Towing infernal

I have had my 2.0 litre petrol Focus Estate for over 10 years now and done about 107,000 miles on the original clutch with only one change of exhaust and battery so think it is time to change. I have been very satisfied with it in every way and naturally feel the same again would be a good choice. However I do tow a caravan that has a maximum permitted all-up loaded weight of 1120kg so feel a diesel would be a better bet this time. Also, with so much time spent in heavy traffic and holdups it might be nice to have an automatic, though it is not really my style. I would be very grateful for your advice on the merits of the automatic diesel version of the above versus the VW Golf and any other suggestions you might have. I gather the Focus is due for replacement later this year but think a new one is likely to be more than I can afford

Asked on 17 July 2010 by IG, Rooksbridge, Somerset

Answered by Honest John
If you ever do short runs from cold, by which I mean less than 5 miles, and don't do a lot of longer runs of 20 miles plus, then diesel is not suitable because the diesel particulate filter will clog up. The best way to think is 1.4 - 1.6 petrol turbo or twincharged. They are the most efficient petrol engines and have the added benefit of warming up faster because the turbos are watercooled so the engine coolant passes through the very hot exhaust manifold heating the engine very quickly. There will be a new Focus 1.6 SCTI petrol turbo. Already there are 1.4 petrol turbos in Golfs, Leons, A3s, Octavias, Astras, Merivas, Meganes, Scenics, Citroen C4s, Peugeot 308s, etc. Forget towing with anything but a torque converter auto, but remember these are the least fuel-efficient automatics.
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