Hi all, I am a newbie, meaning I am looking to buy a antara to tow our newly ordered caravan, and would just like to say a big hello to you all. I will be getting an auto, hopefully up to about a 2013 model and would appreciate any tips or do's and don'ts. On reading this forum there seems to be a difference in the fuel returns of models and as we go abroad a lot fuel would be a large part of the expense. In saying that I currently have a 3ltr motorhome returning approx 27/28 mpg. so I am not looking to improve much.
Anyway, I look forward to taking part in this forum and getting to know you.
Hi Derek and welcome to the forum ,you wont be disappointed with it as a tow car,it does the job well,i went for the manual for better fuel consumption and opted for the 184 bhp engine,best tow car I have hadso far.
Hi Derek,Welcome to the forum. Many of us use the Antara as a tow car and it is excellent, although from my experience towing a Coachman you will be lucky to get 27/28 mpg, closer to 23 on our recent trip down to the Med.
The main areas of concern for caravan towing are the spare wheel and the tow barbut there is plenty of experience of both on here. Be aware of the recent posts about the 1300kg towing limit of the vx approved bar, yet to be fully resolved and also the fact that the vx 13 pin wiring kitdoes not include the fridge/battery charging circuit.
Good luck with your research.
ps I assume you know that the Auto has a lower towing limit, out of interest what van have you ordered?
Hi Dave47,Nice to hear from you. The van we have ordered is also a Coachman, the 2015 Pastiche 460/2.
As I say we have been motorhoming but feel we need a car to get about now when we are away, at times we have missed seeing places due to the locality and no transport etc. We have had caravans before for many years so hopefully will get back in to it quickly.
Yes, I did notice the lower towing figure but do not think it will affect us and this van.
I am interested in what you say re the wiring and would like to know how you resolved the problem in your case?
Also, is the answer to get a different tow bar than the Vauxhall one, say a Witter or such?
Hi Derek,Nice van, ours is a Golden VIP 535/4, a dealer special bought in 2009 it just has different upholstery and a few extra badges, but was £1000 cheaper. However by next April it will be gone as a new Compass Rallye is on order.
With regard to the tow bar, I think I would look around if I was buying again, I ordered the expensive vx unit with the car, and whilst there is nothing wrong with what was supplied in 2012 the bar is basically a rebadged Thule unit which requires a small portion of the lower bumper to be cut away. There has been much discussion regarding towing capacity of the bar and whilst companies like Witter state this in their literature the vx bar has no such figure. It does however have a 'D' value which via a complex formula gives a towing capacity, somebody posted a link to calculator on here somewhere, I can probably find it if you wish. The 2012 vx unit is therefore rate at 2000+kg so plenty adequate. The tow bar listed as an accessory on the vx site states 1300kg which is very low considering that the manual can tow 2000kg and the auto 1700kg, I think. So you pays your money and takes your choice as they say.
With regard to the wiring, the vx kit is plug and play and fits into the socket under the rear on the drivers side, this appearsnot to require any computer re programming and activates the green tow bar symbol and presumably the towing stability system. Don't go down the route of 'scotch lock' fitting as it has been reportedthat this does not activate the above systems. However the vx 13pin wiring like so many other car manufactures isnot exactly 13 pin as it misses out the two wires that connect to the fridge/charging pins, as these have to be wired to the battery via a relay etc, as I am sure you are aware. In my case the dealer could not sort this out, as they do not comprehend towing electrics beyond what comes out of the box, and had to outsource it to a tow bar specialist.
So as I said with hindsight I would probably buy from a specialist or do the job myself next time, the only advantage to the vx system is that it is dealer fit so supposed to be covered under the life time warranty.
Hope this helps, read the towing section there is much more out there, then look at the spare wheel postings that is a whole new can of worms.
Hi Derek,regarding towbars mine is a Tow Trust towbar and has no problem with the towing capacity,regarding going back to a caravan I was wondering about buying a Motorhome after 35 years of towing but cannot decide,one of the reasons is as you say I like the car for touring around after I have pitched up.
Hi Derek,I tow a Swift Challenger 480 at 1410 kilogram with the 163 bhp engine with no problems at all, it will cruise at 60mph in 6th gear. If you are familiar with the M62 hill going east past Rochdale up onto the tops, Ican go up that fully loaded with full awning etc in the car in 5th gear. Its a great tow car but it is a bit thirsty, anywhere between 20 and 28 mpg depending on conditions and type of road.
Thanks again Dave for taking the time and trouble to reply, I will bear in mind all you say.I have had a quick browse through the forum and it seems a mine of information.I am sure I can sort thr tow ball and wiring out but seems a lot of hassle for the spare wheel, not to mention the fuel return for an auto which I must have. However, what I struuggle to get my head around is the dpf regen situation, is this ai design fualt or what ? My present fiat 3 ltr auto just sails along beautifully and returns 27_28mpg including the dolomites and any roads we meet.
I am light footed but do not want all sorts blowing out the back over yhe van or am I missing something
I am familiar withe m62 due to going to Hull fotr the ferry, just reconciling the grest towability with the what seems verynlow fuel return for modern vehicles. My 3ltr fiat auto fairly whistles along,4 ton and does have any regen issues, so glad I joined this forum
Hi Derek,I wouldn't worry too much about the dpf some people on here appear to have genuine problems, but the vast silent majority don't. As I said we have just returned from the Med, 2000 miles, 75% of which were towing, it must have completed 4 regens but I don't know when or where. The only thing you have to be careful about is toomany short journeys, this can cause problems and bring on the dreaded dpf light, if it does then a quick blast down the motorway in 4th ie over 2000 revs usually clears it in 15 mins. Can be pain if it starts a regen just as you get somewhere but you get use to it. I am retired and have had one light in 2.5 years, entirely of my own making, if you buy the se model with the trip(board) computer you can spot when it is regenerating so this helps. If you miss a regen, not a problem it will do another onealthough not always straight away. Don't let the dpf issue put you off what is essentially a very good tow car, after all where else do you get hill start assist, hill descent control, self levelling rear suspension and trailer stability control this side of a Land Rover.
ps the only dirt that ends up on the front of my van comes from the road or the field
thanks for the continuing information. Our driving pattern seems to be at least a couple of hols. In Europe each year lasting a month or so at a time and covering 2 to 2.5k miles each plus breaks in the UK.Whilst at home and not on holiday we can do sometimes 5 or 6 trips per week covering just 1 or 2 mile per trip, worried this could cause problems.Finally the very low returns on an auto mpg seem severe unless it is the unusual that are reporting on the forum.
Hi Derek I bought my towbar and dedicated electrics from a firm called Just Tow and the electrics has the fridge wire included. There was no need to cut the bumper as the towbar fits neatly around the bumper.
The fuel consumption of an Antara auto is not good, but what makes it seem worse is that people seem to keep comparing the big beast with other cars in its price bracket, instead of other cars with its capability. Sure its not good compared to some smaller, lighter, less powerful 4x4s but its way better than many of the big ones.
Hi derek I have the Diamond 4x4 auto 163. Where I live is at the top of a steep hill, it doesn't matter which way I go home it is always uphill, I still manage to get between 27 & 30 mpg. If I go on a run it is between 35 & 40 mpg, which I am quite pleased with.
thanks for this it is a very encouraging post re mpg. Do you tow at all.?
maybe the people who post on the forum have particular problems with their vehicles fuel consumption as I have not resd many good reports sbout thevauto and readonable mpg.I would be happy with your figures believe me.