You can’t go wrong when you buy a Japanese towing vehicle, say readers Ben and Nick. This is their second Mitsubishi and Toyota, respectively.
The bigger the better
TOYOTA HILUX 2.8 GD6 DC 4X4 AT
After about two months using its predecessor to tow his Jurgens Elegance, Ben Ras from Rustenburg decided to upgrade to a brand-new Toyota Hilux.
There was very little wrong with my previous 2010 Hilux 3.0 D-4D, except that the Elegance felt a little too heavy for it on the tow bar, and the Toyota felt like it needed a little more power to tow a caravan of that size with ease.
For me, there’s no alternative to Toyota so I replaced the D-4D with a 2016 Hilux 2.8 GD6, brand new for R550 00 two years ago – though, had my pockets been deep enough then, I would definitely have opted for a Land Cruiser. Otherwise, the problem was solved immediately with my newer Hilux. The 450 Nm of torque makes towing a breeze and overtaking is simply done by flexing your right foot. The automatic transmission is also very smooth.
I tow between 90 km/h and 110 km/h and, depending on the conditions and terrain, the Hilux uses between 13 and 17 litres every 100 km. Without the Elegance hitched, the Toyota averages around 10 litres/100 km. So far, I’ve enjoyed every aspect of the ownership experience, so can’t really complain about anything with regard to the Toyota. Maybe they could offer a wider range of manufacturer-approved accessories though.
I think it all comes down to personal preference when choosing a modern towing vehicle, as so many of them are so far above average. Nothing is bad anymore. For me, if a vehicle is powerful and stable, then that’s the two most important boxes ticked already.
I am particularly fond of visiting the Garden Route and, when you make a proper road trip of it and drive the length of the Eastern and Western Cape provinces, then you get plenty of glimpses of the ocean and lots of mountain passes to climb.
MITSUBISHI PAJERO 3.2 DI-D SWB
He’s towed with his family sedan, a BMW 545i but, for Nick Lubbe from Hartenbos, a Mitsubishi Pajero is all he’ll ever need for 4x4 adventures and towing excursions. He loves them so much, he’s even had two.
I’ve owned a Pajero before and you really have to nit-pick to find any issues with one. I’ve owned this one for three years now and the previous one for seven years. I bought this 3.2 Di-D SWB secondhand for R350 000. The Pajero ticks plenty of boxes because, for me, a towing vehicle must not only be trustworthy and powerful, but also easy on the eye. I looked at the BMW X3 and X5, but the Pajero won my heart once again.
Although the Pajero is a short-wheelbase model, it weighs in at more than 2 000 kg and has a fantastic engine and chassis, so it tows my 2013 Jurgens Fleetline without any problems. The 441 Nm torque peak makes light work of the Jurgens and, with 140 kW on tap, you can easily maintain 120 km/h.
You pay for all that grunt at the pumps though, because the Pajero averages around 14,7 ℓ/100 km with the Fleetline hitched. But that number comes down to 9 ℓ/100 km without a caravan on the tow bar.
The Pajero’s suspension is slightly harsh when driving on dirt roads, but it does feel indestructible. I can see why it’s won the Dakar Rally so many times.
We’ve camped all over South Africa, but our favourites include Mabalingwe Nature Reserve, Storms River Mouth Rest Camp, Buffalo Bay Caravan Park, Ebb-andFlow, Jongensfontein Caravan Park and Silwerstrand Caravan Park. They all have beautiful scenery, decent ablution facilities and five-star campsites.