RAC Cars News


Volkswagen Passat Is Tow Car Of The Year 2015

By raccars Published

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The estate version of VW's large family car has taken the overall prize at this year's Tow Car of the Year awards. The awards are a collaborative effort between 'What Car?' and 'Practical Caravan' magazines and The Caravanning Club, to find the best cars for towing.

Awards are given in eight categories, including five principal classes based upon kerbweight plus awards for best petrol and best ultralight tow cars and a Green Award. The category for tow cars up to 1,400kg was won by the Skoda Octavia Hatch 2.0 TDI CR 150PS SE Business and the 1,400-1,549kg by the VW Passat Estate 2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG - which also went on to take the overall prize. The Mazda CX-5 2.2D 175PS AWD Sport Nav was the winner in the 1,550-1,699kg category, and then another VW Passat Estate, this time the 2.0 BiTDI SCR BMT 240PS 4Motion GT DSG, in the 1,700-1,899kg segment. For 1,900kg+, the Land Rover Discovery 3.0 SDV6 SE Tech came top.

The Best Petrol Tow Car award went to the Ford Mondeo 1.5T EcoBoost 160PS Titanium 5dr and the Citroen C4 Cactus BlueHDi 100 Feel was the Best Ultralight Tow Car. The Green Award went to the Volvo V40 Cross Country D4 Lux Nav Geartronic.

Cars are judged on a series of criteria, including stability at high speeds, hill starts on a gradient of one in six, emergency stopping and lane changes. Each model was tested with a caravan or trailer of the maximum towing limit, as set by the manufacturer. Thirty seven models went through the testing process in total, which looks at the car's behaviour while towing and looks for extra features to make the driver's life easier when pulling a weight. The cars are also judged upon their driving behaviour when not towing, given that very few of them will be bought specifically for towing and will also need to be used as everyday drivers. Further scores are given for price and running costs, as well as resale value.

This is the third time the award has been won by the Volkswagen Passat, following wins in 2007 and 2011. Judges were particularly impressed by its stability at speed and when cornering or changing lanes, plus its short stopping distance. Special commendation was given for the user friendly towball installation. Last year, the Nissan Qashqai took the overall award, preceded by the Skoda Octavia in 2013.

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