By Marcus Dubois and Holly Tribe
The Skoda Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 TDI was named the Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2011 at an awards ceremony in London today.
Held at the Royal Automobile Club, the prestigious event is the culmination of a judging process by 10 panellists to decide the best towcars available for caravanners in this model year. Skoda’s popular Superb estate also took the top prize in its price class, and was praised by judges for its performance when towing and its renowned practicality as a family car. The awards are closely watched within the motoring industry as 38 percent of caravan owners buy new vehicles compared to just 17 percent of regular customers, and the award makes a welcome edition to any car manufacturers trophy shelf.
The competition attracted 35 entrants this year, all of which were put through a rigorous testing process hosted by the Millbrook Proving Ground. Bailey Caravans once again provided test caravans and additional technical support during the week-long assessment.
A closely fought contest
With seven classes of prizes on offer before the overall winner is crowned, there was plenty of competition in some categories. Five of the awards are based on price bands ranging from towcars under £16,000 to those over £32,000. The additional two are granted to all-wheel drive vehicles measured by kerbweight.
In the Under £16,000 category of the two entries the Kia Venga 3 Ecodynamics 1.4 CRDi and the Skoda Fabia Elegance entered into a closely fought battle. The Kia was applauded for low emissions, but Skoda took the prize for superior handling and customers will be pleased to know this model sits in the lower insurance band.
The distinctive people carrying Fiat Doblo 2.0 MultiJet Eleganza won the best towcar under £16,000- £20,000 with judges praising the vehicle’s good stability. Meanwhile last year’s overall winner the Volkswagen Golf Match 2.0TDI was unable to seize the crown for a second time, but was still a comfortable winner in the £20,000 – £25,000 class.
Skoda took their second award of the ceremony with the Superb Estate Elegance 2.0TDi CR in the £25,000 – £32,000 class, while for those cars over £32,000 it was tough to beat the Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI BlueEfficiency Avantgarde Estate. The panel praised the socket in the neck of the towball for “unrivalled ease of connectivity” and enjoyed the “confident” handling.
In the all-wheel drive categories the Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2. DI-D Juro SST “pulled away smartly with a set of smooth shifts” all the way to the Under 1800kgs award. In the over-1800kgs section the judges found the Range Rover Sport “pooh-poohed any pimple of a hill” to win the category.
The winners in full
The Caravan Club opened the awards with former five times Olympic skier, TV presenter and adventurer Graham Bell who spoke warmly of his childhood spent caravanning in Scotland in the family Eccles Amethyst while learning to ski. The floor was then taken by Danny Cobbs of the Caravan Club to announced the winners of each category:
- Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 TDI CR
Under £16,000 Class
- Winner: Skoda Fabia Elegance 1.6 TDI CR
£16,000 to £20,000 Class
- Winner: Fiat DoblÃ² 2.0 MultiJet Eleganza
£20,000 to £25,000 Class
- Winner: Volkswagen Golf Match 2.0TDI 140
£25,000 to £32,000 Class
- Winner: Skoda Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 TDI CR
Over £32,000 Class
- Winner: Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI BlueEfficiency Avantgarde Estate
Under 1800kgs All-Wheel Drive Category
- Winner: Mitsubishi Outlander 2.2 DI-D Juro SST
Over 1800kgs All-Wheel Drive Category
- Winner: Range Rover Sport TDV6 HSE