If you own a lightweight caravan and don’t need a large car, stop reading in another 200 words or so. Chances are this is the tow car for you. Driven solo, the steering is precise and full of feel, and corners can be tackled with gusto.

The Focus displays the same qualities when towing. While most smaller cars were found wanting in the lane-change test, this Ford put in a near-perfect performance, changing direction quickly and holding its line. The G-force reading from the ATC unit in the van showed a maximum load of 0.7. Other outfits in this class were closer to 0.8 as cars struggled to pull the caravan neatly behind it.

Straights were tackled with as much verve as corners. The 2.0-litre engine is the most powerful diesel in the Focus line-up, putting out 133bhp and 236lb ft of torque. This muscle is common in cars a couple of weight divisions up, but it gives the Focus bragging rights in the lightest class. It towed from 30-60mph in 16.1 seconds: more than 10 seconds quicker than last year’s favourite small tow car, the Volkswagen Golf.

The Focus is quieter and more refined than the Golf, too. Under hard acceleration the Ford engine sounds less gruff and settles into the background at a steady cruise.

However, the clutch had to be slipped to tackle our 1-in-6 slope, and we couldn’t fit our complete load of luggage in the boot. Nonetheless, we’ve no hesitation in recommending the Focus as the best small tow car you can buy.

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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