VW Passat Estate 2.0 TDI 4Motion is the UK’s best towcar

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Thursday 09 August 2007

Towcar of the Year <br>(click to download image)

Towcar of the Year
(click to download image)

The UK’s first ever Towcar Awards have taken place and the winner is the Volkswagen Passat Estate 2.0 TDI 4Motion.

With fifty cars taking part, these awards were the biggest of their kind and saw a collaboration of expertise from The Camping and Caravanning Club, What Car? Magazine and Practical Caravan. The new and comprehensive towcar tests took into account the full spectrum of weight and price ranges that are available and the results now enable anyone looking to buy a towcar for a caravan, trailer or horsebox etc to be better informed about which car is right for them.

Fifty cars were selected for the week-long tests. Each had previously been tested and given the thumbs up by What Car? so each car was already among the best in its category. All cars undertook rigorous testing at the Motor Industry Research Centre (MIRA) test track in Warwickshire. Specially devised tests for stability, hill starts, acceleration and braking were part of the marathon trials. The cars were also tested for their practicality which included their capacity for luggage.

Each car was categorised by kerbweight - the unladen weight of the car with allowances for a driver and fuel. The categories included: Up to 1425 kg, 1425-1574 kg, 1575-1724 kg, 1725-1900 kg and over 1900 kg. Anyone planning to buy a car will know the weight of the trailer they intend to tow therefore this way of judging should make it easier for buyers to find the perfect match.

The awards were presented on 2 July at a special ceremony held at the Bosworth Hall Hotel, Warwickshire. A special ‘Green’ award was presented to the Kia Cee’d 1.6 CRDi LS. Robert Louden, Deputy Director General for The Camping and Caravanning Club who presented the award said: “Pressure is mounting on motorists across the world to consider very carefully the cost to the environment when running their choice of vehicle. The Kia blends towing ability with keen economy and low emissions.”

Matthew Eastlake, Director of Marketing and Communications for The Camping and Caravanning Club said: “It is essential that consumers have all the relevant information at their fingertips in order to make an informed decision about the purchase of a new vehicle,  these awards.”

What Car?’s Editor, Steve Fowler, said: “After five days of intensive testing, the Volkswagen Passat Estate emerged as a clear winner. It makes great sense whatever you’re towing, but just as crucial are  abilities in everyday driving and the fact that it’s a sound ownership proposition.”

Carl Rodgerson, ditor of Practical Caravan, said: “Choosing the right towcar is a tricky business as a car dealer is hardly going to pop a towball on the back so that you can go for a spin with your caravan or trailer. These Awards are designed to remove that uncertainty by putting all the leading models through Britain’s most comprehensive towcar test programme.

“An excellent car doesn’t automatically make a great towcar but you can be confident that the winners of the Towcar Awards are brilliant all-rounders that offer value, practicality and economy as well as superb towing ability.”

Notes to the Editor:

1.The Camping and Caravanning Club is 106 years old and is the world’s largest and oldest club for all forms of camping. It has more than 100 award-winning sites throughout the UK and, through a partnership with the Forestry Commission – Forest Holidays – now runs a further 21 Camping and Caravanning and three Cabin Sites.

2.The Judges included: David Motton, Contributing Editor for Practical Caravan, Pete Tullin, Road Tester Editor for What Car?, Nick Harding, Editor of Camping and Caravanning Magazine, Nigel Hutson, a member of Practical Caravan’s Reader Enthusiast Team, Andy Pringle, Motoring Journalist and Barry Norris, Technical Information Officer for The Camping and Caravanning Club.

 Category  Model   Retail Price 

 What Car?      Target Price

Up to 1425 kg Volkswagen Golf 1.9 TDI Match £16,067 £15,168 
1425-1574 kg                 Volvo V70 D5 SE    £28,815  £25,931
1575-1724 kg                 Volkswagen Passat 2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion Estate     £22,337             £21,256
1725-1900 kg                 Audi Allroad 3.0 TDI Quattro Tiptronic   £36,925             £34,448
Over 1900 kg                 Land Rover Discovery TDV6 HSE Auto   £43,812                 £40,890

The following cars were highly recommended within their categories: Kia Rio 1.5 CRDi LS (Best Budget Buy), Land Rover Freelander 2.2 TD4 HSE (Best Compact 4x4), Ford Galaxy 2.0 TDCi Ghia (Best Large MPV, and the Range Rover TDV8 HSE (Money-no-object), while the Kia Cee’d 1.6 CRDi LS took the Green Award.

 For full details of the results see Practical Caravan’s September issue, released on Wednesday 20th June 2007 and What Car?’s New Reg issue, available from Friday, 6 July 2007.


Shoulder Story

Winning Towcar put through its paces

To celebrate the Volkswagen Passat Estate 2.0 TDI 4Motion being crowned top towcar at the 2007 Towcar Awards, The Camping and Caravanning Club’s Nick Harding and fellow Towcar judge, David Motton from What Car? and Practical Caravan, put the car through its most extreme test yet - an endurance towing challenge.

The challenge was to drive the car from the Club's Sennen Cove Site, near to Lands End and then on to Inverewe in Scotland, the Club's most northerly site, whilst towing a caravan. The car was really put through its paces and showed that it’s not only a great towcar but also the best all round car for comfort and dexterity.

Nick Harding, Editor of Camping and Caravanning Magazine said: “We drove for twenty four hours and covered 1500 miles and, throughout the whole trip, regardless of road type, the Volkswagen Passat Estate was absolutely brilliant. It cruised effortlessly with the caravan even on the smaller roads and even managed twenty four miles to the gallon whilst towing. No other towcar award winner has been put through a challenge like this - tackling all kinds of roads in a range of often adverse weather conditions. We have proved undoubtedly that this car really is the perfect all round car. It proved itself under test conditions and now on the road. It’s economical, comfortable and a great tower, ideal for anyone, whatever it may be used for”.