Caravanners might be able to argue long into the night about their favourite towing cars, but for the uninitiated choosing one for the first time can be a bit of a black art.
To help, I’ve chosen four of my favourites!
The heavyweight – up to 3,500kgs
Land Rover Discovery
The Land Rover Discovery is the King of towing vehicles thanks to its powerful engine and 3,500kg towing capacity. A sophisticated four-wheel-drive system means that you’ll rarely struggle for grip even on the roughest, muddiest terrain and the 3.0-litre, V6 diesel engine’s 442lb ft of torque makes mincemeat of even the steepest climb, aided-and-abetted by the standard eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Passengers – all six of them! – will love it too as few vehicles are as comfortable or spacious as the Discovery, making it an ideal vehicle for long-distance touring.
Of course this level of ability comes at a price. The initial purchase price is likely to be at least £40,000 and running costs won’t be cheap either.
Nonetheless, if you’re towing a large, heavy caravan then nothing else comes close.
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If you don’t need the hard-core off-road prowess of the Land Rover Discovery then the V6 diesel-engined Volkswagen Touareg is worth considering. It’s nimbler and faster than the Disco but just as comfortable – and just as expensive to buy and run.
It only seats five people (there is no seven-seat option available), but if intercontinental travel is your thing then the Touareg might suit your needs better than the British car given its more accomplished road manners.
Read our towing tips
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The Toyota Land Cruiser Amazon with its hewn-from-solid feel and unbreakable mechanics is the car of choice for heavy-plant haulage firms with an eye for the bottom-line.
A 15-year-old model will still cost you around £7,500 but it will survive a nuclear war and still be reliably hauling caravans and trailers when your grandchildren are collecting their pensions.
Just make sure that the car you buy comes from a nice middle-class family that’s only used it to tow a horsebox rather than one that has been owned by a series of heavy-handed hauliers with a leaden right foot and a cavalier attitude to car servicing.
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The middleweight – up to 2,000kgs
A Mazda CX-5 with a manual gearbox and the 2.2-litre diesel engine will tow an impressive 2,000kgs, making it the ideal choice for someone towing a medium-sized caravan.
It will cost you around £26,000 for the front-wheel-drive model but with the all-wheel-drive version only costing a little bit more you might be better off paying the extra.
For that you get an economical, comfortable SUV from one of the most respected manufacturers in the world. It should be cheap to run too, with up to 54.3mpg (61.4mpg for the two-wheel-drive car) on offer – when you’re not towing, of course!
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The humble Mondeo is a much, much better car than you think, offering far more space than almost all of its rivals (the exception is the enormous Skoda Superb) in a relatively economical package.
It’s also great fun to drive and is my car of choice for keen drivers with a family. A Mondeo fitted with a manual gearbox and the 2.0-litre diesel engine will tow up to 1,800kgs and could return up to 67mpg. If the image isn’t a deal-breaker then the Mondeo might be all the car you’ll ever need.
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If you are looking for a diesel-engined SUV on a budget then the Suzuki Grand Vitara might just fit the bill.
Now discontinued, the Vitara might not be as civilized as the CX-5 but it is a lot cheaper: you can pick up a two-year-old car with well under 10,000 miles and just the one owner for around £15,000, while £10,000 buys an immaculate four-year-old car with under 50,000 miles on the clock.
Choose one that hasn’t got a towbar already fitted if you want to be sure it hasn’t been abused; paying to fit your own might be the best £200 you’ll ever spend.