Top 10 best tow cars 2024
Choosing the best tow car can be tricky, so we’ve selected a range of our favourite cars with excellent towing credentials
Whether you need a vehicle that can tow as a day-to-day workhorse or for the occasional caravan holiday, we’ve put together a list of our best tow cars for you to choose from. We’ve included several cars that achieved high scores in our road tests and have the bonus of strong towing capability, as well as some more dedicated alternatives that will make light work of even the heaviest towing jobs. Our choices cover a range of budgets, from affordable options with impressive towing abilities to more luxurious, capable and expensive cars, so that you can find the right tow car for you.
The cars on this list are aimed at buyers with regular, heavy-duty towing in mind – perhaps a caravan or horsebox. That being said, a good tow car should also perform well as a standalone car, and all the entries on this list should satisfy the daily-driving needs of the majority of buyers. If occasional, lighter loads are more likely, you can exercise some creative licence with your choice of tow vehicle: most small superminis or family hatchbacks can manage a 1,000kg braked trailer, for example.
Read on for our list of the best tow cars on sale in the UK, or check out our guide on how to tow a car here. Also make sure to check out all the rules surrounding towing in the UK, including the changes which took effect from 16 December 2021.
When the new Land Rover Defender arrived on the scene in 2019, some were worried about whether its new-found focus on comfort and refinement would detract from the legendary ruggedness of its forebear. Those doubts were quickly put to rest once we’d tested it both on and off road – it’s an excellent SUV that can tackle sand dunes, muddy trails and, of course, the school run.
Handily, it’s even better at towing than the old model. With a maximum braked tow capacity of 3,500kg (3,000kg for the plug-in hybrid), it can haul just about anything. Its eight-speed automatic gearbox has low ratios to help with towing, and there’s an optional Advanced Tow Assist system that allows you to reverse a trailer using helpful arrows on the screen – a valuable feature for those who find this task challenging.
It’s expensive to buy – the five-door 110 model starts from over £63k – but if you want a capable road car that can handle all of your towing duties, we think the Defender is the best there is.
The Ford Ranger is no longer just a barebones workhorse for commercial buyers. The latest model was released in 2022 and has the style, tech and comfort to rival some of our favourite family SUVs. It’s the best-selling pickup truck in Europe and – although its size may deter some buyers – it offers excellent practicality and durability, as well as powerful diesel and petrol engines.
Its towing capabilities are equally impressive. Available in either Single Cab (two-seater) or Double Cab (five-seater) body styles, the Ranger will tow up to 3,500kg, meaning it can handle practically any towing load you throw at it. The Ranger also qualifies as a light commercial vehicle, bringing Benefit-in-Kind tax advantages that will lower running costs for commercial buyers.
The SEAT Leon Estate offers a great mix of handling, roominess, and towing capacity, making it an ideal all-rounder. The 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine will satisfy most buyers, offering good low-down pulling power. An optional seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox makes towing easier and improves refinement. Towing capacity is 1,700kg for the 1.5-litre, making it an ideal tow vehicle for all but the very largest caravans. Even the more affordable 1.0-litre petrol engine can haul up to 1,500kg, which may be enough for some buyers.
There are several trim levels available but all apart from the hybrid retain the 620-litre boot that makes the Leon especially practical for long journeys with lots of luggage. Another advantage is that – although the Leon isn't featherweight – it is lighter than many of the other tow cars listed, meaning there are fewer compromises in fuel economy or handling when you aren’t towing.
The Volvo XC60 may be one of the older cars on this list, but it still offers a competitive blend of refinement, technology and style to trouble even the latest mid-size family SUVs. For buyers after a comfortable, premium family car that can also handle towing duties, the XC60 ticks all the boxes.
Buyers needn’t be put off by the lack of a diesel engine in the XC60 – both the petrol mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid models come with respectable maximum towing capacities. The entry-level mild-hybrid B5 can pull up to 2,400kg, and the plug-in hybrid models are only marginally behind at 2,250kg.
With 455bhp and an equally lofty claimed fuel economy figure of 282mpg, the top-spec XC60 T8 plug-in hybrid outperforms most other mid-size SUVs in terms of performance and efficiency, as well as towing capacity. The figures are certainly impressive, but if towing is your priority, we think you’ll be better off saving some cash and opting for the B5 petrol mild-hybrid.
The Skoda Kodiaq is a regular feature on our best lists across a variety of categories, offering excellent value for money compared to its similarly-sized rivals. The same is true for towing – a maximum tow capacity of up to 2,000kg adds another string to the Kodiaq’s bow.
With seating for up to seven passengers, an enormous boot and a sprinkle of Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ interior features, you’ll struggle to find a car more practical than the Kodiaq. The 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine is the pick of the range, especially if you plan on towing. It’s punchy, comes with four-wheel drive and a DSG automatic gearbox, and returns better fuel economy than the similarly powerful 2.0-litre petrol engine. The 1.5-litre petrol engine is more affordable, but with less power and no four-wheel drive, towing capacity is reduced to 1,800kg.
An all-new Skoda Kodiaq is on the way, likely to improve upon the current model’s practicality, refinement and impressive engines.
Want an SUV for towing but don’t want something as large as the Skoda Kodiaq? The Volkswagen T-Roc could offer the ideal compromise. Sharing its underpinnings with the Volkswagen Golf, the T-Roc offers a higher driving position, more interior space and a higher towing capacity compared to its hatchback sibling.
The T-Roc is available with Volkswagen’s ubiquitous range of TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines, plus some models can be equipped with four-wheel drive, further improving towing capability. The entry-level variant comes with a 1.0-litre petrol engine and six-speed manual gearbox. Despite producing just 108bhp, the most affordable T-Roc can still tow up to 1,300kg. Upgrading to the more powerful 1.5-litre petrol engine adds an additional 200kg of towing capacity, while the 2.0-litre diesel model with four-wheel drive can pull an impressive 1,700kg.
It’s practical, well equipped and, at under £30k, it’s a great-value proposition if you’re looking for a small SUV for towing.
It’s impossible to discuss great-value small SUVs without mentioning the Dacia Duster. It may not be able to match the outright towing capacity of the other cars on this list, but with a starting price of just over £17k, it’s hard to ignore.
The Dacia Duster is a competent SUV that remains a great-value choice – it’s bigger and more rugged than pretty much any other SUV at a similar price. While Dacia no longer sells the Duster with four-wheel drive, all models can tow a braked trailer up to 1,200kg (aside from the Bi-fuel models). This may not be enough for buyers looking to tow large loads, but the Duster is still suitable for those towing small caravans and trailers.
When you’re not towing a caravan or taking a trailer-load of rubbish to the tip, the Duster performs admirably as a practical, no-frills everyday SUV, all for nearly half the price of its closest-sized rivals – just don’t expect the last word in polish or refinement. It remains to be seen whether the upcoming, all-new Duster will improve on the current model’s towing abilities, but it’s set to offer the same impressive blend of ruggedness and affordability.
Electric cars and towing don’t often go hand-in-hand, as pulling a heavy load can have a significant impact on EV range. That being said, if you’re set on an electric car to handle your towing duties, then the BMW iX is the pick of the bunch.
Its maximum braked tow capacity of 2,500kg far surpasses its rivals, such as the Audi Q8 e-tron’s 1,800kg figure. Long range models use a giant 105.2kWh battery with enough juice to power the iX along for up to 380 miles. Even the entry-level iX xDrive40 Sport model will manage 257 miles. Of course, expect these distances to drastically reduce once you’ve hooked up a trailer or caravan, so make sure to plan charging stops when travelling long distances.
The BMW iX’s electric motors have plenty of grunt off the line and should make light work of even the heaviest of caravans. There’s the added benefit of the smoothness and quietness of an electric drivetrain, too, with no gear changes to worry about.
Heavily inspired by the original Land Rover Defender, the Ineos Grenadier is a capable and rugged, if compromised, road car. Its design is resolutely old-school, prioritising off-road prowess over handling and performance, and its towing capacity surpasses that of most other road cars.
While many other SUVs are catered to school-run comfort or navigating supermarket car parks, the Grenadier is happiest tackling a dirt track or charging across a muddy field. Its BMW-sourced petrol and diesel six-cylinder engines provide enough shove to allow the Grenadier to tow up to 3,500kg – tied with the new Land Rover Defender.
However, the Grenadier lags behind the Defender when driving on road. It’s not as polished or as premium-feeling, despite costing around the same. The Defender may be the sensible option for most buyers, but the Grenadier’s unique features, such as the external ‘Utility Belt’, optional winch and roof-mounted ‘safari’ windows will appeal to a niche audience that values off-road functionality and a high towing capacity.
An electric hatchback may not be the obvious choice for hauling a trailer or caravan, but the Hyundai Ioniq 5 punches above its weight when it comes to towing. With a maximum towing capacity of 1,600kg, the South Korean EV is just as capable as many petrol or diesel-powered hatchbacks, if not more so.
The 1,600kg figure only applies to the larger 77kWh battery model, with this variant boasting a more powerful motor and a larger range. It's nippy, has plenty of interior space and even entry-level models come with a long list of standard equipment. We think it looks great too, with a charming retro-futuristic design that stands apart from today’s crop of SUVs.
While it can’t match the BMW iX in terms of outright towing capacity, it’s more affordable, with the 77kWh model starting at under £48k, and used models appearing on the second hand market from as little as £25k.
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