What Car?'s reigning Car of the Year, the Nissan Qashqai, continues to impress by taking top honours at the annual Towcar Awards.
The event, now in its eighth year, pitted 56 cars against each other, with the Nissan Qashqai being declared the overall winner.
The cars tested ranged in size from a Fiat Panda to a Land Rover Range Rover Sport, valued from £11,000 to £75,000. The entries included plug-in hybrids and cars with engines as small as 1.0-litre, all competing for 11 awards split across five weight classes and five special categories.
What Car?’s True MPG tests were used to cement the place of the Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid AWD as the greenest towcar, while the best MPV award went to the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso. The final award went to the Range Rover Sport as the money-no-object award winner. Renault's Captur was declared best lightweight towcar, while the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer was the best petrol towcar.
For the actual tests, the Towcar Awards splits cars into categories based on what they can safely tow. All classes of cars which are homologated for towing are eligible for entry, meaning results are relevant, regardless of whether a garden trailer or a horsebox needs to be towed.
Testing took place at the MIRA proving ground in Warwickshire. All cars were pushed to their limits in a series of dynamic tests, including high-speed stability, hill starts on a 1 in 6 gradient, plus emergency stops and lane changing.
Judging criteria also included practical features such as boot space, running costs, ease of fitting towing mirrors and driver appeal when not towing. Each car was matched to a caravan or a lightweight trailer, if necessary, weighing up to the recommended safe limit of 85% of the car’s kerbweight.
David Motton, towcar editor of Practical Caravan magazine added: '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.'
The Towcar Awards is run jointly by Practical Caravan, the Camping and Caravanning Club and What Car?.
For full details of all the cars tested, visit the dedicated Towcar Awards website.