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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I am looking to replace our tow car, 1.6 diesel, due to its age (10 years). We’ve had the car from new and it’s given us 10 trouble free years, it’s just showing it’s age now. This car has only just become the tow car, previously we had a mk1 2.0 diesel Ford Kuga which had issues with the DPF due to only using for short journeys. My current car is fine for towing but it struggles up big hills.
Here are the points of where we are:
  • We drive short journeys mostly, < 30 miles
  • When towing we tow a caravan weighing between 1100-1200kg
  • We have a home charger
  • Second hand is probably our only sensible solution as we prefer to own rather than rent on PCP (although given how much the market is changing over the next few years maybe PCP is more sensible, could committing to one technology loose us a ton of money?)
  • Our budget would be no more than £20k second hand
The dream is a full electric tow car but given the fact that all the capable models are luxury cars at £50k+ and that the charging network isn’t setup to accommodation towing vehicles and campsites haven’t got onboard with charging infrastructure, I feel that dream is quite a few years off.

So with all that said, is a PHEV the way to go in 2021? Or is it a gateway technology at the end of its life that will have no residual value in a few years time?
 

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If you can find one that meets your needs, its potentially a better way to go that a diesel. And yea, they're a bit of a gateway technology, but i dont immediately see their value plummeting simply for the reasons you arrived here. As time goes on, there will be more and more pushback against diesels from Low Emission Zones and the like. Older car owners will look to these PHEV's as their "gateway" option, because like you say, full electric is significantly more expensive currently.

Many modern diesels run into the same DPF issues you had with your Kuga if they're predominantly being used for short trips. They're simply not suitable. Those who "get away with it" are probably doing a longer trip at the weekend for instance to a store or to visit relatives etc, and thats just enough to let it keep up with the regeneration tasks.

I guess you need to compare the options and see what you can actually get for the money.
 

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You are in a similar position to me. As I only need to tow a few times a year it's cheaper to run an EV and hire something for those rare occasions - often for me a van but the local hire places have multiple car / people carrier / 4x4 / pick-up / day van / LCV options with towbars so always have something to suit. Like any hiring it is more cost-effective if you book ahead but as I generally plan the dates in advance that suits me.
FWIW I think that PHEV will plummet in value so would only buy one at a fixed cost such as PCP. I agree with @Aragorn , diesel is going to become less popular due to fashion and is unlikely to suit you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
it's cheaper to run an EV and hire something for those rare occasions - often for me a van but the local hire places have multiple car / people carrier / 4x4 / pick-up / day van / LCV options with towbars so always have something to suit. Like any hiring it is more cost-effective if you book ahead but as I generally plan the dates in advance that suits me.
I did investigate hiring a vehicle but it looked to be costing nearly £100 per day or £500 for a week which if we did that would be £2k+ a year for us.
I've only done a few quick internet searches so maybe I'm pulling up national companies that are expensive. Do those rates seem right?
 

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I would look at a decently sized petrol car such as a Superb estate/hatch. They will cost less to buy initially. there are far more around than the PHEV versions and they are less complex if they are a car you will keep for any length of time.

I don't think you will see any noticeable difference in residuals at all. A 20k car now will always be worth only a few thousand in 5+ years time PHEV or ICE.

I agree with your hire car concerns - they are expensive and are a pain regarding towing, etc. for insurance - very expensive for the length of time you will need it and they prevent a 'let's just go' trip away as well. There is alkso the issue of having to get used to a new tow vehicle every time you go away.

For the cost difference between a decent EV and a decent large petrol tow car there can only be one winner, the petrol car at the moment. Yes, you can get a small, cheapish used ev but it will be less comfortable, unable to tow and at the moment, financially less favourable.

If you do want top look at a phev try the Skoda Superb PHEV. There are several available approved used and they are able top tow 1600kgs on 12% gradient measure. That way you could drive ev for all your short journeys but be able to tow and drive without range anxiety for your tips away. (They do start at around 25k though).

Residuals for any vehicle are not really worth thinking about unless you intend to change regularly on a short change over period. Otherwise all vehicles are pretty much the same, and by the time you change there will be very little cash difference no matter what you get.
 

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ID4 will only do 1000kg sadly. I think the bigger problem for EVs towing is that very few rapid chargers are arranged for it, so if you're going any real distance it would get tedious parking up, unhitching, charging, hitching back up.

Outlander PHEV and Passat GTE will tow that much, you get all the benefits for much of your local driving and can just take the hit on fuel when you're towing.
 

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Design 2.4
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So I am looking to replace our tow car, 1.6 diesel, due to its age (10 years). We’ve had the car from new and it’s given us 10 trouble free years, it’s just showing it’s age now. This car has only just become the tow car, previously we had a mk1 2.0 diesel Ford Kuga which had issues with the DPF due to only using for short journeys. My current car is fine for towing but it struggles up big hills.
Here are the points of where we are:
  • We drive short journeys mostly, < 30 miles
  • When towing we tow a caravan weighing between 1100-1200kg
  • We have a home charger
  • Second hand is probably our only sensible solution as we prefer to own rather than rent on PCP (although given how much the market is changing over the next few years maybe PCP is more sensible, could committing to one technology loose us a ton of money?)
  • Our budget would be no more than £20k second hand
The dream is a full electric tow car but given the fact that all the capable models are luxury cars at £50k+ and that the charging network isn’t setup to accommodation towing vehicles and campsites haven’t got onboard with charging infrastructure, I feel that dream is quite a few years off.

So with all that said, is a PHEV the way to go in 2021? Or is it a gateway technology at the end of its life that will have no residual value in a few years time?
We tow our 1500kg caravan with a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
 

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We had this issue, only towing 2-3 times a year, and not even a caravan. Just a camping trailer.

Could not justify the price of an EV tow car, especially now our mileage has plummeted with home working.

We opted to buy a cheaper EV that cannot tow (Soul EV 30kWh). We just kept our ICE (old Honda CRV) and SORN’d it. Each summer we put it back on the road for the camping trips.

There are so many compromises with a PHEV, for us it’s worked better to have a pure EV for day to day and an ICE for the odd time it’s needed.
 

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I did investigate hiring a vehicle but it looked to be costing nearly £100 per day or £500 for a week which if we did that would be £2k+ a year for us.
I've only done a few quick internet searches so maybe I'm pulling up national companies that are expensive. Do those rates seem right?
In the last two years prices have been stable around £60/day or £300/week. Like @cah197 I get aggrieved on long hires paying for the car to be effectively unused at its destination.
 

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Unfortunately, towing a caravan kills the range so don’t expect to get any useful towing range from any kind of EV for some years to come. Diesel is favoured by caravanners rather than petrol as the torque curve is better. I towed for many years with a 3 litre diesel and now have a diesel motorhome.

PHEV may suit your non-towing use.
 

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I would look at a decently sized petrol car such as a Superb estate/hatch. They will cost less to buy initially. there are far more around than the PHEV versions and they are less complex if they are a car you will keep for any length of time.

I don't think you will see any noticeable difference in residuals at all. A 20k car now will always be worth only a few thousand in 5+ years time PHEV or ICE.

I agree with your hire car concerns - they are expensive and are a pain regarding towing, etc. for insurance - very expensive for the length of time you will need it and they prevent a 'let's just go' trip away as well. There is alkso the issue of having to get used to a new tow vehicle every time you go away.

For the cost difference between a decent EV and a decent large petrol tow car there can only be one winner, the petrol car at the moment. Yes, you can get a small, cheapish used ev but it will be less comfortable, unable to tow and at the moment, financially less favourable.

If you do want top look at a phev try the Skoda Superb PHEV. There are several available approved used and they are able top tow 1600kgs on 12% gradient measure. That way you could drive ev for all your short journeys but be able to tow and drive without range anxiety for your tips away. (They do start at around 25k though).
This would be my vote as well - it sounds like a PHEV's electric range will cover most of your normal short journey's and will have the petrol engine for longer journeys - what car did a review of PHEVs and towing which may be helpful


interestingly not mentioned is the volvo v60 PHEV which can tow up to 1800kg and you could pick up a good used version?

 

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Unfortunately, towing a caravan kills the range so don’t expect to get any useful towing range from any kind of EV for some years to come. Diesel is favoured by caravanners rather than petrol as the torque curve is better. I towed for many years with a 3 litre diesel and now have a diesel motorhome.

PHEV may suit your non-towing use.
By all accounts, you stick your Golf into GTE mode so use both engine and motor together. Then it goes extremely well!

Certainly the diesel torque curve is better than petrol. But the electric power curve Is much better still augmented, in the case of the GTEs, by the six speed gearbox.

And you can have some interesting performance and/or full EV operation between caravan trips.
 

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Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV Design 2.4
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How have you found towing up hills with the Outlander? I’ve read quite a few posts on here where they say the outlander struggles if you don’t reserve the EV power for helping out on inclines.
We have towed 200 miles at a time without a break, just use the charge mode as recommended by Mitsubishi, absolutely no problems, you are only to tow 1100/1200kg, have a look at the Mitsubishi Forum Speak EV
 

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I'm currently driving a BMW X5 e45 for this exact reason. Needed a vehicle that could tow a trailer, but also be used in EV mode only for general local distance work too. They've only just come on the market in the last year, so no chance of picking one up for 2nd hand prices.
I have mine on a business lease for just over £450/mth, but everyones needs are different, so don't look too much into that.
It's been brilliant as a towing car, with a 6 cylinder petrol engine mated to a 21kw battery providing ample towing capability, but a genuine 45-50 miles of pure EV when needed.
Dependent on your circumstances it also only attracts BIK tax of 6% iirc, far better than any of the other PHEV SUV's I considered.
Decent review here
 

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The Nissan Ariya is probably going to be the cheapest EV that can tow over 1000kg but I think you'd have to wait a few years for it to come into budget.
 

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I have a slightly related question: I have a 2016 BMW 330e (1st generation). I have a small sailing dinghy and am wondering whether I can fit a towbar to the car to trail the boat. The total towed weight would be under 250kg. Is the 330e compatible with a towbar?


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