The last of the Christmas turkey has been digested, the New Year fizz has gone flat, and the decorations are back in the loft. But there’s no need to be glum in January. Instead, look ahead to some great touring holidays, and the exciting new cars you could tow your caravan with.
Here’s our round-up of some of the most important new tow cars of 2019.
By our reckoning, the Audi’s e-tron electric SUV will be the third pure-electric car to be homologated for towing, after the Tesla Model X and the Jaguar I-Pace.
The e-tron will have a towing capacity of 1800kg. That’s a lot less than the 3500kg maximum typical of large luxury SUVs with diesel power, but enough to legally tow a broad choice of caravans.
Electric vehicles are generally heavier than similar cars with an internal combustion engine, so it’s no surprise that the e-tron weighs a colossal 2498kg.
With a power output of 402bhp and 490lb ft of torque, the e-tron should be a very swift tow car. In solo driving, it has a range of 248 miles on the WLTP cycle. It remains to be seen how often the e-tron will need to be recharged while towing.
An 80% recharge is possible in just 30 minutes from a 150kW charger, although the network of ultra-fast chargers still needs to be developed.
Prices start from £71,490, with the first examples being delivered early this year.
BMW 3 Series
BMW’s executive saloon is entering its seventh generation. It goes on sale on 9 March, with prices from £33, 610.
The new 3 Series is longer, wider and taller than the old model, promising more interior space. Petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid versions will be available.
We think the 320d xDrive looks like the pick of the range for towing. The diesel engine has 295lb ft of torque, and xDrive is BMW’s four-wheel-drive system. This version will be priced from £36,800.
As with most new models, the 3 series is lighter than its predecessor – in this case, by as much as 55kg. That suggests kerbweights for the diesel models will start from around 1520kg, giving an 85% match figure of 1292kg.
The 3 series isn’t the only new BMW with real potential as a tow car; there’s also the new X5 SUV and the enormous X7 luxury SUV.
Citroën C5 Aircross
If you are looking for a more affordable tow car than the Audi e-tron or the new BMWs, consider the Citroën C5 Aircross. Prices start from £23,225. Order books are open now, although the official on-sale date is 4 February.
Initially the car will be available with a choice of petrol and diesel engines, but a plug-in hybrid version will be available in early 2020.
Despite the SUV appearance, there’s no 4×4 version of the C5 Aircross. However, models with an automatic gearbox will be available with Grip Control, which optimises the traction control system for better traction off road. It sounds gimmicky, but in our experience Grip Control is surprisingly effective.
Kerbweights start from 1479kg for petrol models (including 75kg for the driver not included in Citroën’s brochure) rising to 1615kg for the range-topping diesel.
We’ll be driving the C5 Aircross later in January, so look out for a review soon.
The previous generation Mercedes-Benz GLE makes a very capable tow car, so we have high hopes for the high-tech new model.
To look at it, the 2019 GLE is much more modern than the previous generation. There’s a choice of powerful diesel engines, starting with the four-cylinder 242bhp 300 d. The six-cylinder diesel models are the 268bhp 350 d and the 335bhp 400 d. There’s also a 362bhp GLE 450 petrol.
Go for one of the six-cylinder diesels or the petrol model and AIRMATIC air suspension is standard. We’ve found this to be a worthwhile optional extra in the past, so it’s good to see it fitted as standard.
Another important change is that most versions will now come with seven seats rather than five, making the GLE a more direct rival for the Audi Q7 and Land Rover Discovery.
Mercedes-Benz often fits additional cooling to models with factory-fitted towing gear, so it’s worth noting that the legal towing limit is higher for versions fitted with the official towing package. This costs £1150 and comes with a parking assistance system for reversing a trailer, a towball and electrics, a trailer stability system, and an uprated 3500kg legal towing capacity. Without it, the capacity is 2700kg for all models.
Kerbweights start from 2170kg for the 300 d, which gives an 85% match figure of 1845kg.
Order books are open now with prices from £55,685. First deliveries are expected in the spring.
Range Rover Evoque
An effective evolution or a successful design, or disappointingly conservative? We’ll let you make you own mind up about the new Range Rover Evoque’s styling.
The looks may divide opinion, but whatever your preferred type of engine, Land Rover aims to keep you happy. There are three and four-cylinder diesels and petrols, and two different types of hybrid on the way.
Despite being almost the same size as the original Evoque, the new car promises more interior space, especially in the back of the car and the boot. There’s now 591 litres for bags, and a 10% improvement in luggage capacity. That’s welcome, as the old Evoque was less practical than many rivals.
Order books are open now, with prices starting from £31,600.
Think of the new Seat Tarraco as the Spanish brand’s equivalent to the Skoda Kodiaq and the VW Tiguan Allspace and you won’t go far wrong. All three are closely related under the skin.
There are two petrols and two diesels, with the lower powered models offering 148bhp and the higher powered versions 187bhp. The lower-powered petrol car is only available with front-wheel drive. All other engines are available with four-wheel drive, either at extra cost or as standard.
A plug-in hybrid will join the range in 2020.
Every version of the Tarraco comes with seven seats. Judging by the Skoda and VW equivalents, expect plenty of interior space and lots of practical touches, but the third row of seats will be quite cramped.
With the third row in place, there’s 230 litres of luggage space. That increases to a very generous 700 litres with the third row stowed, and 1775 litres when all the seats are folded.
Kerbweights range from 1634kg to 1845kg, giving 85% match figures of 1389kg to 1568kg.
Prices start from £28,320. First deliveries are expected in January, so get those curtains twitching – a neighbour may already have one…
If you are looking for a more affordable tow car than the Audi e-tron or the new BMWs, consider the Citroën C5 Aircross