It’s not the biggest, roomiest or most practical car in this class, but judged purely as a tow car, the Mazda 3 is one of the best.
The motor certainly plays its part. The 2.2-litre engine churns out a healthy 280lb ft of torque – enough to pull car and caravan from 30-60mph in 13.1 seconds. What’s more, the 3 is stable as well as quick, towing at 70mph without any nervous moments.
In the lane-change test the Mazda wasn’t quite so polished, with the back of the car being pulled around at high speeds, although it always settled down and towed the caravan straight again.
A firm pull on the handbrake was needed to stop the outfit rolling backwards on a 1-in-6 slope, but with such a strong engine, the Mazda pulled to the top with ease. One or two drivers noted some smell from the clutch after reversing up a slope, however.
Our practicality team found space for all but one item of holiday luggage in the boot, but were disappointed by Mazda’s warning against using either the tyre repair kit (standard) or compact spare (optional) in the event of a puncture while towing. Unlike some rivals, there’s no Trailer Stability Programme fitted.