The updated Volkswagen Golf pushed very hard for the top spot in the ‘Up to 1400kg’ weight class.

First and foremost, it tows brilliantly. Having put the Golf through a lane-change, an acceleration test and an emergency stop, our What Car? road tester rated the VW’s towing ability as second to none in this weight division, a view reinforced by data from the Al-Ko ATC sensors on the caravan.

The other driving judges were also thoroughly impressed with the Golf’s stability at high speeds, and the relaxed way it coped with the hill-start test. The electronic parking brake made life easy, with no need to yank hard on a handle to stop car and caravan from slipping backwards.

Our practicality team also rated the VW Golf highly. There wasn’t quite room for every item of luggage, even with the boot floor on its lowest setting, but that’s not a surprise for a hatchback of this size. There was no warning against towing using the space-saver spare in the handbook.

As a daily drive, the Golf is very adept. It rides with more sophistication than the Octavia, and the well weighted and accurate steering makes for confident and enjoyable cornering. High-speed refinement is very good, too.

You might expect to pay a price premium for a Golf compared with other mainstream hatchbacks, but VW actually lowered Golf prices earlier in 2017. It’s now better value than before, especially as resale values should be healthy.

As good as the Golf is, though, it can’t match the space and practicality of the Skoda Octavia, which is why it narrowly misses out on winning an award.

Category Winners
2019 Up to 1400kg

Škoda Octavia

Hatch 1.5 TSI 150PS SE L DSG

2019 1400-1549kg

Seat Ateca

2.0 TSI 190PS FR DSG

2019 1550-1699kg

Volkswagen Arteon

2.0 TDI 150PS Elegance DSG

2019 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2019 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 SDV6 HSE

2019 Best Budget 4x4

Dacia Duster

1.5 dCi Ambiance 4x4

2019 Best Plug-In Hybrid

Land Rover Range Rover Sport

P400e HSE Dynamic

2019 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Seat Arona

1.0 TSI 115 FR

2019 Fuel Economy Award

Ford Focus Estate

1.5 EcoBlue 120PS Titanium X

Previous Winners

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport


Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*


Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG


Nissan Qashqai

1.6 dCi (130PS) Stop/Start System Acenta Premium

Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance


Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport


Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS


Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic


Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto


Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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