Best hybrid and electric cars for towing

So, you want to do the right thing and buy an electric or hybrid car, but you also need to tow a caravan or trailer occasionally. What’s the best alternative-fuel car for you?...

18 June 2019
Range Rover Sport towing caravan

If you own a caravan that you take on regular trips and want an affordable car to tow it with, you’re best off choosing a diesel model, such as our current Tow Car of the Year, the Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TDI, which offers superb stability and all the practicality of a large family car.

However, if you only need to tow occasionally, or have something lighter to tow, such as a small trailer or cycle carrier, you could reap the fuel, emissions and money-saving benefits of a hybrid or electric car much of the time and still be able to use it to tow every now and then.

You’ll have to choose your car carefully, though, because not all alternative-fuel cars are approved for towing and some of those that are have low legal towing limits. For example, the Toyota Prius Hybrid can only tow a braked or unbraked trailer weighing up to 725kg, while the larger, heavier Lexus RX450h has a maximum towing limit of 2000kg.

Read this guide to electric and hybrid cars that can tow to find out which will suit you best.


Hybrids

Honda CR-V Hybrid

Maximum towing weight 750kg

2019 Honda CR-V front

The hybrid version of the CR-V has replaced the diesel-engined options in the latest line-up. However, with less than half of the towing capacity of the old diesel (which could tow 2000kg), the new model doesn’t provide a viable alternative for anyone towing a heavy caravan. Fuel economy is average at 41mpg, but its CO2 emissions of 120g/km are higher than you might expect.

Read our full review of the Honda CR-V Hybrid

Get a great deal on a Honda CR-V


Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid

Maximum towing weight 750kg

New Hyundai Ioniq vs Toyota Prius

The hybrid version of the Ioniq uses a petrol engine and an electric motor to provide better acceleration than a Toyota Prius. However, like the Prius, it's not able to tow a larger caravan. Its combination of good driving manners and value for money helped it gain our award for Hybrid of the Year 2019. It's worth noting that the pure electric Ioniq isn't able to tow at all. 

Read our full review of the Hyundai Ioniq

Get a great deal on a Hyundai Ioniq


Lexus RX450h

Maximum towing weight 2000kg

Audi Q7 vs Lexus RX 450h

Equipped with a 3.0-litre V6 petrol engine and a pair of electric motors, the RX450h isn’t as accomplished to drive as German luxury SUV rivals, but it’s surprisingly frugal, achieving 40mpg in our True MPG tests. That figure will drop if you’re towing, though.  

Read our full review of the Lexus RX

Get a great deal on a Lexus RX


Toyota C-HR Hybrid

Maximum towing weight 725kg

2017 Toyota C-HR Dynamic Hybrid Limited Edition review verdict, specs, price and release date

Although the C-HR can’t tow much, it performs well when towing a lighter trailer. It feels secure and corners and pulls well, although the engine makes a lot of noise under hard acceleration. The hybrid C-HR accelerates slower than the 1.2 petrol version, though, so we actually recommend the latter.

New Hyundai Ioniq vs Toyota Prius

The Prius is restricted to towing small trailers or bike carriers. With a combination of a 1.8 petrol engine and an electric motor, its performance isn’t sparkling. It’s similar in ability to the C-HR, though, feeling safe at motorway speeds, although the engine gets vocal when pushed hard.

Read our full review of the Toyota Prius Hybrid

Get a great deal on a Toyota Prius


Toyota RAV4 Hybrid

Maximum towing weight 1650kg

Toyota RAV4

The RAV4 doesn’t have the best towing capacity and when tested for the What Car? Tow Car Awards, it didn’t perform as well as rival SUVs. It feels unsettled at motorway speeds, makes a lot of noise under hard acceleration and takes longer to stop than other large SUVs. It’s roomy, though, and fairly economical to drive around town when the electric motor can kick in more often.

Read our full review of the Toyota RAV4

Get a great deal on a Toyota RAV4


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