The lightest tow car in this year’s tests is the Citroën C4 Cactus. If you tow a trailer tent, and don’t want or need a bigger car, the Cactus is a great choice. In fact, it’s the winner of 2015’s ‘Best Ultralight Tow Car’ award.

It may have a lowly 825kg legal maximum (and that drops to 600kg if the car is fully loaded), but if that’s not a problem, the Citroën shows a reasonable turn of speed, pulling our trailer from 30-60mph in 16.9 seconds. That said, the rate of acceleration does tail off noticeably as the legal limit is approached.

Stability is more important than pace when towing, and this is where the Cactus really presses home its advantage of the other really small cars. Through the lane-change test the Citroën felt secure. The trailer slid around on the third and fastest run, but Cactus knuckled down and dragged it straight again. The Citroën stopped well, too, taking just 10.8 metres to slow from 30mph, and doing so without any drama or shunting from the trailer.

Hill starts can be tricky for small cars with modest power and torque outputs, but the Cactus made a decent fist of the 1-in-6 slope. The handbrake needed a firm pull to stop the car and trailer rolling backwards, though, and reversing a short distance uphill caused the clutch to smell.

Inside and out, the Citroën C4 Cactus’s design is a breath of fresh air. It won’t suit everyone, but it’s certainly distinctive. Adults should fit in the back at a squeeze, and the boot is a decent size. We couldn’t fit in every item of our holiday load, but there was room for most of it.

Go for Feel spec and you get a respectable level of kit and good value. Running costs should be very low, too, although we doubt many owners get near the official combined economy figure of 88.3mpg.

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 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance 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

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

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

Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance


Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS


Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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