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Features Index > Towing and Towcars > Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2013

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Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2013

The Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG has been awarded the accolade of The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2013 for the second year in a row!

The Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG took the top honour in its class and went on to be voted overall winner of the 30th Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Competition, setting the record for the first car in the history of the competition to secure the accolade twice in consecutive years. It was judged the winner by a panel of 10 judges who applauded its suave design, its practicality as a caravanning family car and its great performance when towing in a variety of situations.
For the first time in the long history of this competition, the categorisation of entrants was decided by Vehicle Excise Duty tax bands, rather than by price-class. This is to ensure The Club provides relevant information for its one million members and in recognition of environmental motoring issues.

In The Club’s on-going quest to provide caravanners with as much information about the vehicles as possible, an acceleration test – carried out by two judges with specialised test equipment – and a reversing test, were added to the usual evaluation of the towcar’s dynamic abilities and ergonomic qualities. These included a mid-range 30-60mph acceleration assessment, high-speed towing circuits, emergency braking, ride and handling evaluations and hill-stop and restart tests.

Where, When and How…

Testing took place in August at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, arguably the best car testing facility in the country. This year 23 cars were divided into four VED classes and two All-Wheel Drive categories (under 1800kg and over 1800kg); on the basis that anyone thinking about buying a new car in the current economic climate will consider running costs.

Manufacturers were invited to submit for testing any cars that were new launches in the period 1st August 2011 to 30th September 2012, or existing models that had been substantially modified (e.g. 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 instance, the Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG.

The cars entered were carefully scrutineered to make sure they conformed to the exact specification declared on the entry documentation. Track tests, using eight expert drivers, assessed each car’s towing ability as well as acceleration, braking and the ability to cope with demanding hill starts. Another team of two ‘caravanability’ judges assessed each entrant’s usability in terms of everyday caravanning. Would it carry a set of awning poles, for instance, and do you have to get on your hands and knees to connect 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 were set at the car manufacturer’s recommended limit, 5-7% of the caravan’s running weight or the maximum stipulated weight for the caravan coupling head, whichever was lowest.

More about the winning vehicles…

Vehicle Excise Duty Bands A, B & C

Winner: Volkswagen CC GT 2.0-litre TDI 140 PS BMT

A good performer, it has all the ergonomic attributes of the regular Passat, along with excellent standards of finish. It was stable up to well beyond the legal UK towing speeds and its sportily set-up suspension aided good handling, with compliant ride.

Vehicle Excise Duty Bands D, E & F Winner and Overall Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2013

Winner Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG

It’s all good! As would be expected from a two-time winner of The Caravan Club’s Towcar of the Year there’s very little to find fault with. Great dynamics, totally stable, good brakes, sharp and accurate steering, accomplished handling – nice ride. A consistently high set of marks from all driving judges.

Vehicle Excise Duty Bands G, H & I Winner and Under 1800kg All-Wheel Drive Category

Winner: Škoda Yeti SE Plus

This 2.0-litre diesel version has the grunt needed for towing. A strong performance, high speed stability, cornering prowess, handling and ride. It retained stability until well over 70mph, it’s a light-hearted package with serious ability.

Vehicle Excise Duty Bands J, K, L & M

Winner: Mercedes-Benz ML350 BlueTEC Sport

Performed faultlessly. Its strong performance made easy work of the hills, with stops/starts just as easily dismissed. Spacious interior with expected quality feel, comfortable seating and generally good ergonomics.

Over 1800kg All-Wheel Drive Category

Winner: Chevrolet Captiva 2.2 LT 5DR 6SP Manual 7-seat MY12

The Chevrolet Captiva tackled the hill route without any effort, pulling well up steep inclines. This SUV is a practical, useful and robust car for family activities, making it the perfect choice for caravanners.

Final Thoughts

The results of the Competition were announced at The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Awards ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club in London on 26th September.
Special guest, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, attended the testing regime at Millbrook and then presented the Class awards to representatives from the winning manufacturers at the Awards ceremony.

Grenville Chamberlain, Caravan Club Chairman, commented, “The Club extends its congratulations to all the winners in this Competition. Special plaudits go to the terrific Volkswagen Jetta, it really is a great vehicle and it proved itself time and time again with the judges during testing.”

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Index : Towing and Towcars : Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2013 - by UKCampsite.co.uk

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