Top Car for Towing is the Land Rover Discovery
Land Rover Discovery
The UK-made Land Rover Discovery has been named the best towcar 2010 in the annual Towcar Awards, a coalition between experts from Practical Caravan, The Camping and Caravanning Club and What Car?.
“It’s not supposed to be easy choosing the best from 40-odd cars. This year, however, the discussion was a short one. The Land Rover Discovery 4 is an exceptional car for towing. The old model was one of our favourite towcars, but the new Discovery improves upon it in just about every area. You’ll be just as happy with the Discovery when you are not towing. It’s the best car in this year’s tests by some margin, and a more than worthy overall champion,” commented Nigel Donnelly, editor of Practical Caravan.
Practical Caravan, in association with The Camping and Caravanning Club and What Car?, hitched up 41 cars with caravans in their quest to find the best towing cars for 2010 to help holidaymakers make the right choice this year.
Skoda were awarded two accolades. The Green Award went to the Skoda Octavia Estate 1.6 Greenline with judges praising the excellent fuel economy of 64.2mpg and low carbon dioxide emissions of 114g/km that rewards the user with low road tax bills. Judges were also impressed with its all-round package including head and legroom and spacious boot. Skoda’s second award went to the Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 170 SE for the 1575-1724kg towing category for its tremendous space for passengers and luggage as well as being an impressive stable towcar.
Volkswagen picked up the trophy for the up to 1424kg towing category for the VW Golf 2.0 TDI 140 Match 5dr for its performance, stability and comfort. The Astra 2.0 CDTi (160 PS) SRi 5dr was awarded the 1425-1574kg towing category award with judges being impressed with its good looks, drivability and towing capabilities. In the 1725–1899kg category the Mazda CX-7 2.2 Diesel zoomed off with the top award. The panel of judges commented that it towed extremely well and made other 4x4s in the segment look overpriced and under equipped.
Other awards included the Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Style 7st picking up the best value 4x4 award. Editor Nigel Donnelly commented “You know the Santa Fe is a good towcar after just a few miles, but it’s easy to miss just how good until you consider the price. Costing just over £22,000 (less if you haggle), the big Hyundai is one of the best value cars in this year’s tests”.
Best MPV award went to Kia for the Sedona 2.2 CRDi 3 auto which offers great value for families who want and need the versatility of a multi purpose vehicle with 7-seats but not the big budgets historically required.
Matthew Eastlake, The Club’s Marketing & Communications Director, added: “This annual testing programme is led by three of the most experienced and qualified organisations in their respective fields, supported by the leading manufacturers.
“The aim is to provide campers and caravanners with the very best and latest information about leading vehicles suitable for towing.
“We believe that this helps our members to take informed decisions about high value purchases and hopefully they are able to enjoy safe, comfortable and enjoyable motoring as a result.”
Brits own approximately half a million caravans, many of these will be preparing for their summer holidays as soon as the schools finish in July. Caravanners are sometimes given an unfair time when they emerge from their driveways with their home from home as they join the roads, getting blamed for traffic chaos, accidents etc when they are only actually involved in 0.05% of recorded accidents*.
Record numbers of holidays makers are said to be planning on taking a UK ‘staycation’ this year in a bid to avoid high exchange rates, concerns over the environment and airport problems. Caravan ownership is also set to increase.
Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0 TDV6 XS List price £41,740
- Up to 1424kg VW Golf 2.0 TDI 140 Match 5dr List price £20,310
- 1425-1574kg Vauxhall Astra 2.0 CDTi (160PS) SRi 5dr List price £21,485
- 1575kg-1724kg Skoda Superb Estate 2.0 TDI 170 SE List price £22,320
- 1725-1899kg Mazda CX-7 2.2 Diesel Sport Tech List price £26,995
- 1900 kg + Land Rover Discovery 4 3.0 TDV6 XS List price £41,740
- Skoda Octavia Estate 1.6 TDI CR Greenline List price £17,825
- Best Value 4X4
- Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Style 7st List price £22,370
- Kia Sedona 2.2 CRDi 3 auto List price £25,995
“With over £1billion annually spent on towing cars, there is a real thirst for unbiased buying advice. Consumers want to buy a great towing car that works for their holiday – when they are towing a tonne and a half of wood, metal and plastic. It also has to work in real life, on the daily commute, weekly shop and school run too as well as making sense financially. The Land Rover Discovery does all this and more.” said Practical Caravan editor Nigel Donnelly.
Practical Caravans Top Tips for Safe Towing
- Be aware of any strange handling of your outfit. Don’t ignore it. Pull over and check the tyres for damage or under / over inflation.
- Make sure you load your van correctly, putting heavy things over the axle and lighter objects at the back and in the roof lockers.
- Walk around your outfit to visually check the hitch, electrics and tyres every time you stop.
- Check the car manufacturer’s recommendations for increased tyre pressure when towing a caravan and check whether the outfit is level. If the car is sagging it could indicate a high noseweight.
- Make sure you have towing mirrors fitted every time you tow and that you use them to see the length of the caravan and beyond. It will help you to spot any large, fast-moving vehicles likely to cause a bow wave.
- Ensure your towcar is capable of towing your van. Consult the handbook for its kerbweight and towing limit. Outfit matching is vitally important. Check van chassis plate for MTPLM.
- Vehicles were put through a series of specially devised tests for stability, hill starts, acceleration and braking, and practicality. These took place at the Motor Industry Research Centre (MIRA) in Warwickshire.
- Around 400,000 households each year choose their new car on the basis of its towing ability, this equates to an annual spend of over £1bn on new cars used for towing.
- The kerbweight of a car is the unladen weight with allowances for a driver and fuel.
- The Camping and Caravanning Club reports that website bookings are 23 per cent ahead of last year. (www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk)
- The Club saw a two per cent increase in occupancy rates over the Spring Bank Holiday weekend (May 28-30).
- According to Mintel, as a direct consequence of the Ash Cloud 2.8 million Brits have decided not to fly at all, and as many as 4.7 million are undecided. Added to the 2.4 million who have already decided to stay at home it seems the outlook for domestic tourism remains optimistic.
- Department of Transport, Casualty Report 2008.
For further information please contact Karen Parry – 0208 267 5553
Nigel Donnelly, Practical Caravan
Matthew Eastlake. Director, The Camping and Caravanning Club
Available for interview Wednesday 16th June 2010
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