If you’re going to be doing a lot of towing, then you need the right car for the job.
It must be capable, safe, comfortable and of course, able to legally serve the load it is tasked with carrying.
The car should also have a range of features that makes life easy for the key person: the towing driver.
These will include value for money, resale values, connectivity, driver assists and safety additions like extra air bags.
Drivers must ensure they are towing no more than 85% of your car’s unladen kerb weight. (You can check your car’s weight and legal towing limit online with your manufacturer).
Remember, most drivers have B licences without the extra ‘E’ category that permits them to practice advance towing – so they are confined to a Maximum Authorised Mass (MAM) of 4.25 tonnes (car and trailer combined), provided the trailer’s MAM does not exceed 750kg.
If it does exceed 750kg (most caravans, for example, will weigh more than that), the legally permitted MAM of car and trailer reduces to 3,500kg. Additionally, the total weight of the unit being towed must not exceed the unladen weight of the car.
Also, be aware that reduced speed limits usually apply when towing vehicles. When towing, you are restricted to a max speed of 50mph on single carriageway roads, and 60mph on dual carriageways and motorways (assuming no lower limit is in force, of course).
This guide, based on the latest Tow Car Awards, the UK’s most prestigious towing vehicle awards, will direct you towards the cars assessed to be best in their categories.
The Awards panel includes experts from What Car?, Practical Caravan, and The Camping and Caravanning Club – so they know what they’re talking about!
Here we assess 10 of the Awards’ picks:
1. Smaller car – up to 1400kg: Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI
The facelifted Octavia is a roomy, well-priced, capable car that testers found towed excellently. They loved the 150PS SE L DSG model which is an automatic.
2. Larger car – 1400-1549kg: Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI
Skoda triumphs again in this category. The Superb is renowned for its all-round spec and the huge amount of space inside. The 150PS SE L Executive model was the judges’ choice in this category.
3. Premium saloon – 1550-1699kg: Jaguar XF
Jag’s formidable saloon in 2.0-litre i4 180PS RWD Portfolio Auto trim was the choice here, with judges praising its all-round ability and fuel economy.
4. Mid-sized SUV – 1700-1899kg: Jaguar F-Pace 3.0d 300PS AWD S
Jaguar carry off the honours in the mid-sized SUV category. The new F-Pace is an accomplished car all round that was in commanding control of its load.
5. Larger SUV – 1900kg+ Land Rover Discovery 3.0 Td6 HSE
This is heaviest weight class tested, and is described as an “extremely capable” towing vehicle. The Discovery also won the overall tow car award.
6. Best Petrol Tow Car – Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI 252PS Quattro S-tronic
It’s not all about diesels, especially these days. Audi Allroads are brilliant all-rounders … and great towers too, obviously.
7. Best MPV – Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi 180PS
The S-Max in Titanium trim impressed with its stability and the performance of its engine.
8. Fuel Economy Award – Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 150PS SE L Executive
Skoda again, this time with its fuel-efficient Superb diesel that impressed with its cornering ability.
9. Best Budget 4×4 – Suzuki SX4 S-Cross
Suzuki’s very capable S4 S-Cross in 1.4 BoosterJet Allgrip SZ5 trim with four-wheel drive and an auto gearbox comes out tops here.
10. Best Pick-Up – Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 TDI
The cruising, braking, towing ability and cabin comfort of the Amarok in 224PS 4Motion Aventura Auto trim gave it the edge.
Full details on the awards can be viewed here. See here for our article on safe towing tips.