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Best cars for towing a horse trailer

Towing a horse isn't always easy – especially when you don't have the car for the job. That's why this guide will help you choose your next noble stead

Car towing a horse trailer

You’ve got the horse, you’ve got the trailer – now you need the right car to tow it.

You'll need something strong and sturdy that will get you up that steep hill, potentially across muddy ground, and that will absolutely not let you down. 

Here are our tips on what to look out for.

Towing tips 

Firstly, if you’re having to regularly tow horses, you’ll need to make sure that you’re doing so legally.

Your license must allow you to tow a horse trailer. If you passed your driving test before 1 January 1997, you’re automatically qualified to drive a vehicle and trailer that together weigh up to 8250kg.  

For those drivers who passed their test in 1997 or later, you can only tow a car and trailer up to 3,500kg, provided you’ve also passed a special car and trailer test.

You’ll also need to fit towing mirrors to your car to help you see beyond the trailer, which is a legal requirement.

The speed you can travel at is also different: no more than 60mph on a motorway or 50mph on A-roads.

Secondly, the key issue, as with towing anything, is weight – the weight of your trailer and the weight of your car. You should ensure you know the total weight of your set-up to ensure you can legally drive it and make sure you can cross all bridges etc.

Best cars for towing horse trailers

The budget option: Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento is a relatively inexpensive large SUV, but it’s also a lot of car for not a lot of money, relatively speaking. 

It has a proper all-wheel-drive system that will help when hauling a horse trailer to off-road locations, while there’s also a hill-start function and a trailer stability function to help with safety when towing. 

As with the whole Kia range, it comes with a good level of equipment, whichever trim level you choose.

As for power, there's only one engine option for this used Kia– a 2.2-litre CRDi diesel – but this is powerful enough to tow a trailer without feeling as if it's struggling.

With prices starting at just over £30,000, the Sorento offers genuine value for money.

But why not cinch it and pick up a used one for a great deal?

black Kia Sorento parked outside a modern house

The traditional one: Land Rover Discovery

Seeing a Land Rover Discovery towing a horse trailer is like seeing a farmer with a Border Collie – it's a pretty common sight if you spend any time in the countryside.

The Discovery is the workhorse for many farmers – and for good reason. In common with everything built by Land Rover, it's as much at home on a muddy track as it is on a piece of tarmac.

Its four-wheel-drive system can take the Discovery to some inhospitable places. Sure, your local point-to-point race may not be up Mount Kilimanjaro, but it's nice to know you could go there should you need to.

The Discovery has a very comfortable interior with lots of practical features, including lots of storage options. The fold-down bench in the boot is a handy feature, which allows you to sit and watch the equestrian events when you arrive at your destination.

grey Land Rover Discovery

The pickup: Toyota Hilux

If you want something more rugged, with an open bed to carry extras such as hay bales and general horse gear, then a used Toyota Hilux will do the job.

Powered by a 2.4-litre diesel engine and coming with all-wheel drive, all versions of the Hilux are also available with features such as trailer sway control and hill-start assist.

Some better-equipped trim levels also have a downhill assist feature to help when going down slippery slopes.

You can also choose between single or double cab options, which means you can have one or two rows of seats depending on your preference.

There are plenty of variants to suit a wide range of horse-towing needs, and you can be assured that it'll never go wrong.

red Toyota Hilux driving through sand

The premium tower: Audi Q7

The Audi Q7 is another large SUV that can fulfil a number of tasks with ease, and do so while offering a comfortable, premium driving experience to anyone inside the car.

All versions can tow trailers up to 2800kg, but used Audi Q7s fitted with the air suspension system (which makes the car even more comfortable over uneven surfaces) can pull up to 3,500kg. 

All Q7 engine options offer really impressive torque, which leads to superb pulling performance.

There’s also an e-tron variant, a plug-in hybrid that adds an electric motor to the engine and has an electric-only range of 34 miles. 

It also comes with plenty of other technology and safety features, such as the obligatory trailer-assist system. 

white Audi Q7 driving on a road

The newcomer: Mercedes-Benz GLS

The Mercedes-Benz GLS is massive, luxurious, and more than capable of towing a horse trailer to a three-day event.

This is a seriously large SUV. It has seven proper seats – each of which is suitable for a six-foot-tall adult – and all the occupants will be riding in luxurious levels of comfort. As it's brand-new for 2019, it's full of the very latest technology, including a widescreen display for the instrument panel and infotainment. 

Buyers can choose between two strong diesel engines or a turbocharged V8 petrol mild hybrid, all of which will produce plenty of power to not only shift a used Mercedes GLS’s mass but also have enough left over to pull a horse trailer.

green Mercedes-Benz GLS driving on a road

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