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 2022, we’re revealing our pick for the best caravan tow car under 2000kg, as well as the other standout candidates…
The best caravan tow car under 2000kg is…
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi
- Price from £41,770
- Kerbweight 1954kg
- Towing limit 2500kg
The Kia Sorento is one of the most common sights at campsites up and down the country, and with good reason. While it has moved a long way upmarket from the bargain-priced original, we’d argue today’s Sorento is the best of the bunch.
Most buyers are expected to choose petrol-electric power, and Kia offers both regular and plug-in hybrids. However, Kia hasn’t ditched diesel completely and it’s the 2.2 CRDi which we’d recommend for regular towing. The engine is perfectly suited to hauling a caravan, with barrel-loads of pulling power.
What’s more, the Sorento is stable at speed, making long journeys straightforward. The seven-seat cabin is roomier and more practical than ever, making the Kia a brilliant family car.
The diesel is only available in mid-range ‘3’ spec, but that’s the trim level we’d have recommended anyway. You get plenty of toys as standard without pushing the price too high.
The other standout caravan tow car under 2000kg are…
BMW 320d xDrive Touring
- Price from £40,955
- Kerbweight 1765kg
- Towing limit 1800kg
We’re hard-pressed to choose between the diesel 3 Series and the excellent plug-in hybrid model. But for regular towing duties, we’d plump for the diesel.
Why? Well, for one thing its legal towing limit is 300kg higher than the hybrid’s. For another, fuel economy while towing won’t suffer once the batteries run low.
The 320d may not be the quickest 3 Series diesel, but it has all the performance anyone really needs. It more than copes with the extra burden of pulling a caravan.
Go for the four-wheel-drive model (badged xDrive), and the BMW will put its power to the road cleanly, even on wet roads.
Once up to speed – which won’t take long – the 3 Series tows straight and true. It’s the kind of car you’d happily tow with for hundreds of miles, expecting no stressful moments.
Just keep in mind that if you don’t mind driving a more mainstream car, there are more practical estates for less money.
Review: BMW 320d xDrive Touring
Seat Ateca 2.0 TDI 150PS 4Drive DSG
- Price from £31,435
- Kerbweight 1602kg
- Towing limit 2100kg
The Ateca ticks a lot of boxes. Four-wheel drive? Yep. A healthy kerbweight for its size? Check. And a punchy diesel engine? Present and correct.
All those features make the Seat a solid all-rounder with very few weaknesses. A slightly more forgiving ride would be welcome, but otherwise there’s not much to complain about.
There’s plenty of pull from the 2.0-litre engine, so acceleration is brisk and confident. Stretch the Ateca’s legs on a long motorway tow and you’ll find it unflustered by crosswinds and high-sided vehicles. It keeps the caravan firmly under control.
The cabin is practical, with lots of space for people and their luggage. A sliding rear bench rather than a conventional 60/40 split rear seat would make the interior more flexible, but this is a nice to have feature rather than an essential.
With prices starting from just over £31,000, you’re getting a lot of car for the money, and the Ateca is well equipped.
Volkswagen Passat Estate GTE
- Price From £38,310
- Kerbweight 1760kg
- Towing limit 1600kg
Plug-in hybrids keep on improving, and the VW Passat Estate GTE is one of the best of the breed.
It’s whisper quiet when running on electric power alone, something it can do for 30 miles or so in solo driving. Even when the 1.4-litre engine lends a hand it’s smooth and unobtrusive.
Stability is highly impressive, no doubt helped by the considerable weight of the Passat’s batteries. The legal towing limit of 1600kg is low compared with some diesel estates’, but high enough to make the Passat a suitable match for a typical family four-berth.
The Passat is a long car, and it puts that space to good use. Passengers of well over six-feet tall should be able to get comfortable in the back, and there’s plenty of room for all your holiday bags.
There are cheaper versions of the Passat that also make very good tow cars, but none match the GTE’s potential for rock-bottom running costs, so long as you can recharge regularly.
Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150PS 4Motion DSG
- Price From £38,125
- Kerbweight 1715kg
- Towing limit 2500kg
If you are looking for a mid-sized tow car, the Tiguan makes a lot of sense, especially if you choose the 2.0-litre diesel with 4Motion four-wheel drive.
It’s not the fastest, roomiest, or heaviest tow car. But it does everything a tow car should, and does those things well.
This is the fourth car we’ve shortlisted with the VW Group’s 150hp 2.0-litre diesel, and that’s not by accident. The engine is almost ideal for towing, with tons of pulling power and impressive fuel economy. Match it with a DSG auto and the 4Motion four-wheel-drive system, and you have a recipe for hassle-free all-weather towing.
Inside, there’s plenty of space for five, and a generous boot. The rear seats slide back and forth to trade luggage space against rear legroom.
You get a trailer stability control system included in the price, although with a tow car as stable as this one you are unlikely to need an electronic safety net often.
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