Passat pulls again

Volkswagen Passat, 2024, tow car of the year

THE Volkswagen Passat has been named the best car for towing for a record fourth time at the annual What Car? Tow Car Awards, held in partnership with the Camping and Caravanning Club and supported by Adria Caravans.

What Car? editor Steve Huntingford said: "The new Passat shows that you don't need a CEO's salary to buy a brilliant, modern tow car. Despite being relatively light, it pulls with the assurance and stability of a heavyweight. What's more, it has powerful brakes, remains unflappable during a sudden lane change, and is as comfortable as it is practical."

The Camping and Caravanning Club's Huw Hopkins, a tester judge on the programme, added: "Whenever the Passat has won the overall title in the past, we've always recommended a diesel. But while the new car isn't available with diesel power, the abilities of the 1.5-litre mild=-hybrid petrol meant we didn't miss it. This engine is both smooth and quiet, it copes easily with a sensibly matched caravan, and fuel economy is distinctly diesel-like."

What Car? and the Camping and Caravanning Club have been collaborating on the Tow Car Awards since 2007, with the Passat previously taking the top prize in 2007, 2011 and 2015.

Before deciding on the overall winner in 2024, the judges handed out awards to cars in four different towing weight classes, ranging from up to 1549kg, to 2000kg+.

In addition, the Kia EV9 was named best electric carfor towing and the Kia Sorento best used tow car.

To decide the winners, testing was undertaken by matching eligible cars to caravans weighted to 85 per cent of the car's kerb weight - the maximum the Camping and Caravanning Club recommends - or its legal towing limit, depending on which was lower. They were then ballasted to simulate driving with passengers and luggage.

An expert road testers was responsible for the most highly-skilled manoeuvres, designed to show which cars will stay under control in an emergency while drivers from the Camping and Caravanning Club assessed high-speed stability, carried out a hill start on a 1-in-6 slope, looked for towing-friendly features - such as a trailer stability system - and confirmed whether the puncture repair provision was suitable for use while towing.

TOW CAR AWARDS 2024 WINNERS Overall winner Volkswagen Passat 1.5 eTSI 150 R-Line

Up to 1549kg Ford Focus Estate 1.0 mHEV 155 Active X

1550-1699kg Volkswagen Passat 1.5 eTSI 150 R-Line

1700-1999kg Nissan X-Trail e-Power 213 e-4orce Tekna

2000kg+ BMW X5 xDrive50e M Sport

Electric tow car Kia EV9 AWD GT-Line

Used tow car Kia Sorento 2.2 CRDi 3

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