Best Used Cars for Towing

11th Jun 2024

By Daniel Hitchman

Exploring great towing vehicles

Whether it's towing a small trailer or a caravan, you'll need an appropriate car for the job. Thankfully, there's a broad range of choices available, all depending on your requirements.

In this guide, we highlight some of the best used towing cars you can buy, ranging from hatchbacks through to SUVs.


Ford Focus

Braked towing capacity: Up to 1,500kg

Orange Ford Focus Active Exterior Front Countryside

If you're in the market for a great all-rounder, then the Ford Focus doubles up as a great tow vehicle and as a car for family duties.

The fourth generation Focus is on display here, and offers a braked towing capacity of 1,500kg when you opt for the 1.5-litre petrol engine offered on some models.

If you don't mind compromising slightly, then the 1.0-litre petrol unit offers a braked towing capacity of 1,300kg, whilst offering lower running costs than its more powerful sibling.

As a car to live with on a daily basis, the Focus has a history of being a UK favourite for a reason. It offers a great experience for keener drivers, but is refined and well-equipped.

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BMW 1 Series

Braked towing capacity: Up to 1,300kg

BMW 1 Series Pair

Another common sight on UK roads, the BMW 1 Series is not only a great all-round family hatchback, it can do an exceptional job of towing lighter loads.

For the purpose of this guide, we're focusing on the third-generation 1 Series, which was introduced in 2019. Earlier models fitted with a 1.5-litre petrol engine will happily tow a braked 1,300kg rig, whilst later models are worth looking at if your budget allows, since they can tow a braked 1,500kg trailer.

If you want something spicy, then the BMW 128ti, which is a hot hatchback version of the regular 1 Series, can tow a braked 1,300kg trailer too, making it a great option for anyone wanting performance and practicality.

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Vauxhall Astra

Braked towing capacity: Up to 1,700kg

red vauxhall astra driving

Affordable to run and maintain, the Vauxhall Astra is an excellent towing car for those that prioritise low running costs.

The version you see here is the seventh-generation Astra, which was heavily revised over its predecessor. It's a strong performer, with diesel versions of the estate bodystyle offering a braked towing capacity of up to 1,700kg, whilst some of the hatchbacks can tow up to 1,650kg.

This generation of Astra is also well-equipped throughout the range, with each car getting a touchscreen infotainment screen, cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity as standard.

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BMW 5 Series

Braked towing capacity: Up to 2,000kg

BMW 5 Series Touring Front

A staple for executives and larger families who prioritise luxury, the BMW 5 Series makes for a great tow car and an excellent daily companion.

Thanks to its design and strong range of engines, the 5 Series has a braked towing capacity of up to 2,000kg, which is up there with a number of larger SUVs.

The seventh-generation 5 Series you see here offers strong towing performance regardless of your engine choice (ignoring the all-electric i5 in this instance), but the 3.0-litre diesel will feel the most comfortable when hauling larger trailers.

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Skoda Octavia

Braked towing capacity: Up to 1,600kg

Red Skoda Octavia vRS Estate

Making for a great blend of affordability and robustness, the Skoda Octavia is a strong performer for anyone wanting a good towing car.

The fourth-generation model here has a braked towing capacity of up to 1,600kg, depending on the specification you go for.

To get the best towing performance, you'll need to opt for the 2.0-litre diesel, with circa 150bhp. Although, if you don't mind compromising, then the likes of the 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre petrols can tow up to 1,300kg. There's even a sporty version, called the vRS (pictured), should you want performance and practicality.

The Octavia shares its platform and a number of its parts with the ever-popular Volkswagen Golf, meaning you get excellent build quality without the associated running costs.

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Dacia Duster

Braked towing capacity: Up to 1,500kg

Duster Driving

A robust and super affordable option, the Dacia Duster is a great towing car that punches well above its weight in terms of value.

To get the most out of the second-generation Duster seen here, you'll need to for the 1.5-litre diesel, which has a braked towing capability of 1,500kg.

If you're set on owning a petrol and not a diesel, then the 1.0-litre has a braked towing capacity of 1,400kg, but will feel more lethargic compared to the diesel when towing.

Entry level versions of the Duster aren't very well-equipped, so we'd recommend opting for the one of the higher spec models, which come with features such as climate control, cruise control and an interactive infotainment system.

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Nissan Qashqai

Braked towing capacity: Up to 1,500kg

Nissan Qashqai Kuro Edition Front

One of Britain's most popular vehicles, the Nissan Qashqai makes for a great family car as well as an exceptional towing vehicle.

The third-generation model has a braked towing capacity of up to 1,500kg, with power delivered via a turbocharged 1.3-litre petrol engine.

Thanks to the generous levels of equipment available, as well as a spacious interior and low running costs, the Qashqai is worth considering if you're in the market for a well-rounded SUV.

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Kia Sorento

Braked towing capacity: Up to 2,000kg (2,500kg in previous generation model)

Red Kia Sorento Exterior Side Driving

If you want to double down on practicality, then the 7-seater Kia Sorento will make the perfect towing car.

The version of the Sorento you see here has a braked towing capacity of up to 2,000kg, although this rises to 2,500kg if you don't mind going for the previous generation model. Either way, you won't be short of pulling power.

Another great thing about the Sorento is that all Kia models get an extensive 7-year warranty from new, which carries over to the next owner where eligible, so you should be able to benefit from peace of mind when buying a used model, depending on its age.

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Ford Ranger

Braked towing capacity: Up to 3,500kg

White Ford Ranger towing a small trailer with light machinery on

The Ford Ranger may be a pickup truck, but with its ability to haul a braked trailer weighing up to 3,500kg, whilst transporting the family, it's a great companion.

Courtesy of the massive hauling power on offer, this gives you greater flexibility when towing larger rigs, such as a big caravan. Unsurprisingly, the Ranger makes short work of pulling smaller trailers.

Running costs are on the higher side when compared to the majority of vehicles on this list, but if you need maximum towing capabilities and a robust vehicle, then the Ranger won't let you down.

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Braked towing capacity: Up to 3,500kg

BMW X5 Driving

If you have the budget, and you prioritise luxury when looking for a capable towing vehicle, then the BMW X5 should be on your list to consider.

The generation of X5 you see here is capable of towing up to 3,500kg (braked), meaning you can haul even the largest of caravans without much worry.

Naturally, it's the models with the larger engines (such as the 3.0-litre diesel) that provide the best performance for towing. Even then, the likes of the M Competition version can pull 2,700kg, which is good going for a performance SUV.

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Discover your next car through Evans Halshaw

Whether it's towing a small trailer or a large caravan, there's a car to suit every need and requirement. If you'd like to search for your next car, whether it's new or used, then you can do so through Evans Halshaw.

Alternatively, if you need more help finding the right car for you, or you need guidance with any other aspect of your ownership journey, then we recommend looking through our latest guides and advice.