Primary Navigation Mobile

The best cheap 4x4 tow cars in 2024

  • The best 4x4 towing cars under £10,000
  • A wide variety of cars covered
  • Extensive range of cars available to buy

Written by Graham King Published: 24 May 2024 Updated: 30 May 2024

Having a heavy trailer to tow doesn’t mean you have to buy a brand-new car to do the towing. There are many used cars that make great towing cars, even at the more affordable end of the price spectrum, and even if you want a 4×4. And that’s what we’re looking at here – the best cheap 4×4 tow cars.

For the purposes of this list, we’re defining a ‘cheap’ car as one that’s available in good condition for less for than £10,000. Every car highlighted has a towing capacity of at least 2,000kg and, of course, is available with four-wheel-drive. As you’d expect, there’s an emphasis on diesel SUVs but we’ve also included some estates, a pickup truck and even a people carrier.

When buying a car that’s previously been used for towing, it’s vital the service history shows it has been well looked after. That’s because lugging a trailer around puts greater strain on the car’s engine, gearbox, suspension and brakes. We’ve highlighted particular things you need to look out for on some of the cars on this list, beyond the usual checks. If you have a towbar fitted to a used car, make sure you get a manufacturer-approved one.

Editor’s choice: Volkswagen Touareg (2010-2018)

Plush SUV capable of hard graft

Volkswagen Touareg (2010) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
Every generation of Volkswagen Touareg is popular for towing, particularly the second-gen version.

✅ Takes heavy loads in its stride

✅ Lovely interior
✅ Generously spacious

❌ Diffs need regular maintenance

❌ High running costs

Every generation of Volkswagen Touareg has proven a popular tow car, particularly for heavy-duty work. That’s because the powerful diesels make light work of its 3,500kg towing capacity, it has a very strong chassis and it’s relaxing and stable to drive.

£10,000 buys a second-generation Touareg – a vast improvement over its flawed predecessor. It’s better to drive, more spacious and practical, better built and more reliable. Indeed, it was launched at Volkswagen’s arguable peak, particularly for interior design – the Touareg’s shows Audi-like quality and user-friendliness.

The 3.0-litre V6 TDI with 240hp-plus is best for towing. Make sure the differential oil has been changed regularly and find a local VW specialist to keep it healthy.

Read our full Volkswagen Touareg (2010) review
Volkswagen Touareg cars for sale

2. Skoda Superb Estate (2010-2015)

Vast estate that can pull vast loads

Skoda Superb Estate (2010) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
The Skoda Superb Estate won awards for its ability as a tow car.

✅ Massive passenger and boot space

✅ Deeply relaxing to drive
✅ Ten grand buys a very good example

❌ It is very big

❌ Long recommended service intervals

The Skoda Superb’s a long-term favourite of caravanners because it’s relatively big and heavy – which helps keep a big white box stable – and excellent value. To that, the Estate adds one of the very biggest boots you’ll find in any type of car.

The Estate body was introduced for the second-generation Superb. The 633-litre boot and vast passenger space is a particular highlight, the interior is a pleasant place to while away a long journey and top-spec models come with all the tech you really need.

Diesel 4×4 models have a towing capacity of 2,200kg and are easy to find for well under £10,000, including the rare Audi Allroad-alike Superb Outdoor. The recommended service intervals can be up to 20,000 miles; cars used for towing need much more regular maintenance.

Read our full Skoda Superb Estate (2010) review
Skoda Superb Estate cars for sale

3. Honda CR-V (2012-2018)

Reliable and robust caravanner’s favourite

Honda CR-V (2012) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
The fourth-gen Honda CR-V is still frequently seen towing a caravan.

✅ Undemanding to drive

✅ Undemanding to own
✅ Big boot

❌ 2.2 diesel is quite thirsty

❌ It’s just a bit boring, really

You still see a lot of these fourth-generation Honda CR-Vs towing caravans. Honda subsequently abandoned diesel engines, so owners seem to hang onto their older models. The 2.2 i-DTEC diesel engine is strong, and the car’s size and weight easily cope with the 2,000kg towing capacity.

The CR-V was and remains a completely rational mid-size SUV, if not one that tugs at the heartstrings. Even by current standards, it’s very spacious and practical, top models are generously equipped, and the driving experience is entirely undemanding.

Like many more modern diesels, the CR-V’s i-DTEC engine benefits from regular long journeys to help prevent issues developing with the fuel injectors, oil system and particulate filter.  

Read our full Honda CR-V (2012) review
Honda CR-V cars for sale

4. Toyota RAV4 (2013-2019)

All those caravanners can’t be wrong?

Toyota RAV4 (2013) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
Toyota RAV4 (2013) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars

✅ First-rate reliability

✅ Reasonably fuel efficient
✅ Relaxing driving experience

❌ Uninteresting interior

❌ Uninteresting to drive

Throughout the 2010s, it seemed like half the UK’s caravanners had the Honda CR-V discussed above, and the other half had this fourth-generation Toyota RAV4. They share similar virtues both as tow cars – relaxing and stable driving experience, 2,000kg towing capacity – and as mid-size SUVs.

Passenger and boot space isn’t quite as generous in the RAV4 as the CR-V, but it’s still plenty roomy enough. The interior looks rather dull, but it’s comfortable and very robust. Indeed, quality and reliability are first-rate. You need a D-4D diesel with four-wheel-drive to get a 2,000kg towing capacity.

Look for a RAV4 with lowish miles and a full service history. There’s no significant price difference between the various models, so get the highest-spec version you can find – Invincible is the top grade.

Read our full Toyota RAV4 (2013) review
Toyota RAV4 cars for sale

5. Kia Sorento (2010-2014)

Big family SUV ideal for towing big family caravans

Kia Sorento (2010) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
The Kia Sorento easily copes with a tow-axle caravan.

✅ Most models have seven seats

✅ Strong engine
✅ Smooth ride

❌ Manual ‘box needed for 2.5-ton towing capacity

❌ Tinny interior in pre-2012 models

If you have a bigger two-axle caravan or trailer, the Sorento is a better bet than the CR-V and RAV4 detailed above. It’s a bigger, heavier car that’s more stable at the upper end of its towing capacity which is 2,500kg with a manual gearbox, or 2,000kg with an automatic.

Most of these second-generation Sorentos have seven seats; there’s plenty of space in all three rows but the boot is on the small side for a car this size. A 2012 update brought in higher quality interior materials. The 2.2 CRDi diesel engine is noisy when accelerating, but the Sorento rides smoothly and handles neatly enough.

Towing puts a lot of strain on a car’s gearbox and clutch, so make sure they operate smoothly in any manual Sorento with a tow bar.

Read our full Kia Sorento (2010) review
Kia Sorento cars for sale

6. Land Rover Discovery (1998-2004)

Can still be found working hard in the countryside

Land Rover Discovery (1998) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
Even the most recent second-gen Land Rover Discovery is 20 years old, but it’s still a fine tow car.

✅ One of the most affordable ways to tow 3.5 tons

✅ Huge space and practicality
✅ Unstoppable off road

❌ Patience needed to find a really good one

❌ Thirsty and slow

There are older Land Rovers still hard at work pulling 3,500kg horseboxes and livestock trailers, and the tow car is usually a second-generation Land Rover Discovery. It may be over 20 years old but it’s still well worth considering as a used buy.

The Disco has its flaws. It’s slow – even the V8 version – won’t be hurried through corners and the diesel is rather noisy. But it has massive passenger and boot space, it’s very tough, has loads of character, and you can get a good one for well under £10,000.

Look for an unmodified example with a lavish service history – Land Rover specialists can help find one. Chassis rust is the main concern, particularly where the towbar’s attached. Cherished low mileage, one owner cars are coming out of the woodwork, some super-clean V8s are being imported from Japan.  

Read our full Land Rover Discovery (1998) review
Land Rover Discovery cars for sale

7. Mitsubishi Shogun (2007-2018)

Rare but worth seeking out for towing 3.5 tons

Mitsubishi Shogun (2007) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
The Mitsubishi Shogun is very capable off-road, and can tow big loads.

✅ Five-door is extremely roomy

✅ Near-Land Rover off-road ability
Usually well looked after

❌ Rather crude and noisy to drive

❌ Not many for sale

The Mitsubishi Shogun is another farmers’ favourite, though by the time this fourth-generation version came along, many had switched to pickup trucks. Regardless, the Shogun’s power and weight, and the immense strength of its chassis, makes it an effortless tow car. Note that the five-door can pull 3,500kg – 500kg more than the less stable three-door.

The Shogun is a bit of a truck to drive, but it’s practically unstoppable off-road and not at all uncomfortable. The five-door is immensely spacious; every model is extremely well-equipped.

Expect a £10,000 Shogun to have far exceeded 100,000 miles, but they tend to be well looked after. Check carefully underneath for chassis rust, especially if the car has previously been used off-road.

Read our full Mitsubishi Shogun (2007) review
Mitsubishi Shogun cars for sale

8. Isuzu D-Max (2012-2020)

A heavy-duty truck for heavy-duty towing

Isuzu D-Max (2012) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
The Isuzu D-Max was built to work very hard for its living.

✅ Muscular 2.5 diesel engine

✅ Immense strength
✅ One-ton load bed capacity

❌ Most lead very hard lives

❌ Unsophisticated driving experience

If you need to tow for work rather than pleasure, nothing beats a pickup truck. That’s because pickups have heavy-duty chassis and suspension with the strength to regularly pull really heavy trailers. And the Isuzu D-Max is one of the most capable, being among the first UK pickups rated to tow 3,500kg.

It’s not particularly sophisticated, with a hard ride, noisy engines and notchy manual gearbox. But the D-Max has plenty of space for four in Double Cab models, top trim levels come very well equipped and it feels reassuringly robust. It’s extremely capable off-road, too.

Most D-Maxes work very hard for their living – look for one that’s been well cared for. Chassis rust can develop on cars regularly used off-road; the more muscular 2.5-litre diesel engine is best for towing.   

Read our full Isuzu D-Max (2012) review
Isuzu D-Max pickups for sale

9. Mercedes-Benz R-Class

Big, posh MPV makes a luxurious tow car

Mercedes-Benz R-Class - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
The Mercedes R-Class can tow huge caravans while carrying six people in luxury.

✅ Spacious for six

✅ Torquey six-cylinder diesels
✅ Superbly comfortable

❌ Sheer size of the thing

❌ Frequent fuel station visits

Big, diesel MPVs make great tow cars, their size and weight being very effective in keeping a trailer nice and stable. The Mercedes-Benz R-Class tips the scales at over two tons and is available with an assortment of torquey six-cylinder diesels, so it shrugs off its 2,100kg towing capacity.

The R-Class’s six-seater interior isn’t as flexible as that of some other MPVs, but it’s vastly spacious and luxuriously finished. The boot’s huge, too. It’s smooth and deeply relaxing on a motorway, but the car’s sheer size can make towns a bit stressy.

Mercedes’ of this era are generally very reliable as long as they’ve been properly maintained. Check the service history carefully, make sure all the electrics and air suspension (if fitted) work properly. Four-wheel-drive models are badged 4Matic.

Read our full Mercedes-Benz R-Class review
Mercedes-Benz R-Class cars for sale

10. Audi A6 Avant (2011-2018)

Premium estate that’s easy to find with four-wheel-drive

Audi A6 Avant (2011) - Best cheap 4x4 tow cars
The Audi A6 Avant is a very fine long-distance tow car with a V6 diesel engine.

✅ Smooth, powerful V6 diesels

✅ User-friendly interior
✅ Long-distance comfort

❌ Problem-prone air suspension

❌ Boot on the small side

The Mercedes E-Class is a better estate than the Audi A6 Avant, having a significantly bigger boot. However, you can’t get a four-wheel-drive E-Class for less than £10,000; quattro 4WD A6 Avants are much easier to find. V6 diesels with more than 240hp have a towing capacity of 2,100kg and cope with heavy trailers very easily.

It may not be as practical as the E-Class Estate, but the A6 Avant still has a generous boot and ample space for four adults. Interior design is a particular highlight – the dashboard is brilliantly user-friendly and material quality exceptional. The car’s a great long-distance cruiser, too.

Any V6 diesel A6 Avant within our budget will have done a lot of miles, so make sure the service history stacks up. Avoid cars with air suspension, which can develop expensive problems.

Read our full Audi A6 Avant (2011) review
Audi A6 cars for sale

More help finding the best used cars to buy

Parkers is dedicated to helping you find the best cars at the best prices, no matter how old they are. We’re obsessed with finding the best deals on secondhand cars – and our Parkers Best Used Cars articles and reviews are designed to highlight the most suitable cars in each class.

Parkers is here to provide you with all the help and advice you need if you’re selling your car. Follow our hints and tips to make your vehicle sale easy and hassle-free.

Selling a car can feel stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Read on to learn how to ensure your car sells, and you’re paid securely, how to avoid time-wasters and how to get a fair price when trading in.

Don’t fancy advertising privately or negotiating with dealers? You can easily compare offers from direct car buying services with Motorway, the UK’s leading price comparison website for selling your car, through Parkers.

From £1,000 superminis to people carriers, we cover all mainstream corners of the used car market.

How to find the best cars

Don’t forget to check out these sections if you need more help:

Watch: Your seven used car checks