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Features Index > Towing and Towcars and Towball Carriers > Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2008

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Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2008

The Towcar of the Year awards is a major highlight of The Club's calendar. The awards were created to enable member's of The Club to make informed decisions when choosing a towcar and to keep them up to date with the latest innovations and trends in car design.

The 2008 Towcar of the Year awards attracted 36 vehicles from 20 different manufacturers with testing held, as usual, at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire.

Testing took place over three days in late August and the awards themselves were presented at the RAC Club in London on the 26th September by Perry McCarthy - Top Gear's original 'Stig' and former 24hrs Le Mans and Formula 1 racing driver.
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Ford can be especially proud with the 2008 awards - they scooped Towcar Of the Year with the Mondeo Titanium X Estate as well as a class win with the Mondeo Zetec and a very close second in class with the S-Max.

Škoda also had a good year even though they didn't scoop the overall win. They took three awards with the Roomster Scout and Octavia Scout topping their class and the Octavia going on to win the 'All wheel drive under 1800kg' honours.

The final two prizes were scooped by the much improved Freelander (highest priced class) and the Kia Sorento (AWD over 1800kg).

More about the winning vehicles…

Under £16,000 Class

Winner: Skoda Roomster Scout 1.9 TDI – Skoda’s Roomster mini-MPV did really well for a little ‘un! The 1.9-litre diesel engine isn’t especially powerful but the output is well matched to its well-sorted gearbox. Ratios are just right for towing and the Skoda pulls well even in top (5th) gear.

Skoda Roomster Scout
£16,000 to £20,000 Class

Winner: Ford Mondeo Zetec – The latest incarnation of Ford’s best seller is a giant leap forward in both quality and style. Fitted with the company’s free-revving 2.0-litre diesel engine and six-speed manual gearbox, the Zetec was quick off the line and remained stable even at 80mph on the test track. The engine and gearbox make for relaxed towing.

Ford Mondeo Zetec
£20,000 to £25,000 Class and Under 1800kg AWD Category

Winner: Skoda Octavia Scout TDI – An absolute delight to drive with a willing engine, sweet gearbox with well-chosen ratios and full-time four-wheel drive. Pulling away on a very severe hill start was easy and on the twisty alpine section it handled confidently with predictable turn-in. A comfortable ride and nicely-built interior just add to the pleasure.

Skoda Octavia Scout TDI
£25,000 to £32,000 Class and overall Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2008

Winner: Ford Mondeo Titanium X – Ford’s new Mondeo is a leap forward in many respects, and although the outgoing model was a good towcar, this Estate version with a 2.5-litre petrol engine is excellent. Handling is so good that you know exactly what the outfit is doing. Well-weighted steering helps you position the outfit precisely, the brakes are excellent and the six-speed gearbox, as usual in a Ford, is a delight. Add to that a well-appointed interior, comfort and an ability to swallow a huge amount of luggage and you have a winning towcar.

Ford Mondeo Titanium X
Over £32,000 Class

Winner: Land Rover Freelander 2 – Land Rover’s Freelander has grown into a better-looking, better-equipped 4x4 with a style that is bound to appeal to caravanners. The six-speed gearbox changes seamlessly when left to its own devices, it copes easily with hill starts and descents and on the flat you won’t find the Freelander put off its stroke by gusty crosswinds. A worthy winner of the top price Class.

Land Rover Freelander 2
Over 1800kg AWD Category

Winner: Kia Sorento 2.5 CRDi XS – A Caravan Club Towcar of the Year favourite and past winner, the Sorento reappeared in its latest 2.5-litre diesel, manual transmission guise and showed exactly why it has done so well in this Competition before. The four-cylinder engine churns out torque aplenty and full-time four-wheel drive ensures the car is always well planted on the ground. Gear ratios are just right for towing

 Kia Sorento 2.5 CRDi XS

Where, when and how…

Testing takes place in August at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, probably the best car testing facility in the country. This year the cars were divided into five price categories, the theory being that anyone thinking about buying a new car will first consider how much they can afford to pay.

Manufacturers were invited to submit for testing any cars that were new launches in the period 1 August 2006 to 30 September 2007, or existing models that had been substantially modified (eg new engine, different transmission etc). The Caravan Club also invites the previous year’s overall winner to submit its car for re-testing – in this year’s case, the Volvo V50 D5 SE.

The cars delivered are carefully scrutineered to make sure they conform to the exact specification declared on the entry documentation. Track tests, using six expert drivers, assess each car’s towing ability, the car’s attitude when hitched as well as acceleration, braking and the ability to cope with demanding hill starts. Another team of four ‘caravanability’ judges makes a careful assessment of each entrant’s usability in terms of everyday caravanning. Will it carry a set of awning poles, for instance, and do you have to get on your hands and knees to plug in the caravan electrics?

All caravans used during testing were supplied by Bailey of Bristol and loaded to 85% of the relevant car’s kerbweight. Noseweights are set at the car manufacturer’s recommended limit, 7% of the caravan’s running weight or the maxium stipulated weight for the coupling head, whichever is lowest.

Index : Towing and Towcars and Towball Carriers : Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2008 - by UKCampsite.co.uk

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