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.

2018
Category Winners
2018 Up to 1400kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L DSG

2018 1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L Executive

2018 1550-1699kg

Peugeot 5008

2.0 BlueHDi EAT8 S&S GT

2018 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2018 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE

2018 Best Family SUV

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Pro

2018 Best Petrol Tow Car

Kia Stinger

2.0 T-GDi GT-Line

2018 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Volkswagen Polo

1.0 TSI 115PS SEL DSG

2018 Fuel Economy Award

Hyundai i30 Tourer

1.6 CRDi 110PS Premium

Previous Winners
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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