Best plug-in hybrid 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?...
Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
Maximum towing weight 1600kg
Powered by an electric motor and a 1.4-litre petrol engine, the plug-in hybrid version of the A3 doesn’t quite have the handling prowess of its petrol and diesel siblings, but it’s a relatively roomy family-sized car with a plush interior. It’s best suited to those who do lots of fairly short journeys; its batteries will be depleted after 15-20 miles, or less if you’re towing.
Audi Q7 e-tron
Maximum towing weight 2800kg
The big Audi SUV combines a 3.0-litre V6 diesel engine with a battery pack that will let you travel for 34 miles before it needs to be recharged; this is the official figure, though, so expect to cover fewer miles in real-world driving. That short pure electric range means you’ll have to have deep pockets if you’re going on a long trip, because fuel economy will plummet once the batteries are depleted.
BMW X5 xDrive40e
Maximum towing weight 2700kg
The X5 is one of the best luxury SUVs to drive and unsurprisingly it’s also one of the best for towing, feeling safe and secure with a caravan behind it. At low speeds, it’s powered by an electric motor, which is aided by a 2.0-litre petrol engine if you accelerate hard or travel faster than 44mph. Its electric range is 19 miles.
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in hybrid
Maximum towing weight 750kg
Like the conventional hybrid version of the Ioniq, the plug-in has a towing capacity limited to small trailers or caravans. It drives well and has plenty of pulling power. However, it's not as quick off the line as the pure electric Ioniq, although that version isn't able to tow.
Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
Maximum towing weight 1500kg
The plug-in hybrid Outlander doesn’t cost much more to buy than its 2.0-litre petrol sibling and is more economical, thanks to its batteries and two electric motors, which let it travel for up to 28 miles (officially) on pure electric power. Its maximum towing capacity isn’t huge, but it’s enough for a wide range of caravans.
Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid
Maximum towing weight 3500kg
The hybrid Cayenne has the best towing capacity of any alternative-fuel car and the sportiest handling, making it feel more controlled and predictable through bends than a BMW X5 or Range Rover Sport. Its official electric-only range is 27 miles, although you won’t achieve that in the real world, especially towing a caravan.
Range Rover Sport P400e HSE Dynamic
Maximum towing weight 2500kg
The Range Rover Sport hybrid gained the accolade of our Hybrid Tow Car of the Year 2019. Our judges said: “Epic performance meets unshakeable stability. The Range Rover Sport P400e tows brilliantly and, in the right conditions, promises excellent economy and low emissions.”
Volvo XC90 T8
Maximum towing weight 2400kg
The T8’s combination of a petrol engine and electric motor make it the fastest XC90 you can buy, and its 5.8sec 0-62mph time outpaces the Range Rover Sport P400e but isn’t quite a swift as the Porsche Cayenne e-Hybrid. That and its impressive towing capacity make it a good choice as a tow car. It only did 18 miles on electric power in our Real Range test, though, so it’s best suited to shorter journeys.
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