Volkswagen Golf Tees Up the Title... Celebrating 27 years of The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Awards

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The VW Golf SE 2.0TDI reigned supreme in its price class and went on to be voted overall winner by a panel of 10 judges for its great performance when towing in a variety of situations and its practicality as a caravanning family car.

It was fascinating to witness first-hand the rigorous testing procedures the vehicles are put through and the professionalism of the judges.

The Volkswagen Golf SE 2.0TDI has been crowned The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2010.

The VW Golf SE 2.0TDI reigned supreme in its price class and went on to be voted overall winner by a panel of 10 judges for its great performance when towing in a variety of situations and its practicality as a caravanning family car.

Held, as in previous years, at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, the Competition attracted 28 entrants; and Volkswagen emerged victorious. Class wins in the Competition went to the Kia Soul Shaker 1.6 CRDi; Mazda6 2.2D Estate TS2; Volvo XC60 SE D5 AWD and Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 HSE, as well as the VW Golf. Category awards for All-Wheel Drive vehicles above and below 1800kg went to Land Rover for its Discovery and Škoda's Superb Elegance 3.6 V6 4x4 DSG with automatic transmission.

Volkswagen's Golf is now in its sixth generation and remains Europe's best-selling car. It's not difficult to see why as soon as you sit inside. The Golf has always had a reputation for good build quality and attention to detail, but after 26 million sales over 34 years, the company has produced a car that is the quietest and safest yet.

The results of the Competition were announced at the annual Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Awards ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club in London on 23rd September.

Special guest, Wing Commander Andy Green OBE - holder of the World Land Speed record and the first person to break the sound barrier on land - attended the testing regime at Millbrook and then presented the coveted Class awards to representatives from the winning manufacturers at the Awards ceremony.

Andy Green commented, "It was fascinating to witness first-hand the rigorous testing procedures the vehicles are put through and the professionalism of the judges."

Grenville Chamberlain, Caravan Club Chairman, commented, "The Caravan Club extends its sincere congratulations to all the winners in the Competition, and our thanks go to all the manufacturers who have supported this event. The Volkswagen Golf SE 2.0TDI is a truly capable towing vehicle and worthy winner."

For further media information:
Nikki Nichol
The Caravan Club
01342 336797 / 07771 834443

Maxine Soghmanian
The Caravan Club
01342 336768

Notes to Editors
Driving Judges: Barry Williams, The Caravan Club Magazine; Lesley Harris, Auto Express; Sue Baker, motoring journalist; Danny Cobbs, motoring journalist; Victoria Bentley, Caravan Magazine; Mark Sutcliffe, caravan journalist.
Caravanability Judges: John Bramham, Tom Collin, Mick Farr, Douglas King.

Thanks: The Caravan Club would like to thank Bailey of Bristol for supplying all the caravans used in the Competition, and for providing staff on site throughout the event. Simon Howard and Colin Coke ensured the caravans were correctly ballasted, noseweights kept in trim and in general good working order. Glenn Jenkinson and Tom Kelly from Al-Ko ensured brakes were adjusted, wheels kept tight and all undergear properly fettled.

The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2010
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 28 cars were divided into five price categories and two All-Wheel Drive categories (under 1800kg and over 1800kg); the theory being that anyone thinking about buying a new car will first consider their budget.

Manufacturers were invited to submit for testing any cars that were new launches in the period 1 August 2008 to 30 September 2009, 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 Škoda Superb 2.0TDI.

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 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 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 are set at the car manufacturer's recommended limit, 7% of the caravan's running weight or the maximum stipulated weight for the coupling head, whichever is lowest.

The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2010
More about the winning vehicles…

Under £16,000 Class
Winner: Kia Soul Shaker 1.6 CRDi
The Soul Shaker gives a spirited performance, has a usable bodyshape and promises low running costs. The 1.6-litre diesel engine offers reasonable amounts of power and torque for a car of this size. As a towcar for small caravans or trailer tents, Kia's hatchback is a worthy winner. Biggish door mirrors and a high driving position add to the Soul's towing credentials.

£16,000 to £20,000 Class
and
Overall Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2010
Winner: Volkswagen Golf SE 2.0TDI
The Golf has a great quality cabin with excellent fit and finish, and simple, intuitive switchgear and instrumentation that puts everything where you expect it to be. Absolutely faultless stability made this car steadfast on the test track, and when the punchy engine had whisked its way to 60mph it was still ready to accelerate, even in sixth gear. Agile handling enables the car to tackle the most demanding route.

£20,000 to £25,000 Class
Winner: Mazda6 2.2D Estate TS2
With a flexible engine, bags of low-down torque and a six-speed gearbox that is not only good to use but well mated to the engine, it's no surprise this is a very worthy class winner. Towing 1347kg, the good-looking estate car romped up the long 14% hill in third gear and tackled a 17% stop-and-restart quite easily. A super car at a great price.
£25,000 to £32,000 Class
Winner: Volvo XC60 SE D5 AWD
This vehicle has an extra powerful version of Volvo's excellent five-cylinder engine as well as AWD. Gear changes are smooth and speed builds up rapidly when needed. Terms such as 'confident', 'sure-footed' and 'doesn't feel like it's towing', were used plentifully by the judges. Volvo has produced another excellent towcar.

Over £32,000 Class
and
Over 1800kg All-Wheel Drive Category
Winner: Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 HSE
If you want a car that will take you and your caravan anywhere in absolute comfort, you need look no further than the latest Discovery. Tap on the screen display and you can set the chassis especially for caravan towing, which results in faultless stability and a comfortable ride as you sit cosseted in the well-designed and practical interior.

Under 1800kg All-Wheel Drive Category
Winner: Škoda Superb Elegance 3.6 V6 4x4 DSG
The Superb proved itself a capable towcar by taking the top prize in the 2009 contest. For 2010 it was back, packing a 260bhp V6 engine and four-wheel drive. The Superb feels as solid as a rock, and it handles so well you can push it hard through twisty roads with real confidence. The Elegance version has a well turned out cabin and luxurious surroundings.

THE CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2010
LIST OF ENTRANTS

Under £16,000
Kia Soul Shaker 1.6 CRDi
Renault Kangoo Expression dCi 106

£16,000 to £20,000
Peugeot 3008 Exclusive THP 150
Renault Megane Hatch Dynamique dCi 130
Toyota Verso 2.0 D-4D Man
Volkswagen Golf SE 2.0TDI

£20,000 to £25,000
Mazda6 2.2D Estate TS2
Renault Grand Scenic Dynamique dCi 160 FAP
Seat Exeo 2.0TDI Sport
Škoda Octavia Scout 2.0TDI 140bhp DPF
Škoda Superb Elegance 2.0TDI 140bhp DPF
Škoda Yeti 2.0TDI 140bhp 4x4 Elegance
Toyota Avensis T4 2.2 D-4D Tourer
Vauxhall Insignia SE Nav 2.0 (160) CDTI Hatch
Volkswagen Golf Plus SE 2.0TDI DSG

£25,000 to £32,000
Honda Accord Tourer 2.2 EX Tech
Isuzu Rodeo 3.0 Denver Max LE Sport
Škoda Superb Elegance 3.6 V6 4x4 DSG
Subaru Forester 2.0D XSn
Toyota RAV4 SR 2.2 D-4D Auto
Volvo XC60 SE D5 AWD
Volvo XC60 2.4D DRIVe SE LUX

Over £32,000
Jaguar XF 3.0 Diesel S Portfolio
Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 HSE
Lexus RX450h SE-L
Mercedes-Benz C250 BlueEfficiency Estate Sport
Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI BlueEfficiency Sport
Volvo XC70 D5 SE LUX Premium

All-Wheel Drive Vehicles Under 1800kg
Škoda Superb Elegance 3.6 V6 4x4 DSG
Škoda Octavia Scout 2.0 TDI 140bhp DPF
Škoda Yeti 2.0TDI 140bhp 4x4 Elegance
Subaru Forester 2.0D XSn
Toyota RAV4 SR 2.2 D-4D Auto

All-Wheel Drive Vehicles Over 1800kg
Isuzu Rodeo 3.0 Denver Max LE Sport
Lexus RX450h SE-L
Land Rover Discovery 4 TDV6 HSE
Volvo XC70 D5 SE LUX Premium
Volvo XC60 SE D5 AWD

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