Question about North American vs European Towing Ratings

Eugene_CEugene_C Member Posts: 3
edited March 2017 in General
Hi everyone. A friend told me this might be a good place to get an answer to this nagging question. While shopping for small cars that could tow my camper, I ran across a strange phenomenon: The exact same car models often have far lower tow ratings in North America than in Europe and Australia. I ran into this time after time. I would look up towing capacity and, for example, the UK manual might state the towing capacity as "1000 Kg (2,200 lbs)" and the exact same car with the same engine would say "1000 lbs" in the N. American (US/Canada) manual (or zero!). I must have found at least a dozen cars with this discrepancy.

Can anyone explain this? Thanks!


  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    edited March 2017
    From the example you give, the first thought that comes to mind is "lazy editors". Almost like the manuals were created for the UK market and then "translated" for the US/Canadian and they just kept the 1000 and flipped the units. I know, that really doesn't make sense, but there's no way that different versions of the same vehicle are going to have a towing capacity that's 120% higher (2,200 lbs vs 1,000 lbs) because it's the UK version. That makes even less sense to me.

    Poking around a bit, I DO see some info about it having to do with how the hitch receiver is physically attached to the vehicle, also have seen talk about US DOT laws and a maximum vehicle to towed weight ratio, brakes on trailer requirements, "conspiracy" theories that US manufacturers are trying to force SUV/truck sales, and "It's all the fault of lawyers, so it might take more research ;)
  • Eugene_CEugene_C Member Posts: 3
    edited March 2017
    Thanks for the help! It's not always an exact conversion though. The Chevy Cruze Diesel in Europe and Austraila can tow over 2000 lbs but the US version is not rated for towing at all. The only hypothesis I got in a Chevy Forum was that the US transmissions are tuned for extremely smooth shifting, which is very bad for towing (however, that's easily fixed with a "Tow mode" button, nowadays)
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