10 Best Cars in Australia for Towing Caravans

By Alexi Falson on 28 Feb 2022
image for 10 Best Cars in Australia for Towing Caravans Australia is a country that absolutely loves hitting the road and getting into the Great Outdoors with a caravan in tow.

If you’re planning a holiday trip or a long-distance escape to navigate Australia’s wide open plains, it’s important that you have the right equipment up your sleeve when towing a caravan to ensure the trip is as seamless and trouble-free as possible. 

In this piece, we’ll break down all the terminology you need to know when it comes to learning about your vehicle’s pulling power, present you with our 10 best cars for towing caravans, as well as some of the added features of modern cars that can keep you safe on long distance trips. 

What to Look for When Choosing the Best Tow Vehicle 

There are five major things to look for when choosing a vehicle specifically for the purpose of towing a caravan on long-distance trips.

Power & Torque Figures

When it comes to towing large, heavy caravans, you want a vehicle that has a healthy power figure, and a significant amount of torque to help push you off the line and up to speed. Turbo-diesel engines typically offer the best performance when it comes to torque figures, which you’ll notice is prevalent in the breakdown of the 10 best towing vehicles. 

Towing Capacity 

It goes without saying that towing capacity should be a key priority in this context. Manufacturers will break down the towing capacities of their vehicles, otherwise known as aggregate trailer mass, or ATM, but this can be buried inside a spec sheet that you might not see. 

It’s also important not to overload the vehicle, so try to pick a caravan that gives you some weight flexibility and isn’t bogging down the vehicle’s mechanicals on every drive, which can cause premature wear-and-tear. 

The general rule here is commonly known as the 85% rule, which recommends buyers to stick within 85% of the vehicle’s capacity, which gives you some flexibility, stability and added confidence while towing over long distances. 

Gross Vehicle & Combination Mass

In addition to towing capacity, a manufacturer will specify the maximum weight that the vehicle is capable of safely driving with. This is known as the gross vehicle mass, or GVM for short. They will also give you a gross combination mass figure, or GCM, which is the maximum weight that the vehicle is capable of moving with; this adds the weight of the vehicle, as well as the weight of an object that it can safely move, giving you a clear picture of its maximum performance. 

This gives you a figure of how much your trailer can weigh before it overloads the gross vehicle mass of that particular vehicle. As a general rule, we recommend that you leave yourself several hundred kilograms spare.

Towball Weight Capacity 

Manufacturers will also provide you with a specific number for the vehicle’s towball weight capacity, otherwise known as a tow ball download or TBD for short. Typically, this figure sits at 10 per cent of the vehicle’s gross vehicle mass. 

Active Safety Features 

Technologies like trailer sway control, stability control, blind spot monitoring and lane departure warnings are absolutely essential for long distance trips. They’ll help prevent common accidents stemming from missing another car in your blind spot, and can even control each wheel when the trailer begins to sway to ensure you’re not involved in a nasty wreck. 

10 Best Cars in Australia For Towing Caravans 

1. Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series 

A fan-favourite here in Australia, the LandCruiser comes ready for action when it comes to towing caravans and conquering the worst of what Australian road conditions can throw at it. 

  • Engine: 3.3-litre twin-turbo diesel V6
  • Power and Torque Output: 227kW/700Nm 
  • Drivetrain: 4WD system 
  • Kerb Weight: 2,495kg
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 350kg 
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,500kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 3,280kg
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 6,750kg  

2. Volkswagen Amarok TDI580

The Amarok has carved itself out a reputation on worksites around Australia, while steadily growing in popularity with buyers looking for a powerful, German-engineered grand tourer. 

  • Engine: 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6
  • Power and Torque Output: 190kW/580Nm 
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Kerb Weight: 2,147kg 
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 350kg
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,500kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 3,080kg 
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 6,000kg 

3. Isuzu MU-X 

The MU-X has fast become one of the go-to options for Australians looking for a value-for-money proposition from their 4x4 that retains impressive pulling power. 

  • Engine: 3.0-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder 
  • Power and Torque Output: 140kW/450Nm 
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Kerb Weight: 2,175kg
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 350kg
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,500kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 2,800kg 
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 5,900kg

4. Nissan Patrol Ti 

The Nissan Patrol is another great option for towing caravans that has recently received some major updates in its latest generation, taking the fight to rivals like the LandCruiser with V8 power and impressive towing figures. 

  • Engine: 5.6-litre naturally-aspirated V8 
  • Power and Torque Output: 298kW/560Nm  
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Kerb Weight: 2,861kg
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 350kg
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,500kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 3,500kg 
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 7,000kg

5. Ford Ranger XLT

Ford’s toughest creation comes ready for action with impressive power figures while offering class-leading economy for the segment. There’s a number of engines available in the Ranger lineup, with the twin-turbo diesel coming out on top when it comes to pulling power. 

  • Engine: 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel four-cylinder 
  • Power and Torque Output: 157kW/500Nm  
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Kerb Weight: 2,197kg
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 350kg
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,500kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 3,200kg 
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 6,000kg

6. Toyota HiLux SR5 4x4

A familiar sight at holiday camp sites and workplaces all around Australia, the HiLux presents buyers with an extremely attractive value proposition, combined with a powerful yet economical four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. 

  • Engine: 2.8-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder 
  • Power and Torque Output: 150kW/500Nm  
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Kerb Weight: 2,055kg
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 350kg
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,500kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 3,050kg 
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 5,850kg

7. Ford Everest Sport

One of the best options for families looking to get into the Great Outdoors, combining Ford’s powerful engine technology with some creature comforts for the kids, the Everest is ready for any trip you can throw at it. 

  • Engine: 2.0-litre twin-turbo four-cylinder  
  • Power and Torque Output: 157kW/500Nm  
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Kerb Weight: 2,417kg
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 310kg
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,100kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 3,100kg 
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 5,900kg

8. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport

The Pajero Sport offers a comfortable long-distance touring package combined with some impressive towing figures, making it an extremely family-friendly vehicle for holiday towing, backed by one of the best ownership programs in Australia. 

  • Engine: 2.4-litre turbo diesel  
  • Power and Torque Output: 133kW/430Nm  
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Kerb Weight: 2,125kg
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 310kg
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,100kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 2,775kg 
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 5,565kg

9. Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Americans sure know how to travel in style, and the flagship SUV in their range, the Grand Cherokee, is proof that their recipe of a comfortable platform combined with impressive power will prove a great companion on your long road trips. 

  • Engine: 3.0-litre turbo V6 
  • Power and Torque Output: 184kW/570Nm   
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Kerb Weight: 2,327kg
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 350kg
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,500kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 2,949kg 
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 6,099kg

10. Land Rover Discovery D300 SE

Land Rover has long-distance touring in its DNA, and it remains a leading option when it comes to touring the countryside in style and comfort. The Discovery is one of the best in its lineup, combining impressive power figures in a relatively understated package. 

  • Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo six-cylinder  
  • Power and Torque Output: 221kW/650Nm   
  • Drivetrain: 4WD
  • Kerb Weight: 2,370kg
  • Maximum Towball Weight: 350kg
  • Braked Towing Capacity: 3,500kg
  • Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM): 3,260kg 
  • Gross Combination Mass (GCM): 6,760kg

Can a Hatchback Tow a Caravan? 

A hatchback can absolutely tow something like a caravan, but your pulling power is significantly less than something with a larger engine. This means that your braked towing capacity is significantly less than other types of cars, which means the weight of the caravan should not exceed a relatively modest number. 

For the majority of hatchbacks, braked towing capacity is rated anywhere between 1,000kg to 1,300kg, which is fine if you’re towing a compact folding camper, which typically weighs around 600-800kg. 

What Type of Vehicle is Best for Towing a Caravan 

When it comes to pulling power specifically for towing a caravan around Australia, we recommend you stick to something like a dual-cab ute, or a 4x4 SUV that features a powerful and torque-filled power delivery to give you confidence on your road trip. 

As a general rule, the more power the engine produces, the easier your towing experience will be. As the vehicle itself grows, you have more space to accommodate extra people, or can have your belongings easily accessible as you’re driving. 

What are Some Common Mistakes When Choosing a Vehicle to Tow a Caravan? 

The most common mistakes that people make when choosing a vehicle to tow a caravan include:

  • Buying an underpowered towing vehicle 
  • Choosing a caravan that exceeds the vehicle’s gross combination mass (GCM) 
  • Overloading the towball capacity figure 
  • Not properly securing the towing load 
  • Failing to adjust driving style while towing 
  • Not purchasing extended mirrors
  • Failing to check tyre pressures regularly 
  • Ignoring safety checks before long drives 

What Cars Can Tow 3,500kg in Australia? 

When a new dual-cab ute or 4x4 comes to the market here in Australia, 3,500kg is the benchmark that most manufacturers are aiming to hit. As a result, the majority of new vehicles on the market will come extremely close to the 3,500kg figure, while some sit around 3,000kg and other smaller or less powerful vehicles are rated at 2,500kg. 

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If all this reading has gotten you excited at the prospect of a long-distance trip with a caravan, click here to get in contact with one of our car buying experts that can help find you the perfect vehicle to tow a caravan, at a competitive price. 


Alexi Falson

Alexi is an automotive journalist and road tester hailing from Byron Bay. He has an affection for both cars and motorbikes, a great admiration for the simplicity of old-school engineering, and a fascination of new technology making its way to modern cars. When he's not road testing, you'll find him surfing, hiking or helping people find their dream cars.

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