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Towing The Line - The Best Cars For Pulling Power

By raccars Published

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Most car buyers consider the test drive an essential part of the purchase process, putting the vehicle through its paces on the open road and through town if possible, pushing it to see how it feels. However, if your driving career includes regular towing, it can be hard to work out how the car will perform without actually putting a large load on the back.

The 2014 Tow Car Awards perform a number of tests at Warwickshire's MIRA Proving Ground, to identify the best models for towing, with What Car? and Practical Caravan magazine providing the judges. Vehicles are assessed not only on ride quality, performance, hill start capability and braking, but also on overall practicality, installation of the tow bar and spare wheel provision. The following were standouts this year:

For lighter weights of up to 750kg, the Renault Captur 1.5 dCi is hard to beat. For a small car, it's both stable and determined and capable of handling loads up to 900kg with an impressive noseweight limit of 75kg.

Up to 1200kg, which includes light trailers, trailer tents and small caravans, there are a number of talented models to choose from. The Skoda Octavia has won awards for its towing ability and usefully is available as an estate. If you're looking for a little more weight and capability off the tarmac, the Nissan Qashqai is a good choice and was named the overall winner in this year's awards, particularly in more powerful and flexible 1.6 dCi form.

Mid range single axle caravans, single horseboxes and small boats can go up to 1500kg, for which you'll need something a little more substantial. The Jaguar XF Sportbrake is as practical and capable as it is luxurious. The 3.0 litre V6 diesel is recommended for its intuitive suspension, stability and power. If your budget won't stretch that far, the 2.0 litre diesel Ford Kuga does a good job and adds four wheel drive to the mix.

When it comes to the big stuff, the Land Rover Discovery is the go to choice, regularly winning awards for its towing abilities and beating off the likes of the Range Rover Sport, Jeep Grand Cherokee and the BMW X5. It will cost you but comes with a useful towing limit of 3500kg and a number of driver assist features specific to the task, such as a reversing camera and trailer stability assist.

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