All new tourers approved under the NCC Product Approval
scheme are safe and legal for use on UK roads. The NCC
scheme is the only one in Europe which verifies complete
product compliance with the comprehensive health and
safety standards set by the British Standards
Institution (BSI) and European Standards body CEN. If the vehicle is NCC approved, it
will have an NCC Approved badge near the main entrance
door. To achieve approval, the model will have
undergone over 600 checks covering all aspects of the
• Gas and electrical installations
• Tyres, road lights, reflectors
• Weights and dimensions
• Fridge, heater and water systems
• Ventilation and emergency exits
For peace of mind - Check out the list of NCC
Approved Tourers and look for the Badge
on a tourer before you buy.
How do I know
what my car can tow?
Caravan weight is a major factor
when choosing a touring caravan. But your local dealer
will have a computerized caravan matching system to
take away the complexity - talk to them.
caravans that can be towed by an average sized saloon
Most major manufacturers offer light-weight caravans
that provide the perfect mobile base for touring
holidays. The 85% guide match is generally recommended
for beginners i.e. restricting the laden weight of the
caravan to 85% of the towcar’s kerbweight - Read
the NCC's Caravan Towing Guide
caravans that can be towed safely by small cars?
There are folding and slimline caravans such as those
made by Gobur Caravans – see www.goburcaravans.co.uk/slimline.htm
- that can be towed by smaller cars.
How large a
caravan can I tow legally in the UK?
A touring caravan with:
» with a maximum laden
weight not exceeding 3,500 kg
» overall width not
exceeding 2.3 metres
» overall body length not
exceeding 7 metres (excluding drawbar and coupling)
is the maximum size that can be legally towed by a motor
vehicle whose maximum gross vehicle weight is less than
3,500 kg (so most 4x4s and even Transit type vans are
not allowed to tow caravans that exceed the above
dimensions). There are very few such large caravans in
the UK, but it is as well to be aware of this.
licence do I need to tow?
All drivers who passed a car test before 1 January 1997
retain their existing entitlement to tow trailers until
their licence expires. This means they are generally
entitled to drive a vehicle and trailer combination up
to 8,250 kg Gross Train Weight (GTW).
For Car licences
gained since 1 January 1997:
Category B: Vehicles up to 3,500 kg MPW and with
up to eight passenger seats (including driver)
Category B vehicles may be coupled with:
» a caravan up to 750 kg
MTPLM* (allowing a combined weight up to 4,250 kg GTW)
» or a caravan over 750 kg
MTPLM provided the MTPLM of the caravan does not exceed
the unladen weight of the car and the combination does
not exceed 3,500 kg GTW.
If you passed your test after 1st
January 1997 you will need to take an additional driving
test in order to gain entitlement to Category B+E and
all larger vehicles. For more information, see www.direct.gov.uk
* MTPLM = Maximum Technically
Permissible Laden Mass, sometimes shown as MAM = Maximum