The term SUV covers a variety of cars, but not all sports utility vehicles are sporty, and some are lacking when it comes to utility. However, the best SUV tow cars make excellent towing options, as our guide shows.

While diesel used to be the default choice, nowadays you’re more likely to find petrols or hybrids of various flavours. Despite their 4×4 tow car looks, these vehicles could send power to either two or four wheels. Two-wheel drive is the way to go for a lower purchase price and better fuel economy. Four-wheel drive versions are heavier for more favourable car-to-caravan matching ratios, and will put their power down more cleanly on slippery surfaces.

As SUV tow cars are such a popular style of vehicle, there are plenty of options to choose from, with popular brands like Škoda, Seat, Kia and Ford all featuring in our round-up.

The best SUV tow car:

Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna
Skoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo
BMW X3 M40d
Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI 150PS Xperience
Kia Sportage 1.6T-GDi HEV AWD GT-Line S
Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150PS 4Motion Black Edition
Volvo XC40 B4 Plus
Ford Kuga 2.5 FHEV 190PS ST-Line X Edition

The best SUVs for towing:

Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna
The Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna

Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna

  • Price: £45,310
  • Kerbweight: 1880kg
  • 85% match: 1598kg
  • Towing limit: 1800kg

This well-built hybrid tow car is a practical SUV, even though it’s something of a lightweight in the large 4×4 and SUV world, due to its kerbweight of 1880kg. However, its towing limit means there’s going to be a wide range of models for more experienced caravanners to choose from.

We found it made light work of pulling a tourer with a MiRO of 1306kg, the Nissan’s torque of 387lb ft creating a powerful performance. The engine was also only heard occasionally as the SUV towed with stability, that all-important trait the best caravan tow cars will always provide.

A small additional factor that we appreciated – they’re not always the easiest to attach on modern cars, but we found our caravan towing mirrors could be put on with ease too.

However, for all its towing benefits, one thing we have to point out is its economy – we achieved an average of 21.4mpg despite testing it in favourable conditions. Reversing also proved a slight issue, with the breaks slamming on after going back around a metre.

For solo driving, the X-Trail is a great option, capable of cruising at speed and overtaking when necessary. We like how spacious and comfortable it is too – three would be able to travel comfortably in the rear, for instance.

With the exception of its economy, we think the vehicle that was our winner of the best caravan tow car under 2000kg at the Practical Caravan Awards 2024 makes a great SUV towing car option to consider.

Full review: Nissan X-Trail e-4orce Tekna

Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo
The Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo

Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo

  • Price: £28,370
  • Kerbweight: 1280kg
  • 85% of kerbweight: 1088kg
  • Max towing limit: 1250kg

The Škoda Kamiq is a very worthy SUV for those who have a lightweight and small caravan.

When pulling a tourer with a MiRO of 1059kg, we found the 1.5-litre petrol stronger than you may expect, with the engine punchy and responsive. We were also impressed by how well it towed at the caravan speed limit of 60mph, pulling the tourer comfortably in top gear in the majority of conditions.

The Kamiq also provided something the best SUV tow cars will always come with – stability at speed. There was the odd movement, but we didn’t think it was alarming, and steering corrections were rarely needed – instead, the SUV is capable of pulling straight, with minimal intervention.

One of the benefits of a small tow car like this is it will be easier to navigate narrower roads – that’s the case here, with suspension that we thought was ‘well-judged’ and precise steering. Something we did note – hill starts on a 1-in-6 slope were a bit of a struggle, despite the test occurring in dry weather – lots of revs and clutch slip were required.

As an everyday car, the Kamiq is efficient, easy to drive around thanks to its size, and coming with useful features like parking sensors and a rear-view camera for simple parking.

Despite its size, you may be surprised by how spacious it feels too. In the Monte Carlo, a sunroof comes as standard, but there’s plenty of headroom for the driver, while legroom is decent, so long as you don’t want a high-up driving position.

We’d say if the best SUV to tow a caravan for you is going to be a small and lightweight option, this Škoda is well worth considering.

Full review: Škoda Kamiq 1.5 TSI 150PS Monte Carlo

BMW X3 M40d
The BMW X3 M40d

BMW X3 M40d

  • Price: £62,785
  • Kerbweight: 2080kg
  • 85% match: 1768kg
  • Towing limit: 2400kg

This BMW SUV is the most powerful diesel tow car in the X3 range, offering 340hp and 516lb ft of torque. There’s no getting away from its asking price, but this is a strong vehicle, with a kerbweight of 2080kg and towing limit of 2400kg – impressive.

Its 85% match figure of 1768kg meant it could tow a tourer with a MiRO of 1505kg with total ease – maintaining speed on a hill was no problem. We loved how the SUV tow car’s four-wheel-drive system provided a smooth and clean getaway – even a hill start on a 1-in-10 slope in damp conditions was simple.

Speed and stability are both provided, with firm suspension and barely a wobble felt. Yet low speeds are just as straightforward, with reversing when hitching up a caravan a simple process.

For solo travel, there’s that impressive 0-62mph time of 4.9 seconds – it’s a pleasure to drive. There’s plenty of room for five too, with legroom in the rear and spacious seating up front.

Caravanners who like to take lots of essential caravan accessories on tour will be able to utilise a luggage capacity of 550 litres to 1600 litres, depending on their seating arrangement. Then there’s the impressive efficiency too – we achieved 41-43mpg while using it for day-to-day driving, and 25.2mpg while towing, a figure we think is reasonable.

Full review: BMW X3 M40d

Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI 150PS Xperience
The Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI 150PS Xperience

Seat Ateca 1.5 TSI 150PS Xperience

  • Price: £31,410
  • Kerbweight: 1413kg
  • 85% match: 1201kg
  • Towing limit: 1800kg

Seat has recently dropped the diesels from the Ateca range, but fortunately, the petrol models make good SUVs.

We’d choose the 1.5-litre engine, which is better suited to regular towing, with healthier power and torque. It doesn’t have the mid-range pull of the late, lamented 2.0-litre diesel, but it’s not a bad substitute.

The Ateca makes a very stable SUV car for towing. Firm suspension, intended to deliver a sporty solo drive, keeps both car and caravan tightly controlled.

You can really enjoy driving the Seat, with or without a caravan. Leave the van on its pitch and the Ateca delivers lively acceleration and nimble handling that makes other mid-sized SUVs seem bland. It’s practical, as well as fun to drive, with a generous 510-litre boot capacity.

The Xperience specification comes with artificial leather upholstery, an eight-inch digital display, dual-zone climate control, a rear-view camera, 18-inch alloy wheels, and a great deal more.

As a new vehicle, this spec costs just over £31,000. Shop for a used Ateca in this trim on a 70-plate with 24,000 miles and you’ll pay around £21,000. Early 2.0-litre diesels start from around £12,000.

See our review of the Seat Ateca 2.0 TDI 150PS 4Drive Xperience Lux DSG

Kia Sportage 1.6T-GDi HEV AWD GT-Line S
The Kia Sportage 1.6T-GDi HEV AWD GT-Line S

Kia Sportage 1.6T-GDi HEV AWD GT-Line S

  • Price: £42,075
  • Kerbweight: 1715kg
  • 85% match: 1458kg
  • Towing limit: 1650kg

It’s a tough choice between the AWD and the 2WD versions of the Kia Sportage. We’ve plumped for the 4×4, for its additional weight and all-weather capability, but the two-wheel-drive car is cheaper to buy and fuel.

Either way, the Sportage is a very capable option that deserves its place among the best SUV tow car options. Firm suspension delivers impressive stability, both at speed on the motorway and while towing on a twisting country road. The four-wheel drive doesn’t deliver Land Rover rivalling off-road ability, but unless you plan to tow your caravan up a rutted byway, that’s not really a problem. The Sportage 4×4 will certainly cope with wet roads and dewy campsite grass, something you’ll be looking for in the best SUVs.

The hefty kerbweight makes the Kia a suitable match for a wide range of tourers, and it’s worth noting that this regular hybrid model has a 1650kg towing limit, 300kg heavier than the plug-in’s maximum.

The cabin has plenty of space and feels high-tech. GT-Line S gives you a Harman Kardon sound system and wireless charging for smartphones.

Nearly new cars are starting to appear for around £36,000. Go for the previous generation and you’ll pay much less.

See our review of the Kia Sportage 1.6 T-GDI HEV AWD GT-Line S Auto

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150PS 4Motion Black Edition
The Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150PS 4Motion Black Edition

Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 TDI 150PS 4Motion Black Edition

  • Price: £42,930
  • Kerbweight: 1706kg
  • 85% match: 1450kg
  • Towing limit: 2200kg

You have to spend quite a bit to get hold of a four-wheel-drive version of the Tiguan nowadays. But for just shy of £43,000, you will be buying a very capable all-weather SUV tow car.

Stability is a given. There’s very little movement, even in windy weather, and spending the extra for the 4Motion model adds some kerbweight and greater traction. It’s a very reassuring car to tow with when the roads are wet and greasy.

Spend a bit more and you can have the 200hp version of VW’s 2.0 TDI, but the 150hp version offers enough performance for most needs. There’s plenty of mid-range pull for confident acceleration, and a combined economy figure of 44.8mpg.

The Black Edition comes with pearlescent black paint, black 20-inch alloys and dark interior trim, befitting the name. An eight-speaker stereo, digital cockpit, three-zone climate control, panoramic sunroof and heated front seats are all fitted as standard.

The Tiguan has been around for a while – a new model is expected this year – but it’s still one of the best SUVs for towing, especially for families. We’ve seen a 67-plate diesel Tiguan 4Motion with 50,000 miles offered for under £23,000.

See our review of the Volkswagen Tiguain Allspace

Volvo XC40 B4 Plus
The Volvo XC40 B4 Plus

Volvo XC40 B4 Plus

  • Price: £41,865
  • Kerbweight: 1672kg
  • 85% match: 1421kg
  • Towing limit: 2100kg

Family SUVs don’t come any classier than the Volvo XC40.

Volvo has recently slimmed down the range, which means you can no longer order the plug-in hybrid model. So here, we’re recommending the more powerful of the two mild-hybrid petrol versions.

The B4 has 197hp, a healthy increase over the 163hp of the cheaper B3. However, there’s no penalty at the fuel pumps for this extra performance, with an official combined economy figure of 42.2mpg.

Being front-wheel drive, this model isn’t as heavy as some mid-sized SUVs, but it’s still weighty enough to provide a sensible match for many family four berth caravans.

The XC40 makes a fine tow car, with impressive stability to match a respectable turn of pace. You can tell that Volvo still thinks carefully about the needs of tow car drivers when developing new models.

In solo driving, the XC40 is comfortable and capable, but not as much fun as a BMW X3.

The cabin is a highlight, superbly made and minimal in style. Despite being smaller than the Volvo XC60 and XC90, there’s enough space for adults in the back, and a decent boot.

Used examples start at about £18,000 for high-mileage cars.

Ford Kuga 2.5 FHEV 190PS ST-Line X Edition
The Ford Kuga 2.5 FHEV 190PS ST-Line X Edition

Ford Kuga 2.5 FHEV 190PS ST-Line X Edition

  • Price: £39,125
  • Kerbweight: 1701kg
  • 85% match: 1446kg
  • Towing limit: 1600kg

The Kuga FHEV is one of our favourite regular hybrids. When we towed with one recently, we were struck by how often the car could tow using electric power alone, which seemed to benefit fuel economy – we saw 30.7mpg towing a 1400kg van.

Despite its 4×4 styling, this is another front-wheel-drive SUV. No doubt that helps the Kuga hybrid deliver such impressive economy, but we would like to have the option of choosing four-wheel drive.

Even without it, the Kuga tows very well, with a solid and secure feel on motorways. It is sometimes a little disturbed by the dirty air around HGVs and coaches, but nothing to really worry the driver.

Inside, the five-seater cabin provides plenty of space and the driving position remains comfortable for long trips.

However, it’s a shame the fit and finish isn’t more upmarket – there’s a great deal of hard and shiny plastic on show.

A bigger boot would be welcome, too, as most of the Kuga’s rivals have more space for holiday luggage.

We came across a 21-plate 44,000-mile car on sale for £25,000, a very healthy saving over buying a new model. Earlier generations of Kuga tow well and cost a lot less.

Written with contributions from Peter Byrne.

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