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.

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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