Best new cars for towing a caravan

Looking for a new car to tow a caravan? Great tow cars come in all shapes and sizes. We've rounded up the best affordable new tow cars

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Oct 21, 2020

Whether you’re towing a lightweight caravan, a mighty twin-axle caravan, or something in between, you’re going to need a tow car that’s up to the challenge. Don't think that means you have to get an enormous and expensive car, however. We've rounded up the best affordable new tow cars of all sizes.

There are many things to consider, most notably the kerbweight of the tow car, which should be at least equal to the weight of the caravan when fully loaded. A car also has a maximum towing weight, which will vary according to the engine and gearbox.

Beyond that, you’re looking at factors like pulling power (presented as a 'torque' figure), manual or automatic transmission, fuel economy, visibility and space in the boot. While it’s important to do thorough research before buying a car for towing a caravan, we’ve selected eight cars to get you on your way with minimal fuss.

We’ve included a supermini for towing a small caravan, practical estate cars, SUVs, a pick-up and even an electric car. Once you’re ready, take a look at the cars available on the BuyaCar website. You could find that your budget gets you a much better tow car than you expect if you're open to getting a used car, which could free up money to spend on your next caravanning holiday.

Best new cars for towing a caravan

1. Volkswagen Polo

Our pick Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI 115 SEL
Used deals from £13,790
Monthly finance from £210

Kerbweight 1,190kgTowball limit 50kg
Max towing weight 1,100kgPower/Torque 115hp/200Nm

 

It might be small, but the Volkswagen Polo is more than capable of punching above its weight. Don’t just take our word for it, the Polo was named best ultralight tow car at the 2018 Tow Car Awards.

It’s capable of towing a lightweight caravan when powered by the punchy and efficient 1.0-litre 'TSI' petrol engine, while the smooth and relaxed 'DSG' automatic gearbox alleviates some of the stress that comes with tow driving.

There’s more boot space than you’ll find in a Ford Fiesta, with enough space in the back seats for two adults. With a strong image, a five-star safety rating and a high quality cabin, this is the only small car you’ll need for lightweight towing duties.

VOLKSWAGEN POLO BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Ford Focus Estate

Our pick Ford Focus Estate 2.0 EcoBlue 150 Active X
Used deals from £17,347
Monthly finance from £251

Kerbweight 1,493kgTowball limit 90kg
Max towing weight 1,600kgPower/Torque 150hp/370Nm

 

The Ford Focus Estate is another award winner, with the practical load-lugger taking class honours at the 2020 Caravan Club Tow Car of the Year Awards. The judges said the Focus Estate is 'revolutionary, brilliant, amazing and lots of fun'.

High praise, indeed, but it’s not hard to see why. The Focus Estate offers more luggage space than SUVs of a similar price, and it’s also likely to be more efficient. Avoid the basic Style trim and you’ll enjoy a strong level of standard equipment, including alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a heated windscreen, eight-inch touchscreen media system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

There are a range of trim levels and engines to choose from, and it might also be worth considering the Active and Active X versions for towing a caravan. The raised ride height, body cladding and standard sat-nav could come in handy when travelling to those hard-to-reach campsites, while the selectable driving modes will inspire confidence when towing.

FORD FOCUS ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

Our pick Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
Used deals Limited stock

Kerbweight 1,725kgTowball limit 90kg
Max towing weight 2,200kgPower/Torque 190hp/350Nm

 

The Volkswagen Passat Estate is another multiple award-winning tow car. We’re recommending the rugged Alltrack version, which combines the practicality of an estate car with four-wheel drive and the increased ride height of an SUV. The Alltrack offers an extra 27.5mm of ground clearance compared to the standard estate version, so you can take full advantage of its all-wheel drive capability on harsher terrain.

It’s an expensive car when new, but 2018 models are available for roughly half the price they would have been when they first rolled out of the showroom. This makes the Passat Alltrack one of the best value towing cars you can buy right now.

Highlights include one of the biggest boots in its class, heated seats, dual-zone air-conditioning, an eight-inch colour touchscreen media system with sat-nav and electronic stability control with a trailer stabilisation function. One optional extra to look out for is trailer assist. It makes it easier to reverse when towing a caravan by using a display to show where the trailer is going to move with steering controlled via a joystick.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Volvo V60

Our pick Volvo V60 Cross Country D4
Used deals from £13,990
Monthly finance from £231

Kerbweight 1,784kgTowball limit 100kg
Max towing weight 2,000kgPower/Torque 190hp/400Nm

 

The Volvo V60 Cross Country was a class winner in the 2020 Caravan Club Towcar of the Year awards. The judges said it was 'faultless and very good in every way.' It’s for this reason that we’ve selected this rugged estate car as one of the best cars for towing a caravan.

Even in its standard form, the Volvo V60 is an impressive load-lugger, with a good size boot, a stylish and sophisticated cabin, and a focus on making the driver as comfortable as possible. The seats are comfortable but supportive, while the cushion-soft suspension helps to iron out the worst of Britain’s pockmarked roads. Just avoid the biggest alloy wheels if you're keen for a smooth ride.

The Cross Country model takes the best bits of the V60 and adds an extra 60mm of ground clearance to make it even more comfortable, not to mention better at tackling rough roads and tracks. We’d recommend the optional towing pack, which comprises a retractable tow bar, rear bumper protection, mud flaps and a boot mat.

VOLVO V60 BUYERS' GUIDE
VOLVO V60 CROSS COUNTRY BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Skoda Kodiaq

Our pick Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 190 DSG 4x4 SE L
Used deals from £18,990
Monthly finance from £296

Kerbweight 1,815-1,919kgTowball limit 100kg
Max towing weight 2,000kgPower/Torque 190hp/400Nm

 

If you’re after a large family car with space for seven and the potential to tow a big caravan, the Skoda Kodiaq is hard to beat. The 190hp version of the tried and tested 2.0-litre 'TDI' diesel engine develops a mighty 400Nm of torque to make light work of towing a caravan.

It’s an impressive package, with the 'DSG' automatic transmission helping to take the stress out of driving, along with four-wheel drive for all-weather reassurance. It’s also economical enough, with the potential to return around 40mpg when you’re not towing a caravan.

The SE L specification provides the best balance of price and equipment, with the likes of 19-inch alloy wheels, a 9.2-inch media system with sat-nav, heated front seats, front and rear parking sensors, an electric tailgate and seven seats coming as standard. We’d recommend the optional trailer assist, which turns the door mirror adjuster into a joystick to help you position the vehicle when reversing.

SKODA KODIAQ BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Volvo XC60

Our pick Volvo XC60 B5 R-Design
Used deals from £25,360
Monthly finance from £390

Kerbweight 1,899kgTowball limit 100kg
Max towing weight 2,400kgPower/Torque 235hp/480Nm

 

The Volvo XC60 was named Towcar of the Year at the 2019 Caravan and Motorhome Club awards. The car was praised for its braking and stability when towing both at high speeds and on twisty roads. It was also commended for its comfortable ride, which is a hallmark of modern Volvos.

We like it because it comes with the very latest safety equipment, including driver assistance systems to prevent a collision, along with devices to protect you should the worst happen. We’d recommend the air-suspension for the best ride comfort. It’s standard on R-Design Pro and Inscription Pro models, but a £1,500 option on the others.

The 235hp 2.0-litre diesel engine, badged B5 (D), should return around 40mpg, but it’s the torque that’s most impressive. Maximum torque of 480Nm will make light work of towing your caravan and should help to improve fuel economy, too, as the engine shouldn't be overstressed by the weight of a load.

VOLVO XC60 BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Volkswagen Amarok

Our pick Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI 204hp
Used deals from £22,083
Monthly finance from £497

Kerbweight 2,143kgTowball limit 140kg
Max towing weight 3,100kgPower/Torque 204hp/500Nm

 

A pick-up makes a lot of sense as a towing vehicle for a number of reasons. You get loads of luggage space in the back, whether you decide to fit a load cover or keep it open. Then there’s the combination of a high kerbweight and a strong engine, which means you can tow a larger caravan.

The Volkswagen Amarok is one of the best of the breed, feeling like a passenger car to drive and loaded with standard equipment. It’s the most car-like pick-up in a crowded market, so you won’t feel like you’re two steps away from the builders’ merchant as you make your way to the campsite.

Check out the maximum towing weight and formidable amount of torque. It might feel similar to a Volkswagen Golf when you’re behind the wheel, but the Amarok is up to the challenge of towing even the largest caravan, unlike the smaller and much lighter hatchback.

VOLKSWAGEN AMAROK BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Jaguar I-Pace

Our pick Jaguar I-Pace
Used deals from £44,895
Monthly finance from £658

Kerbweight 2,133kgTowball limit 45kg
Max towing weight 750kgPower/Torque 400hp/696Nm

 

As electric cars grow in popularity, more of us are going to rely on them to tow a caravan. For now, they offer limited scope in terms of the size of caravan they can pull, but it speaks volumes that the Caravan Club has introduced an alternative fuel category.

It’s no surprise that the Jaguar I-Pace took class honours in the 2020 awards. This is a highly impressive electric car that offers up to 292 miles of range, classy styling and a high-tech interior.

The Caravan Club judges said you’d achieve 115 miles or so of electric range with a caravan hooked up, but you’ll be able to cover significantly more without it. Make sure you ask for a detachable tow bar when you’re ordering your I-Pace. Enjoy the feeling of wafting silently into the campsite when you arrive.

Yes, this may be a pricey option compared with the alternatives here, but it should prove much cheaper to fuel when charging at home and still save you money when you head far afield with a caravan in tow and use public chargers.

JAGUAR I-PACE BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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