Our brand new multi-angle video will take you through towing with the Mazda, and give you some tips that will help keep you safe when adventuring off-road and on.
To do this, we’ve shot four different angles of the same scene at the same time, allowing you to choose what you want to watch at any time during the clip.
To change the view at any time, simply click on one of the smaller previews below the main video. You can even watch the whole clip again from a different angle every time.
Because of the way we’ve done this, you will see our rig, you will see our team, but we really do hope this gives you a new insight into how to tow safely, how modern off-road assistance features work, and the way we go about filming it all.
Hooking up a caravan and hitting the road is a great way to enjoy a bit of adventure with the family and it is something that a lot of Australians have been doing in recent years. But understanding what you’re towing and the impact that the weight has on the performance of your vehicle is a key part of towing safely.
To demonstrate, we’ve got a 2022 Mazda BT-50 SP. We’ve also got an off-road caravan and a camper trailer, and we’re going to give you some pointers on towing with these trailers safely.
We’re going to look at breaking performance, and look at what impact the extra weight has, plus we’re also going to get into some traffic and talk about visibility, mirror use and blind spot monitoring.
We’ll head off-road too, and give you some pointers to help you get to that favourite campsite that you might want to visit.
In terms of off-roading, the BT-50 has a low range transfer case and a locking rear differential. Ground clearance is listed at 240mm, and there’s a weighting depth of 800mm.
Inside this BT-50 you’ll find heated leather appointed seats and a nine inch infotainment display. That system has integrated navigation as well as digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
|Key details||2022 Mazda BT-50 SP|
|Price (RRP)||$66,290 plus on-road costs|
|Engine||3.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel|
|Power||140kW @ 3600rpm|
|Torque||450Nm @ 1600-2600rpm|
|Transmission||Six-speed automatic with low-range|
Does towing impact braking distance?
To give you an example of the impact towing has on your braking performance, we’re going to do an example of an emergency stop.
We have controlled circumstances here but we are going to get up to about 80km/h and hit the brakes hard. For testing we have two Ezytrail caravans; a dual axle off-road caravan and a slightly smaller single axle camper trailer.
It is worth noting that we are on a dry surface with plenty of good grip available, but there are still plenty of differences in braking distances between the two trailers and as well as having nothing on the back at all.
The unladen BT-50 had the shortest stopping distance (obviously), which was followed by the roughly 2000kg Ezytrail Lincoln Camper Trailer, then finally, the 2500kg Ezytrail Winton Caravan. Regardless of the weight on the back, the BT-50 stopped confidently and in a nice straight line.
|2022 Mazda BT-50 SP|
|Tow rating||3500kg braked (350kg tow ball down weight)|
|Clearance||30.4 degrees approach, 24.2 degrees departure, 23.8 degrees ramp-over|
|Gross Combination Mass (GCM)||5950kg|
How do I tow safely on the road?
We’ve hit the road with the van on the back and the first thing that you’ll notice is that it does take a bit more concentration to keep an eye on everything when you do have something behind your car.
One thing you have to think about is your position in the lane, and also just keeping an eye on where the trailer is in comparison to the car and other road users at the same time. To help, we’ve fitted some extended towing mirrors to our BT-50.
We’ve got that large dual axle off-road caravan on the back, and it’s actually a little bit wider than the BT-50. So the normal mirrors show you a little bit of what’s going on, but those extended ones just help you peek a little bit further away.
Sometimes you can have a car hiding out in the blind spot and you don’t really know until the last second, so every little bit of extra visibility goes a long way.
It’s always good to anticipate what’s happening in front of you too. Don’t just look at the first 10 metres, maybe look 100, 200 metres in front.
Look at the traffic lights up ahead, and always keep a nice healthy gap to that car in front.
How do I town when driving off-road?
The first tip I should probably say is that the usual rules of four-wheel driving apply when you’re towing off-road.
Travel with a mate if you can, carry recovery gear, pay attention to your tyre pressures, all those sorts of things. Turn off your parking sensors too!
With a trailer it’s a wise idea to take your time to be a little bit more even, and get out and walk track from time to time. Make sure you know what you’re getting into before you get into it because if you need to turn around, do a U-turn and that sort of thing, it is a lot more difficult when you’ve got a trailer on the back.
There are some hills on this course that are a bit steep and it’s a bit soft and a bit loose in sections, so I think it’s important to use our hill descent control, and I’m also going to put the gear shifter across and down into first gear. This give us the best ability to crawl down as slow as possible.
Because we have electric brakes with this camper trailer, we can also apply the brakes separately to help us slow down even more.
On trickier sections heading down hill where the track has a bit of a side angle can feel a little bit awkward, especially if you’re a bit new to four wheel driving.
It’s a very unnatural feeling, but best tip I can give you is just take it slow and take your time. If you’re worried about the trailer, it’s starting to push you a little bit downhill, you can operate your brakes once again, just to help it stay behind you and it will keep the trailer nice and straight also.
Sam Purcell has been writing about cars, four-wheel driving and camping since 2013, and obsessed with anything that goes brum-brum longer than he can remember. Sam joined the team at CarAdvice/Drive as the off-road Editor in 2018, after cutting his teeth at Unsealed 4X4 and Pat Callinan’s 4X4 Adventures.