Wondering what tow car to buy next? If you’re lucky enough to be in the market for a brand new model, you’ll want to take note of what was revealed at April’s New York motor show. With a host of new models and updated favourites revealed, there’s plenty of food for thought.
And, don’t forget, with new models going on sale, there may be bargains to be had on outgoing models for the canny caravanner. Here we rundown models with plenty of tow car potential revealed in the Big Apple.
Let’s start British, with the Jaguar XF, an eagerly awaited model here at Practical Caravan. Why? Well, an XF was crowned the overall winner at our 2012 Tow Car Awards, and in 2013 and 2014 the Jaguar XF Sportbrake was a category winner.
So, what can we expect from the all new XF? Available to order now and on sale later this year, the range is priced from £32,300 and will consist of the XF Prestige, XF R-Sport, XF Portfolio and XF S trim lines.
Power will come from Jaguar Land Rover’s latest 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium diesel engines, available in 161bhp and 178bhp guises, with a 296bhp 3.0-litre twin-turbo diesel V6 and a 375bhp 3.0-litre supercharged petrol V6 also available. Kerbweights for the entry-level diesel start at 1555kg for a model with the eight-speed auto, 1545kg if the new six-speed manual gearbox is fitted.
Jaguar also claims segment-leading rear seat space, great news for your caravan holidays, plus a 540-litre boot. We happen to think it’s a real looker, too, and we can’t wait to get behind the wheel.
There’s a new look for the seven-seat Mitsubishi Outlander. Outside, you’ll be able to spot these facelifted models thanks to the revised styling at the front and rear, 18in alloy wheels and new LED lights.
Get inside and additions to the Outlander include electric power steering, as well as a new style steering wheel and a host of new safety features. You might also appreciate efforts made to reduce noise and vibrations in the cabin.
Mitsubishi is yet to reveal details of the facelifted Outlander’s powertrain, nor when it will go on sale in the UK.
Another facelifted Japanese SUV revealed at the New York motor show is the Toyota RAV4, a solid performer at our 2013 Tow Car Awards. The revised range is set to launch in December 2015, the hybrid versions in the UK and Europe a few months later.
The updated front and rear styling introduces full LED headlamps to the range, while new soft-touch materials and a full colour TFT screen are among the revisions inside, safety kit also getting a boost.
A refreshed model in a busy and competitive segment, the new RAV4 will go up against cars including the Nissan Qashqai which topped our 2014 Tow Car Awards, the Ford Kuga and the Mazda CX-5 – however it’s the first of these to offer a hybrid.
The powertrain in the new RAV4 Hybrid AWD uses a 2.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, another motor powering the rear axle for electronic all-wheel drive. Toyota quotes a towing capacity of 1650kg and caravanners might also be pleased to hear that there’s a Trailer Sway Control system, too.
BMW X5 xDrive40e
Sticking with hybrids, next we have the BMW X5 xDrive40e which, to quote the manufacturer, “is the first plug-in hybrid production car from the BMW core brand”. It’s due to go on sale in autumn 2015.
Power comes from a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with 242bhp/258lb ft torque, which works with an electric motor generating 111bhp/184lb ft torque.
After our experience with the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, we’re keen to see what other manufacturers have in store – and what tow car ability these hybrids will have.
Speaking of which, the new version of one of the X5’s rivals debuted in New York. You’ll know it as the M-Class, but now Mercedes-Benz calls it the GLE.
The all-new Mercedes-Benz GLE will be in the UK this September and prices and specs are yet to be released, but as its predecessor impressed as a tow car in ML350 Bluetec guise, we look forward to testing the latest models.
The range kicks off with the 201bhp GLE 250 d 4MATIC and the 254bhp GLE 350 d 4MATIC, both fitted with nine-speed autos. Of course, a crazy AMG variant, the 577bhp GLE 63 S 4MATIC tops the range, but there’s also a plug-in hybrid, the GLE 500 e 4MATIC, which employs a 328bhp twin-turbo petrol V6 and a 114bhp electric motor.
Mercedes-Benz also revealed that it will launch an all-new pickup by 2020, which is sure to have plenty of towing ability.
One of the GLE’s rivals – and another X5 competitor – the new Lexus RX has also been revealed. Due in the UK later this year, all versions of this fourth generation RX are all-wheel drive.
The new RX is wider, longer and taller than the outgoing model, increased cabin space promised, too. Under the bonnet will be either a 3.5-litre, petrol fuelled V6, or a hybrid powertrain featuring a 3.5-litre V6 mated to an electric motor.
Range Rover SVAutobiography
We’re sure we don’t need to remind you what tow car capabilities Range Rovers have. Our tow car expert recently sang the praises of the Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography and Land Rover Range Rover has consistently starred at our Tow Car Awards, including class wins in 2014 for both the Land Rover Discovery and the Range Rover Sport.
And if you really want to splash the cash, how about the new Range Rover SVAutobiography, which debuted at the New York motor show. Fresh from the manufacturer’s Special Vehicle Operations’ Technical Centre, the option of a 5.0-litre 542bhp supercharged V8 makes it the most powerful production Range Rover ever, SDV6 Hybrid and SDV8 powertrains also available. It costs from an eye-watering £148,900 and goes on sale this summer.
Also on sale this summer, priced from £74,950, is the updated Range Rover 2016 model year line-up.
Finally, for the more budget conscious, there’s the new, fourth generation Kia Optima, which is due in the UK towards the end of 2015, the estate version set to be revealed later this year.
Details for British or European markets are scarce, but we know it will be sold in the US with three engine options including a new 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder, plus 2.0- and 2.4-litre diesels, all of which will be paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox. Cabin and boot space have been increased.