David MottonSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Tow cars’ written by David Motton
The 2015 Geneva Motor Show kicks off next week, and there are many important new tow cars among all the new models and concept cars. Here are a few of the cars I'm most excited about.
If you're in the market for a mid-sized crossover, the Hyundai Tucson could be worth waiting for. A replacement for the ix35, the new Tucson is longer, lower and wider than the outgoing car. To my eyes it's a much better looking car, with a strong family resemblance to the larger Santa Fe.
A rival for the Nissan Qashqai and the Kia Sportage, the Tucson will be offered with a choice of two petrol engines with 133bhp and 174bhp. The three diesel options are likely to be of more interest to caravanners, with a 113bhp 1.7-litre and a pair of 2.0-litre engines with 132bhp and 181bhp.
Hyundai says the new model will have a higher quality interior with extensive use of soft-touch materials. Cabin space is also set to improve, and there will be 513 litres of boot space with the rear seats upright.
The Tucson will be available in two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive versions, although there's no confirmation yet as to what the kerbweights and towing limits will be. Expect more technical details closer to the car's UK launch in the autumn – we look forward to finding out what tow car potential it will have.
Another sharp-looking crossover in Geneva will be the new SsangYong Tivoli. When it arrives in showrooms this summer it will be the smallest car in the SsangYong range, ready to steal sales from the likes of the Nissan Juke, Peugeot 2008 and Renault Captur.
The Tivoli will be offered with 1.6-litre petrol and diesel engines, with a choice of two- and four-wheel-drive versions. It will be available with both manual and automatic gearboxes.
Technical details are thin on the ground at the moment, but the diesel 4x4 in particular could have the makings of a capable and keenly priced tow car. The cost of the Tivoli won't be confirmed until closer to the car's on sale date, but a starting point of £13,000 or so looks likely. That would undercut the SsangYong's key rivals.
One car which you could never accuse of undercutting the competition is the Range Rover Evoque, which is a hugely capable tow car but rather pricey for an SUV of its size. A mid-life facelift for the Evoque will be on show at Geneva. There are tweaks to the exterior styling, but the most significant changes are under the bonnet, where the old 2.2-litre diesel engine is replaced by the new Ingenium 2.0-litre.
This more efficient engine brings big improvements in fuel economy and reduced emissions. Final figures are still to be confirmed, but Land Rover estimates that front-wheel-drive versions will achieve 68mpg on the combined cycle and emit just 109g/km of CO2. Even the 4x4 models will now achieve 59mpg and emissions as low as 125g/km.
The Ingenium engine will be offered in two states of tune, one with 148bhp and one with 178bhp. Expect kerbweights to drop slightly, since the engines are 20-30kg lighter than the current 2.2-litre units. Pricing will be announced in early April, with the first cars delivered in late summer.
If you'd rather drive an MPV than an SUV, the new BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer looks interesting. It's a big brother for the Active Tourer, adding a third row of seats to make space for seven. The third row folds into the floor when not in use, and the second row slides back and forth to trade legroom for more luggage space and vice-versa.
Two petrol engines will be available with 134bhp and 189bhp. There will be three diesels with outputs ranging from 114bhp to 187bhp. The most powerful diesel comes with BMW's xDrive 4x4 system – the combination of a flexible seven-seat cabin and four-wheel drive looks especially tempting as a tug for your caravan holidays.
All of which means we're very keen to put it to the test and find out what tow car ability the BMW 2 Series Gran Tourer has. Pricing has already been announced, starting from £24,175 and rising to £32,005. The Gran Tourer's official on-sale date is 6 June.
Hopefully I'll have towed a caravan with all four cars before the year is out.