David MottonSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Tow cars’ written by David Motton
Some of the most exciting tow cars of 2015 and beyond have been revealed at the Detroit motor show this week. The new Audi Q7 and Volkswagen Cross Coupé GTE should all appeal to caravanners, while Jaguar has announced the name of its first SUV, the F-Pace.
Although not present in Detroit, confirmation that the car will go on sale in 2016 has been one of the big stories at the show. It's certainly a tow car to watch, not least because it takes the brand into a market sector it has never been in before. Until now, Jaguar Land Rover has kept clear water between Jaguar and Land Rover. However, the F-Pace skirts the borders of Land Rover territory, although Jaguar prefers to refer to the car as a 'performance crossover' than an SUV. You can expect the car to be more road-focused, sporty and less able off road than a Land Rover, but even so, there's sure to be many customers considering the F-Pace as an alternative to a Range Rover Evoque.
Technical details are scarce, so it is hard to assess what tow car potential this new model might have, but expect the car to be powered by Jaguar Land Rover's new family of Ingenium four-cylinder diesels, with petrol-powered models using the V6 engine from the F-Type sports car. The F-Pace name is a deliberate reference to both this sporting two-seater, and Jaguar's famous old slogan, 'Grace, Space, Pace'.
It's still a huge SUV with seven seats, but Audi has put the car on a serious diet, losing 325kg in weight compared with the current model. Even so, that still gives a kerbweight of around two tonnes depending on the exact model and spec, so there aren't many caravans the Q7 couldn't sensibly tow.
Shedding so much weight does have its advantages, of course. The new Q7 promises to be significantly more fuel-efficient with lower emissions. The 268hp 3.0 TDI model should return 49.6mpg and emit just 149g/km of CO2. There's also a 328bhp 3.0 TFSI, which returns 36.7mpg and emits 179g/km of CO2. Both engine variants have a legal towing limit of 3500kg
The reduced kerbweight should also have helped Audi's chassis engineers sharpen the Q7's ride and handling, improvements which will be needed if the Q7 is to attract customers away from the BMW X5 and Range Rover Sport.
Although slightly smaller on the outside, Audi claims the new Q7 is more practical than its predecessor on the inside, with increased head and legroom.
Pricing will be confirmed closer to the car's UK on sale date: expect to see the Q7 in showrooms by the middle of 2015.
You could have to wait a little longer for the Volkswagen Cross Coupé GTE, or rather the production model it points towards. This may be a concept car but it's believed to drop some heavy hints as to the design direction of the next Tiguan, likely to go on sale in 2016. The petrol-electric plug-in hybrid system used by the GTE is probably a further year away from powering one of VW's SUV line-up.
Over on the Mercedes-Benz stand, the new GLE and CLA Shooting Brake both have potential as tow cars. The GLE is a 4x4 coupé along similar lines to the BMW X6. It's expected to go on sale in the UK this summer. It will share showroom space with the CLA Shooting Brake, an estate version of the CLA saloon. It should be a more practical proposition for caravanners than the standard CLA, although with its swooping roofline it appears to put style ahead of practicality. It goes on sale in Britain this month with first deliveries expected in March.