The Volkswagen Golf easily won this class last year. In 2011, the competition was much tougher, but the Golf is still our favourite small tow car.

Some lightweight cars feel nervous with a caravan behind them. Not the Golf. Even in strong crosswinds our judges found the VW stable and reassuring, a subjective impression that was backed up by the Al-Ko ATC sensors on the caravan, which showed very little movement from the tourer.

Even the emergency lane-change test didn’t upset the Golf’s composure. It breezed through the first two runs. On the third and quickest pass through the cones the caravan started to slide, but the Golf stuck to the task and was never pulled off-line.

Unlike some small tow cars, the Golf has plenty of poke for pulling any suitable match up to speed.  The engine is smooth and pulls cleanly, holding 60mph in sixth gear without any complaint. There is still enough muscle in reserve to hit 70mph when it’s legal to do so.

Unhook your tourer and the Golf is a satisfying car to drive. It rivals the Ford Focus for driver appeal, with precise steering and plenty of grip, but is still comfortable on rough roads.

For a small hatchback there’s plenty of space inside, too. All but two items from our typical load of holiday luggage went into the boot.

Our practicality judge was also pleased to see comprehensive towing advice set out in the handbook and a compact spare that is suitable for towing.

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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