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.

2018
Category Winners
2018 Up to 1400kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L DSG

2018 1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb

2.0 TDI 150PS SE L Executive

2018 1550-1699kg

Peugeot 5008

2.0 BlueHDi EAT8 S&S GT

2018 1700-1899kg

BMW 520d

Touring xDrive M Sport

2018 1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE

2018 Best Family SUV

Volvo XC40

Volvo XC40 D4 AWD R-Design Pro

2018 Best Petrol Tow Car

Kia Stinger

2.0 T-GDi GT-Line

2018 Best Ultralight Tow Car

Volkswagen Polo

1.0 TSI 115PS SEL DSG

2018 Fuel Economy Award

Hyundai i30 Tourer

1.6 CRDi 110PS Premium

Previous Winners
2017
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery

3.0 Td6 HSE*

2016
1400-1549kg

Skoda Superb Hatch

2.0 TDI 150PS SE Business

2015
1400-1549kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI BMT 150PS SE Business DSG

2014
1400-1549kg

Nissan Qashqai

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

2013
Up to 1424kg

Skoda Octavia

2.0 TDI CR 150PS Elegance

2012
1725–1899kg

Jaguar XF

2.2D Premium Luxury

2011
1425-1574kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI 170 Bluemotion Sport

2010
1900kg+

Land Rover Discovery 4

3.0 TDV6 XS

2009
1900kg+

Volvo XC60

D5 SE Geartronic

2008
1575-1724kg

Ford Mondeo Estate

2.0 TDCi Titanium auto

2007
1575-1724kg

Volkswagen Passat Estate

2.0 TDI Sport 4Motion

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