Before we reveal our preferred car models, there are some important things to consider in a towing vehicle: caravan towing capacity, reliability and safety.
Caravan towing capacity
It’s vital that the aggregate trailer mass (ATM) of your caravan does not exceed the towing capacity rating of your tow vehicle. The ATM is the complete weight of the caravan and its payload. Ideally, your tow vehicle’s capacity should exceed the caravan’s ATM to allow for inconsistencies and unexpected payload. You can find out more in our caravan towing capacity guide.
Consider how easy (or difficult) it would be to source parts and servicing for your chosen car should it break down or become damaged in a remote part of the country.
Though towing drastically changes the handling characteristics of your car, aim for an Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) safety rating of five stars where possible. All of the cars below are five-star rated as of 2013.
- Ford Falcon
The Falcon is cheap, reliable and easy to repair – all qualities that the towing enthusiast needs. By virtue of an inline design and some 50 years of refinement, the ‘I6’ 4.0L straight six is smooth, powerful and as reliable as it gets. Falcon can be optioned to 2,300kg (200kg more than Commodore), allowing it to tow a decent range of small to medium caravans.
- Toyota LandCruiser GX Turbo Diesel
Great reliability, huge size and ample power – LandCruiser is an unstoppable tank. It has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500kg, a whopping 650 Newton metres (Nm) of torque, seats five, boasts 1,431L of cargo space and gets a claimed 10.3L per 100km. This model even comes with a snorkel intake for the off-road adventurer. At roughly $86,500 on-road, it’s not cheap, but it will tow anything – anywhere.
- Mitsubishi Pajero GLX 5-door
Pajero isn’t in the same pulling class as LandCruiser, however, at $30,000 less, it’s a force to be reckoned with. Pajero’s 3,000kg towing limit still allows it to tow a great deal of caravans, with plenty of capacity left over for payload. It boasts good visibility and is more of a driver’s car than the LandCruiser.
- Holden Colorado Dual Cab 4X4
While there are a few well-performing utes in this class, Holden upped the ante with the latest Colorado. Its 2.8L diesel hits 500Nm of torque yet it has a claimed consumption figure of 7.9L per 100km (combined, unhitched). It’ll pull 3,500kg, meaning it can even pull a typical 24-foot 5th wheeler with room for 200 to 300kg of payload.
In our choices, we went for a balance between caravan towing capacity and acceptable, long-distance comfort. If there are no surprises in this list then we’re on the same page, but always consider alternatives and test drive them all.
Find out what equipment you’d need to add in our caravan towing equipment guide.