Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2012 Winners Announced

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The Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG has been awarded the accolade of The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2012.

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...seeing all the cars
being put through their paces, they really are put to the towing test.

The Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG took the top honour in its price Class and went on to be voted overall winner of the twenty-ninth Caravan Club Towcar of the Year Competition. It was judged the winner by a panel of 11 judges who applauded its suave design, its practicality as a caravanning family car and its great performance when towing in a variety of situations.

Held, as in previous years, at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire, the Competition attracted 30 entrants.

Class wins in the Competition also went to the Škoda Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 DSG; the Volkswagen Touareg Escape 3.0 V6 TDI and the Volvo V60 D5 AWD Volvo Ocean Race.

From these Class winners the sleek, stylish and very capable Volkswagen Jetta Sport emerged as the overall victor.

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 21st September. Special guest, former Formula 1 driver Johnny Herbert, attended the testing regime at Millbrook and then presented the prized Class awards to representatives from the winning manufacturers at the Awards ceremony.

Johnny Herbert says, “It was a real eye-opener being at Millbrook seeing all the cars being put through their paces, they really are put to the towing test.”

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.”

Notes to Editors
Driving Judges:- Danny Cobbs, motoring journalist; Lesley Harris, Auto Express; John
Sootheran, Caravan Magazine; Mark Sutcliffe, magazine editor and freelance journalist; Bernie
Jones, Caravan Club courses instructor; Clive White, The Caravan Club Magazine; John
Harris, Events sub-Committee member.
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 touring caravans used in the Competition, and for providing staff on site throughout the event. Simon Howard and Mark Elson ensured the caravans were correctly ballasted, noseweights kept in trim and in general good working order. Glenn Jenkinson from Al-Ko ensured brakes were adjusted, wheels kept tight and all undergear properly fettled.

The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2012 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 30 cars were divided into three price Classes and two All-Wheel Drive categories (under 1800kg and over 1800kg); on the basis 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 1st August 2010 to 30th September 2011, 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 instance, the Škoda Superb Estate Elegance.

The cars entered 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, 5-7% of the caravan’s running weight or the maximum stipulated weight for the caravan coupling head, whichever is lowest.

More about the winning vehicles…

Under £25,000 Class and Overall Winner Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2012
Winner: Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG
This car is as controlled as it is quick, offering stable towing both at speed and while driving around hills and bends. It steers smartly and accurately with little body roll, yet offers a well-damped ride even with a lively caravan on the back. It zooms up hills, stops on them securely and pulls away cleanly. And when you’re not driving it, it’s great to look at.

£25,000 to £32,000 Class
Winner: Škoda Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 DSG
The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year history book will record the Superb as legendary. As overall winner last year, it could do little more to prove the point than come back fighting its corner and winning its Class yet again. This vehicle goes, stops, corners and cossets like it’s always done, almost as if there’s no caravan attached.

Over £32,000 Class & Over 1800kg All-Wheel Drive Category
Winner: Volkswagen Touareg Escape 3.0 V6 TDI
The Touareg flew round the bowl at Millbrook with never a twitch, even on the hill circuit. On-rails cornering was interspersed with an apparently insignificant collection of steep gradients, including hill-stops and starts. A near-ultimate towcar.

Under 1800kg All-Wheel Drive Category
Winner: Volvo V60 D5 AWD Volvo Ocean Race
You would have to get ultra critical to find fault with this V60. The V60 is endowed with good control, accurate direction changing and great handling. Strong, linear power delivery took the outfit briskly to speed and it remained stoically stable; hill stops and starts were also commended. All this in a beautifully-restrained cabin wrapped in a slinky body.

THE CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2012
LIST OF ENTRANTS

Under £25,000
Citroën DS4 DStyle 2.0HDi
Ford Focus Titanium
Ford Focus Titanium 1.6 Ecoboost
Hyundai i40 Tourer 1.7 CRDi Style Blue Drive
Kia Sportage 1.7 CRDi 1 2WD
Peugeot 508 Allure HDi
Renault Scenic Dynamique TomTom dCi Stop&Start
Škoda Superb Estate SE Plus 1.6 TDI CR
Suzuki Grand Vitara SZ5
Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer 1.7 CDTi SE ecoFLEX
Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG
Volkswagen Passat SE BlueMotion Technology 2.0TDI
Volkswagen Touran SE 2.0TDI

£25,000 to £32,000
Mazda CX-7 2.2D Sport Tech Model
Nissan X-Trail 2.0 dCi Tekna
Peugeot 508 SW Allure HDi
Škoda Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 DSG
Vauxhall Antara SE 2.2 CDTi
Volkswagen Amarok Highline 2.0BiTDI 4MOTION
Volkswagen Passat Estate Sport BlueMotion Technology 2.0TDI
Volkswagen Sharan SE 2.0TDI

Over £32,000
Infiniti FX30d S Premium
Mercedes-Benz C250 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY ESTATE SPORT
Mercedes-Benz E350 CDI BlueEFFICIENCY AVANTGARDE ESTATE
Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC LWB
Nissan Navara 3.0 dCi V6 Outlaw Dcab
Seat Alhambra SE Lux 2.0TDI DSG
Volkswagen Touareg Escape 3.0 V6 TDI
Volvo V60 D5 AWD Volvo Ocean Race
Volvo XC70 D3 AWD Volvo Ocean Race

All-Wheel Drive Vehicles Under 1800kg
Mazda CX-7 2.2D Sport Tech Model
Nissan X-Trail 2.0 dCi Tekna
Suzuki Grand Vitara SZ5
Volvo V60 D5 AWD Volvo Ocean Race

All-Wheel Drive Vehicles Over 1800kg
Infiniti FX30d S Premium
Mercedes-Benz G350 BlueTEC LWB
Nissan Navara 3.0 dCi V6 Outlaw Dcab
Vauxhall Antara SE 2.2 CDTi
Volkswagen Amarok Highline 2.0BiTDI 4MOTION
Volkswagen Touareg Escape 3.0 V6 TDI
Volvo XC70 D3 AWD Volvo Ocean Race

THE CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2012
LIST OF WINNERS

Under £25,000
Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG

£25,000 to £32,000
Škoda Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 DSG

Over £32,000
Volkswagen Touareg Escape 3.0 V6 TDI

All-Wheel Drive Vehicles Under 1800kg
Volvo V60 D5 AWD Volvo Ocean Race

All-Wheel Drive Vehicles Over 1800kg
Volkswagen Touareg Escape 3.0 V6 TDI

Overall Winner
Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG

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The Caravan Club founded in 1907 and prides itself on being run by its members for its members. The Club provides practical, unbiased advice and services for its members including technical information, a legal helpline, free classified advertising service and a range of insurance products and financial services through its motorhome insurance comparison site.

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