What Tow Car is the best?
There were fifty six entries in this years Tow Car Awards which is a record number since the first competition back in 2007. Entries ranged in size from the Fiat Panda to the Land Rover Range Rover Sport valued from £11,000 to £75,000. Also included were plug-in hybrids and engines as small as 1.0 litre. All the entries competed for eleven awards split across five weight classes, and five special categories which were - Green Award, Money No Object Award, Best MPV, Best Ultralight Tow Car and Best Petrol Tow Car plus one overall winner.
David Motton, Tow Car Editor of Practical Caravan magazine said “we had a really impressive list of entries this year and an extremely busy week putting them all through what we believe is the most rigorous test programme. The results make interesting reading.”
There is a new overall winner for 2014; the new Nissan Qashqai with a 130 PS, 1.6 dCi engine. It also won its 1400-1549kg weight class. The judges said it is “a brilliant family crossover, a superb tow car, plus it’s built in Britain.” The Qashqai with the 1.6 litre engine is strong enough to pull car and caravan from 30-60mph in 14.6 seconds, so the Nissan will have no trouble pulling up to motorway speeds. The emergency stop from 30mph takes 10.5m in dry conditions, and the brakes are easy to apply smoothly in regular towing. Stability at speed is excellent and reports say the Qashqai towed straight and true up to 70mph in still air, with only slight steering corrections needed in crosswinds.
Last year’s overall winner, the Skoda Octavia, won the ‘Up to 1400kg’ weight class again, while the Volkswagen Passat Estate, Jaguar XF Sportbrake and Land Rover Discovery also retained their titles in their respective weight classes once more.
This year’s Best Ultralight Tow Car is the Renault Captur, while the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer is the Best Petrol Tow Car. Six cars were shortlisted for the Green Award and subjected to What Car?’s True MPG tests, but the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid AWD was a clear winner. New awards for 2014 include the Best MPV, won by the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso, and a Money No Object Award had to go to the £75,000 Land Rover Range Rover Sport.
The results prove that winning tow cars are available across all budgets and sizes, Julia Bradbury, the TV presenter and President of The Camping and Caravanning Club said “I don’t think people realise how tough and comprehensive the testing is for this competition, so for everyone’s safety, these results are invaluable for those looking for a new car, or as a reference for a used one in the future.”