Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack crowned Towcar of the Year 2017

22/09/2016

Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack crowned The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2017.

London, 22 September 2016: Volkswagen’s Passat Estate Alltrack lifted this year’s overall trophy, and also scooped class and category wins in The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Competition.

The competition’s 47 entrants, which were split into seven price classes and two weight categories, saw winning vehicles from Volkswagen, Citroën, Peugeot, Škoda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

However, it was the Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack that took the overall victory. It was described as “one of the classiest mid-range cars by a mile”.

Each towcar was thoroughly tested – being judged not only on its towing performance over the testing circuit at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, but also for ‘caravanability’.  

Caravanability evaluates how well the car caters for caravanner’s needs – how much typical holiday gear and caravan essentials it can accommodate, how easily it can be hitched up to a caravan and the quality of towing information available in its handbook.  Also added to the marking equation was the towcar’s value for money.

Seven driving judges evaluated each car for its dynamic abilities and ergonomic qualities – the test route included tight and twisty ‘country lanes’, 17% hill stops and starts, as well as circuits of a high-speed bowl.  They were also put through rigorous reversing examinations. These four days of rigorous evaluation highlighted that every vehicle could be considered a respectable towcar, so long as it was properly matched to its caravan.

Price class awards in the competition went to: the Citroën C4 Cactus Rip Curl BlueHDi 100; Peugeot 308 SW Active BlueHDi 120;  Škoda Superb SE L Executive 2.0TDI 150PS; Volkswagen Golf Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI 4MOTION 150 PS; Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS; Mercedes-Benz E220d AMG Line Saloon; and the BMW X5 xDrive40d M Sport.

All-wheel drive vehicles competed in two additional weight categories; ‘Under 1800kg’ and ‘Over 1800kg’. The BMW X5 xDrive40d took the ‘Over 1800kg’ prize, while the Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack took first place in the ‘Under 1800kg’ category before going on to win the overall title.

The results of the competition were announced at The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Awards ceremony, held at the Royal Automobile Club in London on 22 September.  The awards were presented by Olympic athlete, Roger Black MBE.

Grenville Chamberlain, The Caravan Club Chairman, said: “It was a thrill to see such a great choice of vehicles being put thought their paces during the Competition – the winning manufacturers should feel very proud of their achievements.  These vehicles will enable our Caravan Club members to have wonderful holidays and effortless towing experiences.”

Find out more about Towcar of the Year or find out more about The Caravan Club.

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Media enquiries

Nikki Nichol, external communications and sponsorship manager at The Caravan Club on 01342 336 797 / 07771 834 443 or email nikki.nichol@caravanclub.co.uk

Notes to editor

Champions of the great outdoors, The Caravan Club represents the interests of over one million caravanners, motorhomers and trailer tent owners across the UK.

For further information about becoming a member of The Caravan Club please visit www.caravanclub.co.uk or call 01342 318 813.

Driving Judges:   Deborah Black, Events Committee member; Lesley Harris, road test journalist for Auto Express Magazine; Mark Sutcliffe, specialist press journalist; Tim Rayment, Sunday Times journalist; Lee Davey, specialist press journalist; John Sootheran, Warners Group Publications and John Harris, Events Committee member.

Caravanability Judges: Martin Dorey, journalist and television presenter; Martin Spencer, Caravan Club Technical Manager.

Thanks:  The Caravan Club would like to thank Bailey of Bristol for supplying all the caravans used in the competition, and for providing staff on site throughout the event.  Simon Howard and Ali Kuleli ensured the caravans were correctly ballasted, that their noseweights were kept in trim and that they were in general good working order.  Stuart Mead from AL-KO ensured brakes were adjusted, wheels were kept tight and all undergear was properly fettled.  Burcroft Camping for the provision of a Silver 310 Pop Top Caravan.

The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2017 Competition

When, Where and How…

Testing took place in August at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire – arguably the best car testing facility in the country.  This year, 47 cars were divided into seven price-range classifications and two categories for all-wheel drive vehicles (‘All-Wheel Drive [AWD] Under 1800kg’ and ‘AWD Over 1800kg’).

Manufacturers were invited to submit for testing any vehicle that was capable of towing a trailer over 750kg and on sale on 1 October 2016.

The cars entered were carefully scrutinised to ensure that they conformed to the exact specification declared on the entry documentation. Five expert drivers assessed each car’s towing characteristics including acceleration, braking and the ability to cope with demanding hill starts.  A further two driving judges performed mid-range 30-60mph and 40-60mph acceleration tests on each vehicle. Another team of two ‘caravanability’ judges evaluated each entrant’s usability in terms of everyday caravanning: would it carry a set of awning poles, for instance, and do you have to get on your hands and knees to connect the caravan electrics? 

Caravans used during testing were supplied by Bailey of Bristol, and loaded to 85% of the relevant car’s kerbweight, or the car’s towing limit if that figure was lower.  Noseweights were set at 7% of the caravan’s actual laden weight, or the car or tow hitch’s maximum limit, whichever was lowest. Burcroft Camping supplied a lightweight Silver caravan for vehicles towing under 1,000kg.

More about the winning vehicles…

Vehicles priced under £20,000.  Class winner Citroën C4 Cactus Rip Curl BlueHDi 100

The willing and torquey 1.6 turbodiesel engine took all the judges by surprise with its pulling power.   Citroën’s quirky and innovative little crossover also exhibited good manners at both low and high speeds and coped with hill starts with the minimum of fuss.

Vehicles priced £20,000 – £23,000.  Class winner Peugeot 308 SW Active BlueHDi 120

One of the Competition’s surprise packages, offering a blend of practicality and space combined with lively performance and a flexible and frugal turbodiesel engine.  All judges felt immediately at home in the light and airy interior with its huge glass roof.

Vehicles priced £23,000 – £29,000.  Class winner Škoda Superb SE L Executive 2.0TDI 150PS

Škoda’s flagship Superb has always been an impressive package, particularly when it comes to value for money.  But in this competitive class, it was its all-round refinement, stability and confidence-inspiring composure that gave it victory.

Vehicles priced £29,000 – £32,000.  Class winner Volkswagen Golf Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI 4MOTION 150 PS

The judges hailed its towing characteristics as precise, composed, stable and predictable.  One judge summed it up “The Golf is almost tediously good.  It does everything so well!”  The vehicle scored well on its ability to absorb caravanning loads and for its easy-to-use retractable towbar.

Vehicles priced £32,000 – £35,000.  Class winner Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS; also voted category winner of All-Wheel Drive Under 1800kg; also voted The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2017

This car simply oozes competence.  Heavy enough to impose its will on a large four-berth family caravan, it pulls away strongly and exhibits excellent flexibility throughout the mid-range.  Handling is crisper and more positive than taller, heavier 4x4 SUVs and bodyroll is almost non-existent.  One judge commented “the classiest mid-range car by a mile”.

Vehicles priced £35,000 – £45,000.  Class winner Mercedes-Benz E220d AMG Line Saloon

The judges were unanimous in their appreciation of this fine executive express which makes a very credible towcar alternative to a 4x4.  The powerful, torquey, yet frugal diesel engine, twinned with an incredibly refined nine-speed automatic gearbox made for a joyful driving experience.  This car feels absolutely unshakeable at speed.

Vehicles priced over £45,000.  Class winner BMW X5 xDrive40d M Sport; also voted category winner of All-Wheel Drive Over 1800kg

The driving judges were, without exception, bowled over by the BMW’s shattering performance – it provided power, poise and practicality.  The BMW deploys a raft of technological tricks to make the towing experience as comfortable as possible – offering a range of suspension and drive settings plus an economy setting which returns fuel economy in the high 40s. 

The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2017 Competition Entrants

Under £20,000

Citroën C4 Cactus Rip Curl BlueHDi 100

Mazda CX-3 2.0 120PS SE-L NAV

MG GS Excite

Peugeot 2008 SUV GT Line PureTech

SsangYong Korando SE

SsangYong Tilovi ELX

£20,000 - £23,000

Kia cee'd Sportswagon 2

Peugeot 308 SW Active BlueHDi 120

SsangYong Tilovi ELX Style 4x4

Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet S Allgrip

£23,000 - £29,000

Honda HR-V 1.6 i-DTEC EX

Hyundai i40 TR SE NAV 1.7 D 141PS DCT BD+AA

Nissan Qashqai 130 dCi N-Connecta

Renault Kadjar Signature dCi 130 4x4

Škoda Superb SE L Executive 2.0TDI 150PS

Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.6 CDTi Bi Turbo 160PS

£29,000 - £32,000

Mazda CX-5 2.2D 175PS AWD Sport Nav

Mitsubishi Outlander GX4 2.2 DI-D

Nissan NP300 Navara 1.9 dCi Tekna Double Cab

Škoda Octavia Scout 2.0TDI 184PS 4x4 DSG

Subaru Forester 2.0D XC Premium CVT

Volkswagen Golf Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI 4MOTION 150 PS

Volkswagen Touran SE Family 2.0TDI 150 PS DSG

£32,000 - £35,000

Hyundai Tucson PREM SE 2.0 CRDI 184PS 4WD A/T

Kia Sportage First Edition

Nissan X-TRAIL 130 dCi Tekna 4WD

Subaru Outback 2.0D SE Premium CVT

Toyota Hilux Invincible double cab

Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS

£35,000 - £45,000

Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE 2.2 CRDI

Jaguar XE R-Sport 2.0D AWD

Jaguar XF R-Sport 2.0D

Jeep Cherokee 2.2 MultiJet 11 200hp Limited

Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE Luxury

Mercedes-Benz E220d AMG Line Saloon

Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d 4MATIC AMG Line

SEAT Alhambra SE LUX 2.0 TDI 184 PS

Volkswagen Sharan SEL 2.0TDI SCR 184 PS DSG

Volkswagen Tiguan SE NAV 2.0TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS DSG

Volvo V60 D5 Twin Engine SE Nav

Over £45,000

BMW X5 xDrive40d M Sport

Land Rover Discovery Landmark

Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography

Land Rover Range Rover Sport Autobiography Dynamic

Mercedes-Benz GLS 350d 4MATIC Designo Line

Toyota Land Cruiser Invincible

Volvo XC90 D5 PowerPulse AWD Momentum

All-Wheel Drive Vehicles Under 1800kg

Hyundai Tucson PREM SE 2.0 CRDI 184PS 4WD A/T

Jaguar XE R-Sport 2.0D AWD

Kia Sportage First Edition

Mazda CX-5 2.2D 175PS AWD Sport Nav

Mitsubishi Outlander GX4 2.2 DI-D

Nissan X-TRAIL 130 dCi Tekna 4WD

Renault Kadjar Signature dCi 130 4x4

Škoda Octavia Scout 2.0TDI 184PS 4x4 DSG

SsangYong Tilovi ELX Style 4x4

Subaru Forester 2.0D XC Premium CVT

Subaru Outback 2.0D SE Premium CVT

Suzuki Vitara 1.4 Boosterjet S Allgrip

Volkswagen Golf Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI 4MOTION 150 PS

Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS

All-Wheel Drive Vehicles Over 1800kg

BMW X5 xDrive40d M Sport

Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE 2.2 CRDI

Jeep Cherokee 2.2 MultiJet 11 200hp Limited

Land Rover Discovery Landmark

Land Rover Discovery Sport HSE Luxury

Land Rover Range Rover Autobiography

Land Rover Range Rover Sport Autobiography Dynamic

Mercedes-Benz GLC 250d 4MATIC AMG Line

Mercedes-Benz GLS 350d 4MATIC Designo Line

Nissan NP300 Navara 1.9 dCi Tekna Double Cab

Toyota Hilux Invincible double cab

Toyota Land Cruiser Invincible

Volkswagen Tiguan SE NAV 2.0TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS DSG

Volvo V60 D5 Twin Engine SE Nav

Volvo XC90 D5 PowerPulse AWD Momentum

The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2017 Competition

Winners

Under £20,000

Citroën C4 Cactus Rip Curl BlueHDi 100

£20,000 – £23,000

Peugeot 308 SW Active BlueHDi 120

£23,000 – £29,000

Škoda Superb SE L Executive 2.0TDI 150PS

£29,000 – £32,000

Volkswagen Golf Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI 4MOTION 150 PS

£32,000 – £35,000

Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS

£35,000 – £45,000

Mercedes-Benz E220d AMG Line Saloon

Over £45,000

BMW X5 xDrive40d M Sport

All-Wheel Drive Under 1,800kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS

All-Wheel Drive Over 1,800kg

BMW X5 xDrive40d M Sport

The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2017

Volkswagen Passat Estate Alltrack 2.0TDI SCR 4MOTION 150 PS

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