Best 4x4 for towing

Towing a trailer or caravan and want the best car for the job? Here are the best used 4x4s for towing, covering various budgets and uses

Sam Naylor
Jun 29, 2021

If you often tow a trailer or a caravan, then one of the most important things on your mind when you’re looking for your next car is likely to be how suitable it is for that task. If you often pull a trailer on grass, for example at a caravan park or motorsport venue, then you’ll almost certainly want four-wheel drive, too - and you’re in the right place for that.

Here we've listed some of the best used four-wheel drive (4x4) cars and SUVs for pulling a trailer. Our criteria are first and foremost that the car is good in the key areas of comfort, equipment, practicality and efficiency, and of course, the cars featured must be well suited to pulling a trailer with an attached towbar.

We’ve also consulted the Caravan Club’s yearly Towcar of the Year awards, where the experts round up new models and work out which is best for pulling a trailer. The Club is clearly most focused on caravans, but as these tend to be bulkier than other kinds of trailers, a car that can handle a caravan well should manage any other kind of load equally well.

We’ve looked through past winners to find models that are good value as a used purchase on Buyacar.co.uk. We’ve not just stuck to the overall winners, as some drivers will need cars capable of pulling larger or smaller trailers - so we’ve included a variety of models here.

Not all 4x4s for towing are SUVs, as there are plenty of smaller models including hatchbacks and estates that are not only good at pulling a trailer, but have four-wheel drive to improve traction on- and off-road.

So read on below to find out our picks of the best 4x4s for towing, taking into account the many different styles of car and towing that you might want - there’s bound to be something that suits your needs in the list below.

If you’re looking for the best car to tow a horse trailer, we even have an article dedicated to that, which is more focused on models that are good off-road because of the nature of horse box usage.

Best 4x4 cars for towing

1. Skoda Superb Estate

Best 4x4 for all-round use

Skoda Superb Estate front

Our pick Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 4x4 DSG Laurin & Klement
Used deals from £15,507
Monthly finance from £343*

The Caravan Club awarded the Skoda Superb Towcar of the Year for 2021, citing the Estate version in particular as it offers everything you could want. Estate cars like the Superb are excellent for dog owners, as they’re easier for pets to jump into than SUVs, and the Superb is one of the best around, with a huge boot and loads of space inside.

It’s also good to drive, comfortable, efficient and the punchy diesel engine should make short work of a trailer. There aren’t a huge number of 4x4 models available but they do exist and the extra traction could be useful when towing.

You can go with a new Superb or an older model, as the Skoda has been a fantastic car for years now - so you’ve got a wide selection to choose from in terms of budget and mileage. The Superb is a great all-round car and so happens to make a great car for towing as well.

SKODA SUPERB ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Volvo XC40

Best 4x4 for style and luxury

Our pick Volvo XC40 D4 AWD Inscription
Used deals from £26,000
Monthly finance from £352*

The Volvo XC40 was an award winner for towing in 2020, so a used model makes a lot of sense for pulling a trailer. It’s available in AWD form, which means all four wheels are driven, and the D4 diesel engine is strong but relatively efficient.

The XC40 is the smallest SUV in Volvo’s lineup, but it has many of the features that impress so much on the larger models, including the high-tech touchscreen media system on the dashboard, a comfortable and quiet driving experience and a minimalist, modern-looking interior.

It’s roomy enough for passengers to get comfortable in the back, and the automatic gearbox is smooth, making it easy to drive. Go for a model that’s a little older, or with a few more miles on the clock, and it’s pretty good value second-hand as well.

Despite being an SUV, this isn’t the best choice for off-roading, as its large road-biased wheels and tyres aren’t really up to the job. It's a very appealing option if you plan to stick to road driving, though.

VOLVO XC40 BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Land Rover Discovery 4

Best 4x4 for off-roading

Our pick Land Rover Discovery 3.0 SDV6 HSE Luxury
Used deals Limited stock

The Land Rover Discovery 4 is holding its value quite well second-hand, which makes it pricey for cash buyers - though you'll also get more back when you come to sell - but means that PCP finance monthly payments are relatively low, as it's likely to still be worth a lot, should you hand it back at the end of the contract. It’s a few years old, but still offers the luxury and pulling ability of a newer model - and it was an award winner in 2015 at the Caravan Club Towcar Awards.

The Discovery 4 also happens to be one of the best off-roaders around, with some incredible tech aimed at serious mud-pluggers, including self-levelling suspension, hill descent control and more. It’s capable of taking on some seriously challenging terrain, so trips around the UK shouldn't cause it much trouble.

Yet it’s also supremely comfortable on the road, with a luxurious cabin, great pulling power from the 3.0-litre diesel engine and loads of room inside even for adults. It’s a perfect tow car, aside from the relatively high price and running costs. Consider its sheer size and sophistication, however, and it's still a lot of car for the money.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY 4 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Volkswagen Passat

Best 4x4 for families

Our pick VW Passat Alltrack 2.0 TDI 150PS 4MOTION
Used deals Limited stock

The basic Volkswagen Passat makes a good tow car, thanks to its strong 2.0-litre diesel engine, practical interior and comfortable driving experience. Yet there’s an even better option, the Alltrack, which boosts the suspension height slightly, adds four-wheel drive and extra SUV-like styling details.

It’s a great choice and was a winner in the 2017 Caravan Club Towing Awards, so it has the right credentials, whatever you're looking to tow. It’s good value because it has the interior quality of a more expensive model at the price of a family estate car, and has more room than an SUV at the same money.

It’s comfortable and quiet on the motorway, which is great for longer journeys or family road trips, and the big boot that isn’t too high off the ground is really good for dog owners or even those with mountain bikes or car parts to load. If you can’t find an Alltrack, the normal Passat Estate is a great choice as well for the same reasons, though you'll miss out on the raised ride height, which could prove handy if you often have to negotiate bumpy tracks or rough ground on your travels.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

5. SsangYong Korando

Best 4x4 for value for money

Our pick SsangYong Korando ELX Auto 4x4
Used deals from £14,499
Monthly finance from £259*

The SsangYong Korando isn’t a great car by most measures - it’s not all that comfortable, the interior is dull and it’s a bit noisy inside. Yet it deserves its place on this list because it’s fantastic value for money. Later versions are the best, but early models are available very cheaply and are great for towing.

The Caravan Club gave the Korando an award in 2018 in its category for cars able to tow over 1,800kg. The 2.2-litre diesel may be a bit gruff when worked hard, but it does the job for pulling a heavy trailer or caravan. Automatic models are more common but you can find manuals occasionally, which could be better for finer control of the car when towing.

The Korando is also pretty spacious for the money, so even when you’re not towing you can enjoy the roomy interior and big boot. It’s not an incredible off-roader but the four-wheel drive system and decent ride height should mean it’s capable enough for most kinds of farm tracks and the like around the UK.

MORE ABOUT THE LATEST SSANGYONG KORANDO

6. Mercedes E-Class

Best 4x4 for touring

Our pick Mercedes E220d 4MATIC AMG Line Premium
Used deals from £24,799
Monthly finance from £334*

The Mercedes E-Class might not seem like a car for towing at first glance, nor would you expect it to come with four-wheel drive. Yet if you opt for one of the 4MATIC models, it has four driven wheels and comes with a recommendation from the Caravan Club’s Towing Awards in 2017.

The E220d model makes the most sense because it offers a good mix of pulling power and fuel economy. When you’re not towing it should be really economical for motorway trips, and even with a trailer it’s likely to be cheap to run compared with most similarly sized cars.

It excels on longer trips as it’s really comfortable at speed, and has a fantastic cabin with high quality materials, plenty of tech, strong build quality and comfortable seats. It’s the kind of car we’d have no trouble recommending for a 1,000-mile trip, which is great for those who love to take a caravan on holiday with them and rack up the miles.

MERCEDES E-CLASS ALL-TERRAIN BUYERS' GUIDE

MERCEDES E-CLASS ESTATE BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Jaguar I-Pace

Best 4x4 for zero-emission trips

Our pick Jaguar I-Pace P400 HSE
Used deals from £54,999
Monthly finance from £977*

An electric tow car? Yes, it’s possible, and the Jaguar I-Pace could be a great choice. Ok, the range of around 290 miles per charge will drop significantly if you hitch up a heavy trailer or caravan to the back, but this four-wheel drive electric SUV is a fantastic car in its own right and was given an award for towing light trailers in 2020.

The electric motor is very powerful so there’s no issue with performance while towing (or otherwise) and while the four-wheel drive system is designed for performance here rather than off-roading, the I-Pace isn’t hopeless when it leaves the tarmac.

It’s easy to drive, has a fantastic cabin full of high-tech equipment, is comfortable and even really fun to drive on a twisty road. If you’re looking to the future of electric cars but still need something capable of towing for relatively short distances now, the I-Pace could be an interesting choice.

JAGUAR I-PACE BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Skoda Kodiaq

Best 4x4 for comfort and tech

Our pick Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 4x4 DSG SE L
Used deals from £23,690
Monthly finance from £370*

We couldn’t compile this list without including a Skoda Kodiaq. This large family SUV is great at just about everything: it’s a seven-seater family car with loads of room inside, an efficient but quiet engine, four-wheel drive, good performance, tonnes of technology inside and a very comfortable ride.

It’s great to drive at all times and excels at towing, as shown when it won Towcar of the Year in 2018 - but it’s featured as a category winner in subsequent years as well. It’s also very good value, especially as a used car, and there are plenty of second-hand versions to choose from.

It’s quite big, so won’t suit all kinds of drivers, and its off-road ability can’t match something like the Land Rover Discovery, but it’s just such a good all-rounder that if you want a 4x4 for towing that has SUV styling, the Kodiaq would be our starting point.

SKODA KODIAQ BUYERS' GUIDE

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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