Vehicles with a 3,500kg towing capacity

Need, a tough, strong car for towing? Here are the best vehicles that have a 3.5-tonne towing capacity, from luxury SUVs to vans

Sam Naylor
Apr 27, 2022
Audi SQ7 front three quarters view

Three-and-a-half tonnes, or 3,500kg, is the maximum amount that can be towed in any vehicle in category B on your driving licence - that is cars, vans and pick-up trucks that you can drive without needing any extra training. 

It’s the highest towing capacity that you will find on these types of vehicles - how common it is depends on the type itself. Pick-ups with a 3,500kg towing capacity are actually fairly common, as it’s a selling point for these vehicles that are often used on farms or building sites, and may need to carry a lot of weight and/or tow large loads every day.

There are quite a few vans that have a 3,500kg towing capacity, but you often need to specify a reinforced towing point or heavy-duty chassis to get this amount of pulling capacity. Moving on to normal passenger cars, it’s pretty rare to find models that can tow the full amount.

This is because most people don’t need to tow trailers that are this heavy - and if they do, they are likely to choose a more specialised model such as a pick-up. However, there are cars that fit the bill - and we’ve picked out the best ones below.

We’ve tried to cover as many bases as possible, so in our list of the best cars with a 3.5-tonne towing capacity we’ve included some pick-ups, a van and several normal SUVs that are great for towing.

Remember that you can only tow a trailer on a normal category B licence if the weight of the vehicle and trailer does not exceed 3,500kg. If you intend to tow more than that then you need to pass a further test to have category E added to your licence - although if you passed your test before 1997 this doesn’t apply.

Read on to find out more about the best vehicles with a 3,500kg towing capacity.

Cars with highest towing capacity

1. Ford Ranger

Best for versatility

Used deals from £17,150
Monthly finance from £574*

If you want to tow, a pick-up is a natural choice. Not only are these models designed with towing in mind, they’re fitted with economical and powerful diesel engines that are more than up to the task of towing, but won’t cost the earth to run while doing so.

The Ford Ranger is one of the best pick-ups around because it’s really practical and versatile. You could easily use it every day because it’s comfortable and relatively easy to drive, especially with an automatic gearbox. There’s enough space for the family in the double-cab model as well.

Yet the Ranger is also tough and great for tasks like off-roading and carrying heavy items in the large load bay. It’s also fitted with lots of modern tech such as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and high-spec versions have luxuries such as heated seats and leather upholstery.

FORD RANGER BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Land Rover Discovery 4

Best for families

Used deals from £18,795
Monthly finance from £456*

The Land Rover Discovery 4 is the previous-generation model, rather than the one that’s currently available as a new car. We reckon this version makes a lot of sense as a tow car for families because it’s more affordable than the newer model but just as luxurious, good to drive and capable for towing.

The Discovery 4 is among the best off-roaders you can buy as well. It uses impressive technology including self-levelling suspension, hill descent control and more to help make driving over harsh terrain easier. The high ride height and four-wheel-drive mean it’s highly capable and also makes a great tow car.

What makes it worthy of recommendation as a family car, though, is the fact that it’s incredibly comfortable on the road. There’s loads of space inside too - even adults will be comfortable in any of the car’s seven seats - and it has lots of performance from the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel engine.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mercedes Sprinter

Best for carrying capacity

Used deals from £22,890
Monthly finance from £0*

Not all versions of the Mercedes Sprinter have a 3,500kg towing capacity - you need to look for a model with the correct towing capacity package added from the factory. It’s also not possible to retro-fit this, so check before you buy, or go for a new model and add the option yourself if you need a van to tow with.

We’ve picked the Sprinter out as a great van for towing because it’s a top all-round work van. It’s comfortable and easy to drive, quiet and economical. The cabin is smart and it comes in a wide range of configurations including long wheelbase and high-roof versions to boost carrying capacity.

The Sprinter is even available with four-wheel-drive, which could be useful for people towing on work sites or farms. It’s not necessary to go for the 4x4 version to tow, though, as the punchy diesel engines in the Sprinter range will be more than up to the task of towing in two-wheel-drive form, too.

4. SsangYong Rexton

Best for value for money

Used deals Limited stock

The SsangYong Rexton is our pick as the best-value passenger car with a towing capacity of 3,500kg. The reason it’s able to tow so much is because it’s based on similar mechanical parts to a pick-up truck, but its SUV body means it’s useful as a family car and has lots of space inside.

The Rexton is really affordable considering the amount of space inside. It’s a seven-seater and there’s loads of space in the boot with the rearmost seats folded. It’s also packed with tech, including comforts such as heated leather seats and smartphone connectivity, and the interior is smart and pleasant to spend time in.

There is a bit of a drawback, that being the Rexton’s comfort levels. It’s based on a pick-up and that comes through in the driving experience, as the SsangYong is bouncy over rough roads and shudders, shakes and crashes over potholes. It does settle down more with a trailer attached, though.

5. Audi Q7 

Best for luxury

Used deals from £27,992
Monthly finance from £0*

There aren’t many cheap cars that have a high towing capacity but if you have a high budget then your options are much wider. The Audi Q7 is a really luxurious choice, with a smooth six-cylinder diesel engine, four-wheel-drive and seven seats. It’s incredibly comfortable on the road and while it’s not the best for off-roading (you might damage those huge alloy wheels, for a start), the Q7 can tow up to 3,500kg legally.

The diesel versions are best for towing without spending too much on fuel but the petrol models are also able to tow the maximum amount as well. Whichever you go for, the Q7 is powerful, fast and comfy to drive. It’s quiet inside, the automatic gearbox shifts smoothly and the interior looks very smart, so it’s a luxurious place to spend your time.

There’s loads of space inside, plus all the tech you could want. The Q7 isn’t the easiest car to drive simply because it’s so large, and British roads aren’t very accommodating to models this size - yet if you’re towing a large trailer, that point won’t really matter as you’ll have to pick your route carefully anyway.

AUDI Q7 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Land Rover Defender

Best for off-roading

Used deals from £56,948
Monthly finance from £888*

Land Rover offers plenty of models that have a 3,500kg towing capacity because the brand is focused on building large luxury SUVs. We’ve picked out the Defender from the current range of cars as it’s the best value for money and also the best at off-roading. It’s packed with technology that helps it to tackle harsh terrain but it’s also great to drive on the road, just like the older Discovery 4 above.

Yet the Defender also comes with modern tech like smartphone connectivity and as it’s a newer model, it should bring more peace of mind when it comes to reliability and maintenance. As it’s a four-wheel-drive vehicle, it’s great for towing trailers off the beaten track in comfort - perfect for farmers who want something that’s at home anywhere they find themselves.

On the road, it’s comfortable and surprisingly fun to drive, plus the engine range is excellent. The best for towing is the six-cylinder diesel, which is smooth and quiet while also offering plenty of pulling power and decent fuel economy.

READ MORE ABOUT THE LAND ROVER DEFENDER

7. Volkswagen Touareg 

Best for comfort

Used deals from £35,200
Monthly finance from £645*

The Volkswagen Touareg is closely related to the Audi Q7, although it’s not a seven-seater like its sibling. The Touareg is also slightly more affordable than the pricey Audi, but still offers the maximum 3,500kg towing capacity and has a huge boot.

The best thing about the Touareg is that it’s really comfortable. The suspension does a fantastic job of soaking up lumps and bumps in the road, plus the seats inside are supportive and it’s nice and easy to drive. There’s also an incredibly high-tech interior with a huge display screen with loads of features.

It feels very modern and upmarket, plus the powerful diesel six-cylinder engines are great for towing as well as normal driving. There are various power outputs and also a petrol model but all of the engines are smooth and have lots of pulling power, which is ideal for towing a heavy trailer.

VOLKSWAGEN TOUAREG BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Mitsubishi L200

Best for reliability

Used deals from £26,787
Monthly finance from £0*

The Mitsubishi L200 is a really sensible choice if you need a vehicle that can tow up to 3,500kg. It’s not the most comfortable pick-up around, and it’s quite unwieldy if you’re used to normal cars, but the L200 has reliability, low running costs and value for money on its side.

The Mitsubishi is powered by a four-cylinder diesel engine that brings decent fuel economy when towing, and it’s available in manual and automatic forms. It’s also available with plenty of modern tech including smartphone connectivity, and high-spec models have a good amount of creature comforts such as heated seats as well.

It’s roomy enough to work as a family car, although it’s a little noisy inside and as it’s a pick-up, it’s not the most comfortable vehicle you could choose for driving on the road - as the suspension is optimised for carrying heavy loads. If you need an affordable pick-up that’s dependable and can tow a heavy trailer, though, the L200 is a top choice.

MITSUBISHI L200 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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