SUVs are typically among the heavier cars on the road while many come fitted with powerful diesel engines – both of these factors make them ideal choices for tow cars. The very best combine a competent towing experience with a practical cabin and a few choice luxuries to make that long journey to the campsite less painful.
Here are the best SUVs for towing on sale:
- Land Rover Discovery
- Skoda Kodiaq
- Kia Sportage
- Dacia Duster
- Volvo XC90
- Nissan X-Trail
- Audi Q7
- Mercedes GLE
- Volvo XC60
- Jeep Grand Cherokee
1. Land Rover Discovery
If you want an SUV with serious pulling power, it’s hard to ignore the Land Rover Discovery. Weighing 2,223kg, few trailers would be too heavy for it to pull. It makes a hefty 443lb ft of torque from its 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine which, mated to an automatic gearbox and all-wheel drive, gives it a 3,500kg towing capacity. It has a range of towing assists including an electrically deployable tow bar and optional automatic trailer steering. It’s all the more useful thanks to its vast 1,131-litre boot and cavernous cabin space.
2. Skoda Kodiaq
The Skoda Kodiaq represents brilliant value for money thanks to its plentiful interior room, handsome looks and modest entry-level price. If you pick the 2.0-litre diesel with a DSG automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive, it has a surprisingly strong towing capacity of 2,500kg. Gadgets such as trailer assist also let you easily perform awkward trailer manoeuvres via controls in the cabin. There’s also a huge 720-litre boot, making it a practical family car while hard-wearing materials line most of the interior’s surfaces.
3. Kia Sportage
The Kia Sportage is a rugged and unusual-looking SUV. Its 2.0-litre diesel engine makes 282lb ft of torque and, weighing up to 1,546kg, the Sportage can tow up to 2,200kg in its strongest guise. A fixed tow bar is a small but worthwhile extra at £225. It’s a little sportier than some cars on this list with fairly firm suspension, limited body roll and light, accurate controls. Kia’s industry-leading seven-year warranty and large 503-litre boot make it a smart pick for a family car.
4. Dacia Duster
An entry-level price of less than £10,000 makes the Dacia Duster the cheapest new SUV you can buy. It’s no weakling, however, because it can tow up to 1,500kg thanks to a weight of 1,325kg in 1.5-litre diesel form. You have to pay £555 for a tow bar as part of the Touring Pack but you still won’t find a cheaper new SUV to tow with. You get few frills for the price with alloy wheels and a stereo all featuring on the options list so spec carefully to keep the price low.
5. Volvo XC90
The Volvo XC90 is a wonderful all-rounder, blending upmarket minimalist style with a plush cabin and vast amounts of space. The 775-litre boot and cabin with up to seven seats makes it easy to live with on a day-to-day basis. It weighs 2,171kg and, if you opt for the 2.0-litre diesel D5 with 347lb ft of torque, it can tow a staggering 2,700kg. If you select the £995 Volvo Trailer Stability Assist, you get a retractable tow bar and a little more reassurance on the move.
6. Nissan X-Trail
Another seven-seat SUV with surprisingly impressive towing abilities is the Nissan X-Trail. The punchy 1.6-litre diesel engine is frugal and produces 236lb ft of torque which, combined with the car’s 2,160kg weight, gives it a towing capacity of 2,000kg – the larger 2.0-litre diesel is faster but can’t tow any more than the 1.6. A removable tow bar costs £550 and going from a seven-pin connector to a 13-pin version with power supply will cost another £40. The seven-seat cabin further helps enhance its already impressive practicality.
7. Audi Q7
At the top end of the SUV market is the Audi Q7 – a massive car with a similarly big 2,800kg towing capacity. It’s a pricey car but this is reflected in the sheer quality of the materials, the fit and finish of the cabin and the wealth of technology on offer. A tow bar only comes as part of a £1,300 pack, but that includes trailer assist that’ll steer for you in manoeuvres. Its 3.0-litre diesel produces 442lb ft of torque meaning it feels very relaxed, even when hauling heavy loads.
8. Mercedes GLE
The Mercedes GLE matches the Discovery’s lofty 3,500kg towing limit, thanks in part to its 3.0-litre V6 diesel that generates 457lb ft of torque. As well as handling tough towing demands, it’s a very practical family SUV – sticking with a five-seat layout means it has an enormous 690-litre boot. It’s not the newest model in the Mercedes lineup and is due for a replacement soon, but the materials used in the cabin still feel appropriately upmarket for a car bearing its illustrious badge.
9. Volvo XC60
The Volvo XC60 is a very impressive tow car and, now a replacement’s been revealed, there will be great discounts on remaining stock of the outgoing model. The 2.0-litre diesel D4 produces 310lb ft of torque giving it a 1,800kg maximum tow limit – a respectable figure considering its smaller dimensions. Inside, there’s room for five and impressive amounts of standard kit – the seats are especially comfortable with thick bolstering and great support for your back.
10. Jeep Grand Cherokee
If you’re interested in a more rugged SUV, the Jeep Grand Cherokee could be up your street. The 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine produces 420lb ft of torque and, combined with its sheer heft, gives it a huge towing capacity of 3,500kg. There’s no seven-seat option but the five seats it does have are spacious and the boot is large enough for most people’s needs. If your fuel budget is a little more forgiving, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT comes with a mighty 6.4-litre V8 for huge performance and a great soundtrack.
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