The Volkswagen Passat Estate has been named the overall winner at the Tow Car Awards 2015.
The event, now in its ninth year, pitted 37 cars against each other, with the Volkswagen Passat Estate taking the top prize for the third time.
The cars tested ranged in size from a Citroën C4 Cactus to a Land Rover Discovery, all competing for nine awards split across five weight classes and three special categories.
Volvo took home the Green Award for the second year running, this time with the V40 Cross Country, while the Best Ultralight Tow Car award went to the Citroën C4 Cactus. The Best Petrol Tow Car award went to the Ford Mondeo 1.5T Ecoboost.
For the actual tests, the Tow Car Awards splits cars into categories based on what they can safely tow. All classes of cars that 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 kerb weight.
David Motton, tow car editor of Practical Caravan magazine said: "Volkswagen’s new Passat has achieved something remarkable. It’s all the tow car most of us need, with outstanding towing ability as well as being comfortable, refined, spacious and economical for everyday driving. It does just about everything well and is a worthy winner of the Tow Car Awards 2015."
The Tow Car 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.