Can a Ford S-max tow a caravan?

In this article, we will answer the following question: Can a Ford S-Max tow a caravan? We will explain your car’s capacities for towing and what it means to be properly equipped for towing a caravan. 

Can a Ford S-max tow a caravan?

A Ford S-Max can tow a caravan. Depending on the car model, a Ford S-max could tow a maximum of 750kg of an unbraked weight up to 2505kg of a braked caravan or trailer. For more details, see the table below.

Ford S-MAX Towing Capacity

Car Make & ModelMax Towing Weight – UnbrakedMax Towing Capacity – Braked
Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2014) 1.6 750kg1600kg
Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2014) 1.8 2505kg
Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2014) 2.0 EcoBoost750kg1500kg
Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2014) 2.0 Edge2505kg
Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2014) 2.0 TDCi750kg1800kg
Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2014) 2.2 TDCi 750kg2000kg
Ford S-MAX (2006 – 2014) 2.5 2505kg
Ford S-MAX (2015 onwards) 1.5 750kg1600kg
Ford S-MAX (2015 onwards) 2.0 EcoBoost 750kg1800kg
Ford S-MAX (2015 onwards) 2.0 TDCi750kg2000kg
Ford S-Max 2.2 TDCi 750kg1800kg
Ford S-Max DIESEL ESTATE 2.0 TDCi 750kg2,000 kg
Ford S-Max DIESEL ESTATE 750kg2,000 kg
Ford S-MAX VIGNALE 2.0 750kg2000 Kg
Ford S-Max VIGNALE ESTATE 2.0 750 kg1800kg

Ford does not recommend towing with the following vehicles: C-MAX

hybrid, C-MAX Energi, Fiesta, Focus, Fusion Hybrid, Fusion Energi, Mustang Shelby GT350 / GT350R, Taurus SHO and MKZ hybrid.

Otherwise, A Ford S-max will do a great job and ensure a comfortable ride when towing a caravan. Just make sure you follow the legalities when it comes to the weight you are carrying. We explain below. 

Towing a caravan with a Ford S-Max: Follow the 80% rule

For a safe and stable towing, it is generally recommended that the caravan or trailer weighs no more than 80% of the towing vehicle’s weight especially if the driver is new to towing. The more experienced drivers tow a total of 85-100%, but the tail could start to wag if the caravan weighs more than the car pulling it. This way we will achieve a safer trip.

Depending on the type of vehicle and the options you have in the car, you will be able to know how much it can tow.

But a general rule of thumb could be:

  • For a front-wheel-drive car or a small SUV: Maximum towing weight 750 Kilos
  • A mid-size SUV with all-wheel drive or a pickup truck: 1500 Kilos.
  • And a full-size SUV or half-ton pickup: 2,500 kilos or more.

Don’t overload your vehicle. Not exceeding your vehicle’s capabilities is as important to occupant safety as it is to the safety and protection of your vehicle’s transmission. I’ve seen many travellers with ATVs, boats, and campers in tow. 

Many of these vehicles were improperly loaded with their headlights facing up and the rear bumper almost dragging on the ground.

An overload like this is especially dangerous because the front tires are not only used for steering, they also do 75% of the braking. With the weight of the car and everything it is towing, loaded and balanced incorrectly, you lose control of the steering and the ability to stop effectively. The vehicle’s transmission and suspension can also be affected.

What are the capacities of your vehicle?

Most SUVs and trucks have multiple engine and axle configurations that affect maximum payload and towing capacity. Sometimes the difference is thousands of Kilos. On occasion, manufacturers will list the much higher towing capacity that a particular vehicle can tow, however that value may not reflect all vehicle configurations.

For example, Ford advertises that its F150 pickup can tow up to 6,000 Kilograms, but that’s for a normal cab, 2-wheel drive long bed, 3.5-liter Ecoboost with a max towing, or heavy-duty payload. The same truck without the trailer package is limited to 2300 Kilos. Big difference.

You can’t just trust the commercial. Don’t trust the commercial about how much the truck you want to buy can tow, even if they look it up in their guides.  Now let’s see how much your vehicle can tow.

What is the largest caravan or trailer that I can tow?

When you decide that you are going to buy a caravan and you will need to know how big the caravan you are going to buy can be without having to buy a new car or vehicle and that it is enough for what you need.

The first place to look to determine how much your vehicle can tow is your owner’s manual. In some vehicles, this can give a very simple and straightforward answer. On small cars, you could just say that towing is not recommended or list a maximum towing capacity. While the owner’s manual is a good place to start, it can be very vague.

Vehicles that have multiple engine options, wheelbases, cabin styles, and/or gear ratio options will have a table with the combinations and how much each will tow. Read these tables carefully. Many times they will only apply if the vehicle has the towing package. 

The tables will also include footnotes. Some boards will be ranked by gross combined weight or gross vehicle weight as the determining factor, as well as the ratio of the wheel, motor, and axle. 

What does properly equipped for towing mean?

There are several options to consider when purchasing a tow vehicle. These options are usually listed as a trailer package, heavy-duty suspension package, or a maximum trailer package and include things like transmission oil coolers or hitch receivers.

Transmission oil coolers protect the transmission under the extreme duty of towing heavy loads by maintaining the transmission cooler and preventing oil breakdown.

Heavy-duty suspension parts can include upgraded shocks and stabilizer bars that help you control the tow vehicle under load by keeping the tires firmly on the road and limiting rear squats and preventing the trailer from having a life of its own.

Some vehicles will have multiple trailer package options. An HD or Max trailer package could include things like a bigger gas tank, HD tires, upgraded axles, and trailer brake controllers.

Larger fuel tanks are very convenient, especially on a road trip, what are we using it for? Stopping too often to fill the fuel tank can be a hassle, and some service stations are too small or too narrow to get in and out.

When travelling into unfamiliar territory, you may not know the best stations to get in and out of, or if there is a lot of traffic and you need fuel. That extra space in the fuel tank gives you peace of mind that you can get where you are going and make better decisions on the road.

Axis relationships. On rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the rear axle ratio is an important part of a successful towing equation. It is expressed as the ratio of the revolutions per minute of the driveshaft to the revolutions per minute of the rear axle. 

It is always given as a numeric expression, for example, 4.1: 1. This means that the small pinion at the end of the driveshaft must turn 4.1 times for each of the rear axle rotations.

Every rear axle ratio in the spectrum offered has a plus and a minus. A “low” ratio in the number of driveshaft rotations for each shaft rotation results in lower engine rpm, better fuel economy, longer engine life, and quieter operation. But it won’t be good for quick acceleration, climbing, hauling, or towing.

Conclusions

A Ford S-Max can surely tow a caravan, but always consider that the caravan’s GVWR should not exceed your vehicle’s towing capacity. Remember to include the equipment you are going to put in the towed vehicle, which adds to the dry weight.

Then you have to compare the load capacity and tongue weight. The total weight of the equipment loaded in the towing vehicle, in addition to the drawbar weight exerted by the trailer, must not exceed the load capacity of the towing vehicle.

If you have any questions or comments, let us know.

FAQ on Can a Ford S-max tow a caravan?

Can a 1.5 diesel pull a caravan?

A 1.5 diesel could pull a caravan, although many drivers see it as a challenge for the MTPLM. A 1.5 diesel or 1.5-litre petrol are not usually among the favourites for towing a caravan. 

Can a 1.6 petrol engine pull a caravan?

A 1.6 petrol can pull a caravan, as long as you consider your caravan’s MTPLM that must not exceed 85% of your car’s kerb weight.

What are the legal requirements for towing a caravan?

The legal requirements for towing a caravan is to have a Category B drivers licence. You can pull a trailer or a caravan as long as both vehicles’ combined weight is not more than 3500 kg or 7.71 pounds.

What engine is best for towing?

The best entice for towing is considered by many the Ford 3.5-liter EcoBoost twin-turbo V6 engine. 

References

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