Electric Cars

As we all know, electric cars are big news today and with the recent announcement of petrol and diesel car sales, including hybrids, being banned in the UK from 2035, I thought it was time to take a look at where this will leave caravan owners in the future.

I see a couple of problems with electric cars as they stand:

  1. Their range, especially when towing
  2. Their ability to tow
  3. Charging them once you get to your site

There are other issues, such as can everybody charge them at home, availability of charging points around the road network etc but these challenges aren’t specific to caravanners.

This article is currently undergoing research, check back in a few days!

If you’d like to leave a comment, please do.

New Car Models for 2018

If, like me, you see adverts for new car models and you immediately think “I wonder what that’s like as a tow car?” then this is the page for you!

How do the new models and updates of existing models for 2018 check out when looked at from a tow car perspective?

Renault Koleos

The lightest Koleos has a GVW of 2153kg

The heaviest has a GVW of 2300kg

A good looking car that has some potential if you want a basic light caravan, but not suitable for our purposes of towing a 1500kg caravan.

Mitsubishi ASX

On first glance the ASX is a contender – it has a powerful 2.2 diesel engine, 4WD, and an auto gearbox all in a package with a GVW of 2060kg.

Unfortunately it’s towing limit is 1400kg, great if you want a small caravan but not good enough for our purposes.

Seat Ateca

The 2.0 diesel has a 150PS engine, manual gearbox, 4WD and a towing limit of 2000kg. Unfortunately it has a GVW of 2100kg so is limited to towing 1400kg to stay within the 3500kg limit.

The 1.6 diesel has 115PS, front wheel drive and a towing limit of 1700kg, with a GVW of 1910kg, so you could tow up to 1590kg.

This is where the nonsense of this towing limit law kicks in. A less powerful 2WD version of the same car is allowed to tow a larger caravan than the more powerful 4WD version. Madness!

Peugeot 308 SW Estate

The 308 Estate 2.0 150 GT is updated for 2018 and looks promising. It has a 2 litre diesel engine with 150PS but more importantly 273lb/ft of torque and stated fuel consumption of 72mpg.

GVW 1970kg

Towing limit 1500kg

You can tow up to it’s limit of 1500kg with a standard car licence, but remember you will be going over 100% of kerbweight as it’s a fairly light 1315kg unladen as it has a high luggage capacity of 655kg, much more than the 503kg of a Mazda 6 estate for example.



Audi A3 Cabriolet 2.0 TDI SE

If you don’t have a lot of luggage or there are just 2 of you, then this could be a rather stylish tow car!

GVW 2000kg

Towing Limit 1800kg

Max MTPLM 1500kg

If you thought you couldn’t tow a good sized caravan with a convertible think again  – the Audi A3 is a stylish 4 seater with a large lugging capability that could be just what you are looking for, and with a GVW of exactly 2000kg it can tow a 1500kg caravan with ease.

Luggage room is limited as boot space is needed for the roof (weather permitting) but you can have the roof up whilst towing and down when unpacked at site.

BMW 2 series 220D Sport (Nav)

GVW 2005kg

Towing Limit 1500kg

Max MTPLM 1495kg

Another convertible you can tow a good sized caravan with (up to 1495kg).

The same issues apply as above with the Audi A3 but if it suits you then why not?

Mercedes C class Convertible C200 Sport

GVW 2125 kg

Towing Limit 1600kg

Max MTPLM 1375kg

This one is a little heavier so limits what you can tow at 1375kg, but it could be just the job for a lighter caravan from the Elddis Explore or Lunar Venus ranges. Both of these have a fixed bed 4 berth under the 1375kg limit for this car (see links above).


Used Tow Cars

If you are looking for an older tow car or perhaps want to supplement your daily driver with another cheaper car just for towing, this is where to look.

Please double check any GVW’s quoted here on your specific car as they can alter depending on extra equipment added at the factory.

Subaru Legacy Outback 2.5 SE Auto 4WD (2007 model)

This car has the perfect GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) at 1970kg to be able to tow the Twin Axle Lunar Quasar 674 (2017) (MTPLM 1530kg) and a reassuringly high towing limit of 1800kg. It also has 4 wheel drive, an auto gearbox and a 173PS 2.5 litre petrol engine.

*Note the 2018 Quasar 647 has increased it’s MTPLM to 1560kg but the 2017 model is still available used.

A quick look online gives prices for this 10 year old dream tow car between £3-4,000 for a good example from a dealer (with associated benefits).

I think it would be very difficult to find a better tow car with the constantly increasing weight of newer cars (more equipment, more weight, more GVW = less caravan…). It’s not the most beautiful car ever made (opinion!) but it does exactly what we need to fit under the 3500kg weight limit and has 4WD for muddy campsites.

**Subaru UK hasn’t published GVW’s for it’s current range – I’m waiting for them to get back to me with some figures, although I expect the Forester to be around 2,000kg and so should be a great option.

Tow Cars – A Selection of 2017 Models

These are tow cars with a GVW around 2000kg and a towing limit above 1500kg, meaning you can tow a reasonably sized family caravan and stay within the 3500kg limit. There are hundreds of potential tow cars but I’ve tried to stick to ones you can fit some luggage in, as well as ones you can tow a good sized caravan with.

Mazda 6 2.2d (175PS)Sport Nav Saloon

GVW 2055kg

Towing limit 1600kg

Max MTPLM 1445kg

The petrol version won “Petrol Tow Car of the Year 2013” and the diesel version double the torque so better suited for towing.

The 2.0 petrol has a GVW of 1945kg and a towing limit of 1500kg so is also suitable if you prefer a petrol car, although you can afford to go for the petrol estate version with a GVW of 1990kg (making the caravan limit 1500kg).

The diesel estate version goes up to 2090kg GVW leaving you with 1410kg for the caravan.

Ford Mondeo

GVW 2330kg

Towing limit 2000kg

Max MTPLM 1170kg

The Mondeo is a great tow car and has won several awards, but for our purposes it is too heavy, with a GVW for the 2.0 D Estate of 2330kg. This leaves just 1170kg for the caravan – great if you want a small tourer but not really family sized.

Just a point about the Mondeo compared to the Mazda 6 – their unladen weights are similar, but the Mondeo has a higher loading weight of 733kg (how much you can legally put in it) compared to 514kg for the Mazda, which makes it’s GVW higher.

The Mondeo doesn’t weigh any more, and you are likely to put the same amount of weight in it, but it’s larger “possible” capacity makes it unsuitable for our purposes – the tricky balancing act!

A4 Avant 2.0 TDI Ultra SE 5dr

GVW 2100kg

Towing limit 1600kg

Max MTPLM 1400kg

Slightly heavy for our purposes but a quality tow car if you want to tow 1400kg

VW Passat Saloon 2.0 TDI SE Business 5dr

GVW 2020kg

Towing limit 2000kg

Max MTPLM 1480kg

A great tow car with a healthy towing limit of 2000kg

The estate version has a GVW of 2100kg and the same towing limit of 2000kg meaning you can tow up to 1400kg.

It was the 2015 Tow Car Awards Overall Winner so you can be assured of it’s suitability to towing, and is a very highly rated car for everyday driving.

Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0 TDI CR SE L 5dr (6 speed manual)

GVW 1924kg

Towing limit 1800kg

Max MTPLM 1576

This car (in DSG auto gearbox form) was a Tow Car Award Winner 2017

This is the 6 speed manual version which has a lower GVW (by 20kg) which might make the difference for your potential caravan match, meaning you can tow slightly higher at 1576 MTPLM (as opposed to 1556kg for the auto).

A great tow car and highly recommended with it’s high towing capacity, one for the shortlist if you’re looking to buy a new tow car.

The Skoda has a lower kerbweight of 1374kg so don’t tow with it unladen but the caravan fully loaded. If you leave your caravan in storage don’t leave it full of equipment (not that you would) so that you have to tow it home with an empty car.

Mazda CX-5

The mid-sized CX-5 is a “really superb tow car” as tested in 4WD Sport Nav guise, but with a GVW of 2143kg leaves 1357kg for the caravan to stay within the 3500kg limit. You can increase the available MTPLM by opting for the 2WD petrol version with a GVW of 2020kg enabling you to tow 1480kg.

Seat Leon Sport Tourer 2.0 TDI 184 FR Technology 5dr

GVW 1970kg

Towing limit 1800kg

Max MTPLM 1530kg

The 1.6 diesel was tested in 2013 and found to be “more composed than most small cars” but comes with the same proviso as the Skoda Octavia Estate in that it’s kerbweight is 1340kg so you will be going above 100% towing ratio of max caravan weight to unladen car weight. With both laden the ratio is 77%, well below the 85% recommendation.

Honda CR-V Estate 2.0i-VTEC S 5dr 2wd

GVW 1960kg

Towing Limit 1700kg

Max MTPLM 1540kg

If you are careful which model you choose the CR-V is an excellent tow car capable of towing a caravan up to 1540kg and keeping within the 3500kg limit. Some models (the diesel 4wd ones) have a GVW of 2170kg leaving you with a limit of just 1330kg for the caravan, so do check your particular model carefully.




Tow Car Award Winners 2017

There are 12 categories of Practical Caravan Tow Car winners for 2017:

You can see them all in detail here.

I’m going to go through each car and tell you it’s GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) and what you are allowed to tow with a Cat B licence:

*Up to 1400kg Skoda Octavia Estate 2.0TDi 150PS DSG

GVW 1944kg

Towing limit 1800kg

Keep within 3500kg limit you can tow a caravan with a MTPLM of 1556kg

The award winner is the DSG gearbox model which weighs 20kg more than the 6 speed manual.

This is a very good car for Cat B licence holders as it has a relatively low GVW of less than 2 tonnes, and a high towing limit, as well as being a tow car award winner and as such is worth putting on your short-list.

*1400-1549kg Skoda Superb 2.0 TDi 150PS

GVW 2065kg

Towing limit 2000kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = caravan MTPLM of 1435kg

*1550-1699kg Jaguar XF 2.0D 180PS

GVW 2250kg

Towing limit 1800kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = caravan MTPLM 1250kg

*1700-1899kg Faguar F-Pace 3.0D S

GVW 2570kg

Towing limit 2400kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = caravan MTPLM 930kg

*1900kg+ Land Rover Discovery 3.0T6 HSE

GVW 3170kg

Towing limit 3500kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = caravan MTPLM 330kg

(You can legally tow 750kg)

Best Budget 4×4 Suzuki SX4 S-Cross 1.4 SZ5 Auto

GVW 1730kg

Towing limit 1200kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = 1200kg (can’t go above towing limit)

Best Hybrid Volvo XC90 T8

GVW 3010kg

Towing limit 2400kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = caravan MTPLM 490kg

(You can legally tow 750kg)

Best MPV Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi 180PS

GVW 2530kg

Towing limit 2000kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = caravan MTPLM 970kg

Best Petrol Tow Car Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSi Quattro

GVW 2170kg

Towing limit 1700kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = caravan MTPLM 1330kg

Best Pick-up VW Amarok 3.0 TDi 224PS

GVW 3290kg

Towing limit 3100kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = caravan MTPLM 210kg

(You can legally tow 750kg)

Best Ultralight Tow Car Hyundai i30 1.4 GDi

GVW 1820kg

Towing limit 1400kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = 1400kg (can’t go above towing limit)

Fuel Economy Award Skoda Superb 2.0 TDi 150PS

GVW 2260kg

Towing limit 2200kg

Keep within 3500kg limit = caravan MTPLM 1240kg


*The weights refer to the kerbweight (unladen) of the car, which if you’ve read Problems With Weight Limits is not useful to us.


The Bigger the Car – The Smaller the Caravan

As you can see from the above data, the car which most efficiently uses the 3500kg weight limit is the Skoda Octavia Estate with a capability to tow a caravan weighing 1556kg.

It’s rather frustrating that we have to balance car and caravan weights in this way when obviously to tow a particular sized caravan, the bigger the towing vehicle the better, but unfortunately that’s what we have to comply with at present.

I’m writing to every caravan manufacturer and trade body to see if we can raise this issue with the government with the objective of changing the law, if you’d like to help with this aim please get in touch.