After the usual long and wet British winter, summer is fast approaching (hopefully). While it lasts, many of us will try to make the best of it and enjoy the beautiful British countryside by towing caravans to a picturesque location. Popular among families, this allows lots of freedom to explore and enjoy the great outdoors, while offering versatility and a cheaper alternative to expensive holidays.
According to The National Caravan Council, there are over 1 million people around the UK that indulge in the Caravanning lifestyle; below we take a look at cars from a number of brands and budgets that are capable of towing caravans. These include:
Winner of the WhatCar? Car of the year awards, the Nissan Qashqai impresses on a number of different fronts. One of Britain’s best-selling crossover SUV’s, the Qashqai stands up extremely well to the uneven British roads. It’s perfectly suited to being a family car or towing car for a caravan, while spending time in the cabin should prove to be a pleasurable experience. The diesel engines offer an excellent blend of performance and economy and the 128bhp 1.6-litre dCi offering 236lb ft of torque should make comfortable work of towing.
Named the 2015 car of the year at Geneva Motorway show after fighting off a challenge from a remarkable list of candidates, the Volkswagen Passat is extremely reliable and packed with innovative technology. The 2.0 TDI puts down 150PS and an impressive 251lb ft of torque which should take towing in its stride while offering a claimed combined economy figure of 62.8mpg, other more powerful engines are also available for towing heavier loads. Inside offers bags of room and can easily cope with five adults and if you require extra boot space then there is also an estate version available.
No “Best cars for towing” list would be complete without the inclusion of the Land Rover Discovery. Weighing over 2.5 tonnes, the Discovery can easily handle almost every size of trailer or caravan you throw at it, with a maximum towing limit of 3500kg and a towball limit of 150kg. The Discovery offers exceptional comfort levels and a high quality interior which should make it a joy to spend time in the cabin. Off-roading capabilities are really where the Discovery comes into a world of its own, the permanent 4x4 system should keep the car glued to the road and dispatch any boggy fields of caravan. A host of towing focused options improve on safety and driver convenience.
Available as a saloon or estate, the Jaguar XF could be a fitting alternative if you aren’t keen on full size SUV. The 3.0 litre 296bhp diesel engine never lacks power and should allow for safely towing caravans or trailers of up to a maximum of 1850kg with a towball limit of 75kg. While there are four trim levels available; Prestige, R-Sport, Portfolio and S, it is only the S trim that comes with the 3.0 litre engine. Inside you will find the same luxurious standard that we have come to expect from Jaguar. There is enough space inside for five adults to travel with comfort, while the boot can easily accommodate luggage.
Winner of the WhatCar? Best family car 2016, the 2.0 TDI Skoda Octavia offers a maximum towing limit of 1600kg and a towball limit of 75kg. Part of the Volkswagen family, it is well built, extremely good value for money and deceptively spacious. The 590 litres of boot space will ensure that you can carry your luggage safely; however there is an estate version which extends on the boot space. The inclusion of trailer stability control adds further towing stability and makes the Octavia an excellent choice.
The Ford Mondeo offers an excellent level of refinement and practicality, the 2.0 litre diesel engine produces 148bhp and 258 ft of torque which should be allow for a maximum towing limit of 1800kg. Inside, you’ll find an upmarket, high quality, spacious interior which is roomy enough for five people to travel in comfortably. However should you require extra boot space then the Ford Mondeo also comes as an estate.
The Audi A6 offers exceptional amount of luxury, stability and torque produced by excellent range of engines which provide impressive fuel economy and power. The A6 is available as a saloon, estate or an allroad which offers the best of a 4x4 and estate.
The A6 remains practical and allows for 5 people to travel in a spacious cabin and the boot is big enough for most, if not all your luggage. Top of the range 3.0-litre TDI or a twin-turbo 3.0-litre BiTDI features Audi’s renowned Quattro four wheel drive system which helps put the power down effectively. Depending on which model variation you choose, the maximum towing limit will be in the range of 1500 kg – 2500kg.
The Sorento is a rugged and spacious seven seater SUV from Kia. Available only as a 2.2 litre, 197bhp diesel unit, customers get the choice of manual or automatic transmission. Inside you will find a beautiful, high quality cabin which will be a pleasure to spend time in while you tow. Depending on the model of Sorento you purchase, your maximum legal towing limit will range from 2000kg to 2500kg with a towball limit of 100kg.
Caravanning around the country isn't as simple as it seems; there are a number of things to take into consideration before jumping aboard the band wagon.
Towing experts recommend that whatever you are planning to tow does not exceed 85% of your vehicles weight. As a general unspoken rule, the lower the proportion of weight in relation to your car, the better, as this allows for better economy and performance. Consider everything that you plan on adding to your caravan in order to get an accurate representation of the weight. The weight you are allowed to tow will be specific to the brand and model of vehicle you have.
When towing, you need to establish noseweight of the caravan. This is the weight that bears down on the single attachment point to the car which is known as the towball. Establishing the correct noseweight is essential for towing stability and overall safety. Too heavy and it will have an adverse effect on the steering by causing the front of the vehicle to lift.
The braked figures refer to the trailer or caravan having a breaking system which is hooked up to work simultaneously with the vehicle’s braking system. On the other hand, the unbraked figures refers to the trailer/caravan not having a braking system and relying on the braking system of the vehicle for braking. When towing unbraked trailers/caravans, the weight needs to be much lower than the safe limits stated on the car.