If you’re a caravan owner, you’ll know that choosing the right car for the job is really important. Not only does the best car for a caravan have to be able to tow it safely, it also needs to be good at all sorts of other things, from fuel economy to comfort on the motorway.
If you’re new to caravans then it’s easy to imagine why having a car that’s good at things other than towing is a good idea – after all, not many of us have enough space to own a car just for towing.
So in this article we’ll look at some of the things to think about when choosing a new car for towing a caravan, then we’ll take a look at the top cars for towing as chosen by our car experts.
Before you buy any new car you are probably wondering how much your existing car is worth – after all, that’s going to form part of your budget. There are plenty of online valuation services that can help with this, so just use one to find out how much your car is worth and set yourself a budget.
Recommended: Value my car
Towing a caravan
The first thing to remember when choosing a tow car is that caravans usually weigh between 400kg and 2,500kg, though there are exceptions. You can find out via the caravan maker or by weighing on a weighbridge.
Most caravans are braked, so you’ll want to check for the maximum braked towing capacity of a potential tow car. This is almost always listed in the brochure or price list of a new car, or you can search online to find the towing capacity of used models.
If you got your driving licence after January 1997 you can’t tow over a certain weight and will need to get a towing licence to do so, but if you got your licence before then, you can tow pretty much any caravan immediately. It’s always with getting some lessons if you’re unsure, though.
When choosing a car for your caravan, it’s not just about the towing capacity. You should check how much it weighs so that you’re sure you’re not towing more than you are allowed to, plus there are loads of other factors to consider.
We like diesel engines for towing because they bring lots of torque for pulling smoothly. Plus, they’re great on the motorway for those long trips to Scotland or Cornwall with the caravan attached, as they’re more efficient than petrol cars at high speed. Remember that the speed limit for cars with a caravan is 60mph on motorways.
You should also consider other factors like how big the boot is, how comfortable it is, and how much you like driving it without the caravan attached. If it’s not up to scratch for the other areas of your life then it’s no good as a tow car either.
Best cars for your caravan
1. Volkswagen Touareg
The VW Touareg can tow up to 3,500kg, so it’s good for heavier caravans. The best thing about the Touareg is the luxury, as this car is comfortable, packed with tech, has a great interior and is very comfortable to drive.
2. Land Rover Discovery
For off-roading, choose a Land Rover Discovery. Even if you’re sticking to the tarmac, the 3,500kg towing capacity is excellent, and the Discovery is very comfortable, luxurious inside and has loads of space for luggage.
3. SsangYong Rexton
The SsangYong Rexton is a cheaper alternative that sacrifices some comfort for a pleasant interior, loads of storage space and a 3,500kg towing capacity. It’s great value if you can live with the slightly firm ride.
4. Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018)
The Audi A6 Allroad is a four-wheel drive version of the popular estate car, and thanks to a 2,500kg towing capacity it’s a great tow car. It’s good on and off-road, plus it has lots of space in the boot, a very upmarket cabin and lots of modern technology.
5. Volkswagen Passat
The 2,000kg towing capacity in the VW Passat isn’t great for larger caravans but if you’ve got a smaller one then this easy-to-drive saloon will be a good choice. It’s roomy, high-quality, comfortable and relatively affordable.
6. BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo (2009-2017)
The BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo can tow up to 2,100kg, and its efficient diesel engines will be good for motorway trips. It’s practical and good to drive when you’re not towing as well, plus it’s good value as a used car.
7. Skoda Octavia Scout
The Skoda Octavia Scout is a great choice for those looking for a smaller car that can pull up to 2,000kg. It’s a very affordable choice with all sorts of strong points including a roomy interior, comfortable suspension and punchy diesel engine options.
8. Ford Mondeo Estate
The Mondeo Estate can pull up to 2,200kg and is good to drive, affordable and well-equipped. It’s no longer on sale new but used models are great value and have lots of space for passengers as well.
9. Mercedes-Benz E 350 d Estate
The Mercedes E-Class is a luxurious way to travel, yet the E 350 d diesel model can tow up to 2,100kg and is very powerful, so it’s effortless to get up to speed. It’s smooth, upmarket and very roomy as well.