Best used cars for towing a caravan

Need a car to tow a caravan but don’t want to splash the cash on a new car? Here are some great used tow cars that cost less than £10,000

Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
Oct 21, 2020

Maybe you’re new to caravanning and you’re looking for your first tow car. Or perhaps you’re looking to replace your existing towing vehicle. Whatever the reason, we can help you find the best affordable used cars for the job.

You may have read our guide to the best new cars for towing a caravan, but what happens if your budget can’t stretch to something new? Well, you can always look for something on the used car market instead. To help you out, we’ve created this list of the best used cars that are up to the challenge of whisking you away for a well-earned break and cost less than £10,000.

We’ve included everything from a small yet mighty city car to a supersized SUV that’s a regular sight at caravan sites across the country. Best of all, the prices start from less than the cost of Britain’s cheapest new car. More money left in your pocket to spend on future caravanning holidays.

Best used cars for towing a caravan

1. Fiat Panda 4x4

Our pick Fiat Panda 4x4 1.3 Multijet
Used deals Limited stock

Kerbweight 1,190kgTowball limit 60kg
Max towing weight 900kgPower/Torque 75hp/190Nm

 

The Fiat Panda 4x4 took class honours in the 2015 Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Awards. It might be small, but the 1.3-litre 'Multijet' diesel engine packs quite a punch, while the four-wheel drive system will come in handy if you’re visiting a caravan site off the beaten track.

Head to the hills of Tuscany or the mountainous regions of France and you’ll spot many examples of the Panda 4x4 in active service. Make no mistake, the little Italian will keep going long after a style-over-substance compact SUV has given up and returned to the main road.

Don’t expect much in the way of performance - the Panda 4x4 is sluggish even when it’s not towing a caravan - but running costs will be low, with up to 60.1mpg possible when there’s not a caravan hitched up to the back.

FIAT PANDA BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Honda HR-V

Our pick Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC SE
Used deals from £12,990
Monthly finance from £196

Kerbweight 1,324-1,404kgTowball limit 70kg
Max towing weight 1,400kgPower/Torque 120hp/300Nm

 

Buy a used Honda HR-V and you can ‘go large’. No, this doesn’t mean you can upgrade to a larger caravan. What it means is that you benefit from one of the most spacious compact SUV cabins in its class. It's packing the kind of boot space and rear seat accommodation that you'd expect to find in a much bigger model.

It scores well as a tow car, too, with the 1.6-litre diesel engine delivering plenty of punch, while offering the kind of fuel economy that ensures you won’t be constantly stopping to fill up on your way to the caravan park.

We’d recommend SE trim, which comes with the likes of front and rear parking sensors, a rear-view camera and lane departure warning system, three things that could make life with a caravan just that little bit easier, although, of course, the rear parking sensors won't be of much use when you have a caravan on the tow bar.

HONDA HR-V BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Kia Cee'd Sportswagon

Our pick Kia Cee'd Sportswagon 1.6 CRDi 3
Used deals from £10,995
Monthly finance from £186

Kerbweight 1,420kgTowball limit 75kg
Max towing weight 1,500kgPower/Torque 136hp/300Nm

 

Although we’re recommending the previous-generation Kia Cee'd Sportswagon that was built between 2012 and 2018 here, we’d have no trouble suggesting the current Ceed Sportswagon for towing a caravan. If nothing else, we’re pleased to see Kia has ditched the apostrophe from the name.

Don’t be fooled by the name, because there’s nothing remotely sporty about the Sportswagon, however - you won’t be the first to arrive at the campsite. The 1.6-litre diesel engine has been configured to deliver excellent economy and good mid-range punch. Ideal for caravan owners, then.

Practicality is good, with a decent size boot and a flush loading lip to make things easier when you’re packing your holiday gear. Kia's seven-year warranty is another practical addition and makes the older Cee'd model a wise choice, since you can benefit from lower prices and still have warranty cover left, unless you go for one of the earliest models.

KIA CEE'D BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Seat Leon ST

Our pick Seat Leon ST 2.0 TDI FR Technology
Used deals from £10,850
Monthly finance from £163

Kerbweight 1,415kgTowball limit 75kg
Max towing weight 1,600kgPower/Torque 184hp/380Nm

 

The Seat Leon ST was a class winner in the 2015 Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Awards. Seat’s family estate beat a host of SUVs to take the honours in the £20,000 to £25,000 category. Five years on, you’ll pay less than £10,000 to own this practical tow car.

ST stands for Sport Tourer, and unlike the Kia, the Seat Leon is able to deliver on the sporty promise. It’s as good to drive as the Leon hatchback, while the 2.0-litre 'TDI' diesel engine delivers an impressive blend of performance and economy.

The Cee’d Sportswagon offers slightly more boot space, but the rear seats in the Leon ST drop in seconds via a couple of levers in the luggage area. Opt for the 184hp version of the diesel engine in FR trim and you’ll benefit from a mighty 380Nm of pulling power and strong acceleration.

SEAT LEON ST BUYERS' GUIDE

5. Ford Mondeo

Our pick Ford Mondeo 1.5 EcoBoost Titanium
Used deals from £10,500
Monthly finance from £172

Kerbweight 1,485kgTowball limit 90kg
Max towing weight 1,250kgPower/Torque 160hp/240Nm

 

Remember when the Ford Mondeo was one of the most popular cars on the road? Today, it’s more exclusive than a BMW 3 Series, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worthy of your attention. On the contrary, the Mondeo is an impressive family car, with excellent refinement and comfort on the motorway and loads of space on the inside.

The Mondeo 1.5 EcoBoost was named best petrol tow car at the 2015 Tow Car Awards, so it’s the ideal vehicle for towing a caravan if you don’t fancy something with a diesel engine. It’s a smooth and efficient engine, with a useful 240Nm of torque for towing duties.

We’d recommend the Titanium trim, which features the likes of front and rear parking sensors, sat-nav, road-sign recognition, lane-keeping assistance and automatic headlights. If you need some extra pulling power, the 2.0-litre TDCi diesel is an excellent choice, but either way, you’ll find prices start from less than £10,000.

FORD MONDEO BUYERS' GUIDE

6. Volkswagen Passat

Our pick Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI Bluemotion SE Business
Used deals from £10,095
Monthly finance from £167

Kerbweight 1,475kgTowball limit 90kg
Max towing weight 2,000kgPower/Torque 150hp/340Nm

 

We recommended the rugged Passat Alltrack as one of the best new cars for towing a caravan, so it’s no surprise that we also consider the Volkswagen Passat to be one of the best used choices. However, you don’t necessarily need to splash the cash on the Alltrack.

The Passat is a multiple award-winning tow car, with judges praising the upmarket German car for its stability, pulling power, roominess and classy cabin. We’d agree, not least because it offers the quality you’d expect to find in an Audi or a BMW, but for a much lower price.

Opt for the 2.0-litre diesel and you’ll benefit from a substantial 340Nm of torque and up to 50mpg on a long journey. Meanwhile, the SE Business trim comes with a generous level of standard equipment, but we’d recommend looking for a car with the optional Trailer Assist. The system allows you to reverse the caravan using the mirror adjustment switch, which functions like a joystick, leaving you to focus on the steering and brakes.

VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT BUYERS' GUIDE

7. Skoda Superb

Our pick Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 150 SEL
Used deals from £22,490
Monthly finance from £344

Kerbweight 1,410kgTowball limit 90kg
Max towing weight 2,000kgPower/Torque 150hp/340Nm

 

Whether you opt for the enormous estate or the humongous hatchback, the Skoda Superb is an excellent car for towing a caravan. It would be no exaggeration to say that the Superb can rival a Mercedes-Benz E-Class or Audi A6 Avant in terms of quality and space. It really is that good. And at a considerably lower price? How could you say no?

Even the hatchback offers more boot space than some estate cars, while the amount of rear legroom would shame a number of luxury cars. The cabin oozes quality, while the specification is excellent, especially if you opt for the SEL trim, which features the likes of heated leather seats, a 9.2-inch media system with sat-nav and xenon headlights.

Crucially, all-round visibility is excellent, which is useful when towing a caravan, while the 2.0-litre diesel engine delivers a terrific blend of muscle and economy. Prices start from around £10,000, regardless of whether you opt for the hatchback or estate.

SKODA SUPERB BUYERS' GUIDE

8. Land Rover Discovery

Our pick Land Rover Discovery 3.0 SDV6 SE Tech
Used deals from £20,120
Monthly finance from £298

Kerbweight 2,622kgTowball limit 150kg
Max towing weight 3,500kgPower/Torque 256hp/600Nm

 

The old Land Rover Discovery, built between 2009 and 2017, is a giant of the towing world. It’s no surprise to discover that it has multiple tow car awards to its name, including the Caravan Club Tow Car of the Year Award in 2016. Even though it has been superseded by a new model, the old ‘Disco’ remains in high demand.

Thanks to a mighty 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine, standard-fit air-suspension and four-wheel drive, the Discovery makes light work of towing even the largest caravan. It could probably tow your house to the campsite.

Not to be confused with a two-wheel drive crossover that’s more at home on the road, the Land Rover Discovery is the real deal. Accomplished off-road, imperious on the road, with a huge amount of space in the cabin and the boot. It could be the only tow car you’ll ever need.

LAND ROVER DISCOVERY BUYERS' GUIDE

 

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