The updated Volkswagen Golf pushed very hard for the top spot in the ‘Up to 1400kg’ weight class.

First and foremost, it tows brilliantly. Having put the Golf through a lane-change, an acceleration test and an emergency stop, our What Car? road tester rated the VW’s towing ability as second to none in this weight division, a view reinforced by data from the Al-Ko ATC sensors on the caravan.

The other driving judges were also thoroughly impressed with the Golf’s stability at high speeds, and the relaxed way it coped with the hill-start test. The electronic parking brake made life easy, with no need to yank hard on a handle to stop car and caravan from slipping backwards.

Our practicality team also rated the VW Golf highly. There wasn’t quite room for every item of luggage, even with the boot floor on its lowest setting, but that’s not a surprise for a hatchback of this size. There was no warning against towing using the space-saver spare in the handbook.

As a daily drive, the Golf is very adept. It rides with more sophistication than the Octavia, and the well weighted and accurate steering makes for confident and enjoyable cornering. High-speed refinement is very good, too.

You might expect to pay a price premium for a Golf compared with other mainstream hatchbacks, but VW actually lowered Golf prices earlier in 2017. It’s now better value than before, especially as resale values should be healthy.

As good as the Golf is, though, it can’t match the space and practicality of the Skoda Octavia, which is why it narrowly misses out on winning an award.

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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