Another year, another class win for the Volkswagen Passat Estate. This makes it four awards in a row for the VW.

It’s going to take a very good car indeed to beat it, as the Passat has few weaknesses. It’s great to tow with, easy to live with, spacious and practical.

First and foremost we’re interested in how well a car tows, and the Passat remains the benchmark for mid-sized tow cars. Stability at speed is a given, and the VW feels settled and calm at 70mph in breezy conditions that had other cars wandering at 60mph.

The emergency lane-change test underlines the Passat’s stability, grip and composure. Even on a damp track it remained secure at high speeds, quietly but firmly showing the caravan who was boss.

We’re hard-pressed to find significant fault with the Passat’s hill start, either. The electronic parking brake held car and caravan still on the 1-in-6 slope. This year’s test car was fitted with Volkswagen’s Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG), which means there’s no clutch pedal to worry about – if anything, this made tackling the hill even easier than in previous years.

Although towing ability is the bedrock of the Passat’s success, it’s just as impressive when the caravan is safely parked on your driveway. It handles neatly, rides comfortably and is impressively quiet at speed.

It’s practical, too. The 603-litre boot is big enough for our test load of holiday luggage, and with the rear seats down, that load space extends to 1731 litres. A full-size spare is another plus point in our book.

Comprehensive equipment, a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP and good fuel economy are also strong arguments in the Passat’s favour.

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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