4 x 4 Australia - - Driven -

WHEN it comes to car­ry­ing and tow­ing, there are a few things you need to know in or­der to be both le­gal and safe.

Gross Ve­hi­cle Mass, or GVM, is how much the ve­hi­cle can weigh when fully loaded. That in­cludes the weight of the ve­hi­cle it­self, known as ‘kerb weight’. The dif­fer­ence be­tween the GVM and the kerb weight is the pay­load.

Be­fore you put any­thing into the tub, how­ever, you must un­der­stand that your pay­load in­cludes you and all pas­sen­gers plus any ac­ces­sories fit­ted to the ve­hi­cle – even the tow­bar.

Some man­u­fac­tur­ers don’t quote a kerb weight, which in­cludes a full tank of fuel; in­stead they use tare weight, which in­cludes only 10 litres of fuel. In this case, any fuel over 10 litres also eats into the pay­load. Pay­load fig­ures for cab-chas­sis models (which were not part of our test) don’t even in­clude the tray weight. When tow­ing, the weight on the tow­ball also be­comes part of the pay­load and not nec­es­sar­ily at a one-to-one ra­tio, so you need to check the man­u­fac­turer’s tow­ing in­for­ma­tion.

Gross Com­bi­na­tion Mass, or GCM, is the towed weight added to the weight of the ve­hi­cle plus any pay­load. None of these utes can be loaded to their GVM and tow their rated max­i­mum at the same time; in each case, although in vary­ing de­grees, this exceeds the GCM. When you are tow­ing at or near the max­i­mum tow rat­ing, the GCM is the crit­i­cal fac­tor in de­ter­min­ing how much you can carry at the same time – gen­er­ally not much once you have a driver and a few pas­sen­gers on board.

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