Volkswagen Jetta – Top Tow Car
The Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0-litre TDI DSG has been named the winner of The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2012 awards, on top of its victory over 12 rivals.
The Jetta was not Volkswagen’s only double winner: the Touareg Escape 3.0-litre V6 TDI proved it pulls everything but punches, securing victory in two classes.
The award was presented at a prestigious ceremony held at the Royal Automobile Club in London. The vehicles were voted for by an 11-strong panel of judges, which conducted rigorous towing tests at the Millbrook Testing Ground in Bedfordshire. Here, 30 vehicles were put through their paces to assess their towing ability, acceleration, braking, ability to cope with demanding hill starts and an assessment of usability in terms of everyday caravanning.
The judges said of the Jetta: ‘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.’
‘A near-ultimate towcar,’ was the judges’ opinion of the Touareg. They went on to say that: ‘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.’
The Jetta Sport 2.0-litre TDI DSG has a 140 PS common rail diesel engine, a six-speed DSG gearbox, and produces impressive amounts of torque – 320 Nm from just 1,750 rpm. Despite its compact dimensions, it has a generous noseweight of 75 kg.
The Touareg Escape 3.0-litre V6 TDI comes with a 245 PS common rail diesel engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. It features permanent 4XMOTION four-wheel drive, raised suspension, a centre differential lock and a rear axle mechanical differential lock to ensure it can cope with treacherous conditions off-road. Torque is a prodigious 550 Nm from 2,000 rpm, while noseweight is 140 kg, and overall towing capacity a mammoth 3500 kg.