Motoring Advice: What can I get for €14,500 with enough power to pull a cow box?
Aidan Timmons and Motoring Editor Eddie Cunningham team up to help readers make the right choice with their next car. Aidan visits dealers all over the country to produce a monthly guidebook on the values of used cars. He is co-editor of Motor Trade Publishers, who supply a car-valuing service to the motor trade, insurance companies and finance houses. Eddie is author of former best-seller 'Clever Car Buying'
My husband has a Toyota Avensis 08 (135,000km annual mileage 12,000kms) and is looking for a 4x4 type to pull a cow box. He is a farmer but would need two seats in the back. Size required: Not above 2.2-litre, enough power to pull a double wheelbase cow box, not a main family car. Budget (including trade-in) is €14,500.
Aidan: The weight of a double wheelbase cow box is by far the most important question that needs to be answered before you do anything. It is dangerous, and illegal, to exceed the towing capacity of your vehicle.
Some notable mentions when it comes to towing are the Honda CR-V. It has a 2.2-litre diesel engine and is used by some to tow horse boxes, which I guess are similar to yours. The Mitsubishi Outlander is good too. It has a great four-wheel drive system, which could come in useful on tricky terrain in the winter.
The Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento are bigger, tow more and are worth considering but be sure that you get one that has been fully serviced. They can be expensive if they have been neglected. Lastly, look at the Subaru Forester. A good all-rounder but scarce.
Eddie: You need to really check out the current regulations on towing. I'm serious about that because a lot of people are towing illegally. A Category B driving licence allows you to tow a small trailer. That means you are legally okay to drive a vehicle and tow a trailer where the maximum authorised mass (MAM) of the trailer is 750kg or lower. You can also tow where the MAM of a trailer is above 750kg but the combined weight of it and its towing vehicle must be less than 3,500kg. It is generally reckoned a Category B licence won't do for towing a horsebox or livestock trailer for bringing cattle to the mart as the combined mass could exceed 3,500kg, so check.
I would also suggest you look at some pick-ups. They'd give you good rear seat passenger room, a load platform and good towing ability. These include the Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max, Mitsubishi L200, Nissan Navara NP-300, SsangYong Korando Sports or Toyota Hilux.