When choosing the right towing vehicle there are always some basics to cover. We run through what to look for to ensure that the best don't elude your consideration.
These are the typical concerns to be contemplated, in a logical order of importance:
No matter what happens, you must never cut corners, especially when you could potentially be multiplying the travelling mass of your vehicle by over 2 times when towing a maximum load. Stability and safety when concerning a towing vehicle go hand in hand. Intrinsic design attributes of each vehicle play a part in determining the ultimate safety of each specific vehicle. One of the most basic elements of a design relates to the length of wheelbase versus the overhang behind rear axle to tow ball. This determines the effect that a heavy trailer can exert on the towing vehicle. A short overhang and long wheelbase are the best combinations to look out for. Along with suspension type and primary purpose of the vehicle design. Commercial vehicles have well located, robust suspension designed to carry weight and this makes for a reliable towing experience.
The law is clear enough, but for absolute certainty should always be checked for your own peace of mind. We can only offer our opinions for you to consider. Let's start with capacity in the context of the law. Each vehicle manufacturer issues a maximum towing capacity for each model and this is what is regarded as the legal capacity. There are always tolerances, however it is not something to take lightly.
Capacity and Design
Towing capacity in its purest sense is one box to tick, however if it is not relevant because of the machine's capability then it becomes academic in the decision making. For example, a large commercial vehicle can have the correct towing capacity, but may not have enough traction for a specific circumstance you have to deal with. Some access roads and driveways where a trailer needs to be reversed for instance can demand that the tow vehicle has 4WD.
Modern tow vehicles, even large ones are much more economic than ever and may justify additional investment on this basis alone. Factor in low cost finance and you might find a beneficial choice higher up the market than first considered. For example a new Land Rover Discovery Mk5 is in our experience around 15% more economical than its predecessor. A high mileage driver will quickly find this to be a big advantage.
In this respect a tow vehicle is not any different to many other choices. However, provided that your main criteria have been met, the degree of status and comfort provided is yours. If you drive long distances however comfort should not be excluded as a major factor in the decision.
Towing a trailer of any type does place more demand on every mechanical component in the drivetrain. Brakes are also worth considering, but a new trailer with an efficient modern braking system is going to be of considerable benefit. The upshot is that if a tow vehicle is mechanically unsound it won't be long before you will know about it.