Families budgeting for their summer holidays are being urged to account for the extra fuel costs of towing a caravan.
What Car? True MPG tests showed towing cuts the average fuel economy of a car by 41%.
"A caravan holiday is often perceived as a low-cost holiday option for families, but our tests reveal that unfortunately fuel economy inevitably suffers when a car has to pull a 1.5 tonne, home from home, white box behind it," said Chas Hallett of What Car?
Four cars of varying size and engine type were tested both while towing a caravan and without. Caravans used in the tests were 85% of the car's kerb weight, which is the recommended maximum for safe towing.
The fuel economy of the largest car was affected least by towing, but a small diesel car was also recommended. The Dacia Duster's performance of 27.8 mpg beat the Discovery's by almost 10mpg, saving £63.16 over 500 miles.
The petrol Mazda 6 was worst affected by towing, its fuel economy dropping by 52%, even though it proved the most economical car without a caravan attached.
Families taking their caravans away should check they have extra fuel to get them to their destination and ensure theirbreakdown policy covers both vehicles.
Copyright Press Association 2013