Top 10 Best Towing Cars
Looking for a car that can pull its weight? We’re talking about towing cars. A motor that can hitch and tow a caravan or trailer while still offering impressive performance.
Finding a great ‘car that tows’ can be a big ask, and there’s not really a good way to try before you buy. Luckily, there’s a wealth of test drive reports out there.
Auto experts at What Car?, Practical Caravan and The Camping and Caravanning Club came together back in 2007 to establish The Tow Car Awards, which celebrates the best cars for the job.
We’ll walk you through some of the top SUVs and estate cars that are up to the task of towing. Small city runarounds? You’re not welcome…
The best cars to buy for towing are reviewed below:
- Land Rover Discovery
- Skoda Kodiaq
- BMW 520d
- Nissan Qashqai
- Jaguar F-Pace
- Peugeot 5008
- Volkswagen Tiguan
- Volvo XC40
- Ford Mondeo Estate
- Audi A6 Allroad
1. Land Rover Discovery
It’s no real shock to see that Land Rover’s Discovery has taken the top spot in our best tow cars list.
It’s what this car was born to do, afterall. But it’s not just the Disco’s sheer breadth of capability that makes it an incredible choice, it’s the luxurious qualities and practical features too.
The Discovery can pull weights of up to three tonnes. We’ll let you take that in for a second. Three. Tonnes. That’s plenty – more than enough in fact – for any trailer, caravan, horse box or boat.
Land Rover bring smart clever technology to towing, with Advanced Tow Assist System which makes reversing a caravan simple, even if the whole thing is new to you.
It’s also supremely comfortable and quiet. And inside there’s room for seven adults as well as an impressively-sized boot to bring along the luggage for all those people.
Tow Car of the Year is a title many cars strive to be awarded at some point in their lifetime. For Land Rover’s Discovery, it’s an accolade the car has received nine times over the past ten years.
Which, naturally, ended up in it being chosen as Tow Car of the Decade in 2016.
If you are looking for a car that can tow in the countryside, this is the one for the job. It’s an off-roader through and through, its abilities make it an ideal choice on more agricultural roads, or for towing horse boxes.
Price: Starting from £43,995
- Go anywhere off-road ability
- Huge inside
- Incredibly expensive
2. SKODA Kodiaq
SKODA’s award-winning SUV may be more expensive than the likes of the Qashqai, but boy do you get a lot of car for that money (its starting price is a very reasonable £25,775).
Your kit includes sat nav, heated front seats, leather upholstery and wireless phone charging to name but a few.
Its towing capacity comes in at 2000kg. Enough for just about any caravan or trailer (or maybe even a boat) you’d wish to tow. The experts at Practical Caravan had great things to say about the Kodiaq and were impressed by how it handled their lane-change test and hill starts.
And to add to that, the pros at The Caravan Club named it 2018 Towcar of the Year (overall win), thanks to it being “relaxing, stable, dependable, comfortable touring at its best”.
So, what would make you want to spend more money or upgrade to a more premium car? Though Tow Car Awards were mighty impressed with the Kodiaq, they did feel it managed poorly in crosswinds, with the Jaguar F-Pace being called out as a stronger performer.
You can make some wise decisions to up the power when it comes to the Kodiaq, with the option of four-wheel drive and some very powerful diesel engines.
We’ve talked before about the Kodiaq’s amazing space, the cavernous boot is a whopping 620 litres when you’re in five-seat mode and 270 litres in seven-seat.
And there are three rows of seating, though the third row is best for occasional use as it can be a little pokey.
Price: Starts from £25,775
- Seven seats as standard
- 2000kg towing ability
- Small third row
3. BMW 520d Touring
In at number three is BMW’s 520d. And for good reason. It was Tow Car Awards overall winner in 2018 and was named again in 2019 as a category winner in the hotly contested 1700-1899kg category.
Likely due to the 520d holding its own so well, especially on the motorway. It’s a solid, straight line – even in the face of winds.
The experts at Tow Car Awards put its hill-start abilities to the test, finding that the combination of an electronic parking brake, a 4×4 automatic transmission and a strong engine made it a really easy car for drivers towing a load.
It’s 4×4 capabilities also make it a tough car in trying weather – perfect for UK holidayers, but xDrive can be a pricey addition.
There’s heaps of room in the boot to pack in everything you need for family weekends away. And speaking of space, if you’ve not been inside a BMW 5 Series before, then you’re in for a real treat.
Even tall passengers will be impressed with that knee room in the back. Which bodes well if you’re looking to travel for a few hours with a full car.
Big interior space. Big boot. A big thumbs up. The BMW 5 Series Touring will win over your heart and your head.
It’s a great looking car (but aren’t all BMWs?), which could happily take you from the theatre in the city to the caravan park in the country. Prices start at £39,980 but soar up to £51,550 for the 530d model with xDrive.
Price: Starts from £39,980
- Spacious throughout
- Large towing ability
- xDrive model is pricey
- Average looks
4. Nissan Qashqai
Often-imitated, multi award-winning, family-friendly Nissan Qashqai makes its way into our top 10 list. In our opinion, few cars offer as much for those looking to tow. And for such a good price, starting from £20,195.
The maximum towing weight is a comfortable 1,800kg. The 1.6 dCi engine was named winner of the 1400-1549kg category by Tow Car Awards in 2014.
They were impressed by its stability at speed and reported that it towed nice and straight to 70mph in still air. Perfect for those travelling with a caravan in tow down the motorway.
The Qashqai will suit those looking for a car to tow a caravan, as it’s more of an urban car that can comfortably do the country – rather than the other way around.
The drive assist features and navigation technology compliment its capability beautifully.
It’s easy to see why Nissan’s popular crossover sparked the surge in popularity of small SUV cars. The Qashqai offers a comfortable, reliable everyday drive with ample space inside and heaps of technology on offer.
The latest models offer Real Time Traffic Information, 3D maps and smartphone integration to name a few features.
Price: From £20,195
- Great price
- Decent build quality
- All-wheel drive options costs £30k
- Model soon to be replaced
5. Jaguar F-Pace
In at number five is Jaguar’s incredibly popular SUV, the F-Pace. Not just a car with great looks, but with great abilities too.
The F-Pace gets some capability kudos by being closely connected to sister brand Land Rover. But its road grip, strong handling and thrilling driving experience are all Jaguar.
It’s a big car, with a kerb weight of 1884kg. Which means you can choose from a wide selection of caravans and trailers that you’ll be able to hitch without hassle.
And it’ll handle the load well, because the F-Pace is both incredibly powerful as well as being stable.
This Jag is all about the handling. It’s a sporty drive, with brisk acceleration – to the point where you’ll be looking back in the mirror to make sure the caravan is still there.
Wondering if it can handle the countryside as well as the Disco does? We think it comes pretty close. The four-wheel-drive helps it absolutely dominate hills and rocky roads, but over more technical terrain the Discovery will ultimately win.
Again, we look to the towing pros, Tow Car Awards, for their expert opinion on the Jaguar F-Pace as a caravan hauler.
And things look good. In fact, they said “If we could award the Jaguar F-Pace six out of five for towing, we probably would” – high praise, indeed.
This SUV Jaguar is more Jag than Land Rover, despite the family connections. It’s a supremely enjoyable drive, with performance at its very core. The kind of car that you won’t mind being stuck in traffic in.
Price: Starts at £36,820
- Sporty handling
- Luxurious interior
- Less off-road ability than a Discovery
- High price for more powerful engines
6. Peugeot 5008
Peugeot’s 5008 makes our cut thanks to its characterful drive and stylish design. But how does it hold up as a tow car? The 5008 has a low kerb weight, so let’s clear that up early doors.
If you’ve got a hefty caravan to tow then please skip to another car. But its lighter frame isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s stable at motorway speeds, and handles its turns pretty well. What it can tow, it does well.
So, the 5008 is now an SUV, rather than an MPV. But what does that mean when it comes to size and space?
You’ll find seven fairly generous seats inside (with the third row coming up a little small) – but it doesn’t look like a typical, humongous seven-seater. It looks like a rugged four wheel drive.
Let’s talk about the boot. This is where the 5008 gains some real plus points for practicality. With the third row up, the boot is 167 litres – and rear seats can be removed entirely.
The new 5008 has come on leaps and bounds. With these recent changes, making it a contender for the Skoda Kodiaq.
It loses some points for its lack of 4×4 ability, but it’s a good all-round family car with heaps of space. Perhaps for the occasion caravan holiday, rather than regular hauling. But all the same – we’re big fans.
Price: Starting from £28,015
- Lightweight – great for MPG
- Modern styling
- No proper off-road system
- Limited ground clearance
7. Volkswagen Tiguan
The Volkswagen Tiguan. Stable, spacious – just the right kind of car for this kind of work. It’s a great alternative to the BMW 520d if you’re looking for a less pricey option.
It’ll take towing demands in its stride. Though it’s limit is 2305kg, Practical Caravan recommend towing a caravan (or trailer etc) that weighs no more than the Tiguan’s 1723kg kerb weight.
Competition is stiff when it comes to the Tiguan’s SUV family car category – but it carries on to hold its own all these years later. One of its plus points is that you have the option to add four-wheel-drive for extra stability on country roads.
The Tiguan made our best family cars list too – it gets all of those important big ticks; comfortable, spacious, big boot, decent tech. It’s a close relative to SKODA’s Kodiaq – just with two less seats, obviously.
Space in the Tiguan is pretty good, but its flexibility is where it triumphs. The front seats feature manual height adjustment, with the option to spec up to ‘Match’ for adjustable lumbar support.
Every Tiguan model comes with a 40/20/40 split as well as sliding and reclining rear seats.
Ok, so it’s not the most powerful car in this list but the Tiguan still performs. It’s one of those cars that you’ll love living with, whether you mainly use it for commuting and the school run or for escapes to the country.
Price: Starting at £25,350
- Towing assistance
- High towing weight
- Pricier than a Skoda Kodiaq
8. Volvo XC40
Volvo’s XC40 might be a surprise entry to some, but it could easily be our top choice for drivers looking for a car that can haul a caravan, but don’t want all the space of a seven-seater or a full-sized SUV.
It was named as Tow Car Awards Best Family SUV in the 1700-1899kg category. Its kerb weight comes in at 1735kg, which means you can very comfortable tow up to 1475kg.
When put to the test, Practical Caravan found it relaxed at motorway speeds, with some slight side-to-side movements on overtaking high-sided vehicles.
The XC40 is a pretty cool customer. Sporty – maybe not. But that doesn’t make it any less of an enjoyable drive. And you know what’s great about it being a smaller SUV?
It nips through urban environments with total ease (and is a doddle to park up too). The size will work in your favour on plenty of caravan sites too.
The XC40’s blend of passenger space, practical boot size, safety rating and quality of interior makes it a great choice of car. And it’s well-loved by industry experts too, having been named 2018 What Car? Car of the Year.
Price: Starting at £28,965
- Great looks
- Superb trim levels
- Can be expensive
- All-wheel drive not standard
9. Ford Mondeo Estate
We’ll state the obvious – the Mondeo offers great value for money. There’s bags of space inside for both passengers and cargo, it’s a joy to drive and what’s more is it can tow well (which is what really counts here).
The kerb weight of the Mondeo comes in at 1578kg, meaning that it can comfortably tow up to 1341kg. When Practical Caravan put the Mondeo through its paces, they felt it was right at home with a caravan hitched behind it.
Adding that “the Ford’s diesel engine pulled to the top in fourth gear without becoming laboured or losing speed” – that’s a big tick in the performance department then.
If you’ve had the pleasure of driving a Mondeo then you’ll know just how well it handles. For a big estate, it’s incredibly agile, taking corners comfortably and handling twisty country lanes no trouble.
In short – you’ll enjoy the drive all-year round, even after the summer holiday season is done.
If you’re on the lookout for a big, comfortable estate car that can tow – this is it. The Mondeo is a stable car to be at the helm of and is happy at all speeds with or without weight behind it.
Price: Starting from £23,810
- Decent engine choice
- Surprisingly high towing ability
- Boring looks
- No all-wheel drive option
10. Audi A6 Allroad
If you’re looking for an estate over an SUV, then the Audi A6 Allroad is an exceptional choice. It brings the best bits of a larger estate and a 4×4 together to offer a car you’ll love driving and look forward to taking on holiday.
When lugging a load down the motorway, you feel firmly in control. Behind the wheel of the Audi A6 Allroad feels like a safe place to be. Practical Caravan are big fans.
Having put the A6 Allroad to the test, they found it to have poise in all weathers, thanks to the power distribution between all four wheels. Because it’s not all about SUVs when it comes to tow cars.
With a kerb weight of 1985 kg, the A6 Allroad can happily tow 1687 kg. And if your summer escape is set to be a little more rugged, then rest assured the Audi A6 Allroad has your back.
Handling is exceptional while body control allows for faster progress. And it holds its own on muddy, rocky and unpredictable terrain.
A punchy 231 PS 45 TDI engine makes for a quick drive – a whole heap of fun when you’re free to take on agricultural road without your hitch at the back. So that’s the fun, but how does the function fare?
There’s 565 litres of boot space, which goes up to 1680 litres with the rear seats down, which means it should do the trick for outdoorsy types just fine.
Price: From £54,555
- Well built interior
- Great off-road system
- Lower than average ground clearance
Towing or not, we can help you find your perfect car.
There you have it; our favourite all-rounders that handle towing superbly. We strongly advise you speak to your retailer about your towing needs, as some cars can’t have a tow bar retrofitted.
Your dealer will be able to best advise on model and engine based on your specific needs.
Looking for more options. We have you covered. Take a look our ‘best of’ guides below: