The best campervans for towing

Whether it’s an additional caravan to add space to your camping outfit, or a car to get you around on you holidays, here are the best campers to tow with...

Tow Car Awards 2022 - Volkswagen Multivan front

Towing with a campervan or motorhome might seem like a lot of hassle, but for many it’s the only way to go. Whether you’re looking to tow a car to allow you to get around on your holidays, add an additional camping pod for extra sleeping space, or even tow a car or bike for a race event, it’s imperative to get the right rig for the job – and that involves a bit of research.

You’ll have to start by working out exactly what weight you’ll need to tow. For heavier loads – for example, if you need to tow a car – you’ll need to make sure that you’re buying a campervan whose maximum gross train weight (MGTW – the maximum the combination of the campervan and its trailer) is high enough. 

You’ll also need to make sure your licence is up to the job, because if you’re hoping to tow a heavy load behind a large camper, the combined weight of both might take you over the 3,500kg you’re allowed to drive on a standard UK car licence

Generally speaking, though, the best way to get an idea of which campers are best to tow with is to look at the vans on which they’re based. This is true irrespective of whether you’re looking for a van-based camper or a coachbuilt motorhome. 

Iveco Daily

A case in point is that the campers with the highest towing capacities of all are often based on the Iveco Daily – which should come as no surprise given the Daily is also the best van to tow with, thanks to its robust ladder-frame construction and rear-wheel drive.

Indeed, rear- (or four-) wheel drive is usually much more desirable in a towing vehicle than front-wheel drive. This is because the additional weight on the rear of the camper will press down more on the rear tyres, reducing grip on the front tyres – and that means the front end is more likely to lose traction, and the rear less so, when towing. 

Also worth looking at, therefore, are rear-wheel-drive versions of the Ford Transit and Mercedes Sprinter., and of course the rear-drive and factory-build Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo, In fact, if you can get away with a slightly lower towing capacity, campers based on these vans are worth considering over and above the Iveco Daily. 

Ford Transit Nugget campervan

That’s because while these vans feature a monocoque construction which is slightly less robust than the Daily’s (and therefore less well equipped to tow heavy loads), they are smoother and more comfortable out on the road.

And if you’re only ever going to tow a light load – for example, a small trailer for spare luggage storage – you could even consider a camper based on a front-wheel-drive van, such as the Ford Transit Custom Nugget or Volkswagen Transporter (and that includes the popular California campervan)

That’s because the both the Nugget Transporter has good road manners and a high towing capacity, and if you’re only ever going to place a relatively light load across the rear axle, the fact it’s front-wheel drive shouldn’t become an issue. 

What Car?’s recommended campervans for towing:

Iveco Daily

Towing capacity: 750kg unbraked, 3500kg braked

There's lots of choice in the Daily range, whether that's in terms of bodies, lengths, engines or options. However, it looks very expensive in the context of its main rivals

Ford Transit

Towing capacity: 750kg unbraked, 3500kg braked (depending on configuration)

The Ford Transit is still one of the most able vans on sale, and the latest incarnation has better storage, an improved payload and better safety features than before. The Transit just keeps improving with age.

Ford Transit Custom Nugget 

Towing capacity: 750kg unbraked, 2400-2500kg braked

Given the level of equipment you get, the Transit Custom Nuugget starting price is competitive before. However, its layout won’t work for everyone and it’s not as  good to drive as a VW California or Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo.

Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo

Towing capacity: 750kg unbraked, 2000kg braked

The Mercedes Marco Polo is our top choice. It’s not the cheapest to buy, but it has a feature-packed and plush interior that’s easy to convert from transportation device to living area. It’s good to drive and refined for a camper, making it a better bet than key rivals.

Mercedes Sprinter

Towing capacity: 750kg unbraked, 2000kg braked (3500kg with a reinforced trailer coupling)

The Mercedes Sprinter is a solid choice for most drivers, and comes with a comfortable interior, but it's beginning to be out-shone by a plethora of talented rivals in key areas. And it's expensive.

Volkswagen Transporter

Towing capacity: 750kg unbraked, 2500kg braked (depending on configuration)

The VW Transporter is a formidable mid-size van. It's practical for passengers and cargo, good to drive, comfortable and includes much of the latest tech and safety aids you might need.

Volkswagen California

Towing capacity: 750kg unbraked, 2500kg braked

There are cheaper camping options out there, but the Volkswagen California is pleasant enough to drive and full of useful features. Plus it comes with the reassurance of being a factory-built camper.

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