Best medium size cars for towing

Looking for a tow car with the muscle to lug heavy loads while remaining easy to drive? These excellent mid-size options should fit the bill

John Evans
Sep 6, 2019

Trying to plan the perfect caravan holiday but drawing a blank when it comes to finding the best tow car for the job? You may be considering expensive 4x4s and enormous SUVs, but there's no need to shell out so much for a car like that when it comes to towing.

We've rounded up some of the best midsize tow cars that can lug between 1,500kg and 2,200kg, making a family caravan holiday all the more affordable. We’ve chosen 10 such cars that are far from enormous 4x4s you can't fit on your driveway. These are the best medium sized tow cars available right now on BuyaCar.

There’s quite a variety: MPVs, off-roaders, small SUVs, saloons…even a 300hp hot hatch - with added estate car practicality. We’ve chosen them for their towing limits, of course (what’s called their braked towing limit) but also for other qualities including their handling and towing composure, safety under pressure, versatility and practicality and, yes, their performance.

Some, such as the Volkswagen Golf R Estate, will leave other caravan tow cars standing - making for super-safe overtaking - while others, such as the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV will, once you’re unhitched, allow you to familiarise yourself with your surroundings with low fuel costs, thanks to its ability to run on pure electric power if you charge it up.

Note that we’ve talked in general terms about each model. You’ll find that towing limits depend on the power of an individual car’s engine, whether it’s powered by diesel or petrol, its kerbweight and whether it has a manual or automatic gearbox.

When matching your tow car and caravan, make sure you know the vehicle's respective towing limits and use a reputable matching service to make sure the caravan isn't too heavy for the car. If you’re a novice, it’s a good idea to get some tow car driver training, too.

Best medium size cars for towing

1. Skoda Octavia

Latest Skoda Octavia deals from £7,795
Monthly finance from £126
Maximum braked towing capacity 2,000kg
Length 4,670mm

The Skoda Octavia is a mid-size hatchback that puts larger cars to shame with its space and carrying capacity. Based on the same underpinnings as a VW Golf, it has an enormous boot and a roomy row of rear seats, so can comfortably swallow a family and their camping kit.

A maximum towing capacity of 2,000kg is easily a match for a mid-size family caravan. Add a powerful and economical diesel engine (there’s a perfectly good 1.5-litre petrol, too) and you’ve the recipe for a great tow car. Especially when you consider the Octavia's low prices.

Skoda Octavia buyers' guide

2. Seat Ateca

Latest Seat Ateca deals from £11,190
Monthly finance from £141
Maximum braked towing capacity 2,100kg
Length 4,363mm

We’re used to diesel-powered cars lording it over petrol ones when it comes to towing, due to their low-engine-speed muscle, but the Ateca is an exception. The 2.0-litre petrol version has the strength to pull a caravan with ease and even overtake confidently when necessary.

Not only that but it should also tow straight and true. Choose one with four-wheel drive for extra security and added peace of mind in the wet.

Seat Ateca buyers' guide

3. Ford Focus estate

Latest Ford Focus estate deals from £6,999
Monthly finance from £123
Maximum braked towing capacity 1,800kg
Length 4,668mm

The Ford Focus has the kind of secure and sophisticated driving manners that make for a truly capable tow car. There’s a range of trims and engines to choose from, too.

For its power and exceptional claimed fuel economy, our favourite engine is the 1.5-litre EcoBlue 120hp diesel. Combined with lavishly equipped Titanium X trim, you have yourself a comfortable, powerful and, above all, an economical tow car.

Ford Focus estate buyers' guide

4. Dacia Duster

Latest Dacia Duster deals from £6,192
Monthly finance from £115
Maximum braked towing capacity 1,500kg
Length 4,341mm

The Duster is one of the cheapest SUVs you can buy but that doesn't mean it’s lacking in ability. Far from it – it’s a supremely capable tow car whose most notable feature is excellent wet-weather grip, and that’s with two or four-wheel drive.

For effortless towing, diesel-engined versions are best, as they offer greater muscle at low engine speeds. Just watch you don't exceed that low-ish towing limit.

Dacia Duster buyers' guide

5. Volvo XC40

Latest Volvo XC40 deals from £23,990
Monthly finance from £314
Maximum braked towing capacity 2,100kg
Length 4,425mm

Volvo’s safety expertise extends to a tow car that is remarkably sure-footed and composed in all weathers, as well as during manoeuvres such as lane changing and sudden braking.

Elsewhere, the XC40 has a supple ride, a comprehensive safety kit list and a stylish and spacious interior partnered with a surprisingly useful boot, making it the perfect touring car once you’ve unhitched.

Volvo XC40 buyers' guide

6. Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer

Latest Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer deals from £14,295
Monthly finance from £190
Maximum braked towing capacity 1,700kg
Length 4,602mm

MPVs have fallen out of favour lately - with many drivers choosing SUVs instead - but as a holiday tool they’re almost unmatched. The Grand C4 SpaceTourer for example offers passenger space and versatility in spades.

Many MPVs have another string to their bow, and that’s as safe and secure tow cars. Granted, the SpaceTourer's towing limit falls short of the two-tonne mark, but it’s decent enough for most family caravans. Meanwhile, driving visibility is excellent, while the light and airy cabin and smooth ride induces a calm state of mind, perfect for a tow car driver.

Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer buyers' guide

7. VW Golf R Estate

Latest Volkswagen Golf R estate deals from £19,799
Monthly finance from £268
Maximum braked towing capacity 1,600kg
Length 4,586mm

The Golf Estate is a great tow car – composed, sure-footed and practical – but the all-wheel-drive R version is on another level. It’s a 300hp tow car that has the power to make light work of most caravans, hauling them up and down hills as if they weren’t there.

This shouldn't really work, but other speedy Golfs like this one have won tow car awards in the past for the same reasons. The powerful petrol engine and fuel-sapping all-wheel drive system will mean that this isn't the most economical of tow cars, however.

Volkswagen Golf buyers' guide

8. Land Rover Discovery Sport

Latest Land Rover Discovery Sport deals from £17,990
Monthly finance from £251
Maximum braked towing capacity 2,200kg
Length 4,599mm

Land Rover has huge experience with tow cars and it shows with the Discovery Sport. A composed ride, powerful engines and the security of four-wheel drive, in combination with features such as Tow Assist which helps to keep the caravan on track, are exactly what tow car drivers need. That and a generous towing limit, which the Discovery Sport clearly has.

Most Discovery Sport models come with seven seats so you’ve the option of taking the whole family - though don't expect to fit adults in the two rearmost seats - but if it’s just five of you, you have a reasonably useful boot for those things best not stowed in the caravan.

Land Rover Discovery Sport buyers' guide

9. Audi A3 Saloon

Latest Audi A3 saloon deals from £10,999
Monthly finance from £164
Maximum braked towing capacity 1,800kg
Length 4,458mm

A compact saloon shouldn’t figure here but the A3 Saloon is just too good to pass over, especially in quattro four-wheel-drive form. The system boosts the model’s on-road traction, transforming the A3 from a merely good to a brilliant tow car.

Meanwhile, it boasts some measure of practicality thanks to folding rear seats, while it’s good to know you’ve the security of a proper boot when you want to keep valuables out of sight.

Audi A3 Saloon buyers' guide

10. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV

Latest Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV deals from £13,599
Monthly finance from £212
Maximum braked towing capacity 1,500kg
Length 4,695mm

The Outlander plug-in hybrid was the first hybrid SUV on the market. It feels (and looks) like yesterday’s news but there’s no denying it’s an efficient hybrid. For example, when you’ve unhitched and want to explore your new surroundings discreetly you’ve the option of up to 30 miles of pure electric motoring.

The Outlander shares its underpinnings with the tried and tested Shogun 4x4, so while it feels a little crude next to today’s more modern offerings, it’s certainly tough and a more than capable tow car. Just watch you don’t exceed that towing limit.

Mistubishi Outlander PHEV buyers' guide


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