You have to feel a little bit sorry for the Seat Leon X-Perience. Usually outscoring a previous overall champion would be enough to earn an award, but despite unseating the Nissan Qashqai, the Leon can’t quite match the new Volkswagen Passat.

It is a mighty fine tow car in its own right, though, and offers something different to the Passat. For one thing it’s four-wheel-drive, so if you like to stay at out-of-the-way campsites and tow in all weathers, you may prefer the X-Perience. It also has more poke than the VW, with the 181bhp and 280lb ft of torque. That’s serious muscle – no wonder the Leon towed from 30-60mph in just 10 seconds.

In terms of stability, the Seat runs the Volkswagen close. In the emergency lane-change the caravan moved around more than when pulled by the VW, but at the legal limit the Seat was unflappable. However, the X-Perience has a conventional handbrake rather than the Passat’s electronic parking brake, and it needed a firm pull to prevent car and caravan creeping backwards on a 1-in-6 slope. Otherwise, the Seat took the hill start in its stride.

Inside, the Leon’s cabin can’t match the plush finish of the VW Passat’s and there’s much less room for rear-seat passengers. That said, there’s plenty of space in the boot – our practicality judges found room for every last item of holiday luggage, and were also pleased to find a trailer stability system fitted. It’s permissible to tow with the space-saver spare, which further boosts the Seat Leon X-Perience’s practicality score.

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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