Volvo XC40 scoops Towcar of the Year award

Volvo XC40 scoops Towcar of the Year award
Volvo XC40 scoops Towcar of the Year award

The Volvo XC40 has been named the best tow car of the year by the Caravan and Motorhome Club.

The compact SUV in D4 AWD trim also claimed the category title in the 1,400-1,500kg caravan weight section of the 37th annual Towcar of the Year competition.

The awards saw Volvo win back-to-back titles for the first time, while the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace made a significant competition breakthrough.

Other winners included SUVs and estate cars from Volkswagen, Skoda, and Ford.

The judges praised the XC40s surefootedness, space and affordable running costs, which put it ahead of the Subaru Outback and Mazda CX-5 in its category and impressed them enough to gain the overall title.

2020 Towcar of the Year testing at Millbrook
Testing on Millbrook’s high-speed bowl (Photo: Caravan and Motorhome Club)

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The 36 entrants were put into caravan weight categories – rather than being listed by price – to make it easier for buyers to know which cars could tow their caravans. Cars were entered into one of six classes, from caravans under 1,150kg to caravans over 1,700kg as well as, family, large family and pick-up categories.

Each car was put through its paces at the Millbrook Proving Ground near Bedford, which provides a variety of testing driving environments to determine a car’s “caravanability”.

All the winners

Caravan under 1,150kg and alternatively fuelled: Jaguar I-Pace HSE

Caravan 1,150kg-1,300kg: Skoda Octavia Estate Sportline 2.0 TDI 150PS DSG

Caravan 1,300kg-1,400kg & best family towcar : Ford Focus Vignale Estate 2.0 EcoBlue Auto

Caravan 1,400kg-1,500kg & Overall Winner : Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Pro

Caravan 1,500kg-1,700kg : Volvo V60 D4 AWD Cross Country Plus

Caravan over 1,700kg : Volkswagen Touareg R-Line Tech 3.0 V6 TDI 4MOTION

Best Large Family Towcar: Skoda Kodiaq vRS

Pick-Up: Volkswagen Amarok Trendline 3.0 V6 TDI 4MOTION

Caravanability judges tested whether a car’s boot could swallow the bulky accessories normally needed on a caravan trip. They also measured the towball height, both solo and hitched up, and checked the towing information provided in the manufacturer’s handbook.

The cars were then hitched up to caravans ballasted to 85 per cent of their kerb weight, or towing limit if lower. Using specialised apparatus the technical judges then measured the cars’ acceleration and braking capabilities. The car/caravan combinations were then passed over to the driving judges who took each vehicle on Millbrooks famous Alpine route and high-speed bowl to assess their abilities on steep gradients, twisting routes and at high speeds.

Category Winners Towcar 2020
Category winners included cars from Volvo, Skoda, Volkswagen and Ford (Photo: Caravan and Motorhome Club)

The judges also induced instability at 60mph to see how the cars reacted. The vehicles were also put through reversing examinations. All-important issues of driver and passenger comfort and visibility were also assessed.

Grenville Chamberlain OBE, Caravan and Motorhome Club chairman, said: “Here at the Caravan and Motorhome Club we are proud of our 37-year heritage with this competition and the wealth of data and information we are able to offer people on their choice of towcar. Our sincere congratulations go to all the worthy winners in the Caravan and Motorhome Club Towcar of the Year 2020.”

2020 Towcar Awards judging
All vehicles were tested on various routes, including Millbrook’s Alpine route (Photo: Caravan and Motorhome Club)

BTTC and former F1 driver Mark Blundell, presented the winners with their awards at a ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club in London. He commented, “It was great to be back with the Caravan and Motorhome Club for this competition. The level of testing and assessment they put the vehicles through really is second-to-none. This was my second time at Millbrook Proving Ground for the competition, and while hybrid cars have regularly competed this year saw the first all-electric vehicle take an award.”

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