The best car to tow a caravan 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 2023, 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 seven 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.
Many caravanners love towing with an SUV, and there’s a good selection here; but we’ve also included a Shooting Brake model for those who are looking for a more traditional car body style.
- After a smaller model instead? Then take a look at our guide to the best small tow cars
Our winner of the best caravan tow car under 2000kg is:
Skoda Karoq 2.0 TDI Evo 150PS SE L 4×4 DSG
- Price: £35,080
- Kerbweight: 1655kg
- 85% match figure: 1407kg
- Legal towing limit: 2100kg
It’s no surprise that the Skoda Karoq joins the Seat Ateca as an award winner (the Ateca won our best tow car under 1600kg category). These are similar cars under the skin. Some recent midlife updates have further improved one of our favourite family SUVs, with more equipment as standard.
Mid-spec SE L is our pick of the available trim levels, not least because it comes with the clever VarioFlex seating system. The three individual rear seats slide back and forth, fold and tumble forwards, and can be removed completely for maximum luggage room.
With the 150hp 2.0-litre TDI and four-wheel drive, this version of the Karoq makes a capable four-season tow car. It’s reassuring to drive, putting its power to the road cleanly and towing with the stability you’d expect of a larger, heavier 4×4. The Karoq does almost everything well and nothing badly.
We also shortlisted the following for the best tow car under 2000kg:
These are the vehicles that we shortlisted for the category at the Practical Caravan Awards 2023.
Audi Q5 40 TDI Quattro Sport
- Price: £44,675
- Kerbweight: 1880kg
- 85% match figure: 1598kg
- Legal towing limit: 2400kg
Some cars grab you from the first turn of the wheel, others take longer to really appreciate. The Q5 falls into the latter category.
It’s not the fastest, roomiest, or best-looking car in the world. But just because it’s not streets ahead of the competition in any one area, that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best upmarket SUVs you can buy. The Q5 is in the top half of the league table by every metric that matters.
There’s no need to look beyond the 40 TDI model. Forget the silly and confusing model designation, this car has a 2.0-litre engine not a 4.0-litre. The diesel has a healthy 295lb ft of torque, enough to comfortably handle any sensible match. Combine that with the kind of stability that makes you check the mirrors to be sure the van is still there and you have a very fine tow car.
Ford Kuga 2.5 FHEV 190PS ST-Line X Edition
- Price: £34,910
- Kerbweight: 1701kg
- 85% match figure: 1446kg
- Legal towing limit: 1600kg
We’ve driven a few Kugas now, but for our money the full hybrid is the best. It’s cheaper than the plug-in model and has a higher towing limit, and it’s less gruff-sounding than the diesel.
With 190hp, the hybrid really shifts, but it still delivers excellent fuel economy. Driving solo we’ve seen 50mpg or more, with better than 30mpg while towing. That’s really impressive for a car of this size and performance.
The Kuga makes a stable tow car, and it’s enjoyable to drive everyday too. There’s plenty of space for adults in the back, although some rivals have more luggage space and it’s a shame the cabin isn’t better finished.
Hyundai Tucson Plug-In Hybrid Premium 4WD Auto
- Price: £41,600
- Kerbweight 1818kg
- 85% match figure: NOT LEGAL
- Legal towing limit: 1350kg
We only have one big reservation about the Tucson Plug-In Hybrid, which is the relatively low towing limit of 1350kg. That’s well below the 85% match figure. On the other hand, if your caravan is light enough to make a legal match, the Tucson tows really well.
This is the most powerful model in the Tucson range by some way, but four-wheel drive mean it puts its 265hp to the road without drama. You’ll be up to speed in no time.
The Tucson is stable on the motorway and keeps the tourer on a short leash on country roads too.
As a day-to-day car, the Tucson Plug-In Hybrid has an electric range of up to 38 miles. Daily commutes and school runs can be completed in near-silence, and with no exhaust emissions.
Take a look at our guide to the best plug-in hybrid tow cars for more ideas.
Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi Edition
- Price: £49,495
- Kerbweight: 1954kg
- 85% match figure: 1661kg
- Legal towing limit: 2500kg
Kia has simplified the Sorento range. There’s now just one specification, called Edition.
The good news is this new model comes packed with even more tech and goodies than the old range-topper. The bad news is the Sorento is now more expensive.
Even with its new, higher price tag, we strongly recommend the Sorento, especially the diesel. The 2.2-litre engine is close to ideal for towing, strong enough to handle a big twin-axle caravan.
With a kerbweight of just under two tonnes the Sorento isn’t as heavy as some more expensive big 4x4s, but it still makes a very stable tow car. Even at its higher price the Sorento still undercuts large seven-seat SUVs from premium brands.
Kia Sportage 1.6 HEV GT-Line S AWD Auto
- Price: £41,000
- Kerbweight: 1715kg
- 85% match figure: 1458kg
- Legal towing limit: 1650kg
The Kia Sportage and the Hyundai Tucson are closely related. We’ve recommended the plug-in Tucson, but we’re suggesting the full hybrid Sportage.
That’s partly for the sake of variety, and partly because the two types of hybrid suit different users. If you don’t have somewhere to charge up regularly, you’ll be lugging around extra battery weight for little benefit if you run a plug-in hybrid.
Choose the Sportage HEV, and you have a healthy 1715kg kerbweight and an 85% match figure of 1458kg. That’s well within the 1650kg towing limit, which is 300kg higher than the maximum for the plug-in hybrid version of the Tucson or Sportage.
The Sportage will happily tow a well-matched caravan, with strong performance and stability. The four-wheel-drive model can handle towing in all weathers.
Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake 1.4 TSI eHybrid R-Line DSG
- Price: £45,055
- Kerbweight: 1813kg
- 85% match figure: 1541kg
- Legal towing limit: 1600kg
Yes, under the skin the Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake is almost identical to a Volkswagen Passat. And yes, It costs more money and has a smaller boot.
But just look at it! The Shooting Brake has to be one of the best-looking estate cars on sale, and while it’s not as practical as a Passat it still has a 455 litres of luggage space if you choose the plug-in hybrid model.
The diesel has more room in the boot, but we really rate the plug-in hybrid. It’s a pleasure to drive around town in near silence, with journeys of up to 34 miles possible using electricity alone.
As a tow car it’s quick and effortless, with superb stability even on a windy day.
Full review: Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake
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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