The best used tow cars are reliable, stable and practical choices for towing a caravan. Here are 10 of our favourite best used tow cars
10 best used tow cars
When we tested the BMW X5 in 2015, we praised the BMW for its “superb performance and stability”. Find an X5 that’s been well cared for, and the same should be true today.
The xDrive 40d we tested is very powerful – the 30d should be cheaper to buy, and will still have enough poke to pull a twin-axle caravan. Either way, try to find an example with a towball already fitted, as it can be expensive to add one to a used X5.
Without a caravan to tow, the X5 is more agile than any two-tonne 4×4 has a right to be. The ride may not be as plush as a Land Rover Discovery’s, but keen drivers will likely consider this a price worth paying for the BMW’s taut handling.
Read more in our full review of the X5
MPVs have fallen out of fashion, with buyers choosing SUVs instead. But the best people carriers can make excellent tow cars, especially for large families.
The Ford Galaxy is an fine example. With seven seats upright, there’s more luggage space than you’d find in most MPVs. And with seats six and seven stowed away the boot is huge.
The clever interior isn’t the Galaxy’s only strength. It tows beautifully, as we discovered when we tested it back in 2018. The model we reviewed had a powerful diesel engine and four-wheel drive, which contributed to the Ford’s ability as a four-season tow car.
Read more in our full review of the Ford Galaxy
Honda deserves its reputation for building reliable cars. So if you are looking for a dependable, no-nonsense SUV, you could do a lot worse than the previous generation CR-V. In fact, given that Honda no longer builds a diesel CR-V, we’d rather tow with the old model than the new one.
The 1.6-litre diesel isn’t the punchiest around, but it’s up to the job of towing a sensibly matched caravan. Although the Honda can move around a little on a windy day, it’s stable in still air.
Practicality is a given with the CR-V. There’s lots of room inside for both passengers and luggage.
Read more in our full review of the Honda CR-V
Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai has been steadily taking the Santa Fe further upmarket with each generation. So we think the car is now better value as a used buy, especially if you find an example that still has some of its five-year warranty remaining.
We were impressed when we tested the Santa Fe in 2016, praising the car for its high kerbweight, strong engine, and stability on the motorway.
New buyers had the choice of five and seven-seat versions of the Santa Fe. Either way, it’s a roomy and practical car.
Read more in our full review of the Hyundai Santa Fe
One of our favourite executive saloons, the Jaguar XF also makes an excellent tow car. Shop for a used Jaguar, and you can enjoy this high-performance saloon at a budget price.
Stability was the XF’s outstanding feature when we tested it in 2016. We wrote: “At 60mph it felt relaxed and in control, unfazed by crosswinds or when overtaking high-sided vehicles. At the test track we pushed well beyond 60mph and had no nervous moments.”
The 2.0-litre diesel version we tested might not be as quick or smooth as the 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel, but it’s punchy enough and very economical.
A Lexus GS may be more reliable than the Jag, but we’d live with a few foibles to enjoy towing with the XF.
Read more in our full review of the Jaguar XF
If you don’t own a Kia Sorento, the chances are you will know someone who does. It’s one of Britain’s most popular tow cars.
It makes a cracking used buy too. New examples are more expensive than they used to be, so if you want to grab a very capable tow car at a bargain price, the used market is the way to go. And don’t forget, Kia’s warranty lasts for seven years.
The Sorento we tested in 2016 impressed us with its high kerbweight, slick automatic gearbox, and muscular diesel engine. We liked the roomy seven-seat interior, too.
Read more in our full review of the Kia Sorento
You can buy more powerful tow cars, and you can buy heavier ones. But for many of us, a Skoda Superb is all the tow car we really need.
It’s extremely roomy inside, thrashing most rivals for passenger space and boot capacity. In fact, the hatchback version of the Superb has more luggage room than many estate cars.
The Skoda also tows very well, with reassuring stability at speed and purposeful acceleration from the 2.0-litre diesel engine.
We loved the car we drove in 2016, and a few years down the road that same car would be great value on the used market.
Read more in our full review of the Skoda Superb
The best Subaru models make reliable, fuss-free cars for for towing a caravan. We think the Outback was one of the Japanese brands best efforts of recent years.
With its lofty ride height and four-wheel drive, the Outback offers the advantages of an SUV with the practicality of an estate.
It’s not an especially heavy car, but if your caravan is light enough, the Outback should tow it well. Stability at motorway speeds is reassuring, and the 2.0-litre diesel engine has enough pulling power to handle any suitably matched caravan.
Read more in our full review of the Subaru Outback
Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer
Vauxhalls don’t tend to hold their value particularly well. That’s bad news for new car buyers, but music to the ears of a canny used car shopper.
The Insignia Sports Tourer is a good example. We rated it highly when we tested it as a new car in 2017. A relatively high kerbweight makes for favourable matching ratios, and we found the Insignia to be stable, even in windy conditions.
Inside, the Vauxhall isn’t as roomy as a Skoda Superb, but there’s enough space to make this a practical family tow car.
Read more in our full review of the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer
If you want a luxurious 4×4 to tow an upmarket twin-axle caravan, but don’t want to pay silly money, the Volkswagen Touareg would be our pick.
It was a cracking tow car when we drove it in 2015, and it’s just as good now – but at a fraction of the price.
A choice of powerful diesel engines and a kerbweight the chunky side of two tonnes help the Touareg tow a caravan with pace and stability.
What’s more, the VW is roomy and has a very large boot.
Read more in our full review of the Volkswagen Touareg
If you’re in the market for a new model read our top ten new tow cars article here
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It was a cracking tow car when we drove it, and it's just as good now – but at a fraction of the price.