What are the three most important things to consider when buying a 4WD or SUV for towing?
The meteoric rise in popularity of the SUV is very well documented, and it's due in no small part to how adept modern 4WDs and utes are at towing caravans, campers and boats. But if you are buying an SUV, 4WD or 4x4 ute with a view to using it as a tow vehicle, it needs to have certain capabilities. Here are the three most important things to consider.
1. Maximum braked towing limit
All vehicle manufacturers dictate a maximum unbraked towing limit (the most a trailer, without some form of braking system, can weigh) and a maximum braked towing capacity, which is the absolute most a vehicle can tow, assuming the trailer is fitted with its own brakes. Vehicle manufacturers are free to determine these limits for their own cars, so weights can range depending on the make or model, or even the engine and transmission combinations. Capacity may even vary according to how much weight you are carrying on board the vehicle.
This is important, because it could limit the variety of caravans or trailers you are able to tow. For example, the Toyota LandCruiser Prado can tow a maximum of 2500kg, so any caravan that weighs more than this while it's being towed is out of the Prado's reach. And that's only if the trailer has brakes - if not, the Prado is limited to towing a maximum of 750kg.
2. Maximum tow ball download
This is the weight a caravan's tow hitch puts on the vehicle's tow bar. Again, it's set by the vehicle manufacturer and the driver must adhere to it. Like the towing limit, this can vary between make and model, and engine and transmission combinations. And tow ball download can have serious effects on vehicle performance.