A good tow car has many benefits, offering stability as you drive, but the model you will need depends on your requirements. For our next category of the Practical Caravan Awards 2024, we are taking a look at the best mid-weight tow cars – those that offer a great balance between style, space and towing performance, to help you pull your caravan with ease.
This is a competitive class, so there are plenty of great tow cars to choose from. The five models below represent, in our opinion, the best of the bunch – each of these will give you a car that is as comfortable with a caravan behind as it is being driven solo. After a smaller model instead? Then take a look at our guide to the best small tow cars.
This year, we’ve picked out the Nissan X-Trail e-Power 213 e-4orce Tekna as our number one choice. We like how it stays straight and true when towing, as well as providing practicality on the road. Here, you can see what we made of it, as well as our shortlisted choices, with models from Ford, Kia and more all appearing.
Our winner of the best caravan tow car under 2000kg is:
Nissan X-Trail e-Power 213 e-4orce Tekna
- Price: £45,310
- Kerbweight: 1833kg
- 85% match figure: 1558kg
- Maximum towing weight: 1800kg
Nissan has been willing to do things differently with the X-Trail. The e-Power models are hybrids, but the petrol engine never drives the wheels directly. Instead, it acts as a generator for electric motor (or motors if you choose the e-4orce 4×4 model).
It’s a complicated arrangement that makes the X-Trail a heavy car for its size. All that weight makes for good rather than great economy and emissions figures (43.5mpg), but as caravanners we welcome a vehicle that’s carrying a few extra pounds when we’re choosing the ideal tow car. It makes for more favourable car-to-caravan matching ratios and helps with stability.
The X-Trail is one of those reassuring options that simply goes where you point it with very little interference from the caravan, the type of thing we look for in the best car for towing a caravan. It stays straight and true, even if the wind picks up or the road is busy with HGVs.
It’s impressively practical, too, although we’d stick with the five-seat version as the third row in the seven-seater is cramped.
Read our review of the Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna.
We also shortlisted the following for the best tow car under 2000kg:
BMW 320d Touring M Sport
- Price: £45,545
- Kerbweight: 1710kg
- 85% match figure: 1454kg
- Maximum towing weight: 1800kg
Few cars combine pace and fuel economy better than the BMW 320d. With 190hp it’s capable of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds yet returns 52.3-55.4mpg according to the official figures.
It makes a cracking tow car, too. Tautly controlled suspension makes for stable towing at all speeds and on all kinds of roads. There’s more than enough pulling power for overtaking while towing or holding speed on hilly routes.
Leave the caravan on its pitch and the 320d is a pleasure to drive, with sharp steering and beautifully balanced cornering. The ride is on the firm side, though.
There are roomier estate tow cars, but the 500-litre capacity is competitive with the likes of the Audi A4 Avant and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate. With the rear seats folded space grows to 1510 litres.
You pay a premium price for the 3 Series, but it should hold its value well.
Ford Kuga 2.5 Duratec PHEV ST-Line Edition
- Price: £37,755
- Kerbweight: 1844kg
- 85% match figure: ABOVE MAX TOW
- Maximum towing weight: 1500kg
Some plug-in hybrid tow cars are hampered by low towing limits. The Kuga’s 1500kg maximum means plenty of four berths make suitable matches (and check out our best 4 berth caravan guide if you’re looking for one).
Like any plug-in hybrid, the Kuga PHEV is at its best with plenty of charge, allowing the electric motor to do much of the work. When the motor and petrol engine combine performance is strong, although the Ford doesn’t match the punch of the Nissan X-Trail or BMW 3 Series Touring.
If you have room to install a charger at home and most of your day-to-day journeys are short, the Kuga is capable of remarkable economy – 251.8-282.5mpg, according to the official test results.
The Ford is great value to buy as well as cheap to fuel. ST-Line Edition is one up from the base spec, but still comes with an eight-inch touchscreen, a 10-speaker stereo, powered adjustment for the driver’s seat and a rear-view camera.
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi Edition
- Price: £49,590
- Kerbweight: 1954kg
- 85% match figure: 1661kg
- Maximum towing weight: 2500kg
The Sorento remains one of our favourite big SUVs. It’s combination of practicality, performance and stability is hard to beat.
You can buy plug-in hybrid and hybrid tow car versions of the Kia, but the diesel is the pick of the range for towing. The 2.2-litre engine has 325lb ft of torque, enough to pull a large tourer without any sign of strain.
At speed, the Sorento is stable, while four-wheel drive contributes to the Kia’s surefootedness in all weathers.
Inside, there’s space for seven, and third row is more usable than most. Luggage space is tight with every seat upright, but with the rear seats folded away there’s plenty of room for holiday bags.
Kia now offers the Sorento in one specification, called Edition. It’s not cheap but comes with a very long list of standard kit including a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display, and a 360-degree camera system.
Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI Evo 150PS SE L 4×4 DSG
- Price: £36,295
- Kerbweight: 1615-1729kg
- 85% match figure: From 1373kg
- Maximum towing weight: 2100kg
You can buy bigger, more powerful, and more upmarket tow cars than the Skoda Karoq. But as an understated and capable all-rounder, the Skoda excels.
The 2.0-litre diesel is familiar from countless other Skodas and VW Group cars, and it’s well suited to towing. It’s strong in the mid-range, as any good diesel should be, more than capable of towing any sensibly matched caravan up to speed.
Some of the Karoq’s rivals look like 4x4s, but aren’t. Skoda still gives Karoq buyers the choice of front- and four-wheel-drive models, and we’ve chosen the 4×4 for its higher kerbweight and better traction.
Inside, the Karoq is roomy and practical. The driving position is comfortable, and there’s enough room for adults to travel happily in the back.
Go for SE L spec for a lengthy roster of standard kit without pushing the asking price too high.
Take a look at our review of the Škoda Karoq 2.0 TDI 150PS Sportline 4×4 DSG to get more of an idea of what the SE L is like inside.
Looking for a new tourer instead? Then be sure to check out our best caravan guide, where we round up the best models on the market. If you’re after a device to improve your navigation instead, our best caravan sat nav guide is also worth a look.
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