VW Polo 9N3 - Towing with a Polo - trukker

I have a 2006 Polo 1.4 TDi hatchback which I've just fitted a towbar to. This was done so that I can use my trailer to take the contents of our loft to the skip prior to having a new roof on the house - saves all the dust and mess getting in the car.

We also own a caravan which we haven't been able to use since my tow-car died a couple of years ago - it's just stood in storage, costing us money.

The caravan is quite light in weight - about 675Kg. It's a Silhouette Swift Diamond which has an aluminium chassis and was easily towed by my Peugeot 306 2.0 Hdi. I don't believe the Peugeot was much heavier than the Polo, which itself weighs nearly 1100Kg, but the Polo's engine only develops 70 BHP versus the 90 BHP of the Peugeot.

Apparently a VW Polo won the 'Tow-car of the Year' award for a couple of years running, but I can't find any details of this. More likely the 1.9 Tdi in my opinion . . .

So - my question. Has anybody any experience of using a Polo to tow a caravan please? Technically, the car/caravan weight ratio is do-able but are there any 'gotcha's?'

VW Polo 9N3 - Towing with a Polo - RobJP

Whilst it might technically be feasible, I'd be very wary. You'd be putting a hell of a lot of stress on the drivetrain - you'd almost certainly have to slip the clutch a fair bit to pull away even on the flat, and hills would make it even worse.

Add to that the additional cooling needs for the engine when working so hard, and you've got a fantastic method of killing the car quickly.

VW Polo 9N3 - Towing with a Polo - Firmbutfair

I have a 2006 Polo 1.4 TDi hatchback which I've just fitted a towbar to. This was done so that I can use my trailer to take the contents of our loft to the skip prior to having a new roof on the house - saves all the dust and mess getting in the car.

We also own a caravan which we haven't been able to use since my tow-car died a couple of years ago - it's just stood in storage, costing us money.

The caravan is quite light in weight - about 675Kg. It's a Silhouette Swift Diamond which has an aluminium chassis and was easily towed by my Peugeot 306 2.0 Hdi. I don't believe the Peugeot was much heavier than the Polo, which itself weighs nearly 1100Kg, but the Polo's engine only develops 70 BHP versus the 90 BHP of the Peugeot.

Apparently a VW Polo won the 'Tow-car of the Year' award for a couple of years running, but I can't find any details of this. More likely the 1.9 Tdi in my opinion . . .

So - my question. Has anybody any experience of using a Polo to tow a caravan please? Technically, the car/caravan weight ratio is do-able but are there any 'gotcha's?'

Have you looked at this site which I find very useful to get an idea of car/caravan matching and corresponding performance expectations all based on manufacturers published data re engine characteristics, laden weight of car, caravan and payloads etc:

www.towcar.info/outfitmatch.php

In essence it seems to suggest that even limiting your gross train weight by keeping no more than 150 kg passenger payload in the car and a maximum laden weight of 800 kg for the caravan, the likely performance of the outfit is not promising and you will be driving in 3rd and 4th gear at between 50 mph and 60 most of the time.

VW Polo 9N3 - Towing with a Polo - nellyjak

Given the Polo variant you have I think you are in the realms of the tail wagging the dog..!!

I'd want far more from a tow car to feel comfortable and know that it was easily capable of doing the job..with room to spare.!

VW Polo 9N3 - Towing with a Polo - gordonbennet

It's torque that counts not bhp, lorries manage perfectly well at around 30lb ft per ton (10bhp per ton) and whatever the real torque figure of your Polo its going to be a lot more than the above, though obviously without the really low gears to get the outfit moving.

If the caravan is presently roadworthy why not hitch it up and go for a trial run on a quiet day somewhere, its not so much engine power, like Nellyjack i'd be more worried about tail wagging the dog syndrome.

VW Polo 9N3 - Towing with a Polo - RT

Your caravan weighs about the same as our original Ace Globetrotter - it towed fine behind a 1.6 Escort mk2 while the towing limit was 50 but didn't really have the power to do it justice at 60. A modern Polo will have more kerbweight, more power and more torque so should be fine.

VW Polo 9N3 - Towing with a Polo - Manatee

You can adjust the weights after doing the calculation on the whattowcar site, which is useful.

You have towed before, your towing limit is 800kg. If you can stay at that or below then there is no reason not to tow with your Polo. Use the full noseweight allowance of 50Kg for stability.

The main issue will then be power rather than stability if you load carefully and check the noseweight. It will help if you are two up, and you will need to be aware of the car's limitations - if you use a low enough gear soon enough and aren't using sustained full throttle then there is no reason you should kill the car.

With any manual car using the full towing capacity it is a good idea to avoid / minimise steep hill starts when towing. Consider your routes carefully.

Edited by Manatee on 20/06/2017 at 09:51

VW Polo 9N3 - Towing with a Polo - Firmbutfair

In reality, whilst it may be possible to tow your 675 kg caravan with the Polo 1.4 TDI you will find that due to the modest torque from your engine, acceleration on the move will be very poor and getting 'up to speed' will always be slow and tedious and even modest gradients will knock your speed right back. I think that this combination of car and caravan will simply annoy other road users and be a constant source of anxiety for you and your passengers.

I fear that your observation that your Peugeot 306 2.0 Hdi managed the outfit satisfactorily is a strong pointer that your modestly powered Polo 1.4 TDI is not going to be satisfactory.

As others have said - take the rig out for a decent test drive and you will soon discover whether it is acceptable or not.

Edited by Firmbutfair on 20/06/2017 at 12:50

VW Polo 9N3 - Towing with a Polo - Manatee

Acceleration may well be 40s or more to 60mph, but that is in any case the absolute upper speed limit for the outfit and the acceleration will be no worse, and almost certainly better, than that of an artic loaded to 44 tonnes.

On a motorway it will roll along at 56mph on all but the worst inclines, again comparable with LGVs. On a dual carriageway, ditto. On a NSL single carriageway the outfit is limited to 50.

It won't be a fun drive, and I wouldn't readily do it with four up plus luggage or over the Alps but I don't think it would be dangerous, impractical, or illegal, subject to proper planning and common sense.

I don't disagree with the try-out idea - pick a site within 30 miles of home for a weekend shake-down.

Edited by Manatee on 20/06/2017 at 18:35

 

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