Can a Toyota Estima tow a caravan?

This short review will answer the following questions: Can a Toyota Estima tow a caravan? How do I know that my car can tow a caravan? What are the fines if I drive my car too loaded? Check all the answers below. 

Can a Toyota Estima tow a caravan?

A Toyota Estima, also known as Toyota Previa, can tow a maximum capacity of 3500 pounds (1587 kg). The traditional caravans can weigh from 750kg to 4000kg, depending on the model, its usefulness and how much is loaded. The Toyota Estima minivan contains a 19.8-gallon (72-litre) fuel tank and seats a maximum of seven passengers. More about his car in the table below. 

Toyota Estima specs

Displacement2362 cm3
Power125 KW @ 6000 RPM170 HP @ 6000 RPM168 BHP @ 6000 RPM
Torque165 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM224 Nm @ 4000 RPM
Fuel systemMultipoint Injection
Unladen weight3949 lbs (1791 kg)
Gross weight limit5346 lbs (2425 kg)

Toyota Estima/Previa – a review

The Previa/Estima is Toyota’s largest car. A vehicle that has been convincing since 1990 as one of the largest MPVs in its category, especially due to the amount of space in its cabin. The Previa offers enough space in all its seats, even for very tall people, either in its Executive six-seater version, in its seven-seater version with the name Sol y Luna, or in the Terra eight-seater model.

The rear seats of the Toyota Estima can be individually unscrewed and removed, allowing them to be arranged in various configurations. The Estima can optionally be purchased with a 2.0-litre diesel engine or a 2.4-litre gasoline engine.

The 116 hp diesel engine accelerates the minivan from 0 to 100 km / h in 13.8 seconds. The gasoline engine achieves it in a little less time since its 156 hp puts it at 100 km / h in 11 seconds. While the Toyota Estima can only be purchased with a diesel engine and a five-speed manual gearbox, the gasoline version allows the combination of a four-speed manual or automatic gearbox.

The engine: According to, Toyota built the Estima with a 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine. The automaker offered this type of engine as the only option for car buyers. Toyota equipped the engine with 16 valves and twin cams. They built the engine with a cast-iron block and an aluminium cylinder head. The engine does not contain a timing belt, a maintenance-free timing chain was used instead.

The performance: According to the same source, all Estima models contain the same 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine but differ in production. Pre-1994 model years contain the 16-valve, dual-overhead-cam engine. This engine provides 138 horsepower. Models from 1994 until production ended in 1997, contain a compressor. This addition increased the power of the vehicle to 161.

How do I know if my car can tow a caravan?

Whenever deciding if a car can tow a caravan, you have to know for sure the”Maximum permissible laden mass of the vehicle in service” or more simply the “Maximum Authorized Mass”, summarized in three letters that we know well: MAM!

To find out the MAM (Maximum Authorized Weight) of your car, please refer to the car’s manual, more exactly line F.2. on the grey card: “F.2. Technically permissible maximum laden mass‘.

The MAM indicates the maximum authorised weight for your car and includes:

  • The curb weight of the car.
  • The weight of the luggage and equipment transported (bicycles, for example).
  • The weight of the transport accessories (roof box, bicycle rack, etc.).
  • The weight of the driver, his passengers and their 4-legged companions.

What is not specified:

  • The weight of the trailer or caravan can be towed behind the car.
  • The weight of the luggage and equipment contained therein.

How to deduce the payload you can carry in your car from the MAM?

You have to look at line G.1. National empty weight, also called Mass of the vehicle in running order. This is the weight of the unladen vehicle, that is to say:

  • With the full tank of fuel, oil and the various fluids necessary to function correctly, tools (jack, crank, etc.) and the spare wheel.
  • With a driver (counted as a flat rate for 75 kg).
  • But without luggage and passengers.

To calculate the payload, i.e. the maximum weight your vehicle is allowed to carry, you need to do a simple subtraction:

F.2. – G.1. = payload

If in the car, in addition to a 75 kg driver, there is an adult (65 kg) and three children (40 kg on average), there will be around 351 kg available for luggage. 

Note: Bike racks, roof boxes and other accessories are included in calculating a vehicle’s GVWR, but if you are towing, the trailer’s weight is not included.

Essential: The MAM of the caravan

Trailers and caravans also have their own MAM. Similarly, if you are towing, you must load the hitched vehicle to exceed its Total Authorized Loaded Weight. Besides, the trailer’s actual weight should not exceed 1.3 times the actual weight of the car.

Also, pay attention to the overall weight (car + trailer); more exactly, pay attention to the GVWR or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. On the grey card it is mentioned in line F.3. : “Maximum permissible laden mass of the assembly in service in the Member State of registration”. It corresponds to the total mass that the vehicle is able to transport.

This is then the GVWR, plus the maximum trailer weight that can be towed by the vehicle. The GVWR of a car and its trailer must never exceed 3.5 tonnes.

What are the risks when driving too loaded?

Driving too loaded (GVW not respected) is dangerous: for you and your family but also for other road users.

Indeed, the more the vehicle is loaded, the more its handling and its handling are degraded. In addition, the braking distances are extended. The risk of an accident is then dangerously increased.

What fines and penalties are given for non-compliance with the authorized MAM?

For an obvious safety issue, compliance with the maximum authorized weight is a road safety priority. Also, if you drive too heavily and the police find that your car does not meet its authorized GVWR, you risk a fine, or even a lot more.

  • Exceeding up to 5% of the authorized MAMfor your vehicle: $150, reduced to $90 if paid within 15 days.
  • Exceeding the MQM between 5 and 20%: violation identical to that indicated above. In addition, the vehicle is immobilized and the registration card is confiscated, as long as the vehicle does not comply.
  • Over 20% overweight: fine increases to $1,500. In addition to the immobilisation and confiscation of the vehicle registration document, the driver receives a summons to Court. He then risks a loss of points on his driving license.

Click here to read more about oversize and overweight fines and penalties by state.

Final thoughts

As a final note, we wanted to remind you that cars are designed to be loaded without worrying about GVWR. But when you go on vacation, sometimes you want to load your vehicle more than right.

Full trunk and passenger compartment with the addition of a roof box and a rear bicycle rack and luggage trailer … and here things get complicated in terms of GVW! Also, be careful with moving: we are tempted to overfill the vehicle or trailer, and often weight your car’s kerb weight, objects.

Do you have any comments or questions for us? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment!

FAQ on Can a Toyota Estima tow a caravan

What Toyota vehicles can tow?

A Toyota vehicle can tow up to 8,100 pounds, depending on the car model. See the table below for reference:

Toyota ModelTowing Capacity
Land Cruiser8,100-pounds

How do you calculate if my car can tow a caravan?

To calculate if your car can tow a caravan you have to know the maximum mass of the caravan and the kerb weight of your car. If the caravan mass is 85% or less of the car’s kerbweight, the car will tow it with ease. 

Do I need insurance to tow a caravan?

You don’t need insurance to tow a caravan as your car’s insurance is enough. Consider buying caravan insurance, however, as it will protect you in case something happens, as the car insurance will not cover your caravan if it’s damaged or stolen.


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