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
2017 Up to 1400kg

Skoda Octavia Estate

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L DSG

2017 1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L Executive

2017 1550-1699kg

Jaguar XF

2.0 i4 180PS RWD Portfolio Auto

2017 1700-1899kg

Jaguar F-Pace

3.0D S

2017 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*

2017 Best Budget 4x4

Suzuki SX4 S-Cross

1.4 BoosterJet Allgrip SZ5 4x4 auto

2017 Best Hybrid

Volvo XC90

T8 Twin Engine Momentum

2017 Best MPV

Ford S-Max

2.0 TDCi 180PS Titanium

2017 Best Petrol Tow Car

Audi A4 Allroad

2.0 TFSI Quattro S tronic

2017 Best Pick-up

Volkswagen Amarok

3.0 TDI 224PS 4x4 Aventura Auto

2017 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Hyundai i30

1.4 T-GDi Premium

2017 Fuel Economy Award

Skoda Superb

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L Executive

Previous Winners

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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