Best new tow cars

Whether it's a caravan trailer or horse box, here are ten of the best new tow cars across a wide range of budgets

BuyaCar team
Sep 24, 2019

From caravans to horseboxes, car transporters to builder’s trailers, hundreds of thousands of Britain’s drivers use their car to tow.

If you’re one of them, and are considering changing to a newer model, or are ready to join the crowd and want to buy your first tow car, then you could probably do with some help finding out which are the best new cars for towing.

We’ve rounded up the latest models spanning most shapes and sizes, and a wide range of prices. From small superminis to big SUVs, with family cars and pickup trucks thrown into the mix, there’s a hard-working hauler to suit your practical needs. And with prices starting at less than £20,000 and going up to more than £45,000, the handpicked selection caters for a wide range of budgets.

Best new tow cars

Best new tow cars for under £20,000

1. Volkswagen Polo

Our pick for towing Volkswagen Polo SEL 1.0 TSI 115 DSG
Kerbweight 1155kg
Towball limit 50kg
Max towing weight 590kg unbraked/1100kg braked

Latest Volkswagen Polo deals from £5,699
Monthly finance from £103

You might find it hard to imagine that a sensible little supermini like the Volkswagen Polo could pull something as big as a caravan, but for two years in a row the Polo has proved itself to be made of award-winning stuff, taking the Best Ultra Light Tow Car in the 2018 and 2019 Tow Car Awards.

With the 1-litre TSI, 115 horsepower engine can pull up to about 1000kg, using the 85% match rule, which is plenty enough for a lightweight caravan. And with the optional automatic gearbox, making smooth progress or standing hill-starts is easy.

There’s much to admire beyond this car’s towing capabilities, though. Its interior feels well made, the suspension gives a supple ride, the 355-litre boot is a good size and it was awarded a maximum five star rating by Euro NCAP.

Volkswagen Polo buyers' guide

2. Ssangyong Korando

Our pick SsangYong Korando SE Diesel 4x4
Kerbweight 1820kg braked

Latest Ssangyong Korando deals from £8,300
Monthly finance from £152

This is a multiple winner of tow car competitions and it’s easy to see why. Drivers get a practical, hard-hauling compact SUV with a lusty 2.2-litre diesel engine that comes with four-wheel drive - for less than £20,000. But that’s not all. The new-car warranty lasts for seven years.

As for the way the Korando drives and, importantly, tows, it offers excellent visibility, which is important for anyone pulling a caravan. The 2.2-litre engine is one of the more powerful for this type of car in this price range, and its hefty kerbweight means it’s comfortable towing something of up to 1480kg, and with four-wheel drive traction and stability are reassuringly steady.

Best new tow cars for under £25,000  

1. Peugeot 308 SW

Our pick Peugeot 308 SW Active BlueHDi 130
Kerbweight 1,295kg
Towball limit 71kg
Max towing weight 750kg unbraked/1,400kg braked

Latest Peugeot 308 SW deals from £7,000
Monthly finance from £117

There’s a lot to like about a stylish looking, compact estate car that delivers space for the family and can return up to 76mpg when not towing. But when you hitch up a trailer and discover just how well it performs, with smooth sustained acceleration, good traction and impressive stability, then you have a very versatile car.

If you can stretch to an automatic gearbox, it will take the strain out of hill starts and pulling out of junctions, as the electronic handbrake works seamlessly with the gearbox.

If you need a little more interior space, consider the Skoda Octavia, which is in a similar price range but boasts a larger cabin.

Peugeot 308 buyers' guide

2. Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer

Our pick Vauxhall Astra 1.6 CDTi BiTurbo 160PS SRi Nav
Kerbweight 1,435kg
Towball limit 75kg
Max towing weight 700kg unbraked/1,700kg braked

Latest Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer deals from £5,990
Monthly finance from £109

The interior of Vauxhall’s latest Astra Sports Tourer (Vauxhall's name for an estate car) is more practical than that of its predecessor, and feels better-made too.

With a caravan or trailer on the back you’ll find the bi-turbo 160 horsepower 1.6TDCi version nippy (don't get confused with less-powerful 1.6-litre models). Its secret is having lots of grunt low down in the engine’s rev range.

Its kerbweight figure is greater than the Peugeot 308 SW (above) helping it pull more hefty loads. And whether making a lane change or performing an emergency stop, the Astra Sports Tourer is never less than composed.

Vauxhall Astra buyers' guide

Best new tow cars for under £35,000 

1. Volvo XC40

Our pick Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design automatic
Kerbweight 1,735kg
Towball limit 110kg
Max towing weight 750kg unbraked/2,100kg braked

Latest Volvo XC40 deals from £23,990
Monthly finance from £298

The XC40 is the current yardstick in the compact SUV market. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it will make an impressive tow car. However, in competitions it has more than proved its mettle, seeing off the competition in a tow car showdown.

We’ve already praised the car’s interesting design, cool interior and surprisingly spacious cabin and boot. And its road manners too. But with a trailer or caravan attached, it maintains a class-leading performance, hauling with calm composure, remaining stable and safe in a lane change and slowing with confidence.

It all adds up to one of the most complete SUVs in the price range – whether you need to tow or not.

Volvo XC40 buyers' guide

2. Skoda Kodiaq

Our pick Skoda Kodiaq 2.0 TDI 190 DSG SportLine
Kerbweight 1,720kg
Towball limit 80kg
Max towing weight 750kg unbraked/2,000kg braked

Latest Skoda Kodiaq deals from £17,480
Monthly finance from £248

Skoda’s first SUV, the Kodiaq is a seriously impressive debut from the Czech car company. We like the fact that it’s not too tall, feels much like a ‘normal’ car to drive, but the seven-seat interior is almost as spacious as larger SUVs from the class above.

When it comes to towing, the Kodiaq was voted the overall winner in the 2018 Towcar of the Year, so it must be doing something right. Sure enough, pick the top-spec 2-litre TDI 190 horsepower model with four-wheel drive and a seven-speed automatic gearbox and it breezes pulling a 1500kg caravan or horsebox.

There’s little body roll from the suspension, the nose stays level under acceleration or braking and the range of driver-aid safety features have got your back.

The fact we rate it as one of the best-value, seven-seat SUVs money can buy seals its place on this list of top tow cars.

Skoda Kodiaq buyers' guide

Best new tow cars for under £45,000 

1. Volkswagen Amarok

Our pick Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI 204PS Highline
Kerbweight 2,178kg
Towball limit 140kg
Max towing weight 750kg unbraked/3,100kg braked

Latest Volkswagen Amarok deals from £13,795
Monthly finance from £251

For the ultimate blend of workhorse hauler and luxury cruiser, it’s hard to beat the Amarok. One day it could be clambering across a prospective piece of land for development, the next it could be pulling a sail boat and trailer off to the coast for a weekend of waves and barbecues.

The aces up its sleeve are a brawny V6 diesel engine, a seamless eight-speed automatic gearbox (in Highline trim) and a four-wheel drive system that maintains grip in tricky conditions.

It’s rated to pull up to 3100 kg, with the 204PS V6 and automatic gearbox, and with such a hefty kerbweight it can comfortably pull around 1800kg or so without breaking a sweat. As impressive it its overall stability and refinement; this is a sophisticated pick-up truck.

Volkswagen Amarok buyers' guide

 

2. Jaguar XF

Our pick Jaguar XF Portfolio 2.0d (180) automatic AWD
Kerbweight 1,700kg
Towball limit 100kg
Max towing weight 2,000kg braked

Latest Jaguar XF deals from £12,899
Monthly finance from £211

Tow to your campsite in style with the Jaguar XF. Available as a sports saloon or touring estate, the latest generation model also comes with the option of all-wheel drive, making what was already a long-standing star performer better still.

The secret to its solid credentials is its stability. This is a surefooted car that rides bumps beautifully and remains composed over crests and undulations. The driver should feel confident when towing up the steepest hills thanks to the power from the 180hp engine, and fuel economy is good – up to 41mpg.

The boot isn’t as large as an SUV but 540 litres is still more than generous for most needs.

Jaguar XF buyers' guide

Best new tow cars for over £45,000

1. Land Rover Discovery

Our pick Land Rover Discovery 
3.0 SDV6 HSE
Kerbweight 2,311kg
Towball limit 150kg
Max towing weight 750kg unbraked/3,500kg braked

Latest Land Rover Discovery deals from £24,490
Monthly finance from £402

Few cars get close to towing perfection, but the Land Rover Discovery is one of them. It’s big and heavy, and has a range of powerful engines, which means it is capable of hauling the weightiest of caravans or trailers. Our pick would be the V6 diesel.

With adaptive suspension – which can be lowered to meet a towing eye - pitch and dive are a thing of the past, bodyroll is contained and stability of main road speeds is impressive. The fact that you could venture off-road and not get bogged down makes it all the more versatile.

As a family car, it excels too. There’s acres of space and seating for seven adults. You’ll need to make reasonably frequent visits to a fuel station, but that’s more than made up for its sheer towing ability. The downside to buying a car with such a range of abilities is that the V6 diesel costs more than £65,000 in HSE trim.

2. Volvo XC60

Our pick Volvo XC60 D5 AWD R-Design
Kerbweight 1,873kg
Towball limit 110kg
Max towing weight 750kg unbraked/2,400kg braked

Latest Volvo XC60 deals from £15,000
Monthly finance from £253

What’s this? Another Volvo SUV in our list of the best tow cars? That’s right. Volvo’s XC60 is a highly desirable car and – some drivers would say – a refreshing antidote to the many German SUVs on the market.

We love the luxurious feel of the interior, generous boot and super-comfortable seats for all five passengers. But it’s just as impressive as a tow car. Pulling between 1500 and 1700kg, it feels stable yet responsive, the D5 four-cylinder diesel engine proves an eager performer and the eight-speed automatic gearbox and electronic handbrake make it easy when stopping and starting or crawling in traffic.

The all-wheel drive system gives traction on loose or slippery surfaces and the XC60 never feels less than faithful and surefooted – as you’d expect from a Volvo.

Volvo XC60 buyers' guide

 

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