Licence-friendly caravan combinations

Choosing a caravan and tow car combination that fits with your driving licence restrictions can seem like a complicated numbers game. This guide to choosing a licence-friendly outfit should help clear things up.

When you’re putting together a new outfit, it’s essential to pair the right tow car and trailer. John Sootheran selects three lightweight duos.

It doesn’t cost a fortune to get into caravanning, when you can find yourself a brilliant pre-owned tourer. Here are three high-quality, lightweight outfits that will provide years of amazing holidays and save you money – what’s more, they all come in under the B+E limit of 3500kg.

B+E Explained

If you passed your driving test on or after 1 January 1997, you are required to take an additional test to attain B+E accreditation. Without this extra qualification, you’ll be restricted to tow car/caravan combinations with a combined weight of under 3500kg.

The crucial thing here is that the tow car weight you must use in the calculation is not its kerbweight, but the gross vehicle weight (GVW), aka maximum authorised mass.

The problem is, the GVW tends to be about 50% heavier than the kerbweight, which in turn limits the MTPLM of any caravan you can tow.

For example, the Škoda Superb hatchback has a kerbweight of just 1480kg, yet its GVW is 2128kg. That means you have only 1372kg of weight to allocate to your caravan.

Combined weight 3019kg

Tow Car

2017 VW Golf 1.5 TSi Evo 150 GT 5dr

This perennial favourite delivers great build quality, excellent performance and a very stable tow.

Used price spotted: £16,000
GVW: 1790kg
Kerbweight: 1239kg
Fuel: Petrol
Gearbox: Manual
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
Insurance group: 18E
Power: 150bhp
CO2 emmisions 119g/km
0-62pmh 8.3 sec
Seats: 5


2016 Bailey Pursuit 430

This mid-sized caravan features a French bed, rear washroom, long lounge and loads of storage.

Used price spotted: £13,900
Berths: 4
MTPLM: 1229kg
MiRO: 1086kg
Overall length: 6.5m
Internal length: 5.23m
Width: 2.24m

Combined weight 3395kg

Tow Car

2018 Ford Focus Titanium Estate 1.5 EcoBlue

A supremely practical tow car that combines lots of space and excellent fuel economy.

Used price spotted: £16,000
GVW: 1955kg
Kerbweight: 1338kg
Fuel: Diesel
Gearbox: Manual
Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
Insurance group: 17E
Power: 120bhp
CO2 emissions 93g/km
0-62mph: 10.3 sec
Seats: 5


2011 Lunar Clubman SB/4

A refined caravan that cost more than £22,000 when new. It boasts twin beds, Alde heating and a luxury feel.

Used price spotted: £11,995
Berths: 4
MTPLM: 1440kg
MiRO: 1285kg
Overall length: 7.36m
Internal length: 5.79m
Width: 2.28m

Combined weight 3414kg

Tow car

Kia Sportage 2.0 First Edition

This popular Korean compact SUV tows well, and has good build quality and contemporary looks. Its warranty delivers seven years/100,000 miles of worry-free motoring.

Used price spotted: £15,000
GVW: 2250kg
Kerbweight: 1690kg
Fuel: Diesel
Gearbox: Auto
Drivetrain: Four-wheel drive
Insurance group: 21
Power: 182bhp
CO2 emissions: 166g/km
0-62 mph: 9.5 sec
Seats: 5


2012 Sprite Alpine 2A

A compact and lightweight two-berth with a spacious lounge. The one that we spotted also has a motor mover fitted.

Used price spotted: £7995
Berths: 2
MTPLM: 1164kg
MiRO: 1043kg
Overall length: 5.98m
Internal length: 4.34m
Width: 2.25m