If you are just getting started in caravan towing and need to choose the right tow vehicle for you, it is best to start with your caravan.
This means that you must put the horse before the cart. It will make it easier to choose the right vehicle for towing your caravan by first deciding what caravan model and make you prefer.
10% of the GVM. However, it’s possible to vary.
Every motor vehicle comes with important towing numbers. However, they are not listed on the compliance plate. They can be found in the owner’s manual or in the manufacturer specification sheets easily accessible online.
These figures include maximum braked trailer towing capacity (or trailer weight) and maximum tow-ball downloading. The maximum vehicle and trailer weight combined (Gross Combination Mass, or GCM) are the key figures.
These figures will make it easier to narrow down your list of potential tow vehicle candidates. You can eliminate any that don’t meet, or perhaps exceed, your caravan’s ATM/TBD (we’ll get back to GCM shortly).
We prefer to ‘exceed’ over’meet because the greater the difference between your caravan’s minimum and maximum towing capacity, the more you have in reserve. The more you have in reserve, your caravan’s towing experience will be safer and more comfortable.
Vehicles that exceed their towing capacity are not only using a lot of fuel but also have the highest wear on their drivetrain, chassis, and suspension. It also doesn’t have any reserves to deal with unexpected nasties (trailer sway and heatwaves etc.).
It is obvious that you should choose a tow truck that exceeds the caravan’s ATM or TDB ratings. The combined weight of your caravan and tow vehicle will be below your caravan’s GCM, which will help protect your reserve.
If your caravan weighs 2500kg and your vehicle is rated at 3500kg maximum braked tow, you have a ton of towing capacity literally. This would allow for a significant increase in the payload (GVM) while keeping the GCM below.
Although such large reserves may not be possible, it is worth striving for the maximum margin. To avoid the caravan’s ATM being overextended, the GVM of the tow vehicle should be greater than the caravan’s ATM.
Which type of vehicle is the best?
A medium-sized sedan or wagon can tow smaller travel trailers. After carefully comparing the caravan weights and the vehicle’s towing capacity, a good car caravan towing match is usually possible. Larger caravans that have caravans and camping trailers ATMs between 2 and 3 tonnes will need something heavier.
. The second row of seats in wagons can provide greater comfort for passengers. They can slide backward to give more leg space, and the backrest angle can also be adjusted.
The rear cargo area of a wagon provides plenty of storage that can be locked and weather-sealed. You can also attach a canopy to the ute. However, you will still lose the flexibility and ability to adjust for second-row seats.
The towing experience is typically more comfortable if the engine is larger than it is.
Full-size 4×4 trailers can also be equipped with coil spring rear suspension. This offers a smoother ride than most leaf springs but offers the same peak tow ratings.
When it comes time to unhook the caravan and go exploring, a wagon is a great option. These wagons are especially useful if you have to gather relatives or friends to show you around the area. A wagon’s third-row seating is available on-demand, which can make it very convenient in such situations.
Full-size 4×4 wagons share many of the double cab utes’ strengths as tow vehicles. They typically have wheelbases between 2800-3000mm and curb weights between 2-3 tonnes. This provides the rock-solid anchorage as well as directional stability required for safe and relaxed caravan towing.
These vehicles also have a shorter rear overhang, which means that there is a shorter distance between the rear axle centreline (or the tow-ball) and the vehicle’s rear axle. This is an important dimension because it reduces the potential for ‘yaw (side-to-side) movement between caravan and vehicle and thus increases towing stability.
The turbo and diesel engines have cubic capacities ranging from 3.0-4.5 liters to provide excellent pulling power and higher fuel economy than the petrol engines. The larger the engine, generally speaking, the more comfortable the towing experience.
Intelligent automatic transmissions with up to eight speeds are available. They can also be used to tow heavy loads and offer the possibility of sequential manual shifting.
Our selection is solely based on vehicles that we have actually driven and new models that are well-respected (at least on paper).
Other desirable caravans towing features include a reverse camera with guidelines. This makes lining up your car’s tow-ball and your caravan’s hitch easy as joining the dots. You should also look for trailer sway control on a tow vehicle’s stability control menu. Additionally, for those planning to traverse more challenging terrains with their caravan, equipping your tow vehicle with a Tacoma steel bumper ensures enhanced protection and a sturdier attachment point for any towing accessories. This is a great option to avoid sweaty palms.
Here’s our top selection of full-size 4×4 wagons (not necessarily in any particular order), with credentials that are highly desired for caravan towing. This will ensure your next summer holiday – regardless of whether you’re camping on or off-road – is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
There are many other capable caravan tow trucks that we haven’t included. Our selection is based on the vehicles we have actually driven, as well as some newer models that we have yet to test but which appear to have all the right credentials (at least on paper).
Let us know which makes and models you believe are equally worthy of inclusion and why. This way, both CarsGuide and you can share your knowledge which will help us expand the list of vehicles that are worthy of serious consideration when towing caravans.
The best vehicles to tow a caravan
- Toyota LandCruiser 200 series GXL
- Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland TD6
- Toyota LandCruiser Series 76 Series GXL
- Ford Everest Trend RWD and AWD
- Isuzu HTMLX LS-T
- Land Rover Discovery TD6 HSSE
- Toyota Prado GXL
Toyota LandCruiser 200 Series GXL
You’d likely end up with something similar to this iconic caravan towing vehicle if you had a blank sheet of paper. The vehicle’s 2630kg curb and 2850mm wheelbase make it a Queen Mary-grade anchor. It has a smooth-riding coil spring suspension and a short rear axle for towing-ball reach.
The refined 4.5-liter twin-turbocharged diesel V8 is powerful enough to pull large trees out of the ground. It’s paired with an intelligent, smooth-shifting 6-speed auto. You don’t need to reduce the 3300kg GVM (that’s almost 670kg), even when towing the maximum 3500kg.
Even though it can be quite thirsty when hauling heavy loads, the 200 remains widely considered to the caravan tow-tug that everyone else is judged by.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland TDV6
Although this iconic brand has recently been squeezed through a corporate ringer, it doesn’t diminish the Grand Cherokee’s top-shelf ability to tow. It comes with a 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine that produces 550Nm through an eight-speed auto.
The 2915mm wheelbase, 2327kg weight curb, and the short rear axle to reach make this a stable caravan hauler that can be used in all weather conditions. It is comparable to the 200 Series’ maximum 3500kg tow rating. However, unlike the Toyota, you would need to reduce the maximum 534kg payload to maintain the 6099kg GCM.
Toyota LandCruiser 76 Series GXL
Over decades of service in some of the most challenging work and play environments, the 70 Series has proven its worth. The 70 Series’ rigid live axles, which are unmatched in ruggedness and load-carrying capability, and the five-speed manual gearbox is defiantly an old-school design because that’s what its loyal customers want (although an option for towing would make it even more appealing).
The single-turbo dieselV8 4.5-liter engine is a hard worker. It has 430Nm of torque available at 2000rpm, which is as wide as Lake Eyre. It has a 2730mm wheelbase, 2265kg curb, and can tow a caravan up to 3500kg.
Ford Everest Trend AWD & RWD
The Ford Ranger dual-cab ute and its MazdaBT50 twin are well-known for their effortless towing abilities. The multi-award-winning Everest wagon is derived from Ranger and shares many of its DNA, with the added benefit of seven-seat seats.
Permanent all-wheel drive is available for the low-stress five-cylinder turbo-diesel with 475Nm and smooth-shifting six-speed automatic. The Everest has a 2850mm wheelbase, a solid 2407kg weight, and a short rear axle to reach the tow ball and a 3000kg braked towing capability.
Remember that the maximum payload of 693kg must be reduced by 300 kg to tow 3000kg, but not exceed Everest’s 5800kg GCM. The RWD version is significantly cheaper and has the same 3000kg braked rating. This could make it a great option for caravanners who don’t travel far from the bitumen.
Isuzu MU-X LS-T
Isuzu Australia was 2017’s quiet hero, with a decade of double-digit sales growth. It also built customer loyalty by offering only two models, including its DMAX 4×4 Ute and MUL-X wagon.
The seven-seat MU-X is one of Australia’s most popular vehicles for towing caravans. The vehicle’s 2845mm wheelbase, 2075kg curb, and solid foundation make it a reliable towing platform. It feels secure and well-placed on the road.
The 3.0-liter four-cylinder turbo-diesel matches the Land Cruiser 70 Series’ torque of 430Nm. It also has a six-speed auto which provides an economic performance even under heavy loads. It can tow up to 3000kg of trailers without having to decrease its maximum 675kg payload. This Japanese brand has a rich history of truck building, and this shows in the MU-X’s load-hauling excellence.
Land Rover Discovery TD6 HSE
Height-adjustable air suspension is also available on most grades.
We are looking forward to hooking up one to the fifth generation of this Land Rover icon.
It is similar to the Jeep Grand Cherokee but uses unitary construction. However, it adopts Range Rover technology which makes use of lightweight but extremely strong aluminum. The 3170kg gross vehicle mass (GVM) allows for a 940 kg payload, which is more than many dual-cab utes.
The combination of its 2923mm wheelbase, 2230kg curb weight, and fuel-efficient 3.0-liter turbo-diesel HTML6 with a huge 600Nm of torque, as well as an eight-speed automatic, makes it a great choice for towing. The vehicle can tow up 3500kg with its 6670kg GCM. Most grades have height-adjustable air suspension.
Toyota Prado GXL
Yes, another LandCruiser. However, the seven-seater Prado deserves praise for its caravan-towing abilities and also for its larger 200- and 70-Serie stablemates. This is even more true now that its braked weight has increased from 500kg to 3000kg.
The four-cylinder turbo-diesel shares a solid 450Nm through an intelligent 6-speed auto. The Prado’s robust yet comfortable chassis has a 2790mm wheelbase, 2205kg curb, and a 2990kg gross vehicle mass (GVM). This results in a safe and predictable towed vehicle with a 785kg payload rating.
Like its bigger cousins, the 5990kg GCM can tow up to 3000kg and a full payload. We are looking forward to hooking up our caravan and putting MY2018 Prado’s higher tow rating to the test.
Once you’ve decided on the best vehicle for your caravan tow, you should then focus on your insurance. Although your car insurance will cover your vehicle, it’s important to take a look at caravan insurance quotes too.