David Motton

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Time to swap tow cars? It's that time of year when there are lots of great new car deals out there, says David Motton, hunting down a few of the top picks

August used to be the busiest month of the year for new car sales. That all changed with the shift to a twice-yearly plate change. Now March and September are more important, with next month's shift to the new 66-plate sure to tempt lots of car buyers into showrooms.

Because finance offers and other special promotions often run quarterly, many manufacturers have already set out their stalls with plate-change deals. Some have also announced new special editions. Here are just a few new car deals that caught my eye.

Subaru's Levorg is one of the most intriguing tow cars of the year, with its turbocharged petrol engine, continuously variable transmission and four-wheel drive. Practical Caravan's Lizzie enjoyed driving the Levorg earlier this year, and we're planning a full tow test of the car later in the autumn. If the Subaru's combination of quirkiness and practicality appeals, you may be more tempted now it's on offer with three years' free servicing.

The deal is available right now, and runs until the end of September. So, you could take advantage today, but unless the salesperson sweetens the deal further with a big discount, the smart money will wait until September to take delivery as a 66-plate car will be worth more than a 16-plate one a few years down the road.

Škoda will also be hoping to see lots of 66-plate customers, and has just launched two new Škoda Octavia special editions. Both are based on the mid-range SE trim.

The SE Sport is priced from £19,990, and is available with either the 150PS 1.4 TSI or the 110PS 1.6 TDI engine. In addition to the kit fitted to the regular SE, the SE Sport has 17-inch alloy wheels, bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED rear lights. Inside, there are sports seats, a multi-function steering wheel, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, satellite navigation with wi-fi, plus cruise control. Škoda says that's £3150-worth of extras for £950 more than SE.

The other special edition from Škoda is the SE Technology, available with diesel engines ranging in power from 110PS to 150PS. As the name implies, it ups the gadget-count compared with the standard SE, with satellite navigation and wi-fi, a multifunction steering wheel, adaptive cruise control and front and rear parking sensors. Also included in the price are light and rain sensors, a chrome pack to enhance the car's appearance, and a double-sided boot floor. The car maker says the extra kit as standard amounts to a £1155 saving compared with ordering these options on a standard SE.

Both the Subaru Levorg and Škoda Octavia are relatively light. If you need something heavier to tow your caravan, then Jeep has some keen finance offers running between now and the end of September. For a true heavyweight tow car, how about the Jeep Grand Cherokee which is available with a huge £5000 deposit contribution towards a Personal Contract Purchase (PCP)?

If you're not familiar with PCP, it's a form of car finance which defers a large portion of the loan until the end of the agreement. The major advantage over straightforward Hire Purchase is that monthly payments are much lower. At the end of the agreement, you can make the big final payment to own the car, or hand the car back with nothing more to pay. If the car is worth more than the final payment, you can use the difference as a deposit to start a new agreement.

By taking £5000 off the amount to be financed, Jeep's offer puts a big dent in the cost of a Grand Cherokee. Go for a 3.0 CRD Limited+ with metallic paint, pay £7774 up front (in addition to Jeep's contribution) and there'll be monthly payments of £469 for the next three years. The interest rate is 3.9% APR.

Of course, £469 is still a chunk of change. If a Volvo XC60 is big enough and heavy enough for you, then your monthly bill will be a lot lower. There's a 0% APR PCP offer running until the end of September, along with a £1500 deposit contribution. Put down £9275 towards an XC60 D4 AWD R-Design Nav and you'll pay £299 per month over two years.

These are just a handful of the deals out there. Take a look online and you'll find many more. So if you are thinking of changing your tow car this September, shop around and find yourself a bargain.

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