The best family car for towing will provide plenty of space for every passenger, ensuring each occupant can enjoy ample legroom and headroom.
To earn a spot on this list, these family cars must have at least seven seats to ensure there’s plenty of room for each passenger. Many seven seaters also provide the flexibility of folding the back row of seats down if you need to, giving you some valuable extra luggage room.
Some have space for more than seven seats too, depending on the interior set-up the buyer chooses. They’ll also need to offer stability, something we always look for in the best caravan tow cars.
We’ve included both extra-large luxury SUVs and big MPVs in our family tow car guide. The former type, in particular, tends to be very expensive, but at the bottom of our list, we’ll also point you in the direction of some used alternatives if you’re after a budget tow car.
There are a number of cars that would have been pushing for a place on this list, but have switched to electric power with a low towing limit, or gone off sale.
Whether your budget is large or small, these family cars for towing have high kerbweights, making them suitable matches for most family caravans. Towing a typical six berth caravan shouldn’t be a problem.
There’s also a good selection here of front- and four-wheel-drive models. If you like touring all-year, you’re going to want a 4×4 for towing. The two-wheel-drive vehicles should be fine if you mostly tour in good weather and stay on hardstanding.
If you’re after some more budget-friendly towing options instead, be sure to take a look at our best used tow car guide too.
Best family car for towing:
The best family tow car:
Ford Tourneo Custom 2.0 EcoBlue 130PS mHEV Titanium LWB
- Price: £54,385
- Kerbweight: 2474kg*
- 85% match: Above max tow
- Towing limit: 2050kg
*Includes 75kg for driver not included in Ford’s published kerbweight
The Ford Tourneo Custom, the MPV version of the Transit van, is surprisingly good to drive, with accurate steering and a comfortable ride.
As standard, it comes with eight seats. Wherever you sit, there’s loads of headroom and legroom.
Go for the long-wheelbase car and there’s an impressive amount of luggage space, too. You can remove the seats if you need to carry more kit and fewer people, but the seats are very heavy.
The Tourneo Custom is a big vehicle in every direction. That’s a plus when towing, because the super-high kerbweight contributes to excellent stability at speed. Its width also helps if you’re towing one of the new breed of 8ft-wide caravans.
However, with the mild-hybrid diesel having just 130hp, the performance will be pedestrian if you tow a heavy van. More powerful versions are available, but they push up the price.
Used examples are far more affordable – we have seen a nine-seat version, with 71,000 miles, for £22,400.
Mercedes GLS 450 d AMG Line Premium Plus
- Price: £108,070
- Kerbweight: 2820kg
- 85% match: 2397kg
- Towing limit: 3500kg
Everything about the Mercedes GLS is over the top – the price, the weight, the performance – it’s definitely more than anyone needs, in every way.
But if you have the means and a suitably luxury caravan to pull behind it, the new GLS does promise the ultimate experience in luxurious towing.
Believe it or not, the model we have picked here is the most affordable in the range.
Being one of the largest 4x4s currently on the market, the GLS has more than enough room to make the third row of seats comfortable for adults as well as children.
There’s no getting away from its price, so the Mercedes GLS is more likely to be on your radar as a used car.
The previous-generation GLS was similarly huge and just as spacious, and will easily cope with a big twin-axle caravan. It scored four out of five when we put it through a towing test.
We’ve seen a 67-plate diesel model, with 90,000 miles on the clock, for £30,995. Or how about a 66-plate diesel machine with 50,000 miles, for £33,495?
If you are tempted by the used-vehicle prices, just be aware that running costs will be high, and reserve a fighting fund for maintenance.
Land Rover Discovery D300 Dynamic SE
- Price: £67,985
- Kerbweight: 2442kg
- 85% match: 2076kg
- Towing limit: 3500kg
It’s fair to say, the fifth-generation Discovery hasn’t been the sales success Land Rover will have hoped for. It doesn’t help that it has been comprehensively upstaged by the Defender.
But while it may not have necks swivelling like Land Rover’s more fashionable big 4×4, this is definitely a better car for large families.
The cabin is brilliantly roomy, and every row of seats gives a clear view out, as each is higher than the one in front. It’s not as massive inside as the BMW X7 and the Mercedes GLS, but the Discovery offers more space in seats six and seven than you’d find in an Audi Q7 or BMW X5, which are closer to the Disco in both price and size.
We’ve chosen Dynamic SE spec to stop the price from climbing too high. There’s a choice of petrol or diesel power with this version, and we’re recommending the D300 diesel for its pulling power and economy. It will tow a hefty tourer over long distances with stability and poise.
There are some high-mileage cars around with prices at the £25,000 mark, or less if you don’t mind a car that’s been to the moon and back, and you are feeling brave.
VW Multivan 2.0 TDI Life LWB
- Price: £48,243
- Kerbweight: 2189kg
- 85% match: 1861kg
- Towing limit: 2000kg
In all the excitement around the ID. Buzz electric car, the VW Multivan has almost been forgotten. But Volkswagen’s other big MPV is the more practical car, for carrying lots of people and for towing.
There’s a petrol model and a plug-in hybrid, but the diesel tow car promises strong performance and good economy.
The Multivan is a stable tow car, and despite its tall sides, isn’t blown around easily in breezy weather.
Despite lacking the option of four-wheel drive, it handles hill starts well, albeit with slight vibration through the pedals. We haven’t towed with the Multivan in the wet, but it won’t find pulling away in bad weather as simple as the best 4x4s.
Seven seats are standard in the roomy three-row cabin, with three seats in the third row rather than the middle. It’s a neat arrangement that allows passengers to walk between
the two second-row seats to reach the back.
Go for the long-bodied model and there’s a reasonable boot, even with the seats in place.
The Multivan is still quite new, and nearly new examples that have appeared online don’t offer a big saving over new cars.
BMW X7 xDrive40d M Sport
- Price: £89,405
- Kerbweight: 2565kg
- 85% match: 2180kg
- Towing limit: 3500kg*
*With factory fit towing gear
The X7 falls into the “if you have to ask you can’t afford it” category, although some cost five figures rather than six.
The massive German 4×4 is almost too large for UK roads, but that means even the biggest, heaviest vans won’t pose much of a challenge. It might take up an entire postcode, but it shifts along with remarkable pace. The big BMW is just about as stable as tow cars get, and with four-wheel drive, won’t be fazed by a spot of bad weather.
The X7 is probably a more realistic buy after someone else has taken the first hit of depreciation, but even that still means prices from around £54,000.
Please note: vehicles pictured may not be exact model or year
After a used family towing vehicle instead?
Anyone who needs to carry seven, eight or nine people would do well to consider the Citroën SpaceTourer, Peugeot Traveller or Toyota Proace Verso (all three are closely related). Unfortunately for caravanners, the two French models are now only available with electric power and low towing limits, while Toyota is no longer taking new orders for the non-electric Proace Verso. All three are worth considering as pre-owned purchases.
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