Tow Car Awards 2024: Best Tow Car

If you’re looking for a great tow car that will also be enjoyable to drive solo, you need one of our 2024 Tow Car Awards winners. Here we look at our overall Tow Car of the Year...

OVERALL WINNER: Tow Car of the Year 2024

Volkswagen Passat 1.5 eTSI 150 R-Line

Kerb weight 1572kg 85% match 1336kg Max towing weight 1600kg Towball limit 90kg

Picking an overall winner is never easy. Just how do you compare a small estate with a luxury 4x4? How do you rate a family SUV against an electric saloon? “With difficulty” is the short answer. The slightly longer explanation is that we look for the car that has raised the bar the most in its category. And this year, it’s the Volkswagen Passat. The old model was highly competitive, but the new one is a significant step forward.

For starters, there’s more space for luggage; its 690-litre boot is one of the biggest around. Plus it embarrasses some estates costing £20,000 more when it comes to interior room.

Tow Car Awards 2024 Volkswagen Passat dashboard

Whenever the Passat has won the overall title in the past (this year’s win makes four), we’ve always recommended a diesel. The new model isn’t available with diesel power, but such is the competence of the 1.5-litre mild hybrid petrol that we didn’t miss it. The Passat achieves a diesel-like 50mpg according to official figures; there’s enough pulling power to comfortably cope with a sensibly matched tourer, and the engine is both smooth and quiet.

Despite being relatively light at 1572kg, the Passat tows with the assurance of a larger car. It feels like it’s engineered with caravanning in mind, towing straight and true at high speeds. The car is reassuringly solid at 60mph, and adding 10mph to that speed at the test track barely affected the Passat’s composure.

Tow Car Awards 2024 Volkswagen Passat pulling caravan

Some of the other class winners put up stiff competition for the Passat. Of these, the BMW X5 is an exceptional all-rounder, and the Kia EV9 shows how far electric vehicles have come in just a few years. But both need deep pockets, and the Kia has a short range while towing. The Volkswagen Passat shows that you don’t need a CEO’s salary to buy a brilliant tow car. Just as in 2007, 2011, and 2015, it’s a clear winner.

Our ratings

Towing 5/5 Solo driving 4/5 Practicality 5/5 Buying and owning 4/5 Overall 5/5

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