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Reader Question: Need help choosing a tow car…

Two more readers want help selecting a tow car, one is looking to tow a boat and the other can’t decide between Pajero and Pajero Sport…

QUESTION: Hi there, hope you can help me. I’m looking at purchasing a Deltacraft mark 2 with custom trailer double boggy. From what my research tells me, the boat weighs 850kg but I’m not sure about the trailer weight, although I’m sure you could guestimate it. I am looking at a Nisssan X-Trail for this as a tow vehicle. Do you think this is a suitable vehicle? I don’t want to go to a big 4×4 if it’s not necessary for the obvious reasons of fuel, rego etc, not to mention when not towing it’s my primary vehicle to run around in.

ANSWER: Towing is a serious business and you need to spend a few minutes on the web or calling shops to find out the basic information you need such as the trailer weight, even if you’ve not picked a specific trailer yet.

The X-Trail can tow 1500kg braked, or 2000kg for the 4WD diesel models. Assuming the boat and accessories comes in at 950kg, that leaves a bit over a tonne for a trailer. You need to decide what sort of trailer you want as they do vary in features and size which has an effect on weight. However, the result would be close to the limits of the X-Trail which would be okay if your intended purpose is short trips from your home to the local ramp with little weight in the X-Trail. If on the other hand you intend to tow long distances up steep hills and windy roads then you’d better off looking at a vehicle capable of pulling around 3000kg which means a full-sized 4X4. You’ll find them nowhere near as bad as you think when running around town. Consider the Pajero Sport or maybe a Jeep Grand Cherokee, or a Ford Everest. All can tow 3000kg plus and are all-wheel drive.

QUESTION: Looking at Pajero or Pajero Sport for towing a caravan of 2500kg. Could you please advise which would be the best.

ANSWER: Car buying is a complicated decision with lot of competing factors, but based on that request alone – assuming here the 2500kg weight is the loaded weight of the trailer (the ATM, or Aggregrate Trailer Mass), then either can do the job, but I’d pick the Pajero Sport as it has a higher rating of 3100kg vs the Pajero’s 3000kg. Also, the Pajero’s 3000kg requires a reduced towball mass of 180kg, a bit low for the average 2500kg trailer. The Pajero Sport is rated to 310kg, has the same all-wheel drive system as the Pajero, and also features an efficient 8-speed automatic. So we’d pick the Pajero Sport over the Pajero for towing, every time.

Further reading

  • trackdaze

    Nevermind that a xtrail will use more fuel than something like a pajero sport.

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper

Robert Pepper is a freelance journalist, driver trainer and photographer interested in anything with wings, sails or wheels. He is the author of four books on offroading, and owns a modified Ford Ranger PX which he uses for offroad touring. His other car is a Toyota 86 which exists purely to drive in circles on racetracks. Visit his website: http://www.l2sfbc.com/