by Marcus Dubois
Seasoned caravanners and novices alike will be aware of the need to match your car to the caravan for a successful towing outfit. With a wide array of vehicles on offer in today’s market, narrowing down the options can be a significant task in itself.
Fortunately for us the Caravan Club have been doing just that for almost thirty years, inviting manufacturers to enter vehicles into their Towcar of the Year awards. The annual ceremony was created to enable members of the Club to make informed decisions when choosing a towcar. In addition, the publicity around the event helps keep caravanners up to date with the latest innovations and trends in car design.
And this year Caravan Times will be exclusively reporting from the 28th Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Awards. We’ll be present as the winners are announced to the assembled audience at the Royal Automobile Club in London on Thursday 23rd September, and will bring interviews from those in the winners category.
A thorough test
Last year saw 17 manufacturers enter 28 vehicles into the awards, all of which were tested rigorously by the Caravan Club team. An association with leading manufacturer Bailey Caravans has allowed the Club to work with a technical support team during a week-long test at the Millbrook Proving Ground.
Each entry is examined thoroughly and fairly, from the initial scrutineering through the outfit preparation stages. The vehicles are tested during an assessment of ‘caravanability’ and through actual driving itself, where every aspect of ownership is tested rigorously to arrive at the result.
With awards in six categories, there are prizes given across the range, from both smaller family cars to off-road specialist vehicles. Last year class wins in the Competition went to the Kia Soul Shaker 1.6 CRDi; Mazda6 2.2D Estate TS2; Volvo XC60 SE D5 AWD and Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 HSE. The category awards for All-Wheel Drive vehicles above and below 1800kg went to Land Rover for its Discovery and Skoda’s Superb Elegance 3.6 V6 4×4 DSG with automatic transmission.
Yet the overall winner of last year’s event challenges the theory that the best towcars are large 4×4 vehicles.
Big is not always better
The Volkswagen Golf SE 2.0 TDI was crowned Overall Towcar of the Year 2010, a worthy triumph for the best-selling family hatchback with previously unheralded towing ability. A panel of ten judges praised its great performance when pulling a caravan in a variety of situations, while lauding its well-documented practicality as a family car.
The Golf’s success sent a reminder to the caravanning community that a strong modern towcar can be found across the range of automotive vehicle classes, and that good towing need not cost a premium.
We’ll bring you the full results in each category, along with interviews, as soon as they are available.