The 4X4 Volvo XC60 D5 SE Geartronic has been named overall winner in the third annual Towcar Awards, judged by experts from What Car?, Practical Caravan and The Camping and Caravanning Club.
Record numbers of towing vehicles are expected on the roads this summer due to Brits deciding to have a 'staycation' (holiday at home) as they tighten their belts. An extra five million of us are expected to holiday in the UK this year instead of taking an overseas trip.
Practical Caravan editor Nigel Donnelly said: 'With over £1 billion annually spent on towing cars, there is a real thirst for unbiased buying advice. Consumers want to buy a great towing car that works for their holiday when they are towing a tonne and a half of wood, metal and plastic.
'It also has to work in real life, on the daily commute, weekly shop and school run, too, as well as making sense financially. The Volvo XC60 does all this and more.'
The Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI 140 SE picked up two awards: the under-1425 kg category and the Green Award. Judges praised its towing abilities, on-road practicality, value, low C02 emissions and high residual values.
The 39 cars were tested for their towing ability, driving performance when not towing, practicality, value for money and safety.
To help buyers choose the right match for their caravan or trailer, the cars were judged in five categories by kerbweight. The category winners are:
Under 1425kg: Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI 140 SE 5dr
1425kg-1574kg: Ford Kuga 2.0 TDCi Zetec 2WD
1575kg-1724kg: Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI 170 4X4 Elegance
1725kg-1899kg: Ford S-Max 2.2 TDCi Titanium
1900kg +: Volvo XC60 D5 SE Geartronic
Green award: Volkswagen Golf 2.0 TDI 140 SE 5dr
Overall winner: Volvo XC60 D5 SE Geartronic
What Car? group editor Steve Fowler, said: 'The standard of towcars tested was higher than ever, yet the overall winner was a clear decision. The Volvo XC60 is not just a great towcar, it's also a great car when there isn't a caravan or a trailer hitched to the back. It's comfortable, spacious, good looking, good to drive and affordable.
Only cars that received the thumbs-up from What Car? road testers as having true towing promise were selected for the week-long test programme they also had to be good to drive solo and to live with.
Vehicles were put through a series of specially devised tests for stability, hill starts, acceleration and braking, and practicality. These took place at the Motor Industry Research Centre (MIRA) in Warwickshire.