We’ve put together five of the best towing vehicles on the market at four different price points. Gross trailer mass (GTM) was a key factor in our selection process as it means more compatibility and usually more payload. Other key factors considered were fuel consumption, torque (pulling power) and equipment level. You’ll note we’ve gone 4×4 diesel where it’s available and all prices are on-road.
Budget sedan: 2015 Ford Falcon FG X XR6 LPi Auto, $44,834
As the sun sets on Australian automotive manufacturing, Ford Falcon continues to shine. The new FG X shape is possibly Falcon’s best yet, with its sharp, angular details. Though it’s LPG, 198kW of power and 409Nm of torque mean it’s gruntier than its petrol sibling. The XR6 shares this LPG power plant with the base model, but the XR is thirstier at 9.1L/100km (vs 8.3L). Despite this, the XR6 makes a lot more sense as the heavy-duty towing kit is standard, giving it a GTM of 2,300kg. As an option, the towing kit takes the base model up to just $150 shy of the XR. The XR also gets a premium sound system, sports seats, sports-tuned suspension, 18″ alloys, LED daytime running lamps, rain-sensing wipers and a bunch of XR accents. It’s a no-brainer.
Budget SUV: 2015 Kia Sorento SLi Diesel Auto, $45,990
Some people prefer the seat height, ground clearance and cargo-carrying advantages of the SUV format, and with a GTM of 2,000kg (assuming it hasn’t changed), the Kia Sorento is one of the best value SUVs for towing. It has a capable 2.2L 4-cylinder diesel that belts out 441Nm of torque (up 20Nm) and if it’s anything like the 2014 model, it’ll return a respectable 7.3L/100km combined cycle. Throw in Kia’s seven-year unlimited KM warranty, seven-year capped price servicing and 12-month roadside assistance (extendable to seven years) and you’ve got a very attractive deal. The 2015 model is due out at the time of publishing. Note that the lower model Si has a diesel option but strangely, no auto – that won’t work for long journeys.
Middle of the road: 2015 Ford Ranger 4×4 Wildtrak Double Cab Pick-up 3.2 Diesel Auto, $67,205
Yes, you could also consider the Mazda BT-50, which is basically the same vehicle, but the Ranger wins on its local design and engineering, its handsome looks (the unfortunate BT-50 gets a facelift this year), and a USB port in the centre compartment (annoyingly, the BT-50’s is in the glove box). Ranger’s 3.2L 5-cylinder turbo-diesel puts out a respectable 470Nm – practically from idle. It’ll pull a best-in-class 3,500kg GTM and take 1-tonne in payload (less when towing). The Wildtrak is the Ranger’s premium spec dual-cab chassis and comes with leather as standard. The price above includes optional auto gearbox, roo bar, reversing camera and sat nav. Tip: it’s getting a face lift in September.
Big ticket: 2015 Toyota LandCruiser 200 GXL TD, $91,752
With 650Nm on tap at a sleepy 1,600rpm, the turbo-diesel V8 LandCruiser barely acknowledges its 3,500kg GTM. Untethered, the claimed 10.3L/100km combined is decent, even if you’ll never achieve it in the real world. With 1276L of cargo space and a 93L fuel tank as standard, you can take a lot of stuff a long way. At $91,752 the ’Cruiser costs a pretty penny, but it is the towing vehicle you want to be in when the going gets tough.
High roller: 2015 Range Rover Sport SDV6 SE, $122,416
Believe it or not, for the same money as a LandCruiser, you get a Range Rover TDV6 S ($92,600). Unless you’re vegan, however, a luxury car isn’t that luxurious without a leather interior (a $4,720 option). Serious luxury buyers want the SDV6 SE, which gets a host of extras and a 225kW/600Nm twin-turbo V6. The Rangie is rated to 3,500kg GTM. Importantly, 2015 introduces a diesel-hybrid model that packs a 250kW/700Nm/$146,900 punch with a class-leading 6.4L/100km. It’ll still tow a mean 3,000kg GTM. The 2015 model arrives in May. Avoid the seven-seater as it uses a space-saver in place of a full-size spare – not a good option when you’re pulling 3 tonnes.
Choosing a towing vehicle goes hand-in-hand with choosing a caravan. It’s important to find that balance between the raw ability that gets the job done and the creature comforts that make a long journey bearable.
If you’re new to it all, you’ll want to check out the Best Caravan Driving Courses in Australia.