Towing with VW TDI

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Feb 28, 2003
Bradford, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
I didn't know where to out this, so it ended up here.

I had the chance to drive my dad's 97 VW Passat with a 1.9 turbo diesel. I borrowed it to make a trip pulling a trailer because it is so much easier on fuel than my F150. For those of you that didn't catch my posts, he has convered this vehicle to run on WVO. Anyway, back to my story. I was amazed at how well this little car pulled a loaded trailer. I have pulled the same trailer with my truck with a similar load and I will say this - The little VW pulled this load MUCH BETTER than my full size truck. I was amazed. 5th gear and the cruise set at 65mph. The car only dropped to about 63mph on some bigger hills.

My dad uses this car to pull trailers quite often and he told me story about when he had a trailer loaded with 2 early 80's Cub Cadet diesel lawn tractors. He set the cruise and headed down the road. He got alot of funny looks from guys in big pick-ups as he was pulling hills at 65 mph. These guys in their unloaded pick-ups were scratching their heads when they saw this little car doing what their trucks have to work hard to do.
you mean you dont need a full size pickup to pull a trailer?!? say it isnt so! I surely would have thought you NEED a 3/4 ton or better pickup, or maybe a big SUV to pull ANY trailer! oh, FYI, if that car doesnt have a v8 in it, itll never merge into high speed traffic either...


Yes, even our lowly Neon will pull everything we need pulled just fine and at good speed on the freeway. I'm sure your dad's TDI is even better, being a diesel.
It is a good idea to have electric trailer brakes if you are overloading the car. I used to tow a heavy trailer with my Cavalier and all was great other than people not giving me room to stop.

My Nissan Sentra SER SPECV has no trouble pulling a trailer and two motorcycles-the car has big rotors and 4 wheel disc and stops decent too. The 180lbs of torque the engine makes is much better then the typical Honda civic torque of say 110 lbs in the same size class. I towed a U-Haul 4x8 enclosed trailer with a GMC S-15 Jimmy with a 2.8 V6 once and I couldent get it up to the 65mph speed limit.
I was just very surprized that this little car could handle all of this additional weight without any problems at all. I never meant to imply that a truck was needed to tow with, but you would thing it would do a better job. I would highly doubt that many other cars would be able to pull the way that this VW TDI does.
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