This year’s winner of the Best Petrol Tow Car award is the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer. It’s run a close race by the Seat Leon SC and the Mercedes-Benz GLA, but our judges decided the Insignia was the most family-friendly tow car of the three, and suitable for the widest range of tourers.
The 1.6-litre turbocharged engine proves that the best petrols can make very capable tow cars. It’s a much more flexible engine than most petrols, with a punchy 168bhp at the top of the rev range. It pulled from 30-60mph in 15.3 seconds. The engine stays quiet and smooth even when worked hard.
At speed the Vauxhall feels reassuringly solid. Even when tested at speeds above the legal limit there’s hardly any movement from the caravan. In the lane-change test the Insignia gripped hard and remained secure until the final, fastest run. Even then the back of the car only moved around slightly and soon pulled straight again.
The Insignia’s electronic parking brake held car and caravan still on the 1-in-6 slope and released smoothly, but plenty of revs were needed to pull to the top of the hill.
All but one bag from our typical load of holiday luggage went in the Vauxhall’s boot, although an estate of this size really ought to have coped with the lot. The fitting of a Trailer Stability Programme is a definite plus.
What Car?’s Target Price researchers report big discounts on the Insignia, making the car surprisingly affordable.