The best caravan tow car will be stable and reliable, getting you and your tourer safely from A to B. However, towing takes a lot out of a vehicle and having enough muscle to pull a tourer while also remaining stable is a big ask. The very standout caravan tow cars, therefore, will need to combine a number of talents.

However, there are a lot of options on the market, and as a result, it can be hard to know how to go about finding the right car to tow a caravan. That’s where we come in.

Since Practical Caravan first launched in 1967, we’ve tested hundreds of tow cars, covering everything from small crossovers to family hatchbacks, roomy estates to big SUVs – we’ve seen them and we’ve reviewed them for their towing ability, helping our readers pick out the best option.

We also run the Practical Caravan Awards, where our expert judging panel identify the best caravans across a range of categories, as well as the towing options that have really impressed us.

Now, to help you choose the best caravan tow car, we’ve gathered our top picks.

The biggest brands, from Kia and Ford to Skoda and Seat all feature in our round-up, as we share our recommended cars for towing caravans that will provide reliability and stability on your travels. Whether you’re looking for a large SUV, a 4×4 or an MPV, there’s an option in our guide that should suit you.

If you decide you’d rather buy a pre-owned towing vehicle, be sure to take a look at our guide to the best used tow cars too.

What is the best car to tow a caravan?

Audi A6 Avant 50 TFSI e Quattro S Line Tiptronic
Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna
BMW X3 M40d
Ford Focus Estate 1.0 EcoBoost 155PS mHEV Active X Powershift
Volkswagen Multivan 1.4 eHybrid 218PS Style DSG
Škoda Superb Estate
Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi Plug-In Hybrid 4
Volvo V60 Recharge T6 AWD Inscription
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate
Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI Evo 150PS SE DSG

The best caravan tow cars:

Audi A6 Avant 50 TFSI e Quattro S Line Tiptronic
The Audi A6 Avant 50 TFSI e Quattro S Line Tiptronic

Audi A6 Avant 50 TFSI e Quattro S Line Tiptronic

  • Price: £61,725
  • Kerbweight: 2150kg
  • 85% match figure: 1828kg
  • Maximum towing weight: 2000kg

Reason to buy:

  • Provides excellent economy and performance

Reason to avoid:

  • Boot is on the small side, pricey

An appealing alternative to a large SUV, the Audi A6 has a spec sheet reminiscent of a 4×4.

Matching it to a tourer with a MiRO of 1645kg, we found it pulled at 60mph with ease, switching from hybrid to electric for some quiet but efficient towing. The electric motor and petrol engine work together, providing a combined power output of 299hp, while there’s a maximum torque figure of 322lb ft – big numbers that explain why this is such a quick towing car.

Hill starts are simple for the plug-in hybrid tow car, while stability – something that the best cars to pull caravans always provide – is excellent, with movement only felt once during our test, when overtaking an HGV.

As an everyday car, the Audi A6 Avant is a pleasure to drive, with suspension that feels firm but also “well-judged for faster driving”, as our reviewer, David Motton, put it.

There’s a spacious interior too, with a high-tech feel throughout. One thing we did note was the boot space – the floor has been raised to create room for the plug-in hybrid components, so capacity is down to 405 litres, significantly lower than the similarly priced BMW X3 M40d.

Yet this caravan tow car will be cheap to run for the right owner – we saw an economy of 30.2mpg while towing with the battery just below fully charged. 66 miles in, and there was still just under a quarter of the charge remaining.

With the exception of that small boot, we think this is a very good caravan tow car, one that offers excellent performance and economy, so long as you can recharge at home.

Full review: Audi A6 Avant 50 TFSI e Quattro S Line Tiptronic

Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna
The Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna

Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna

  • Price: £45,310
  • Kerbweight: 1880kg
  • 85% match figure: 1598kg
  • Maximum towing weight: 1800kg

Reason to buy:

  • Comfortable and punchy to tow with, a secure solo drive

Reason to avoid:

  • Economy

By large 4×4 SUV standards, this hybrid is a relatively lightweight option, coming in with a kerbweight of 1880kg. Despite this, its towing limit nearly equals that, meaning caravanners get a big range of vans to choose from.

We matched the caravan tow car to a tourer with a MiRO of 1306kg and found it pulled with ease, with that huge torque of 387b ft coming into its own. Beyond the occasional noise from its engine, the Nissan was relatively quiet, with excellent stability  – in fact, the only odd movement was felt when overtaking HGVs at the caravan towing speed limit.

The Nissan has a comfortable and punchy nature, but one thing we need to point out is its economy. We only averaged 21.4mpg, despite testing in favourable conditions. Reversing could also be problematic, as going back more than a metre led to the breaks being applied – something our reviewer, Nigel Hutson, guessed was down to the ’13-pin socket fitting and programming’.

Switch to solo driving and the engine is barely heard. The car is swift off the mark and can cruise at motorway speeds. Despite the odd body roll when pushed, the X-Trail feels very secure and is enjoyable to drive.

Something else we loved – the simplicity of its various buttons and touches. There’s also plenty of space inside, with three able to travel in comfort in the rear seats. The boot is huge and, usefully, a wireless charging pad and USB ports are dotted throughout.

A small touch we appreciated was the ease of attaching caravan towing mirrors – that’s not always the case nowadays.

Overall, we’d say this is a well-built and thoughtfully designed tow car. It’s easy to see how it was our winner of the best caravan tow car over 2000kg at the Practical Caravan Awards 2024 too – just look out for the economy.

Full review: Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna

BMW X3 M40d
The BMW X3 M40d

BMW X3 M40d

  • Price: £62,785
  • Kerbweight: 2080kg
  • 85% match figure: 1768kg
  • Maximum towing weight: 2400kg

Reason to buy:

  • A pleasure to drive, whether towing or as an every-day car, plenty of torque and power, surprisingly frugal

Reason to avoid:

  • At over £60,ooo, it’s quite a pricy option to consider

You’re entitled to want a lot to justify the price tag, but we found towing with the most powerful diesel in the X3 range an absolute pleasure. Stability and speed are hallmarks of the best caravan tow cars, two things that this BMW certainly offers.

The SUV’s kerbweight of 2080kg means it has an 85% match figure of 1768kg, and it towed a caravan with a MiRO of 1505kg with ease. Both a hill start on damp Tarmac and maintaining speed on a hill proved no problem, with its four-wheel-drive system up to the challenge.

Both crosswinds and high-sided vehicles posed no issue either – in fact, the only wobble was felt when a larger van overtook at speed, and we were quickly able to pull it straight. Hitching up a caravan is also simple, as this BMW is well-equipped to deal with low-speed manoeuvres.

When it comes to solo driving, this is one of the quickest cars we’ve towed, going from 0-62mpg in only 4.9 seconds. Sporty suspension does mean bumps in the road will be felt, but we liked the excellent control it provides at speed.

This is also very well-equipped, with a spec including 21-inch alloys, heated front seats, a rear parking camera and acoustic glass. It’s surprisingly frugal for such a heavy car too, as we achieved 41-43mpg for everyday use and 25.2mpg when towing.

There’s no getting away from it – this is an excellent caravan tow car, with plenty of power and torque. If you have the budget for such a roomy and powerful car, you’re sure to enjoy towing in this BMW.

Full review: BMW X3 M40d

Ford Focus Estate 1.0 EcoBoost 155PS mHEV Active X Powershift
The Ford Focus Estate 1.0 EcoBoost 155PS mHEV Active X Powershift

Ford Focus Estate 1.0 EcoBoost 155PS mHEV Active X Powershift

  • Price: £34,530
  • Kerbweight: 1451kg
  • 85% match figure: 1233kg
  • Maximum towing weight: 1500kg

Reason to buy:

  • Provides stable towing for a well-matched caravan, fun to use as a day-to-day car

Reason to avoid:

  • Best suited to those with lightweight caravans

The updated Ford Focus is no longer available with a diesel engine but now comes with a 30mm hike in ride height. This mild-hybrid, with 155hp, may provide a modest torque of 140lb ft, but the 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol engine felt more than capable of towing a lightweight caravan.

Its kerbweight of 1451kg means a match figure of 85% gives you 1233kg. We found the Ford towed a tourer with a MiRO of 1059kg without any difficulties, thanks, in part, to a seven-speed Powershift auto.

However, the engine’s outputs do become apparent when overtaking or on steep hills, and if a heavier caravan was to be towed, it would be even more apparent. We also think it would be nice to see a four-wheel-drive version for improved traction in wet conditions.

This is still a stable car for towing a caravan though, one which felt secure and competent, except for the occasional nudge.

For day-to-day use, it’s fun to drive, with the accurate steering feeling well-weighted. However, it would be good to have the choice to manually override the gearbox. We noticed a slight lean when cornering too.

Fuel economy is respectable – we achieved 56mpg for everyday use on the motorway and 27.8mpg when towing. Both legroom and headroom are plentiful in this tow car too, while the large infotainment system is an appreciated touch. We did think that while the car feels well built, there’s no getting away from the fact that some of the surfaces look cheap.

Overall, we think this is a practical option for those who have a lightweight tourer – be aware that if you have a family van, the petrol engine will be working hard though.

Full review: Ford Focus Estate 1.0 EcoBoost 155PS mHEV Active X Powershift

Volkswagen Multivan 1.4 eHybrid 218PS Style DSG
The Volkswagen Multivan 1.4 eHybrid 218PS Style DSG

Volkswagen Multivan 1.4 eHybrid 218PS Style DSG

  • Price: £61,501
  • Kerbweight: 2243kg
  • 85% match figure: above max tow
  • Maximum towing weight: 1600kg

Reason to buy:

  • Transports everyone in comfort, cleverly utilises interior space, ideal for large families who want an MPV

Reason to avoid:

  • Not a four-wheel drive

This plug-in hybrid has a maximum towing figure of 1600kg, making it a more realistic choice for caravanners than the electric Buzz, with its figure of 1000kg.

Matching it to a caravan with a MiRO of 1505kg, we found it towed impressively from a standing start, with the petrol engine and 85kW electric motor providing strong acceleration. Okay, it’s not as quick as some tow cars, but it’s more than capable of pulling a well-matched caravan.

Hill starts are no issue either, even after overnight rain, with the electronic parking brake holding tow car and caravan in place before a smooth release on a 1-in-10 slope. Stability at speed is also provided, with motorway towing a pleasure.

For day-to-day use, there’s no getting away from the fact that this is a big car – it’s nearly 5m long. However, we didn’t find it intimidating, with parking simplified thanks to the parking sensors at the front and rear, as well as the addition of a rear camera.

This is generally a quiet car for everyday use, except for sudden bursts of acceleration, which cause the engine to sound strained. Sharp bumps result in a shudder, but at high speed, the ride gets better. Country roads are well-handled too in a car that prioritises comfortably transporting people.

We consider this one of the best MPVs on the market, with its cabin a case in point. Space is cleverly utilised, with the seats laid out in a two-two-three arrangement, so passengers can easily get in and out of the back without climbing over seats. Plus, the seats come on runners, meaning they slide back and forth as required for legroom, while we liked the sliding side doors, which offer easy entry.

Boot space varies depending on how many seats you use, ranging from 469 litres to a huge 3710 litres. Then there’s the fuel economy – official figures say around 148.7-156.9mpg, although journey length and recharge frequency will impact this, while 29.6mpg towing economy was achieved from an 80% battery charge.

We’d say if you have a large family and want an MPV, this VW could be the best caravan tow car for you.

Full review: Volkswagen Multivan 1.4 eHybrid 218PS Style DSG

The Skoda Superb Estate

Škoda Superb Estate

  • Price: £33,760
  • Kerbweight: 1620kg
  • 85% match figure: 1377kg
  • Towing limit: 2000kg

Reasons to buy:

  • Excellent fuel economy, practical at towing

Reasons to avoid:

  • Sportier options available

The Superb is one of our favourite family tow cars, thanks to the brilliant fuel economy and reliable towing it provides.

We tested the 150hp 2.0-litre-diesel matched to a DSG auto, but it’s also available as a petrol and plug-in hybrid, as well as a front- and four-wheel-drive.

After matching the Superb to a Swift Fairway Classic 590 with a MiRO of 1374kg, we found it easy to reach 60mph on an uphill slipway when joining a dual carriageway. We liked how controlled the caravan tow car felt on country roads, despite the conditions we tested it in.

The Skoda acquitted itself well when we tried a hill start too. Our test car had front-wheel-drive and summer tyres, but the electronic parking brake held the tow car in place on a 1-in-10 slope, releasing smoothly and allowing us to pull away without any wheelspin, in spite of the snowy weather.

We found the Superb tows effortlessly on a motorway too, with steep inclines proving no issue. Its soft suspension set-up allows rough roads to be easily manoeuvred, although we found bumpy roads could feel a little floaty when driving solo. For everyday driving, we achieved over 50mpg, while 29.5mpg was seen while towing.

There are definitely sportier caravan tow cars around, but if you want a practical, spacious and comfortable vehicle, the Skoda could be the best option for you.

Full review: Škoda Superb Estate

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace
The Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

  • Price: £41,995
  • Kerbweight: 1834kg
  • 85% match figure: 1559kg
  • Towing limit: 2500kg

Reason to buy:

  • Stable tow car, sensible running costs

Reason to avoid:

  • Third row more suited to occasional use

We think the Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace makes a great tow car.

When we tested the 2.0 TDI 150 4Motion Elegance DSG, we were impressed by how easily it towed a Swift Fairway Platinum 860 with a MiRO of 1554kg.

While its torque of 266lb ft may be lower than that seen in the Kia Sorento, we found the Tiguan had no issue getting up to 60mph when towing. A hill start on a 1-in-10 slope was also no challenge, with the electronic parking brake promptly releasing. The engine could be heard working hard, but we reached the top of the hill without any wheelspin.

We also think this is a very stable car for towing a caravan – we barely felt any movement in windy weather or when overtaking a HGV.

It’s a fairly quiet and comfortable option for everyday use, even if the firm ride does mean sharp bumps are felt.

While it seats seven, we’d say the third row is more for occasional use, due to restricted head and legroom. There’s plenty of space up front and in the middle row, although we found the transmission tunnel intrudes a bit if the latter is fully occupied.

If you’re using all three rows, you’ll still get 230 litres of storage, but this can be increased to up to 760 litres if you’re only using the front two.

We saw roughly 40mpg when solo driving, and 23.8mpg when towing.

This may be a pricey option to consider, but we think that the stability it offers and its sensible running costs makes it a very worthwhile addition to our best tow car guide.

Full review: Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace

The Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi Plug-In Hybrid 4
The Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi Plug-In Hybrid 4

Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi Plug-In Hybrid 4

  • Price: £54,695
  • Kerbweight: 2099kg
  • 85% match figure:Not legal
  • Towing limit: 1500kg

Reasons to buy:

  • Spacious interior with plenty of legroom in each row
  • Ideal company car

Reasons to avoid:

  • Diesel option is cheaper and can tow heavier caravans

We’ve always rated the Sorento, and we were impressed by the plug-in hybrid version when we tested it too.

After matching it to a Swift Challenger 530 with a MiRO of 1330kg, it pulled effortlessly, easily towing at 50mph on a steep hill.

It was a similar story when we took the Sorento on dual carriageway and motorway inclines, with 60mph posing no issue.

When it comes to solo driving, this is a tow car that is built towards precise steering, comfort and neat handling. When you’ve charged it, you can choose between pure electric and hybrid running, and the petrol engine starts smoothly too. It has an official electric range of 35 miles, but we reckon the high 20s are a more realistic aim, based on the conditions and style of driving.

One of our favourite things about the Sorento is the spacious interior. Ventilated and heated front seats let you drive at a temperature that suits you, and we appreciate that the infotainment graphics are easy to read. Middle row passengers will get to enjoy plenty of head- and legroom, and the outer two seats are also heated. Even in the back row, you get more space than a typical seven-seater.

While the diesel option is cheaper and would tow a heavier tourer, we think if you can get this PHEV as a company car, it could be the best car to tow a caravan with for you.

Full review: Kia Sorento 1.6 T-GDi Plug-In Hybrid 4

The Volvo V60 Recharge T6 AWD Inscription
The Volvo V60 Recharge T6 AWD Inscription

Volvo V60 Recharge T6 AWD Inscription

  • Price: £48,150
  • Kerbweight: 2075kg
  • 85% match figure: 1764kg
  • Towing limit: 2000kg

Reasons to buy:

  • Comfortable interior, stable tow

Reasons to avoid:

  • Infotainment system is fiddly to use

We were really impressed when we tested this hybrid, and we think it’s a strong performer, whether it’s towing a caravan or going solo.

Coming with a kerbweight of 2075kg, it gives you an 85% match figure of 1764kg.

When we put it to the test, we found it was capable of towing a caravan with a MiRO of 1437kg on electric power alone, and when both petrol and electric worked together, it was quickly towing at up to 60mph.

It’s a quiet tow car when the electric motor is in charge, and even when we switched to the petrol engine as the battery run low, the noise produced was still at reasonable levels.

Stability is one of the hallmarks of the best tow cars, and the V60 certainly provided that – our reviewer labelled it “secure and confidence-inspiring”. A 1-in-10 slope was no issue either; it pulled away without a problem.

We did think it was a little quicker than we would have liked when reversing at the campsite, but it’s something you would adapt to quite fast.

When you’re driving it in solo, we found the gearbox could sometimes be “a little slow to grab a lower gear” but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t corner neatly – instead, it’s simply a car that is suited to a sensible driving style.

It has a comfortable interior, but we’re not huge fans of the Sense infotainment system. While it may look good, we thought it was fiddly to operate, and didn’t respond immediately all the time. However, the seats are comfortable, ideal if you find yourself on a long drive.

Full review: Volvo V60 Recharge T6 AWD Inscription

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate

Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate

  • Price: £62,705
  • Kerbweight: 2015kg
  • 85% match figure: 1713kg
  • Towing limit: 2100kg

Reasons to buy:

  • Provides excellent stability, spacious interior

Reasons to avoid:

  • High running costs, expensive

When we tested this Merc, we couldn’t fault its towing abilities. Thanks to its kerbweight, it has an 85% match of 1713kg, making it a viable alternative to an SUV.

We found the 3.0-litre six cylinder diesel to be “superb” – in fact, our reviewer, David Motton, remarked “it pulls strongly right from the bottom of the rev range”.

If you stop on a slope, it will be a simple business to get going again, with the electronic parking brake keeping both car and tourer in position, before allowing for smooth release.

The stability is also something very much in the favour of this E-Class.

We’d go so far as to say this E-Class stands up to the best SUVs, with excellent performance and stability on offer.

It also has a roomy interior, with generous luggage space and good leg room. One thing we would point out is that it can have high running costs.

All-in-all, it’s a worthy addition to our best tow car list – spacious, stable and practical.

Full review: Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate

Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI Evo 150PS SE DSG
The Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI Evo 150PS SE DSG

Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI Evo 150PS SE DSG

  • Price: £29,630
  • Kerbweight: 1416kg
  • Legal towing limit: 1600kg

Reasons to buy:

  • Well-judged suspension, spacious cabin

Reasons to avoid:

  • Only suited to smaller caravans

We rate the Ateca highly, and think you’ll get a superb towing car, whether you opt for a more affordable 1.0-litre petrol model or a more powerful diesel 4×4.

The 1.5 TSI SE was our winner of the best caravan tow car under 1600kg category at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023 and is an excellent option to consider if you own a lightweight and small caravan, as we think the value and performance it provides are hard to beat.

Our reviewer, David Motton, noted that “1.5-litre engine has a much punchier mid-range than most small-capacity petrol engines.” This means you’ll find it more than up to the task of pulling a well-matched caravan, while we’re fans of how the DSG auto efficiently swaps gears.

One of the traits we look for in the best caravan tow cars is stability, and the Ateca really delivers here, thanks to its firm and well-judged suspension. Then there’s the spacious cabin that will help to make the trip to your campsite of choice a more pleasant experience.

When you put this all together, it’s easy to see how the Ateca has made it onto our guide.

What do I need to know before I buy the best caravan tow car?

To stay within the law, your car needs to have a legal towing limit that will either match or surpasses your caravan’s loaded weight – for instance, if your caravan weighs 1500kg, your car will need a towing limit of at least 1500kg.

A car’s legal maximum is based on its ability to tow a trailer up a slope repeatedly, so it shouldn’t be assumed that because a car can legally tow, say, 2500kg, it’s going to be wise to tow something that heavy at 60mph on the motorway on a windy day.

As a result, it’s recommended by the two main caravanning clubs that you tow no more than 85% of the tow car’s kerbweight. You can then work out the maximum weight of the caravan you can tow to stick to the 85% guideline by taking the tow car’s kerbweight and multiplying it by 0.85. For legal towing, this figure should not exceed the car’s towing limit.

Our guide to the licence you need to tow a caravan will also talk you through all you need to know to make sure you have the correct licence.

What should I be looking for in the best tow car?

When you’re choosing the best cars to pull a caravan, the important things to consider will be the safety, economy, practicality and value. However, the most important quality will be stability. It’s not always easy to assess, based solely on the spec, but combining this with a test drive can be helpful.

Even if the test drive doesn’t see you towing a caravan, you can still look out for certain signs – are you getting a firmly controlled ride? Does the suspension recover straight away?

You can find out more about what to look out for in our guide to how to choose a tow car.

How we choose the best caravan tow cars

Practical Caravan launched in 1967, and since then, our experts have conducted hundreds of tow car tests, covering everything from small crossovers to family hatchbacks, roomy estates to big SUVs. Many of these can be seen in our tow car review section.

Every vehicle we feature in this round up will have been seen, tried out and experienced by our team, allowing us to make sure the models we’ve selected do provide the most important tow car qualities.

Some of the factors we consider include the safety and stability of the car, the fuel economy it offers, the practicalities of using it as both a towing vehicle and for everyday use, plus whether it makes financial sense to buy.

Putting this all together, and comparing it with other models we’ve tried out, puts us in an authoritative position to pick out the caravan tow cars that we think are the best options on the market.

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