Diesel engines to tow an Avan Cruiseliner

Submitted: Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 11:57
ThreadID: 103771 Views:5237 Replies:11 FollowUps:10
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I have an Avan Cruiseliner with an ATM of 1220kg. I’m considering buying a medium sized SUV with diesel engine (such as Hyundai i35, Outlander, Xtrail).

These diesel engines generate around 130kW (power) and 350 Nm (torque).

My question is how adequate will these engines be to pull the 1220 kg Cruiseliner.
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Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 12:07

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 12:07
Hi Richard,

Towing 1220 kgs - you could tow that with a lawn mower -lol.

All jokes aside, provided weight of the van you wish to tow is below the towing capacity rating of your vehicle ie manufacturers specs - you shouldn't have any problems.

There's always a however though - if you're travelling around Aust for say 6 months with 2 kids on board you'll have trouble fitting everything in and keeping below the spec weight. If this is what you are contemplating them maybe a bigger vehicle may suit up front and save you from a frustrating trip.


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AnswerID: 516437

Reply By: member - mazcan - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 12:29

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 12:29
hi Richard
find out at what revs the i35 develops max kw's and nm or its engine torque if the turbo comes on early then it will handle that load ok
but if the turbo has lag or doesn't come in until higher up in the rev band then it may well struggle as soon as you encounter a few hills
my daughter drives an i35 diesel supplied by her work company
it goes like the clappers on its own
but may be a different kettle of fish with that weight and a family on board
do your home work first
so you dont find out when its too late look at this site
sure to be some imfo in their archives
AnswerID: 516438

Follow Up By: member - mazcan - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 13:18

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 13:18
hi Richard
just read a glowing report on the ix35 2ltr td 6spd auto
in the www.carsadvice.com.au website
there not cheap $38000
+dlr and on rd costs
FollowupID: 795793

Reply By: Rtv47 - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 15:15

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 15:15
I have a 2.2 Ltr diesel Outlander that pulls 16Ft Golf at 11-12 Ltrs /100 Ks ..... We travelled through the Adeliade hills both ways with ease...
AnswerID: 516444

Reply By: olcoolone - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 15:45

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 15:45
It will do it with ease, unless you are looking at breaking some speed record.

Jump on some of the caravan forums and have a look, the most popular tow vehicles are the dual cab utes...... they all produce around the figure you have quoted (give or take a bit).

Most of these utes are pulling vans weighing over 1800kg.

All new diesels are much a muchness these days with power and torque figure and where they develop their power and torque in the RPM.

Most new diesels are rocket ships and offer more punch than their petrol stablemates..... non are slugs.
AnswerID: 516445

Reply By: greywiki - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 15:52

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 15:52
Hi Richard

With trepidation from all the Land Rover detractors, another option is the Land Rover Freelander 2 SD4 this is a vastly improved model to the first series of Freelander basically a chalk and cheese comparison. This model is sometimes called a LR2. The SD4 version is 140kw and 440Nm torque 2.2 litre turbo diesel, rated at 2000kg up to a max of 2100kg provided you don't exceed 100kph at the max tow weight. Does not have a low range box but an electronic all terrain system similar to a Disco, reasonable ground clearance. 6 speed auto. However more expensive than the other options.
AnswerID: 516446

Reply By: SDG - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 16:44

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 16:44
The Pajero is only what I call a medium size 4wd, and it would do that with ease haveing about 147kw, and 441nm. Won't even know its there.
AnswerID: 516448

Follow Up By: greywiki - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 17:01

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 17:01
The latest Pajero comes in at 150kw and 448Nm and is a nice vehicle but is a 3.2 litre Turbo. With unfortunately the extra fuel consumption to go with the bigger motor.
FollowupID: 795801

Follow Up By: SDG - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 19:16

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 19:16
Is this the latest one?


I have the older NP with the 3.2, and found the fuel was around 10/100 while towing. Went to about 13/100 up the Stuart H/way, but I was not travelling at the most economical speed. lol
FollowupID: 795809

Follow Up By: greywiki - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 15:14

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 15:14
This is from a Mitsi website

Power to tow
Pajero's diesel engine technology delivers power without compromise. The engineered 3.2 litre Direct Injection Common Rail Intercooled Diesel Turbo yields quietness, smoothness and fuel efficiency while still effortlessly delivering 150KW of power and a meaty 448Nm of torque more than enough to tow up to 3,000kg's. All the power and torque you need for both on and off the track and all while only consuming 9.2 litres of diesel per 100km travelled.

Still nice but prefer my LR Freelander
FollowupID: 795861

Reply By: The Bantam - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 17:59

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 17:59
My question is...why a diesel.
I own a diesel and a lot of my family are die hard diesel drivers.

However.......the advantages of diesel are not what they where.

Diesel is no longer considerably cheaper than petrol per fuel value like it once was.

The current crop of common rail diesels may go pretty well, but the technology is not as well proven and developed as the paralel petrol engines.

The diesel option in most vehicles will cost you a couple of grand

If ya talking old injector pump diesels.....even turbo...the same model car with the petrol motor will make more power

Then you have the issue of fuel quality and the consequences with common rail diesel......if you have contaminated fuel with a common rail diesel.....ya stuck and unless ya insurer or the fuel company coughs up.....you have a very large bill.

People may look at the suposed economy advantage of common rail diesel......but "ya cana change the laws of physics Jim", it takes the same amount of energy to shift the same amount of weight......the diesel vehicle may look better running on it own..but as soon as you are pulling weight.....the economy advantage deminishes.

Then ya get a dose of bad fuel and the $4000 to $10000 repair bill and far from home and the economy just flew out the window.........Yep a bloke in the next street just sold his D4D and gone back to petrol.....he copped a dose last year and if he was not on a fuel card and had the cuel company bang to rights he would have had an $8000 bill.

In small vehicles, if you want to make power and get economy...petrol is still hard to beat.

Any of the medium SUVs like the RAV, Xtrail or whatever should pull 1200KG.

NOW..one thing to remember is all too frequently people think that can pull the published towing capacity....well..maybe you can but staying well within the towing capacity like 2/3 of it is much wiser and you will have a far more comfortable time...I'd be looking for a 1800KG towing capacity at least.

Remember if your rig is not comfortable and capable of doing the speed limit on smooth open road under good conditions it should not be on the road.

If you are doing 80KMH on a 100KMH highway you are a danger to ya self and everybody else.

My hiluxes are rated at 1800Kg braked towing capacity..would I highway tow 1200+KG....maybe for a couple of hours, but not long distances.

AnswerID: 516450

Reply By: Richard H12 - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 21:20

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 21:20
Thanks for all your comments.

My thinking with a diesel (over the petrol engine versions) is the substantially higher torque developed at lower revs. I’ve always understood that torque at lower revs is the key factor for towing. The petrol versions of the medium sized SUVs typically have two thirds the torque at double the revs.

I currently tow the Cruiseliner with a 10 year old Magna that does the job very easily (it has 140kW of power and 255 Nm of torque)
AnswerID: 516461

Follow Up By: The Bantam - Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 23:05

Thursday, Aug 15, 2013 at 23:05
The modern petrol engines with variable valve timeing and fuel injection are very torquey, and both power and torqure are immediate where the turbo diesels may lag a bit.
Even normally aspirated diesels do not respond to throttle application like petrol motors do.

the other thing is that there is a far greater rev range in petrol motors.

my 3 liter diesel may pull down to idle, but it redlines at about 4000.....the petrol motor in my other hilux will rev right out to 6000.

this means when ya come to a hill you will be doing less gear changes in a petrol car and you wont be stuck right up in the rev range of a diesel but not be able to pick the next gear.

Make no mistake power is power and it is power that shifts weight.

It is not possible to make a direct comparison between petrol and diesel engines, because they are driven differently.

When you drive a diesel hard you play to the torque, reving harder does not achieve much because maximum power is usually well below maximum revs...and in general there is a quite narrow band where maximum power occurs, in my diesel hilux this is less than 1000 revs and there is very little over lap in gears.....so to keep it cooking you have to be between 2500 and 3500, there is about 1000 revs between gears at shift point so to keep on the power your shifts have to be spot on.
If pulling hard up a hill with a load on, looking for an upshift you may not pull the next gear with sufficient..confidence so ya stuck in whatever gear you where in.

Where with a petrol motor you keep the revs up because that is where the power is maximum power is usually near maximum revs...power progresses with engine speed and you have a tractable range of 3000 to 4000 revs..thus you have very wide gearshift windows.

I think you will find most of the medium sized SUVs will actually be a step backward from the magna in power.

FollowupID: 795816

Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 15:31

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 15:31
Hi Richard,
this is just my two bobs worth, if you have a ten year old magna that is doing the job for you, and the towing capacity is within its limits why do you want to change or are you after some more ground clearance for you towing vehicle, I have had two Magnas and they were both comfortable and easy to drive towing or not, the magnas that we owned were very reliable and never let us down and we generally keep our vehicles for around the ten year mark, and then upgrade to new vehicles. As with everything motor wise it all comes down to how much you want to invest, at the moment oswmbo, drives an Aurion and I drive a Nissan Pathfinder, both vehicles are very good for what they were purchased for, both live up to our requirements. If Mitsubishi had not stopped making the magna We would have replaced the wife's car with another one, as I think it was a better Car than the Aurion. As for your Dilemma I would look at the Mitsubishi, and the Xtrial both are excellent vehicles, and economical. I hope this is of some help for you as it is not an easy choice, it took me six months to finally settle on the Pathfinder, and I have owned a lot of 4x4's.
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Follow Up By: SDG - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 15:42

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 15:42
Is it still something they say that with a diesel with a few hundred thou on the clock, that it is just worn in, where with petrol it is ready for some work to be done to the motor?
FollowupID: 795868

Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 16:28

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 16:28
Hi Richard,
I don't know too much about that but from my experience our magnas had both gone over the three hundred thou mark when we traded them, they were petrol, and my trucks had more than that when I sold them, and they were diesel, this is my first diesel 4x4 and it has only done 58,ooo klm in two years and hasn't missed a beat yet, and it can tow 3.5 tonne, I believe it all comes down to maintenance and lubrication, the service manual says 10000klm between oil changes but I still do them at 7000, old habits die hard. I hope this is of some assistance to you
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Follow Up By: The Bantam - Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 at 09:01

Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 at 09:01
This petrol Vs diesel durability thing...again that too is deminishing over time.

Back in the hey day of mechanically injected diesels and the low diesel price, the engineering in diesel engines was mostly better than the petrol engines being derived and proven in heavy trucks and scaled down for a light diesels.
At that time too most of the light diesels where japanese made where a very large proportion of the petrol motors where derived from american manufacturers.

Compare japanese derived petrol motors with japanese derived diesel motors and there is far less of a durability gap.....then we move on to current times and the quality and durability of petrol motors has improved and we have pushed most of the diesels harder by introducing turbocharging and common rail injection.......expecting very much higher power from the little diesels.

So where we once had big lazy 4 liter 6 cylinder diesels pulling big loads we now have 3 liter 4 cylinder motors in vehicles claiming higger towing capacities.

Again I suggest the gap between petrol and diesel has closed or perhaps reversed in some cases.

FollowupID: 795914

Reply By: olcoolone - Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 08:26

Friday, Aug 16, 2013 at 08:26
You won't regret a diesel, I prefer the new diesels over petrol engines in the way they drive and their lazy nature.

Have a friend who has an Xtrail and on country driving they get 5.5lts per 100 driving normal.

The price difference between diesel and petrol models are getting narrower all the time and I think in the future diesel will be the way many people will go.

AnswerID: 516478

Reply By: ozjohn0 - Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 at 08:55

Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 at 08:55
Richard H12
I woukd seriously also look at the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Kia Sorento.
Both will pull or A-van with ease.
AnswerID: 516562

Follow Up By: Member - Broodie H3 - Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 at 09:32

Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 at 09:32
Hi Richard,
some of the people that belong to our caravan club are towing their 20 to 23ft caravans with the santefe, and a couple of them have the Kia sorrento and the only compliant I have heard about them is the santafe has trouble towing up hills , in saying that the whole club laughed at him when he was complianing as he tows a 24 ft van and it weighs in at 2900kg fully loaded. so in saying all that the choice is all yours, I solved the same dilemma that you now have two years ago, good luck.
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Reply By: Richard H12 - Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 at 10:02

Saturday, Aug 17, 2013 at 10:02
Once again, thanks for the comments.

I'm happy with the Magna for short van trips around Victoria but it has done over 200 kms and we want to do some longer trips up north and I'm looking for something with more clearance and AWD capbility/stability. (I think the 6 cylinder Magnas are great cars - this is my fifth one - had them provided with my work before I retired.)

I had been looking at a Santa Fe but to save a few dollars thought the i35 might be an option, has 1500kg towing capacity and ball weight is just ok. And they now have a European sourced model for $35k that is quite a bit cheaper than the Korean cars.
AnswerID: 516568

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