Record-breaking Volkswagen Passat pulls no punches in claiming third top Tow Car Award
Volkswagen has become the first manufacturer to claim three overall Tow Car Award titles, with the new Passat Estate winning two categories as well as the top title, and proving once more that it's a true family estate with real pulling power.
The Tow Car Awards are a joint venture between Practical Caravan, What Car? and The Camping and Caravanning Club. The awards were judged by a team including staff from Practical Caravan magazine, What Car? and the technical department at The Camping and Caravanning Club.
Each car goes through a series of towing tests at the MIRA proving ground, including 30-60mph acceleration, 30-0mph braking, a hill start and an emergency lane-change test. Cars aren't rated solely for their towing ability; What Car?'s expert road test team scores each car for regular driving, safety, running costs and value for money. The Camping and Caravanning Club's technical team check practical details such as boot space, how easily extension mirrors can be fitted, and whether the spare wheel provision is suitable for towing. The aim is to find cars which are great to tow with, but which are also good value and easy to live with in everyday driving.
Winning the 1,700-1,899 kg weight category was the new range-topping Passat Estate 2.0-litre BiTDI with standard 4MOTION four-wheel drive and DSG gearbox. Commenting on the win David Motton, Tow Car Editor of Practical Caravan, said: 'The four-wheel-drive version of the Volkswagen Passat Estate makes towing seem easy. Whether your priority is pace, stability or practicality, the Passat has the lot. The BiTDI engine delivers the punch of a heavyweight boxer, but it's the Passat's stability which really matters.'
The winner of the 1,400-1,549 kg weight category and overall title was the 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS Passat Estate in SE Business guise with DSG gearbox. According to Motton and the team of judges: 'The latest Volkswagen Passat may have a lower kerbweight than its predecessor, but it punches above its weight with a caravan in tow. Stability is the quality we look for above all others in a tow car, and the Passat delivers. At a steady 60mph it's rock solid.' Volkswagen is the only manufacturer to have won these awards three times, with the Passat Estate also claiming top titles in 2007 and 2011. It has also won category titles in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Motton added: 'When deciding on our overall winner we don't just look at a car's towing credentials. Since the Tow Car Awards started in 2007 we've prided ourselves in choosing cars which are just as good in everyday driving as they are when towing, and the Passat Estate fits that bill. It's comfortable, refined, spacious and economical. In fact, the Volkswagen does just about everything well.'
by: Becca Chaplin