The BMW X3 would have been a worthy winner of the 1700-1899kg class if it hadn’t been outpointed by 5 Series Touring.

It’s a great tow car in its own right. In fact, if you favour the high-up driving position of an SUV you may prefer the X3 to the BMW estate.

The X3 was immense in the lane-change test. Some SUVs lean heavily, especially as speeds increase and the emergency swerve becomes more violent.

Not the BMW. It breezed through the first two runs and there was only slight movement from the caravan on the third and quickest attempt.

Similar composure is evident at motorway speeds. Only in crosswinds could we see some slight movement from the caravan in our towing mirrors.

With the same four-cylinder engine as the 5 Series, it’s no surprise that acceleration is similar, pulling from 30-60mph in 11.4 seconds.

There’s a bit of a grumble from the engine when accelerating hard but the noise largely stays in the background.

As you’d expect of a 4×4 with plenty of pulling power, hill starts are straightforward. The electronic parking brake held car and caravan still on the 1-in-6 slope, and the X3 towed to the top with no wheelspin or other sign of complaint.

Our practicality testers were almost as impressed as the drivers. They couldn’t fit as much luggage in the X3’s boot as in the 5 Series Touring, but were pleased to note towing-friendly features like trailer stability control, a reversing camera, and a 12V socket in the boot.

2019
Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners
2018
1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2017
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*

2016
1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business

2015
1400-1549kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG

2014
1400-1549kg

Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

2013
Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance

2012
1725–1899kg

Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury

2011
1425-1574kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport

2010
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS

2009
1900kg+

Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic

2008
1575-1724kg

Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto

2007
1575-1724kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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