Global events mean that more of us than ever are staying in Britain for our summer holidays this year. One of the problems that’s cropping up as a result is booked-up hotels and accommodation across the UK. One way to have a fun family holiday is to go camping, but that’s not for everyone, especially if the famous British weather is as wet as usual. That’s where caravans come in. You can tow them anywhere you want to go, pay for a pitch and stay in comfort, out of the elements. Yet in order to enjoy a caravan of your own you’ll want to buy a car that is able to tow it. In this article we’ll look at the rules around towing and which cars are appropriate, plus a top 5 best cars for towing, as chosen by experts at Parkers. Before you buy a car able to tow a caravan, you’ll probably want to get a car valuation to see how much your current car is worth. It’s easy enough to do that – just check online for one of the many free services that do this.
Towing a caravan
Caravans usually weigh from around 400kg to over 2,500kg – you can find out the weight from the maker of the caravan, usually. Then you’ll need to work out the towing capacity of your car. Usually you’ll want the braked towing capacity, as caravans usually have brakes because of their weight. Make sure that the car can pull the caravan you’ve got or are thinking of buying including any extra items like bicycles you might put in there. Then check you’re allowed to tow – those who got their licence after January 1997 aren’t able to tow over a certain weight and will need to get a towing licence in order to do so. You can find an instructor online to help you with this – it’s not too difficult and will only require a few lessons to get you up to speed.
It’s always a good idea to be comfortable driving a car with a trailer before you embark on your first caravan trip. You can always take lessons even if your licence technically permits you to drive a car with a caravan attached. We’ll look at some of the best cars for towing below, but if you don’t like the look of any of these you need to know what to look for in a tow car. The obvious one is towing capacity – you’ll want about 2,000kg braked capacity to pull a caravan. Diesel engines are often a good choice because they’re cheaper to run on the long trips to the distant locations you’ll be holidaying in, plus they are strong for pulling. Four-wheel drive is useful for wet grass but not needed on the road.
Mostly you should look for models that are comfortable and practical for your lifestyle rather than picking a car just because it has a huge towing capacity. Look for what you need in all aspects of using the car and you’ll be happy with your choice.
Top 5 cars for towing
- Volkswagen Touareg
The VW Touareg is the most luxurious Volkswagen you can buy, and its ultra-comfortable seats and suspension mean it’s perfect for long trips. The big V6 diesel engine is effortless and should prove brilliant for towing. It has a towing capacity of 3,500kg as well as trailer assist technology to make things easier, and there’s a tow bar option from the factory.
- Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery would be a perfect choice if you’re planning to go camping in a very wild and rural area, because it’s a brilliant off-roader as well as being comfortable, luxurious and great to drive. Choose the punchy 3.0-litre diesel engine for the best experience, but all versions have a towing limit of 3,500kg. The Discovery comes with loads of standard kit, too.
- SsangYong Rexton
The SsangYong Rexton is a more affordable model to choose and its 3,500kg towing capacity makes it a top choice for caravan owners. It’s not very comfortable next to the premium options above, but it has a pleasant and attractive cabin and lots of hi-tech kit including an excellent infotainment system on the dash.
- Audi A6 Allroad (2012-2018)
If you don’t want an SUV for towing, the Audi A6 Allroad is a top choice because it can pull 2,500kg and has some off-road ability, yet it’s lower than most SUVs. This means it’s better to drive and easier to get into, plus it looks stylish and has lots of kit. It’s comfortable, fast and really practical as well.
- Volkswagen Passat
The VW Passat can tow up to 2,000kg, which is enough for most caravan owners. It’s affordable, comfortable, looks smart and has a cabin with lots of modern tech. It’s also quiet and smooth on the motorway and very easy to drive.