If you’re in the market for a new or used car, you’ll always test drive the thing before you buy it – but if you’re buying with the intention of towing a caravan, you can hardly turn up at the showroom, hook up your trailer and take it for a spin down the motorway.
So what can you do? Read our guide to the best cars for towing a caravan, that’s what!
Towing a caravan up to 750kg
If your caravan or trailer weighs up to 750kg – most likely a relatively compact three-berth – then you won’t need to go for all out pulling power and one of the smaller SUVs on the market will be up to the task.
The Renault Captur 1.5C diesel, for instance, has a towing limit of 900kg and an impressive 75kg nose weight – that’s the weight of a caravan’s coupling head on a car’s towball, and to put it into context, the similarly-sized Peugeot 2008 has a nose weight of just 53kg.
Alternatively, the Fiat Panda 4X4 1.3 Multijet also has a towing limit of 900kg but has a slightly more modest nose weight of 60kg and both this and the Captur give surprisingly stable and determined, if not the quickest, of rides.
Towing a caravan up to 1,200kg
If you’re shifting something bigger around – say a four-berth up to 1,200kg in weight – then you’re going to need something a bit bigger and there are a range of vehicles that fit the bill, whether you’re after a family saloon or an SUV.
With a towing capacity of up to 1,300kg and a nose weight of 75kg, the Skoda Octavia will be well up to the job, as will the Peugeot 308 SW 1.6 THP which offers a 1,200kg towing capacity and a nose weight of 70kg.
If you’re after something with a little more ground clearance for those muddy fields, the Nissan Qashqai 1.6dCi fits the bill – go for the +2 model and you’ll have even more room for extra passengers, though you may then need a bigger caravan.
Towing a caravan up to 1,500kg
If you’re going for one of the larger caravans on the market – maybe you’ve a large family to tow around or you’re a couple who just loves their living space then you’ll, again, have a choice of family-sized estates or SUVs.
At the higher end of the price range is the exquisite Jaguar XF and while at over £30,000 it’s not the cheapest of options out there, it does have the requisite power, unrivalled stability and self-levelling suspension that makes sure heavier loads don’t unsettle it.
Alternatively, the Seat Leon ST 2.0 TDI also performs admirably in this category and comes in at a good £10,000 cheaper, while the 2.0 diesel Ford Kuga is also a good option if you’re looking for a 4X4 SUV.
Towing a caravan above 1,500kg
If you’re looking at carting round anything bigger than a 1,500kg caravan, then you’re going to need some serious pulling power, and you needn’t look any further than the Land Rover Discovery – not only does it look the part, its mighty 3,500kg towing capacity and 150kg nose weight make it a match for any caravan.
Although honourable mentions must go to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and BMW X5, the Discovery sweeps all before thanks to its unwavering stability and options such as a trailer stability assist and a reversing camera that shows where the trailer is going.