If you're looking to tow a heavy load, choosing the right car is essential. A powerful car with a sports suspension set up will send cargo swerving with every bump in the road, whilst a lower-powered petrol engine will struggle over long distances and ruin a car's economy.
The best towing cars use torque-esque diesel engines with huge pulling potential. These cars cruise easily over long distances and tow anything from caravans and small boats to horseboxes and traditional trailers.
The ideal pre-owned towing vehicles are also tourers which have exceptional ride comfort and balance, whilst the diesel engines keep fuel costs down. By their nature, most of these vehicles are also extremely practical, offering huge storage space for extra equipment such as camping gear or horse accessories.
Land Rover Discovery – 3,500kg
The Land Rover Discovery is arguably the most comfortable car for road trips, with plenty of leg and head room for seven adult passengers.
With an incredible towing capacity of 3,500kg, the Discovery was built with advanced hitching and towing features that make any manoeuvre simply effortless. Whether drivers are looking to tow a horse trailer or boat, the all-new SUV makes hitching easier on uneven surfaces with rear-end ride height adjustment at the flick of a switch.
For the past ten years, the Land Rover Discovery has won the Tow Car Awards- link to LRD tow award article - and 2017 was no different. As well as winning overall, the all-new Discovery won the 1,900kg class.
This SUV's performance is all about power. There is a variety of diesel and petrol engines to choose from, including a high efficiency 2.0 SD4 Igenium diesel engine and 3.0 SI6 petrol engine.
The Discovery is packed full of impressive new technology including a 10-inch touch-screen infotainment system, perfect for sat nav. The seats on both rows fold down electronically, controlled by a smartphone, making plenty of room in the boot for luggage.
If you're looking for an SUV with a high-standard quality interior, plenty of storage space, incredible performance and a massive towing capacity, go for the new Land Rover Discovery.
Jaguar F-Pace – 2,400kg
If you're looking for an SUV for your long-distance driving that is as powerful as it is attractive, the Jaguar F-Pace is the car for you.
The F-Pace was named the most beautiful car in the world and World Car of the Year in 2017 as well as winning the 1,700-1,899 class in the Tow Car Awards 2017. Although it has incredible pulling power, being able to tow a larger caravan, the F-Pace keeps running costs at an acceptable level.
Following in the footsteps of the Jaguar F-Type, the F-Pace has the DNA of a sports car, able to accelerate from 30mph to 60 in 7.7 second, even whilst towing a caravan.
The 3.0 litre V6 Supercharged petrol engine is available in the 380PS version and delivers an incredibly high standard level of performance alongside a unique tone.
Jaguar XF Sportbrake – 1850kg
The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is not only a competent cruiser, but also extremely attractive.
The XF estate has won the 1700-1899kg class at the Tow Car awards three years in a row and capable of towing an impressive 1850kg which is enough for all but the largest of caravans and trailers.
The number one choice in the range is the 3 litre V6 diesel, which offers enough diesel grunt for a mighty 600Nm of torque, and with 271bhp this is certainly no slouch. There are other impressive numbers too, such as a 0-60 time of just 6.6 seconds - but what really makes the Sportbrake a class winner is unrivalled refinement.
The engine makes very little noise, even when towing heavy cargo down the motorway. It also ensures you arrive at your destination unshaken and unstirred thanks to the self-levelling suspension which comes as standard on all estate models.
Importantly, your trailer will be levelled too, due to fact that the XF offers fantastic ride comfort no matter what trim level you pick. The Diesel S model also offers driving assists such as adaptive dampers and a Dynamic mode which offers light and accurate steering as well as great throttle response.
BMW X5 – 2700kg
The largest BMW Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) is amongst the most practical. A towing capacity of 2700kg ensures that cargo can be transported safely and efficiently, including horseboxes and larger caravans.
The X5 is very practical and comes in a 7-seat variation, housing a 650-litre boot at minimum capacity.
With one of the most agile and responsive chassis in an SUV, the X5 is all about style and driving pleasure. Its worldwide popularity since its release in 2000 is a testament to being a real driver's car.
Now in its fourth iteration, Practical Caravan described the BMW as 'simply imperious' when it comes to stability and comfort on long journeys, with any towing object following obediently with little swerve. Optional extras such as Adaptive Dynamic suspension help to eliminate issues such as body roll which can occur with taller vehicles.
There is one petrol engine on offer but most of the range offered are diesel. The best mix of economy and performance comes from the 3.0 litre SE, which has an impressive 520Nm of torque to easily propel any cargo. In fact, with a caravan attached the X5 takes only 12.4 seconds to reach 60mph from 30mph.
Mercedes C-Class – 1450kg
The C-Class is the only Saloon choice in this line-up, with practical features whilst being competent to tow up to 1450kg. The compact executive sector is popular with well-fitting diesel engines, and the C-Class is no exception.
The basic engine in the C-Class range is a 2.2 litre 147bhp, but there is also a 170bhp 2.7 litre diesel which will provide the extra pulling power essential for towing. However, the number one choice of the range is the 2.2 C220 CDi diesel, with excellent economy and impeccable performance. A more-than-adequate 400Nm of torque makes it ideal for cross-country journeys.
When not being used as a tow vehicle, the C-Class is incredibly refined and an effortless cruiser which makes it a comfortable everyday car too. A quiet cabin even at high speeds and a smooth ride despite agile and accurate steering means towing any cargo is a breeze and kept well under control.
The SE comes with standard equipment such as air conditioning and electric windows. Diesel engines are economical too and match up with the class best at around 45mpg.
Honda CR-V 1500Kg
The CR-V is a dependable stalwart in the SUV market, and has been on sale since 1995. It has enough grunt to tow most caravans and trailers, and also comes with high levels of kit as standard; including climate control; alloy wheels; cruise control and heated door mirrors.
Part of what makes a great tow car is a well-equipped spec list and good driving qualities which keep both vehicle and cargo planted on the road. The Honda satisfies in both these areas, and is a comfortable road cruiser over either short or long journeys. The SUV has been praised by outlets such as Auto Express for its ability to soak up potholes and bumps, ensuring a stable journey for your cargo.
The CR-V has a strong selection of diesel engines available, all which make good contenders for towing. The pick of the range is the 2.2 iDTEC diesel engine, which offers an extremely capable 350Nm of torque whilst offering impressive class economy figures in 50.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 149g/km. A smooth and assured power delivery combined with precise gear changing makes long rides seem like minutes.
The Honda also scores high on practicality, with a 589 litre boot which expands to a spacious 1,648 litres when the back seats are taken down.
MINI Cowley - 750kg
Believe it or not, the MINI Cooper also made our list. Traditionally, MINIs aren't renowned for towing trailers, let alone caravans or horseboxes. However, last year the Mini 'Cowley' concept was released, and showcased that the MINI made a more than able motorhome with a small attachment. The Cowley is a form of mini-caravan (or teardrop caravan) designed exclusively to sit behind a MINI.
If it ever became a reality we could see it becoming a hit with models such as a clubman, which provide go-anywhere ability and the compact nature of a supermini. Add a motorhome in to the mix and it becomes a perfect weekend camping tool for two.
Weighing in at just under 300kg, the Cowley has a two-burner gas stove, and a solar module which charges an on-board battery to power the fridge, TV and various audio equipment. The two-berth unit even includes a water tank with pump and sink. With this kind of attachment, a MINI cooper easily becomes one of the best tow cars available, and stocks plenty of power to boot.
Article updated: 13/07/2017