Best pick-up for towing

Need a pick-up truck for towing a heavy load? Find out here which models are best for towing, everyday driving and more

Sam Naylor
Jun 28, 2021

Pick-ups are excellent for towing. Nearly all of them have very high towing capacities - plus the security of four-wheel drive for dealing with slippery surfaces - so you can hook up even the heaviest of trailers, and their large load bays mean that you can easily transport anything else you might need.

We’ve already highlighted the best used cars for towing in a separate article, and we even have a lineup of the best cars for towing a horse box as well - but those are cars and come with the associated tax rules and VAT on purchases. If you buy a pick-up, it’s classed as a commercial vehicle and so the rules are different, and usually better for business use.

In order to be a great pick-up for towing, a vehicle doesn't just need to have a high towing capacity. After all, our examples below can all pull over three tonnes, and most can manage the maximum allowed by law for this type of vehicle, which is 3.5 tonnes.

Towing is also about comfort on the journey, the strength of the engine and its economy, extra practicality and other useful tech including sat-nav. We’ve picked out models here that can tow most trailers you're likely to come across, but are also great vehicles in their own right.

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, in particular caravans - but the findings apply no matter what you’re pulling.

Read on below to find out our picks of the best pick-ups for towing. All of our chosen models are available in the BuyaCar Vans section, where you can browse for one in the exact spec or colour that you might want.

Pick-up tow capacity

1. Fiat Fullback

Best pick-up for exclusivity

Towing capacity 3,100kg
Used deals from £16,200
Monthly finance from £334*

The Fiat Fullback is no longer available as a new truck, and as it was only on sale for a few years, there aren’t a huge number for sale. This means that if you want a pick-up that stands out from the crowd, the Fiat could be for you - especially as it has a smart design that distinguishes it even further.

Yet under the skin it uses many of the same parts as the Mitsubishi L200 - the two brands shared construction costs in order to save money and offer a better truck for less. This means that when you’re looking at second-hand models, you can consider the Fiat Fullback and Mitsubishi L200 as being essentially the same truck.

That’s not a bad thing, because the L200 is a fantastic truck and so is the Fullback. It’s comfortable on the road but still very good off-road, and with a 3,100kg towing capacity, it has plenty of pulling power. The diesel four-cylinder motor is punchy but reasonably economical, and while it’s a little noisy, so are most pick-up engines of this type. Importantly, it’s also likely to be reliable over many miles.

FIAT FULLBACK BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Ford Ranger

Best pick-up for driving

Towing capacity 3,500kg
Used deals from £15,495
Monthly finance from £305*

The Ford Ranger has been around for decades, and it’s a popular choice in the UK for good reason. It’s one of the most enjoyable pick-ups to drive, and that extends to when towing, because it’s both comfortable and powerful. The five-cylinder diesel model is a brute, with loads of low engine speed muscle for pulling, although it’s quite noisy.

More recently, Ford has introduced a powerful bi-turbo four-cylinder model that’s even better, with just as much punch and less noise. The Ford’s cabin is also a pleasant place to spend time because the seats are comfortable and the media system is packed with features. There’s Android Auto and Apple CarPlay on the media system screen which makes it easy to sync up your phone for sat-nav and traffic info.

Furthermore, thanks to the large load bay and 3,500kg towing capacity, the Ford Ranger is able to pull even the heaviest trailers and carry all your associated gear in the back.

FORD RANGER BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Isuzu D-Max

Best pick-up for off-road towing

Towing capacity 3,500kg
Used deals from £15,625
Monthly finance from £363*

If you’re planning on towing a trailer off-road, you need a truck that is excellent at pulling, but is also dependable and capable of tackling the toughest terrain. The Isuzu D-Max is a good choice for this, as it’s known to be reliable and really rugged.

Its selectable four-wheel drive system and low-range gearbox mean it’s great for off-roading, although it’s worth noting that virtually all pick-ups have these features and are also very good off-road. The Isuzu’s reliable diesel engine is its key selling point, though, especially as it allows a towing capacity of 3,500kg.

One interesting aspect about the D-Max is that it was launched in 2.4-litre form without an AdBlue tank and still meets Euro emissions regulations, so there won’t be any added costs of filling the AdBlue tank on a long trip. However, it’s not the most economical or smooth engine even among pick-ups, so it's worth thinking about which factor is most important to you.

ISUZU D-MAX BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Mercedes X-Class

Best pick-up for luxury

Towing capacity 3,500kg
Used deals Limited stock

The Mercedes X-Class is one of very few pick-ups that are designed to be luxurious and comfortable on the road. Most pick-ups are made for commercial use and are often bumpy, rattly and rugged above all else, but the Mercedes - which is based on the Nissan Navara - brought a bit of luxury to the field, to take on the high-quality VW Amarok.

This means it’s great for towing long distances in luxury, although you will want the V6 diesel version as it has a higher towing capacity (of 3,500kg) and is a smooth, powerful engine. The Amarok also has refined and muscular six-cylinder diesel engines, so is well worth considering, too. The Mercedes has a high-quality cabin with plenty of tech and lots of soft-touch materials you don’t usually find in pick-ups.

It’s also more comfortable than most other pick-ups and doesn’t crash and rattle over potholes like many of the alternatives. While the V6 model is the most luxurious, even the four-cylinder diesel versions are quiet and should be a bit more economical too.

MERCEDES X-CLASS BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Mitsubishi L200

Best pick-up for value for money

Towing capacity 3,100kg
Used deals from £16,500
Monthly finance from £373*

If you’re looking for a pick-up that’s good at everything - including towing - and you want to get good value for money, then the L200 is probably your best bet. This model has been around for years and there are currently 80 for sale on BuyaCar, so if you need to spend a bit less, you can always go for an older model.

The L200 can pull up to 3,100kg, which is enough for most types of towing. It’s also spacious inside the cabin, so it makes a decent family vehicle, plus it has a useful load bay with lots of cover options including hard tops and roll tops. It has a reliable and economical diesel engine, which in the more modern versions is pretty quiet and smooth as well.

The cabin is basic, but the materials are hard-wearing and should stand up to all kinds of abuse over the years. We’d have no issue buying one with many miles on the clock due to its reputation for reliability, which is another benefit for those with a more limited budget. It’s also great off-road and there are many different versions including high-spec Barbarian models with lots of kit included.

MITSUBISHI L200 BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Nissan Navara

Best pick-up for daily life

Towing capacity 3,500kg
Used deals from £18,495
Monthly finance from £415*

The Nissan Navara was the 2021 winner of Caravan Club’s towing awards in the pick-up category, and the newest version is one of the best pick-ups around - and that’s not just for towing.

The Navara is more car-like than some of the other pick-ups on this list, as it has a cabin that’s designed to be a lot like Nissan’s popular car range. Some owners will want to use their tow car as a family car on occasion, and the Navara is perfect for this as it’s comfortable and quiet in the cabin even on the motorway.

This means it’s good for long trips as well as daily driving, and the high towing capacity of 3,500kg means you’re not limited on what you can tow. It’s comfortable on the road as well as being good when off-roading and there’s a decent amount of tech on the more recent versions too.

NISSAN NAVARA BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Toyota Hilux

Best pick-up for reliability

Towing capacity 3,500kg
Used deals from £18,995
Monthly finance from £412*

The Toyota Hilux enjoys an enviable reputation as the most reliable and dependable truck around. That trait alone is enough for it to command strong prices on the second-hand market, and although that means it doesn’t offer amazing value for money, we can’t deny the added appeal the car’s reliability brings. And it gives you confidence to choose an older model, without having to worry about experiencing lots of reliability issues.

The Hilux has also become one of the best on-road trucks in recent years. The latest versions are smoother than ever, with comfortable suspension and a relatively quiet engine. The in-cabin tech is better than before as well, which means it’s easy to find your way with intuitive sat-nav directions.

The towing capacity of 3,500kg means you can pull pretty much any trailer you want, and there’s a big load bay for all the extras. The interior is smart but uses hard-wearing materials that should stand up to abuse over a long life in service, too.

TOYOTA HILUX BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Volkswagen Amarok

Best pick-up for towing a caravan

Towing capacity 3,000kg
Used deals from £17,995
Monthly finance from £423*

If you’re planning on buying a pick-up to tow a caravan then the Volkswagen Amarok should be on your shortlist, because it was the winner of Caravan Club’s towing awards in the pick-up category for three years in a row in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

It’s not the reigning champ - that’s the Nissan Navara - but the Amarok makes a huge amount of sense as a caravan-towing pick-up because it’s more car-like than some other trucks, with a pleasant cabin full of tech and comforts - yet it has a very strong V6 diesel engine that will be up to the task of pulling caravans. It also feels very high-quality and is an appealing alternative to the Mercedes X-Class as an upmarket pick-up.

It’s not a high-capacity tower, as the maximum towing capacity is 3,000kg on most models and 3,100kg on some of the higher-powered versions. Yet caravans rarely trouble this kind of mass limit, and the Amarok’s comfortable ride, quiet engines and upmarket cabin mean it’s really good for long trips and caravan holidays.

VOLKSWAGEN AMAROK 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.

 

Latest best cars & vans

  1. Best cars with adaptive cruise control

  2. Best cars with reclining back seats

  3. Best cars with three full back seats