tow car. Fuel doesn't work out to bad at mid thirty's to the gallon which is better than both my Discoverys ever managed.
The Peugeot is a six speed manual and definitely reminds you your are towing something big. It still goes when you keep the revs up but cruise control at sixty on the motorway is up and down and often involves dropping gears. Fuel economy is hammered from high forties average heavy driving to low thirties when towing. Think a lot of that is down to me expecting ML performance from a 1.6 repmobile. I also feel the braking effect of the trailer with the lighter Peugeot.

It's always nice as well knowing that if we miss the tide on the slip I dont have a problem with the ML on the beach, and I'm happy to pay the fuel and tax for the extra comfort and stability.
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Old 02 October 2013, 12:36   #4
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Perhaps I should keep the go anywhere tow anything Isuzu and live with the 25mpg.
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Old 02 October 2013, 12:48   #5
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I'd be inclined to get your rig weighed at the local weighbridge. Usually free if you ask nicely anyway to get an idea of what you're dealing with?
Personally like the weight of a big car (ML270 & Defender currently) having had everything from normal estates up to Range Rovers over the years & once even towed a 3.5 ton cabin cruiser down to Greenham Common during a riot.... You just feel more confident that the car will boss the trailer not the other way around if conditions get a bit suspect. Plus the added advantage of launch anywhere capability of 4wd.
Sounds like you've had good value out of your current chariot.
Lets hope that this doesn't turn into the usual Jap V Landy thread !
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Old 02 October 2013, 12:56   #6
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Good friend of mine towed his SR4 with a Corsa (petrol nothing racey) for years and later with his Ford Focus. Can't ever remember him having a problem and we used to always launch/recover him with our 4x4.
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Old 02 October 2013, 13:37   #7
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Yes I've had fantastic service out of my trusty 4x4. As it has very little resale value (probably only worth 750 to 1000) I may be best hanging on to it. If I am going to replace it with something else big and 4x4 I need to save up a bit longer as new 4x4 are expensive.
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Old 02 October 2013, 15:05   #8
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I guess if you compare what you'd spend on a replacement and how much extra petrol that would buy and how long it would last you'd get some sort of comparison.

While without doubt there are great towing cars the spec and reliability of the Kia /Hyundai 4x4 options etc combined with mpg and cost I feel is hard to beat. (I'm ignoring my two recent problems as expected at 100k+ miles)
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Old 02 October 2013, 15:34   #9
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20 something mpg is a killer.
Must be the v6 petrol. Get a 3.1td, mine gets 28 mpg all day and 32 on a run.
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Old 02 October 2013, 16:13   #10
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It seems overkill now the only thing I tow is a searider 4, and the 20 something mpg is a killer. I'm thinking of selling it and buying a new or nearly new sensible car to tow the sr4, something like a Fabia or Octavia. Has anyone else downsized tow car and was it a good move or did you regret it?
Never downsized, but have towed with both a Fabia Estate and an Octavia. Both Deisels. Fabia has been to West Coast of Ireland from East Coast of England twice with a boat (two different boats actually). Both were unbraked. One was max weight 350kg probably actually more like 200kg. Other was probably more like 300-400kg. Both towed very easily.

Have towed a 950kg Caravan - tows like a pig. Think thats more likely the caravan than the tow vehicle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by xs 400 View Post
Hi, I have a 4m rib with a30hp 2stroke, my advice would be to pop down to your local weighbridge, cost me 10

it ways 470kg inc trailer, which as un-braked removes loads of "small" cars
So before you do that go check the plate on the trailer. Its the trailer plate that counts not the actual weight (provided you haven't exceeded the plate!). But a 1.9TDI octavia will drag ~1200-1400kg depending on your model. Kerb weight < 1500kg so if I understand the rules properly (and I probably don't) I think that means any licence will be fine.

Fabia ~ 750kg towing weight so may need to watch your trailer...

Those were both braked weights. Think the Octavia is about 650kg, and the Fabia might have only been 450kg unbraked.
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Old 02 October 2013, 16:15   #11
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It is a 3.1td. I have never been brave enough to accurately check the mpg in case it scared me. I estimate its about 22mpg round town. To get 28mpg I have to go on a long run and stay under 60mph.

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Old 02 October 2013, 16:21   #12
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If the car isn't costing you, apart from fuel, insurance and tax, isn't due a timing belt, or something else expensive - then I'd be tempted to keep it.

I'm running a 2001 Audi A4 2.5 TDI quattro avant. It's done 150k, and is in good condition. Still get 45mpg on steady runs (without trailer). I service it myself and got the local garage to replace the timing belt last year. It just passed another MOT in September, and I looked at the possibility of replacing it. Found a new (2010) A4 Allroad for sale, but at 21k it's quite a jump, so my wife knocked the idea of replacing it for at least another year. My budget will be half of what I was originally looking at!

Ideally I still want a 4x4 (harsh winters where I live) plus temperatures as low as -18 a couple of years ago.

On my list so far... (will need to haul 750kg unbraked trailer)

2010 Volvo V50 1.6 Drive SE Lux with start-stop, 30 or less road tax, up to 75mpg. I know its 2 wheel drive, but very fuel efficient and most comfortable leather seats I've ever tried.

2010 Skoda Octavia 4x4 or Skoda Yeti.

What's on you list?
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Old 02 October 2013, 16:23   #13
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Perhaps I should keep the go anywhere tow anything Isuzu and live with the 25mpg.
Yep I would
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Old 02 October 2013, 16:39   #14
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Trailer plate is 415kg so should be legal with a small car incl fabia but concerned the tail may wag the dog as car is a bit light.

Existing Isuzu had a new timing belt about 18 months ago, but engine has now done 100k.

I'm looking at:

Skoda fabia 2wd (maybe a bit too small)
Skoda Octavia estate 2wd
Skoda Superb estate 2wd
Isuzu double cab 4x4
Toyota hilux double cab 4x4
VW transporter kombi 2wd

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Old 02 October 2013, 17:43   #15
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100k on a 3.1 Isuzu? It's got another 200k to go yet!
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Old 02 October 2013, 17:50   #16
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why not buy a new small car & keep the 4x4 to purely pull the boat & other work duties its only going to cost you 220 pa tax (I assume its on older one) plus insurance which if you went for multicar & maybe restricted mileage wont cost the earth then you have the best of both worlds

its not always about the towing the boat but you also have to accommodate all the gear you inevitably take boating which is often not kind on a shiny new car

you also have the 4x4 for the winter too

you can always sell the 4x4 in a few months if you find you don't use it much but as you say it might be hard to replace if you sell it first or px it
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Old 02 October 2013, 17:55   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris.moody View Post
It is a 3.1td. I have never been brave enough to accurately check the mpg in case it scared me. I estimate its about 22mpg round town. To get 28mpg I have to go on a long run and stay under 60mph.


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I get about the same out of my 3 ltr diesel terrano its 10 year old with 70 k on the clock and I would never get rid of it. 28 mpg isn't so bad

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100k on a 3.1 Isuzu? It's got another 200k to go yet!
Seconded so keep it
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Old 02 October 2013, 18:38   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris.moody View Post
I am after some advice to make sure I don't make a decision I will regret.

Currently have an Isuzu Bighorn (Trooper) as my tow car. It has been utterly reliable in the ten years I have owned it, and will tow almost anything (3500kg).

It seems overkill now the only thing I tow is a searider 4, and the 20 something mpg is a killer. I'm thinking of selling it and buying a new or nearly new sensible car to tow the sr4, something like a Fabia or Octavia. Has anyone else downsized tow car and was it a good move or did you regret it?

The Isuzu is only going to fetch very little money if I sell it and finding another reliable one will be hard once its gone.

Your thoughts?
Chris,

I moved from Shogun, down to a Mondeo, certainly have not regretted it, I was doing nearly 1000 miles a week (I work for myself), the difference in fuel consumption, was dramatic.

Shogun = 350 miles per tank at a struggle
Mondeo = 600 miles per tank with ease

Steve
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Old 03 October 2013, 02:02   #19
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A 4x4 to tow an SR4 is total overkill imo, but each to their own.
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Old 03 October 2013, 02:18   #20
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nearly 190k on my 3.1td trooper, had it ten years and never let me down. it pulls like a train - landrovers a speciality! best thing ive had done to it was having the tappets adjusted - smoother, more power and slightly better economy.
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