Looking for a new or used tow car for your home away from home? Our list of the best cars for towing a caravan covers a variety of car types and budgets.
With the cost of living continuing to take a toll on finances, abandoning holidays abroad in favour of enjoying a staycation is on the rise. And if you want to avoid costly hotel fees, a caravan can provide you with space to sleep, eat and relax. Lots of people love the ability to tow a space full of their creature comforts and park it up anywhere they can drive.
Choosing the right tow car is just as important as the caravan itself, though. Often these need to be quite large, heavy vehicles with plenty of pulling power, but as this list shows not all of them need to cost a fortune.
We've picked out the best tow cars to suit a range of budgets, from £15,000 and above. You're not short on choice either, with our expert guide including cheap-to-run estates and versatile SUVs. We've even got a couple of electric cars in this list, although they're only for those with deeper pockets.
As ever, we’ve quoted the official maximum towing capacity for a braked trailer, but you may wish to look into the 85% rule which is recommended by caravan experts - the van your towing shouldn't be more than 85% of the weight of the tow car. And don’t forget to double-check your licence...
If you're looking to save money on a new or used car that's good for towing, check out our Best New and Used Car Deals.
Best cars for towing a caravan 2024
1. BMW 5 Series Touring
Year launched: 2017
While many people default to an SUV when looking for a tow car, that may not be strictly necessary. A BMW 5 Series Touring will be more enjoyable to drive when you’re not towing, while it’s still capable of lugging a braked trailer weighing up to 2000kg.
The latest 5 Series Touring is a superb all-rounder with a feel-good interior, generous standard equipment levels and a big boot. Self-levelling suspension is fitted across the range (which is useful when attaching a heavy caravan), while the standard navigation will help you get to your destination.
Unless you really must have a petrol, the diesel line-up makes the most sense for towing. The six-cylinder 530d will make your life very easy, without costing a fortune to run. A budget of £30,000 will buy a two-year-old example in M Sport trim with xDrive four-wheel drive.
2. Kia EV9
Year launched: 2023
The fully-electric Kia EV9 is the new kid on the block, and the sizeable seven-seater comes with oodles of space for passengers and luggage, a comfortable ride, and plenty of tech and USB charging ports to keep everyone happy.
Its striking looks will turn heads at any campsite, and the vehicle-to-load (V2L) function allows you to plug in three-pin appliances - perfect if you’ve got a pump for an air mattress, need to charge your MacBook, or fancy hooking up an air fryer because… why not?
You’ll want to avoid the entry-level (and thus cheapest) ‘Air’ trim as the rear-wheel drive powertrain compromises the towing capacity, which is just 900kg. However, opt for the GT-Line (from £73,245) or GT-Line S (from £76,995) trim and the all-wheel drive (AWD) system sees towing capacity leap to a far more respectable 2500kg.
You’ll have to weigh up the practicality of driving an electric vehicle in terms of range and charging opportunities, and while the quoted range of the AWD models is 313 miles it will take a hit when towing a significant weight behind it.
3. BMW iX
Year launched: 2022
We're pushing the boat out a bit here, but there are plenty of wealthy people that still enjoy caravanning. And with low running costs (if you can charge at home) combined with cheap company car tax the £70k-plus BMW iX electric car might make more financial sense than at first glance.
Its looks will certainly divide opinion, but it's great to drive with seriously punchy performance and surprising handling, plus a comfortable. The interior finish and technology is in a different league to anything else here, too, while it's plenty spacious enough for most needs (if not quite as roomy as a BMW X5)
Not all electric cars can be used for towing, but the largest electric SUVs can nowadays compete with their combustion engined equivalents. Thanks to its near 2.5-tonne kerbweight even the lowest powered BMW iX has a maximum capacity of 2500kg.
The base xDrive40 should be sufficient for most but its 71kWh battery would drain pretty quickly with a big caravan in town. We'd plump for the xDrive50 model with its 105kWh battery and 523PS output and a range of up to 380 miles. It's pricey, though, at over £90,000. The Tesla Model X may be a cheaper option that can also tow well.
4. Hyundai Santa Fe
Year launched: 2018
If you’re on the hunt for a reliable, well-equipped and comfortable tow car, your search should probably end here. The Hyundai Santa Fe is a no-nonsense SUV capable of lugging up to 2500kg. That’s comfortably enough for a twin-axle caravan loaded with luggage.
While older versions of the Santa Fe are seriously affordable and well up to the job if your budget can stretch to it then we'd recommend the 2018-on model. It's a big car that's posher and roomier than any Hyundai of the time, but bear in mind you'll need the 2.2-litre diesel manual model for the full 2500kg towing capacity - the automatic only tows up to 2000kg.
Still, that 200PS diesel engine is decently refined and torquey, making it great for effortlessly moving your wagon down the road. With seven seats and some very upmarket kit available it'll serve as the do-all family car too. From 2021 there was hybrid options, but bear in mind these have significantly lower towing capacities.
5. Kia Sportage
Year launched: 2016
The Kia Sportage is the firm’s best-selling car in the UK, out-selling cars like the Picanto and Ceed. A rival to the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq, the Sportage offers excellent value for money and comes with a generous seven-year warranty (which is transferable to subsequent owners).
We'd recommend the very latest version which launched in 2022, but its towing capacity is noticeably reduced with no more powerful diesel option. Instead, we'll continue to point you to the previous generation model which is becoming much more affordable.
You’ll get a three- or four-year-old example with a £15,000 budget, and that'll still have a few years of warranty left. Go for the 2.0-litre CRDI and it’ll have plenty of grunt to tow a caravan, while four-wheel drive will help, too. Officially it can tow up to 2200kg, or around 1450kg following the 85 per cent rule.
If you’d prefer a petrol, we’d recommend the punchy T-GDI engine. This produces 176PS and is available with two- or four-wheel drive, and can tow up to 1900kg.
6. Land Rover Defender
Year launched: 2020
The iconic Land Rover Defender has been given a makeover, and while traditionalist may baulk at the modern overhaul of a Land Rover classic there’s no denying the new Defender is a serious workhorse capable of doing pretty much anything, pretty much anywhere.
It’s no surprise then that one of the world’s best off-roaders is also a powerful towing machine, with the three-door Defender 90, and five-door Defender 110 & 130 all boasting a 3500kg towing capacity (the same as the Land Rover Discovery 4) making them the strongest performers in our best cars for towing round-up.
If you’ve got a sizeable caravan, the Defender will be able to handle it - but it’s going to set you back quite a bit. Second hand prices still start at £50,000, while buying new will require you to part with around £64,000 minimum. You do get plenty of bang for your towing buck, though.
7. Skoda Kodiaq
Year launched: 2016
The Skoda Kodiaq is quite possibly the best all-round family car on the market. It’s available with five or seven seats, is extremely versatile and represents outstanding value for money. It’s also a very competent tow car, with most models capable of towing up to 2000kg.
We’d recommend the 2.0 TDI for towing, while hunting out a four-wheel-drive model might make your life a little easier. It delivers decent performance and economy, while the Kodiaq's assured handling and grip levels will mean safe and confident towing.
You’ll be looking at a three-year-old mid-spec SE model for £25,000. That comes pretty well equipped, with standard kit including 18-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and rear parking sensors. An eight-inch media system is standard, too.
8. Volvo XC60
Year launched: 2017
Just because you’re towing a caravan doesn’t mean you have to go out with a bit of luxury. The Volvo XC60 is a really desirable premium SUV that offers good value for money on the used market and won’t cost a fortune to run.
Unlike alternatives like the BMW X3 and Jaguar F-Pace, the Volvo XC60 prioritise comfort and refinement over driver enjoyment. That’s ideal for caravanners - you don’t want a car with firm suspension and darty steering when you’re just trying to reach the campsite in comfort.
Depending on engine, the XC60 can tow a very generous 2400kg. Look out for one with the optional towing pack for things like a retractable towbar, mudflaps and a plastic luggage compartment mat.
9. Audi A6 Allroad
Year launched: 2019
For car buyers who don’t want a full-blown SUV but need something a little more rugged than a standard estate car, the Audi A6 Allroad is a very desirable choice. The third-generation model arrived in 2012, with increased ride height over the standard car, as well as some extra body cladding and underbody protection.
With all the seats in use, the boot can accommodate 565 litres of luggage - plenty for a weekend away (and standard-fit roof bars mean you can also add a roof box, too). Dropping the rear seats provides up to 1680 litres of space, while the Allroad has a braked towing capacity of up to 2500kg.
A £20,000 budget will get a late example of the third-generation A6 Allroad from around 2016. It’ll be powered by the magnificent 3.0-litre V6 TDI diesel engine, available with 218PS, 272PS and 320PS.
If your budget can stretch further, though, the latest 2019-on model offers the same engines, practicality and towing capacity but improved technology and an even more comfortable ride. It's rarer, however, as by that point many people had moved to SUVs. You'll need a least £35,000 for one, too.
10. Honda CR-V
Year launched: 2018
The Honda CR-V has always erred towards substance over style, but in the rational family SUV market that's certainly no bad thing. The latest model is more practical than a Nissan Qashqai, while you get solid build quality and four-wheel drive on whichever engine you go for.
Sadly for diesel fans the latest generation model is petrol or hybrid only. Go for the last generation model if you need that, its its reliable i-DTEC unit and 2000kg towing capacity.
Even if the new model isn't quite as gutsy low-down the 173PS 1.5-litre turbo petrol engine still delivers the goods. Officially it's rated to tow the same 2000kg as the old diesel and is available with four-wheel drive. Sadly caravanners will have the steer clear of the more powerful hybrid model because its towing capacity is limited to just 750kg.
You'll need around £18,000 for a 2018 SE model with 40,000 miles on the clock, and you get kit such as dual-zone climate control, sat-nav and a rear-view camera.
Best Cars For Towing FAQs
For most drivers, a diesel engine is a good start. These have plenty of torque and are usually very efficient, even when towing a caravan. A car which weighs a lot helps, too, while four-wheel-drive can make things easier – particularly if you’re planning to tow a trailer or caravan out of a field.
Four-wheel drive makes a lot of sense when towing. A 4x4 vehicle usually has more traction, which helps when pulling a caravan out of a grassy field, but it also provides more reassurance on hills or in poor weather, too. That said, it’s not strictly necessary to have a four-wheel-drive vehicle to tow, and it could even be deemed excessive if you only own a small caravan.
In theory, a hybrid or electric vehicle should make an excellent caravan tow car. They have lots of instantaneous torque available, which will make light work of pulling away from a standstill (even with a heavy caravan attached). There's also a lot to be said for towing in near-silence, too – especially if you're planning an early-morning departure from a crowded caravan site.
Until recently, though, most hybrid and electric vehicles weren't rated for towing – usually because they were too heavy to meet type approval, the process in which authorities formally approve cars for towing. But there are an increasing amount of hybrid and electric cars now on sale that are officially capable of towing a medium-sized caravan.
If you're looking for a hybrid SUV, the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid can tow up to 1650kg, while the bigger Toyota Highlander can tow a braked trailer weighing up to 2000kg. If you'd prefer to go electric, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 has a towing capacity of 1600kg, while the BMW iX has an impressive 2500kg towing capacity.
If you're looking to tow a heavy 3500kg trailer or caravan, you'll need a pretty serious tow vehicle. The most capable 4x4 tow cars include the new Land Rover Defender, the Volkswagen Touareg and pick-up trucks like the Ford Ranger. All of these are officially rated to tow up to 3500kg.
More reviews of the best cars for towing caravans
More SUV guides
Whether you're looking for advice on what SUV to buy or looking to find your next SUV, we've got the answer
Popular cars for sale
- Audi A1 for sale
- Audi A3 for sale
- Audi A4 for sale
- Audi TT for sale
- Audi Q3 for sale
- Audi Q5 for sale
- Audi Q7 for sale
- BMW 1 Series for sale
- BMW 3 Series for sale
- BMW X3 for sale
- BMW X5 for sale
- Fiat 500 for sale
- Ford Ka for sale
- Ford Fiesta for sale
- Ford Focus for sale
- Ford Puma for sale
- Ford Kuga for sale
- Ford Transit Custom for sale
- Ford Ranger for sale
- Jaguar XF for sale
- Kia Sportage for sale
- Land Rover Defender for sale
- Mercedes A Class for sale
- MINI Countryman for sale
- Nissan Juke for sale
- Nissan Qashqai for sale
- Nissan Navara for sale
- Range Rover Sport for sale
- Range Rover Evoque for sale
- Range Rover for sale
- Renault Clio for sale
- SEAT Ibiza for sale
- Suzuki Jimny for sale
- Toyota Hilux for sale
- Toyota Aygo for sale
- Vauxhall Corsa for sale
- VW Polo for sale
- VW Golf for sale
- VW Tiguan for sale
- VW Caddy for sale