Make towing as stress-free as possible with Andrea Oakes’ pick of some of the best vehicles for the job
Sangyong Rexton EX
Towing capacity: 3,500kg
Features: The all-new Rexton has a host of driver-friendly features to make towing safe and enjoyable.
This seven-seater differs from many of its counterparts with its body-on-frame construction, which creates an extremely strong and durable vehicle.
A 2.2L turbo diesel engine delivers powerful performance, along with selectable 4WD in high or low ratio for different off-road conditions, with a choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic gearbox.
In its roomy interior, you’ll find a suite of electronic safety aids. Hill-descent control keeps things steady on a steep downhill, while hill-start assist makes uphill move-offs less daunting.
Parking sensors, cruise control and an autonomous emergency braking system are also among the features you can expect with this entry-level model.
The high-end “Ultimate” ups the ante, with extras such as quilted Nappa leather upholstery and cameras at both front and rear and on the door mirrors — offering a bird’s-eye reversing view for easier alignment of vehicle and trailer.
In a nutshell: Affordable, well equipped and capable.
Mercedes GLS and G-Class
Price: £71,430 (GLS), £92,070 (G-Class, pictured)
Towing capacity: 3,500kg
Features: The rugged G-Class is considered the ultimate go-anywhere vehicle — boasting an industry gold standard in the shape of three locking differentials. In layman’s terms, this should get you out of pretty much any off-road situation you find yourself in.
You’ll find a little more luxury in the seven- seater GLS, which sports a nine-speed gearbox for greater fuel efficiency and even more interior space.
With massage seats, temperature- controlled cup holders and an air suspension system that levels the car with the trailer, you’ll arrive fresh and ready to compete. Both vehicles feature a hefty 3L diesel engine and a range of high-tech gadgetry for safety and comfort.
A trailer-stability system can detect fishtailing, when car and trailer are out of sync, taking corrective action on your behalf.
A 360-degree camera makes easy work of hitching up and reversing the trailer, while blind-spot assist (at additional cost) alerts you to vehicles approaching on either side. A concertina load sill protector as an optional extra keeps the boot ledge mud-free.
In a nutshell: The ultimate in off-road ability and image, at a price.
Mitsubishi L200 Warrior
Towing capacity: 3,100kg
Features: Mitsubishi describes its powerful L200 as being equipped for any environment, with good reason. Considerable towing capacity and a staggering payload (the amount you can load it up with) of more than 1,000kg makes this authentic four-wheel drive (4WD) one worth considering.
Based around a 2.4L diesel engine with a six- speed gearbox, the vehicle offers a tight turning circle for easy manoeuvring.
It’s surprisingly sleek for a pick-up and features a double cab for passenger carrying with car-like refinement — including cruise control, infotainment systems, dual-zone climate control and luxury styling options such as leather seating.
With a trailer on the back, you’ll be grateful for a host of safety features that come as standard.
Active stability and traction control, plus a trailer-stability assist system, will come into their own in tricky conditions or crosswinds. A lane departure warning will tell you if you’re drifting, while hill-start assist prevents any hair-raising backwards roll when you’re starting off on a steep uphill slope. A reverse camera offers extra reassurance.
In a nutshell: All-round versatility in a no- nonsense package.
Price: from £50,060
Towing capacity: 2,800kg
Features: The Q7 features a permanent all-wheel drive (AWD) system providing dependable grip and traction in tough conditions.
So while you may not want to take it up to its axles in mud, it’s a safe bet for towing onto gravel car parks and good turf.
And if the generous towing capacity doesn’t meet your requirements, you can increase it to a beefy 3,500kg with adaptive air suspension (at an additional cost).
In every other way the Q7 should fit the bill, with a choice of two 3L engine options and enough intelligent technology to satisfy the most gadget-happy driver.
If you’re anxious about reversing a trailer, a clever trailer-assist system steps in — monitoring angles and steering for you, leaving you to operate the gears, accelerator and brakes.
The adaptive air suspension makes for safer towing, taking trailer weight into account and adjusting the car to the correct height.
The retractable towbar can be stowed at the touch of a button and while seven seats are enough for a large family, the rear row can easily be raised, lowered or retracted to create capacious storage.
An in-car SOS button provides a link to the emergency services when pressed.
In a nutshell: Good looks and performance for less challenging terrain.
Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
Towing capacity: 3,500kg
Features: Jeep’s flagship range is built in the US for the most demanding country in the world — so the legendary Grand Cherokee should handle any towing requirements with ease.
The Summit features a mighty 3L turbo diesel engine with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, offering both off-road capability and on-road sophistication.
It comes with more than 60 safety and security features, including a blind-spot alert that’s handy for towing, along with front- and rear-park assist and a tyre pressure monitoring system to tell you when you need to top up.
You’ll also find extras you didn’t know you needed but won’t want to live without: a power tailgate for easy loading with armfuls of gear, and keyless “Enter ’n Go” technology that lets you get in and start up with the keys still in your pocket.
In a nutshell: A powerhouse for performance and peace of mind.
Kia Sorento KX-1
Towing capacity: 2,500kg
Features: The Sorento offers little less oomph from a towing point of view, but no shortage of innovative technology.
An AWD system continuously monitors conditions and puts the car in the correct drive — or you can manually select “lock mode” to improve traction on rough or slippery ground.
The AWD system works alongside traction control and hill-start assist, which enables safe cornering and eliminates wheelspin on uphill pull-aways. Trailer-stability assist applies front braking force to the relevant side of the vehicle if it detects a potential loss of control.
Despite some smart extras for urban journeys, the Sorento has been designed with rural life firmly in mind.
Wrap-around doors keep the seals free of dirt and moisture thrown up from the road to protect your work clothes when getting in and out, while a boot liner and bumper flap as extras stop muddy boots and paws from messing up the interior. The pricier models feature an even higher spec.
In a nutshell: Ticks all the boxes for the budget-conscious.
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Land Rover Discovery HSE
Towing capacity: 3,500kg (3,000kg on 2.0 Si4 300HP engine)
Features: The 4WD Discovery, redesigned last year, offers a wealth of towing technology.
Optional tow-hitch assist makes coupling easier, while nose-load measurement will alert you to dangerous overloading of the trailer.
You can adjust the height at the rear of the vehicle to meet the towbar, test the trailer lights from the outside and invest in optional advanced tow assist for stress-free reversing without touching the steering wheel.
On the road you’ll benefit from onboard safety systems such as trailer-stability assistance.
All models feature an eight-speed gearbox, a choice of petrol or diesel engines and a tailgate overhang that serves as a handy bench for spectating or changing muddy footwear.
Cubby holes and door stowage add storage space to an already cavernous interior, where you can plug in to an abundance of 12V sockets and USB charging points.
A further optional extra is an activity key — a waterproof wristband you can wear while you ride, leaving your keys inside the vehicle. You can even reconfigure the seven seats remotely using a smartphone app.
In a nutshell: Iconic design and proven dependability.
This article was first published in the 26 October issue of Horse & Hound magazine