Tow Car Awards 2024: Up to 1549kg

If you’re looking for a great tow car that will also be enjoyable to drive solo, you need one of our 2024 Tow Car Awards winners. Here we look at the best buy up to 1549kg...

WINNER: Up to 1549kg

Ford Focus Estate 1.0 mHEV 155 Active X

Kerb weight 1451kg 85% match 1233kg Max towing weight 1500kg Towball limit 90kg

If you're looking for a stable and practical lightweight tow car, let us point you in the direction of the Ford Focus Estate. At 60mph (the legal limit when towing), it was in good control of the caravan, and it suffered only a bit of movement at 70mph on our test track.

The Focus took the lane-change test in its stride at all three speeds; its accurate steering made it easy to place on the road with precision. It performed well in the brake test, too, taking 10.5 metres to stop from 30mph. That’s the shortest stopping distance of any car in this weight category.

Tow Car Awards 2024 Ford Focus Estate pulling caravan

If the Focus has a weakness as a tow car, it’s hill starts. On the 1-in-6 slope, we found that it took a very light right foot to avoid spinning the front wheels, and not just when the surface was wet with rain. It took gentle, sympathetic driving to coax the Focus and caravan over the hill without wheelspin, and this meant creeping forwards slowly.

The Focus is enjoyable to drive without a caravan in tow; its 153bhp petrol engine gives it a healthy turn of speed (although it’s quite noisy when worked hard), and it corners neatly, even though the Active version we tested has a raised ride height compared with the regular estate.

Inside, the Ford is solidly screwed together, if a bit cheap-feeling, and while the infotainment has sharp graphics, it’s a shame that adjusting the air conditioning involves using the touchscreen; separate controls would be less distracting on the move.

Tow Car Awards 2024 Ford Focus Estate dashboard

Our practicality testers were impressed with the boot, which took a full load of holiday luggage bar one small bag. They also noted that the reversing camera gave a clear view of the tow ball.

Our ratings

Towing 4/5 Solo driving 4/5 Practicality 4/5 Buying and owning 4/5 Overall 4/5

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