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Leon takes a SEAT on its thrown as new King of the Caravan Club Towcars


VAG stablemate reigns supreme once again in Caravan Club towcar test at Millbrook Proving Ground

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The SEAT Leon ST FR has been crowned winner of the 2015 Towcar of the Year, following an outstanding performance impressing caravan judges on and off the road.

Caravan magazine on FacebookThe Leon was judged in the £20,000-£25,000 bracket, with other category winners including the Fiat Panda 4x4 1.3 Multijet (Under £16,500), Peugeot’s 308 SW PureTech 1.2 (£15,000-£20,000), VW’s Golf SV GT 2.0 TDI 150 PS DSG (£25,000-£30,000), the Volvo XC60 D5 AWD R-Design (£30,000-£40,000 and All Wheel Drive Under 1800kg categories) and finally the Land Rover Discovery HSE Luxury 3.0 in the Over £40,000 and All Wheel Driver Over 1800kg groups.

The Mitsubishi Outlander GX4HS 2.0 PHEV gleaned a special judges’ award recognising the benefits of its achievement of being the first plug-in hybrid SUV. The PHEV is pushing the promise of more economical electric towcars even further into the realms of reality in the very near future.

A line-up of 39 towcars were tested and judged at this year’s event. Hosted by the Caravan Club at Millbrook Proving Ground, the competition saw each vehicle stringently scrutinised, towing a weight-matched caravan on a high speed bowl, alpine circuit (incorporating a 17% hill start) and reversing station, judged by six industry figures including Caravan magazine features editor Ben Hackney.

Caravan Club Towcar of the Year

Speaking of the Leon’s win, Ben comments: “It’s simply a fun car to drive on country roads, even when towing a sizeable caravan behind it. It’s ergonomically sound so that you’re kept comfy on long motorway hauls as well.

“The Leon’s responsive and has great gearing; it handles impeccably, and is easy to manoeuvre too. On top of all that, its sleek and subtle styling makes it one the best-looking towcar options on the road. Can you tell I’m a big fan?

“Other stand out performances in the judging process for me included the Suzuki SX4 S-Cross with responsive acceleration and inspiring stability (the hill start proved to be its downfall), the Alfa Romeo Giulietta as an exciting drive for such a small package, and the Citroën C4 Grand Picasso, with it’s beautiful panoramic windscreen.

The cars were also tested on their straight-line acceleration and braking abilities, with particular attention having been paid to their “caravanability” too, such as how much kit can be packed into the boot and the practicality of hitching, for example.

Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2015

Ben continues: “The interesting thing about towing with so many different vehicles how much you take for granted in a good towcar. These assessments show up every fault there is, even if it’s simply a matter personal preference.

“It all matters to caravanners. Whether it’s cramped pedals, poor visibility when reversing, inefficient packing space, or how the cars handle on hill starts – you wouldn’t want your outfit rolling backwards with the handbrake on if you’d stopped for a rest in the Lake District.”

Having won the competition since 2009 (with last year’s winner being the Škoda Superb Elegance Estate), the towcar torch has been passed to another VAG stable mate in the SEAT. Additionally, in 2012 and 2013 the VW Jetta was the first car ever to win the event twice in a row.

For more information on the Towcar of the Year competition, visit caravanclub.co.uk

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