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Supplement sponsored by Bailey of Bristol
                                                                                        CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR

  Titanium X Estate
FORD’S BRILLIANT new Mondeo                  the five class winners and an S-Max        Octavia Scout. There were more cars in    ergonomic design as well as brilliant
Titanium X Estate has been voted             came within a whisker of picking up yet    contention for the over-1800kg award,     driving dynamics. The estate car
Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2008         another award. But the company didn’t      which makes the Kia Sorento’s triumph     bodywork, Ford claims, comes with
in the country’s longest running and         have all the glory.                        even more commendable.                    almost 60% more torsional stiffness
most prestigious towing competition.              ˘
                                                 Skoda took multiple honours too,                                                 than its predecessor.
Held, as usual, at the Millbrook Proving     with Roomster Scout and Octavia            TITANIUM SHINES                               Mondeo has been a huge success
Ground in Bedfordshire, the                  Scout models shining above the others      In nature, Titanium is a strong, bright   since its launch in 1993. All versions
competition attracted 36 entries             in their price classes. The final class    metal with good corrosion resistance –    of the latest model have wider track
representing 20 different brands. It         award went to the much-improved            a fitting epithet, then, for the latest   and revised suspension, and the cars’
was The Club’s 25th year of running          Land Rover Freelander 2.                   car to bear the title Caravan Club        performance in this year’s Towcar of
the competition – a fitting silver jubilee       Two other category awards are made     Towcar of the Year.                       the Year competition shows that a good
occasion in The Club’s Centenary year.       in The Caravan Club Towcar of the Year,         Titanium X is one of two top model   towcar has become even better. The
    Ford can be especially proud of this     for all-wheel-drive cars up to and above   designations in the new Mondeo range      wide range of engines includes not only
year’s achievement because a Mondeo          1800kg. For the ‘lighter’ award, the       (Ghia models are ‘more wood than          the five-cylinder 2.5-litre petrol unit
Zetec hatchback was also voted one of                                        ˘
                                             judges’ vote went again to the Skoda       techno’), offering superb comfort and     that powered this year’s overall winner
                                                                                                                                  but a 2.0-litre diesel that was in
                                                                                                                                  another class winner.

  WHERE, WHEN AND HOW                                                                                                                 All models have electronic
                                                                                                                                  brakeforce distribution and stability
 TESTING TAKES place at the                  The Caravan Club also invites the                                                    control, while options include Ford-
 Millbrook Proving Ground in                 previous year’s overall winner to                                                    designed Interactive Vehicle Dynamics
 Bedfordshire, probably the best car         submit its car for re-testing – in this                                              Control, which automatically regulates
 testing facility in the country. This       year’s case, the Volvo V50 D5 SE.                                                    suspension settings, and Hill Launch
 year the cars were divided into five             The cars delivered are carefully                                                Assist – which could be a boon for
 price categories, the theory being that     scrutineered to make sure they             your hands and knees to plug in the       caravanners. HLA maintains brake
 anyone thinking about buying a new          conform to the exact specification         caravan electrics?                        pressure for a couple of seconds while
 car will first consider how much they       declared on the testers’ score sheets.         All caravans are supplied by          you move your foot from brake to
 can afford to pay.                          Track tests, using six expert drivers,     Bailey of Bristol and loaded to 85%       accelerator pedal.
     Manufacturers were invited to           assess each of the cars’ towing ability    of the relevant car’s kerbweight.
                                                                                                                                   Published by The Caravan
 submit for testing any cars that were       while another team of four                 Noseweights are set at the car
                                                                                                                                   Club, East Grinstead House,
 new launches in the period 1 August         ‘caravanability’ judges makes a            manufacturer’s recommended
                                                                                                                                   East Grinstead, West Sussex
 2006 to 30 September 2007, or               careful assessment of each entrant’s       limit, 7% of the caravan’s running
                                                                                                                                   RH19 1UA, September 2007.
 existing models that had been               usability in everyday caravanning. Will    weight or the maximum stipulated
                                                                                                                                   Printed by Woodford Litho
 substantially modified (eg new              it carry a set of awning poles, for        weight for the coupling head,              Ltd, Freebournes Road,
 engine, different transmission etc).        instance, and do you have to get on        whichever is lowest.                       Witham, Essex CM8 3UH

                                                                                                                         CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2008          3
                                                                TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2008 AND £25,000 – £32,000 CLASS WINNER
        SAVE ON
        GET UP to 10% discount on
        insurance for Caravan Club
        Towcar of the Year class-winning
        cars! Call 0800 028 4809
        quoting TC08 for details and a
        personalised quote.

     SPECIAL GUEST                                               The winning car with Perry McCarthy, alias the original Stig
     GUEST OF honour was none other
     than Perry McCarthy, the original
     Stig from BBC TV’s Top Gear, who
     witnessed the testing regime at
     Millbrook and later presented awards
     to the winning manufacturers at a
                                                              The winners in detail
                                                                UNDER £16,000 CLASS WINNER                                                                                                                             THIS PAGE FROM TOP: Caravan Club
     celebratory lunch in London.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Towcar of the Year 2008 – Ford
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Mondeo Titanium X Estate. Big load
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       lugger that looks great and drives
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       even better. See p12

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Skoda Roomster Scout 1.9 TDI.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Roomster by name, roomy by nature
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       – a great little performer with ideal
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       engine and gearbox. See p6

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Ford Mondeo Zetec. Smooth
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       diesel-powered version of the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Ford’s fun-to-drive large family
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       car. See p7

                                                                £16,000 – £20,000 CLASS WINNER
            THANKS                                                                                                                                                                                                     OPPOSITE PAGE FROM TOP:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Skoda Octavia Scout TDI. Won its
            THE CARAVAN Club gives
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       price class and went on to be
            its grateful thanks to                                                                                                                                                                                     declared best 4x4 for lighter
            Bailey of Bristol, who                                                                                                                                                                                     caravans. See p8
            provided all the caravans
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Land Rover Freelander 2. Looks
            used in Towcar of the                                                                                                                                                                                      more like its big brother Discovery
            Year; and to Al-Ko Kober                                                                                                                                                                                   every day – and tows almost as
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       well. See p14
            for providing trackside
            help and technical                                                                                                                                                                                         Kia Sorento 2.5 CRDi XS. Latest
            assistance, ensuring all                                                                                                                                                                                   version of a former Caravan Club
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Towcar of the Year champ shows
            running gear was kept up
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       it’s still got a lot going for it. See p8
            to scratch.

 198ën BX 16 TRS

                    198560 GLE

                                  198Sierra XR 4x4

                                                      198ult 21 GTS

                                                                        198hall Senator 3

                                                                                                   198hall Cavalier S

                                                                                                                           199hall Cavalier 4

                                                                                                                                                       199r116 GTi 16v

                                                                                                                                                                          199240 SE Turb

                                                                                                                                                                                             199hall Calibra Tu

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            199ën Xantia 1.9

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      199ult Laguna RT

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              199hall Vectra 2.0

























                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             TD V
                                                                                         .0i CD


                                                                                                                                             x4 2.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                i 16v
                                                                                                                                                                                                               rbo 4




       £20,000 – 25,000 CLASS WINNER AND
                                                                                                                                 Who were the judges?
                                                                                                                                 OUR CARAVANABILITY experts, as
                                                                                                                                 usual, were John Bramham, Mick Farr,
                                                                                                                                 Adrian French and Tom Collin. All four
                                                                                                                                 are extremely experienced caravanners
                                                                                                                                 (and three of them, coincidentally,
                                                                                                                                 former police officers).
                                                                                                                                     Driving judges are drawn from the
                                                                                                                                 caravanning and motoring press. This
                                                                                                                                 year the team was: Lesley Harris from
                                                                                                                                 Auto Express, Andrew Ditton, freelance
                                                                                                                                 caravanning writer, Sally Pepper from Which Caravan?, Barry Williams from
                                                                                                                                 The Caravan Club Magazine, Victoria Heath from Caravan magazine and
                                                                                                                                 motoring writer Sue Baker.

      OVER £32,000 CLASS WINNER

                                                                                                                              The Bailey connection
                                                                                                                              BAILEY OF Bristol takes the road                              This is just part of the company’s
                                                                                                                              safety of its products very seriously,                   ongoing work to ensure it remains at
                                                                                                                              and is proud of its 10-year association                  the forefront of towed vehicle design
                                                                                                                              with The Caravan Club Towcar of the                      and technology. Other initiatives
       OVER 1800KG ALL-WHEEL DRIVE CATEGORY WINNER                                                                            Year competition. The competition not                    include funding Trailer Stability
                                                                                                                              only provides caravan owners with                        Studies being carried out by Bath
                                                                                                                              important information on the choice of                   University, for which Bailey has
                                                                                                                              a potential new tow vehicle but also                     manufactured a fully-adjustable trailer
                                                                                                                              provides a practical examination of                      rig which allows variation of the
                                                                                                                              Bailey caravans’ performance.                            parameters affecting towing stability,
                                                                                                                                   During the week-long test the                       leading to greater understanding of the
                                                                                                                              caravans are taken on over 250 circuits                  factors involved.
                                                                                                                              of the Millbrook Proving Ground – this                        If further proof were required of
                                                                                                                              involves lapping the high-speed                          Bailey’s commitment in this area, it
                                                                                                                              circular track and tackling a                            was the first UK caravan manufacturer
                                                                                                                              demanding hill route. Throughout this                    to fit the Al-Ko ATC Trailer Control
                                                                                                                              period Bailey constantly evaluates how                   System as standard specification (on
                                                                                                                              its caravans perform, gaining valuable                   its Senator Series 6 range), to provide
                                                                                                                              feedback on towing dynamics and                          owners with additional peace of mind
                                                                                                                              structural integrity.                                    while towing on the open road.
 197eot 406 GLX

                          199ën Xantia V6

                                                    199A6 Avant 2.5

                                                                           200Toledo V5

                                                                                          2001 n Golf V

                                                                                                           2 eot 406

                                                                                                                           2003 erb V6

                                                                                                                                            200r4 Forester 2.

                                                                                                                                                                     2005 0-D Esta

                                                                                                                                                                                        200orento 2.5 CR

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 200750 D5 Spo

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   200Mondeo e




                                                                                          Volks ION

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                                                                                                                                                                                       Kia S


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                                                                                                                                                                              CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2008                              5

    CARS UNDER £16,000


             ease of hitching/
             bulb failure warning

             towing information
             in handbook

                                              CLASS WINNER                                                    ˘
                                                                                            towing and the Skoda pulls well           caravanners, the Roomster beats its
             value for money
                                              Skoda Roomster                                even in top (5th) gear. Like other        similar-under-the-skin partner, the
             (running costs)
                                              Scout 1.9 TDI                                 small cars it can be put off its stroke   Fabia, because of its roominess.
                                              £14,355 as tested                             by crosswinds, but the Roomster           However, electrics socket access
    The icons are there to help you            ˘
                                              Skoda’s Roomster mini-MPV did                 never failed to yank its caravan back     was a little awkward and there
    identify a particular car’s
                                              really well for a little’un. The 1.9-litre    into line. A nice conventional            was no separate warning for
    strengths. They are shown in
                                              diesel engine isn’t especially                handbrake held the outfit easily on       caravan roadlight failure.
    the order of the car’s strong
                                              powerful but the output is well               a tough 17% gradient, and it pulled
    points. They do not necessarily
    provide an accurate                       matched to its well-sorted gearbox.           away with just a bit of tyre scrabble
    comparison between models                 Ratios are just about right for               but no real problems. For

Kia cee’d 1.6 LS CRDi                        KIA CEE’D 1.6 LS CRDI                         ˘
                                                                                           SKODA FABIA 3 1.9 TDI                      extra), getting all that power on to
£14,735 as tested                                                                                                                     the road is not always easy and
Second-placed in its class, the Kia                                                                                                   wheelspin can be hard to avoid on
cee’d looks and feels classy for a car of                                                                                             hill starts unless you balance clutch
its price, and the smart, modern                                                                                                      and accelerator just right. The Bravo
design works well. Acceleration with a                                                                                                is fast, and it remained stable on our
1248kg caravan on the back was                                                                                                        test track untill well over the legal UK
acceptable, and the car felt well in                                                                                                  speed limit. Load-carrying ability is
control of things despite strong                                                                                                      compromised by its raked tailgate
crosswinds. Enthusiastic take-offs                                                                                                    and the Bravo didn’t score well in
produced noticeable torque steer,                                                                                                     terms of value for money. Good
and there was some wheelspin when                                                                                                     handbook information on towing
starting off on a gradient – the car we                                                                                               though, and it has both audible
tested was not fitted with traction                                                                                                   and visual warnings for caravan
control. Its handbrake action put a lot      FIAT BRAVO 1.9 MULTI JET                       DAIHATSU MATERIA                          indicator bulb failure.
of other cars to shame. Despite a
couple of let-downs, the cee’d is a
very likeable car with Tardis-like load
capacity as well as easy access to
towball socket and a good, level                                                                                                      Daihatsu Materia
attitude when hitched up. Comes with                                                                                                  £11,385 as tested
a seven-year warranty too.                                                                                                            Towing ability would not have been
                                                                                                                                      high on the list of attributes when
                                                                                                                                      Daihatsu designed the little Materia,
                                                                                                                                      and putting a trailer on the back of this
                                                                                                                                      1.5-litre mini-MPV has a very
Skoda Fabia 3 1.9 TDI                                                                                                                 noticeable effect on both acceleration
£13,300 as tested                                                                                                                     and top speed. However, it was stable
This version of the new Fabia features                                                                                                enough at all times and the quirky
the same engine and transmission as         cog or two. Brakes are a strong point,         Fiat Bravo 1.9 MultiJet                    body styling makes it a practical small
the class-winning Roomster and, as          including a firm and easy-to-use               150 Dynamic                                car. It’s a surprisingly impressive load
you would expect, its performance           handbrake. Top of the class in terms of        £15,594 as tested                          carrier but the swing-down towing
figures are about the same. It’s a little   operating costs – covering CO2/kg,             On the test track the Bravo’s 1.9-litre    socket is not only very difficult to
bit lighter but it handles a caravan        insurance group, service hours and on          diesel engine shone. It was the most       access but the towball is set too low,
almost as well despite having a             the road price. Must try harder in             powerful engine in its class, it revs      resulting in a nose-down attitude
noseweight limit of just 50kg. Top gear     terms of load carrying.                        really freely and 225lb ft of torque       when hooked up.
(5th) is usable when towing but don’t                                                      meant minimal gearchanges and
expect too much in the way of                                                              easy start-offs. With no traction
acceleration without dropping down a                                                       control, however (it’s an optional

  CARS £16,000 – £20,000
VOLKSWAGEN GOLF ESTATE                                                                                                            TOYOTA AURIS T180 D-4D 2.2
SE 2.0 LITRE TDI                                                                                                                  5 DOOR MANUAL

                                                                                                                                  MAZDA 3 2.0 DIESEL TS2

Volkswagen Golf Estate                       CLASS WINNER                            and, with 250lb ft of torque to play
SE 2.0 litre TDI                             Ford Mondeo Zetec                       with, not much gearshifting is
£18,366 as tested                            £18,952 as tested                       necessary – but it’s such a precise
Volkswagen has had a lot of success          Mondeo Man really is a lucky chap       piece of engineering that
in this competition over the years           these days. The latest incarnation      enthusiastic drivers will want to.
and deservedly so. The Golf Estate           of Ford’s best seller is a giant leap   The car’s interior is streets ahead of
SE 2.0 litre TDI doesn’t let the side        forward in both quality and style.      some more expensive competitors
down – in fact it achieved the second        Fitted with the company’s free-         too. With parcel shelf removed,
highest score in this group. Like the        revving 2.0-litre diesel engine and     the Mondeo is an impressive load
class winner, it has oodles of torque        six-speed manual gearbox, the           carrier with a deep boot and it sat         order. From the driving seat, a lovely
(236lb ft) transmitted through a six-        Zetec was quick off the line and        perfectly level when hitched up.            car let down only by very thick
speed manual gearbox, and it’s a car         remained stable even at 80mph on        Criticisms? The parking brake               A-pillars that obstruct forward vision.
you want to drive enthusiastically.          the test track. Traction control is     could be more effective and door            If load capacity features high on your
The rewards are a comfortable drive,         standard and a hint of wheelspin        mirrors could be bigger – but               list of requirements in a reasonably
no problems with instability and a           on the hill start was quickly           you’d fit extending ones for                sized and priced towcar, then
workmanlike towcar with plenty of            brought into line, after which the      towing, wouldn’t you?                       look no further.
usable luggage space. A restart on           outfit shrugged off our demanding
the severe 17% gradient was quite            test route. This engine and
easy with care, the standard-fit             gearbox make for relaxed towing
traction control taking care of a hint
of wheelspin. Good value for money                                                                                               Toyota Auris T180 D-4D
in terms of operating costs, and easy       ˘
                                            SKODA OCTAVIA 1.8 TFSI                   when towing. Nice and level with a          2.2 5 door manual
access to sockets. A sloping tailgate                                                caravan attached, nothing much to           £19,395 as tested
reduces load space but not by any                                                    fault regarding towball and socket          Toyota’s new Auris sticks in my mind
significant amount.                                                                  connections and reasonable towing           for the way in which it shrugged off the
                                                                                     data provided – but high running            stop-and-restart on our tough 17%
                                                                                     costs compared with the competition.        gradient. Helped by torque of 295lb ft,
                                                                                                                                 the car and caravan rolled away as if
                                                                                                                                 they were on the flat. And though the
Skoda Octavia 1.8 TFSI                                                                                                           handbrake action is unconventional –
£19,725 as tested                                                                                                                the lever is almost vertical – it worked
Not as highly thought of as its diesel-                                              Seat Altea XL Stylance                      very well indeed. There was no
engined compatriot in the next price                                                 2.0 TDI                                     instability on our high-speed circuit
class, the petrol-powered TFSI still has                                             £17,885 as tested                           but the ride could have been more
many virtues. It is fast, its brakes are                                             The Altea is one of those medium-           comfortable. Only 50kg nosweight
superb and the whole of the interior                                                 size cars that always feels solid and       limit and not the best load carrier in its
exudes quality. In fact the Octavia is                                               well put together. In 2.0-litre TDI guise   class. However, little to fault in terms of
one of those cars where everything                                                   it is also fast and has the sort of         socket access and handbook
feels ‘just right’ from the driving seat.                                            handling that makes you want to drive       information.
                                            SEAT ALTEA XL STYLANCE
However, the TFSI engine is so                                                       it enthusiastically. Put a caravan on the
                                            2.0 TDI
powerful that keeping everything                                                     back and it doesn’t disappoint. In
under control with a caravan on the                                                  particular, the gearbox (six speed) is a
back needs care. It didn’t feel as sure-                                             delight to use and the ratios are just
footed as some cars at high speed                                                    right. A conventional handbrake held        Mazda3 2.0 Diesel TS2
and, despite traction control, there’s a                                             the outfit rock steady on our tough hill    £17,222 as tested
tendency to spin the front wheels on                                                 test, and though there was a bit of         There were quite strong crosswinds
take-off, especially on a gradient. The                                              wheel scrabble on take-off (on a            during our testing period and in these
six-speed gearbox is great to use but                                                newly-dampened surface), the Seat’s         conditions you need size and weight
the top two ratios are on the high side                                              traction control soon got things in         in a towcar rather than all-out power.

                                                                                                                       CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2008               7

 CARS £16,000 – £20,000 continued
The Mazda was quite severely                 NISSAN QASHQAI ACENTA                     insurance group and is competitively         JEEP PATRIOT 2.0 CRD
buffeted at times, with the result that it                                             priced. It’s also more than adequate
didn’t make for a relaxing tow. Plenty                                                 as a load carrier.
of torque from Mazda’s 2.0-litre diesel
engine (266lb ft) meant relaxed
gearchanging on the flat and the
brakes, including handbrake action,
were very good. Socket mounting                                                        Jeep Patriot 2.0 CRD
appeared a little flimsy and as a load                                                 £17,459 as tested
carrier it's a mid-table finisher.                                                     Without being too unkind to the
Handbook information on towing is                                                      Patriot, it is a bit of a sheep in wolf’s
impressive and both audible and                                                        clothing. It’s got the looks of a serious
visual warnings alert you to a faulty                                                  towcar but doesn’t quite deliver all
caravan indicator.                           to a higher than average driving          that’s promised. Full-time all-wheel
                                             position and big door mirrors, and a      drive provides plenty of traction even      appeared a little high when solo but
                                             handbrake that holds easily even on a     when taking off on a severe hillclimb,      there was sufficient give in the
                                             severe slope. With only a 1.5-litre       and it’s mostly stable at speed. But        suspension to create a level
                                             diesel engine, however, it has to be      you have to work it hard and the ride is    connection with hitched to a caravan.
Nissan Qashqai Acenta                        worked hard to keep up with the           hard with an uncomfortable pitching         Better than average stowage space
£16,819 as tested                            traffic flow. Buy a Qashqai Acenta        motion. The six-speed gearbox has a         and socket access.
Nissan’s new hatchback has some              and you can expect a car that’s hard      long action and top gear is too high
appealing features for caravanners:          to beat in terms of running costs – it    for towing, but the ’box is pleasant
usable loadspace, good visibility due        pumps out low emissions, is in a low      enough to use. Towball height

    CARS £20,000 – £25,000
Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi                                                                                                                 FORD S-MAX 2.0 TDCI
£22,327 as tested
Second-placed in its class, the S-Max
showed again that Ford has got it
right for caravanners. Fitted with a
slightly modified version of the
2.0-litre diesel engine used in the
Mondeo that won the previous price
class, the S-Max’s impressive
acceleration was helped by a slick-
shifting six-speed automatic
gearbox. I encountered one wobble
                                                                                                                                    KIA SORENTO 2.5 CRDI XS
at very high speed (beyond the UK
limit) but the car was always in
control. The brakes are very good –            CLASS WINNER AND                        our very severe hill start was easy,
including an oddly-shaped parking              UNDER 1800KG AWD                        and on the twisty alpine section it
brake that looks more like an aircraft         CATEGORY WINNER                         handled confidently with
throttle control. The cabin is well            ˘
                                               Skoda Octavia Scout TDI                 predictable turn-in. A comfortable
appointed and MPV bodywork very                £20,035 as tested                       ride and nicely-built interior just
versatile. As you’d expect, Ford’s             One problem with a competition          added to the pleasure. With
popular MPV is an exceptional load             that goes on for several days is that   reasonable access to the towing
carrier – however, the S-Max doesn’t           weather conditions can vary             electrics, efficient warnings for
come with a spare wheel but                    between testing one car and             faulty trailer bulbs and fairly
puncture repair sealant and a                                ˘
                                               another. This Skoda drew the short      impressive load characteristics, the
compressor instead.                            straw when I was driving, with a wet    Octavia is a good all-round towcar.         Inside, the Sorento is a comfortable
                                               track and strong crosswinds. All the    But the best reason for buying one          and attractive car and a pleasure to
                                               more notable then that it was an        is its running costs – the best of nine     drive and the only real criticism I had
                                               absolute delight to drive, with a       in this class.                              was that the handbrake only just held
                                               willing engine, sweet gearbox with                                                  on our – very tough – 17% hill test.
OVER 1800KG AWD                                well-chosen ratios and full-time                                                    Restarting on this gradient was easy,
CATEGORY WINNER                                four-wheel drive. Pulling away on                                                   even in high ratio. A 120kg noseweight
Kia Sorento 2.5 CRDi XS                                                                                                            limit, bags of storage and extensive
£23,465 as tested                                                                                                                  towing information in the handbook
An old Caravan Club Towcar of the            well in this competition before. The      right for towing. It pulls well from        highlights the importance of the
Year favourite and past winner, the          four-cylinder engine churns out torque    speeds below 50mph in top, 5th, gear        caravan market to Kia.
Sorento reappeared in its latest 2.5-        aplenty and full-time four-wheel drive    yet even at 60mph the engine is doing
litre diesel, manual transmission guise      ensures the car is always well planted    only 2000rpm. There was never any
and showed exactly why it has done so        on the ground. Gear ratios are just       trace of instability, even at high speed.

 CARS £20,000 – £25,000 continued
NISSAN QASHQAI TEKNA ALL-MODE 4X4 AUTO                                                  ˘
                                                                                        SKODA SUPERB 2.0 TDI                        front, leaf spring rear) is hard. That also
                                                                                                                                    means a fairly uncomfortable ride.
                                                                                                                                    Interior noise levels are high too, and
                                                                                                                                    the gearbox feels agricultural.
                                                                                                                                    Positives include an abundance of
                                                                                                                                    storage space, a noseweight limit of
                                                                                                                                    120kg and easily-accessible electrics.
                                                                                                                                    Isuzu should also be applauded for
                                                                                                                                    stowing tools under the rear seat,
                                                                                                                                    giving easy access in the event of a

VOLVO C30 2.0D SE SPORT                                                                 ISUZU RODEO DENVER MAX LE
                                                                                                                                    Dodge Nitro 2.8 CRD Auto
                                                                                                                                    £24,036 as tested
                                                                                                                                    Selectable four-wheel drive, a big
                                                                                                                                    diesel engine and automatic
                                                                                                                                    transmission will attract caravanners
                                                                                                                                    to the Dodge Nitro 2.8 CRD Auto, with
                                                                                                                                    its chunky go-anywhere looks.
                                                                                                                                    Unfortunately it felt a bit lethargic on
                                                                                                                                    our test track and although it didn’t
                                                                                                                                    become unstable once wound up to a
                                                                                                                                    decent speed, it didn’t feel as well in
                                                                                                                                    control as some other competitors.
                                                                                                                                    Switching from 2WD to 4WD when the
                                                                                                                                    going gets rough couldn’t be simpler:
Nissan Qashqai Tekna                       DODGE NITRO 2.8 CRD AUTO                     JEEP WRANGLER                               you just turn a knob. Back on tarmac,
All-Mode 4x4 Auto                                                                       UNLIMITED 2.8 CRD                           the footbrake worked well enough
£22,254 as tested                                                                                                                   but had a lot of travel, while the
With a bigger engine and six-speed                                                                                                  handbrake just would not hold the car
automatic transmission, the Qashqai                                                                                                 and caravan on our 17% gradient.
Tekna All-Mode 4x4 scored more                                                                                                      Noseweight limit is an impressive
highly than the front-wheel-drive                                                                                                   126kg but storage not as generous as
model in the previous class. I found no                                                                                             in some other SUVs.
problems with performance and
stability was never in quesion even at
70-mph-plus. Brakes, and notably the
handbrake, were excellent and the car
made short shrift of our demanding                                                                                                  Jeep Wrangler
hill route. Unfortunately for Nissan,                                                                                               Unlimited 2.8 CRD
this Qashqai was up against some very     very nice car, well appointed and very       aren’t suited, and I wasn’t totally happy    £23,589 as tested
stiff opposition. Good access to          well put together, though it didn’t live     with its stability. Unfortunately, great     With the same big four-cylinder diesel
towing gear means easy                    up to its name in terms of load carrying     exterior styling doesn’t lead to             engine and five-speed automatic
hitching/unhitching.                      capacity. Towing electrics are easily        impressive load carrying, but full marks     transmission as in the Dodge Nitro,
                                          accessible.                                  to Volvo for ease of socket access and       the Jeep Wrangler offers a similar
                                                                                       supplying decent towing information.         hard ride and limited performance. At
                                                                                                                                    least the handbrake would hold with
                                                                                                                                    this car, though the lever was at the
Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI                                                                                                                top of its travel. With the car’s
£20,468 as tested                         Volvo C30 2.0D SE Sport                                                                   utilitarian looks and ‘take apart’
A V6 diesel Superb was crowned            £21,395 as tested                            Isuzu Rodeo Denver                           bodywork it will appeal to a certain
Caravan Club Towcar of the Year five      If you are looking for a small, sporty       MAX LE                                       sector of the caravanning market, just
years ago, and this latest version        coupé for occasional use as a towcar,        £23,686 as tested                            like the Land Rover Defender. For
confirmed that the car makes a stable     you won’t go far wrong with a Volvo          To be fair, this isn’t really what you       more conventional caravanners,
towing platform with good driving         C30 2.0D SE Sport. Everything about it       would call a mainstream caravanning          though, there are more comfortable
characteristics. However, the 2.0-litre   is classy and for caravanners there are      car, though with four-wheel drive and        alternatives. Noseweight limit is a
TDI with six-speed manual gearbox         some nice unexpected extras like             high or low ratios selectable at the         class-leading 170kg but the towball
lacked the sparkle of the former          excellent door mirrors and superb            push of a button, this is the sort of        was too high: 485-490mm when
champ. Forget top gear when towing        handbrake action. However, it’s not a        vehicle that would easily tug your           hitched to the caravan, resulting in a
and beware too many steep hills. After    mainstream towcar. In first gear the car     caravan out of a sticky situation. Even      nose-up ride.
several restarts the Superb was           pulled away effortlessly on our hill start   in two-wheel drive it tackles all sorts of
smelling a bit ‘clutchy’. For more        but as you move up through the gears         terrain, up hill and down dale – partly
normal, relaxed towing it remains a       you find the top ratios (five and six)       because the suspension (torsion bar

                                                                                                                           CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2008               9

 CARS £25,000 – £32,000
                                                                                                                                more seriously affected by

                                                                                                                                crosswinds. Nothing dangerous, but
                                                                                                                                at the limit it seemed the V70 was
      OF THE                                                                                                                    slightly less in control of its caravan
       YEAR                                                                                                                     than the V50. Nice features included a

       2008                                                                                                                     really easy restart on our 17% gradient
                                                                                                                                and an effective electronic parking
                                                                                                                                brake. A good load carrier, and pretty
                                                                                                                                detailed towing information in the
                                                                                                                                handbook. Nice and level when
                                                                                                                                hitched up, but not the cheapest in
                                                                                                                                terms of running costs.

                                                                                                                                Nissan X-Trail Aventura
  CLASS WINNER                             year’s competition) is excellent. The       outfit is doing. Well-weighted           Explorer Extreme
  AND CARAVAN CLUB                         five-cylinder engine produces               steering helps you position the outfit   £26,981 as tested
  TOWCAR OF THE                            maximum torque from just 1500rpm,           precisely, the brakes are excellent      Masses of torque from Nissan’s
  YEAR 2008                                making restarts easy; and although          and the six-speed gearbox, as usual      2.0-litre diesel engine and fairly low
  Ford Mondeo Titanium X                   maximum power isn’t reached until           in a Ford, is a delight. Add to that a   intermediate gears pay dividends in
  Estate 2.5i                              it’s doing 5000rpm there is power           well-appointed interior, comfort         getting the X-Trail on the move, and
  £25,252 as tested                        aplenty to move its caravan briskly         and an ability to swallow a huge         once you have wound it up to a decent
  Ford’s new Mondeo is a leap forward      up to speeds of 80mph (where                amount of luggage and you have           speed you should have no trouble
  in many respects, and although the       allowable) and beyond. More                 a winning towcar.                        with instability. In two-wheel drive
  outgoing model was a good towcar         importantly, it does so without any                                                  there was a little wheelspin on very
  this Estate version with 2.5-litre       trace of instability. Handling is so                                                 severe hill starts before traction
  petrol engine (one of only two in this   good that you know exactly what the                                                  control (standard) cut in, but if I’d
                                                                                                                                needed 4WD it would have been a

Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0                   Volvo V50 D5 SE Sport                        MITSUBISHI OUTLANDER 2.0 DI-D ELEGANCE
DI-D Elegance                              £25,445 as tested
£25,188 as tested                          Voted Caravan Club Towcar of the
Mitsubishi’s Outlander has the             Year 2007, the Volvo put in an
advantage of selectable four-wheel         impressive performance again this
drive and should be on the shortlist of    year. The sweet-sounding five-
anyone looking for a serious towcar.       cylinder diesel engine is mated to a
The low-emission 2.0-litre diesel          five-speed automatic transmission
engine is free-revving and so well-        and could get you into trouble if you
matched to the six-speed gearbox           don’t keep a watch on the
that it was one of the few cars in this    speedometer. Progress is fast and
year’s contest in which sixth gear was     seamless, but the car has impressive
usable when towing. Stability was not      stopping ability too and the parking
an issue: when the Outlander’s             brake works a treat. Inside, the
caravan was pushed out of line by a        environment oozes quality, and there’s
crosswind, this beefy car took control     room in the back of this stylish
immediately. Drivers are presented         ‘sportwagon’ for a fair bit of kit. There
with a comfortable and well-               were no problems with stability, as
designed cabin, with bigger-than-          you’d expect from the contest’s
average door mirrors and all controls      returning champion. An accessible
in the right place. Brake action,          electrical socket, reasonable running        VOLVO V50 D5 SE SPORT                    VOLVO V70 2.4D SE
including handbrake performance,           costs and good load capabilities.
was well above average. To top it all,
the Outlander has a noseweight limit
of 100kg. Our caravanability judges
could find little to fault, with value-
for-money running costs and the            Volvo V70 2.4D SE
ability to consume as much luggage         £28,945 as tested
as you could throw at it. The socket is    Fitted with a slightly detuned version
well located for easy electrical           of the five-cylinder diesel engine in
connection too.                            the V50, this model also differed by
                                           having six-speed automatic
                                           transmission. Acceleration was brisk
                                           and seamless but I found the V70

simple matter of turning a dial. The        Land Rover Defender 90                      SsangYong Rexton II SX                      Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2
X-Trail’s handbrake is on the ’wrong’       Station Wagon                               £27,279 as tested                           CRTD CDX+ 7 Seat
side (ie designed for left-hand drive       £26,351 as tested                           Although the Rexton didn’t get              £26,360 as tested
cars) but in practice it worked better      A Land Rover Defender will take you         unstable at speed, it took too long to      The Hyundai controlled its caravan
than most in this year’s competition.       anywhere, it will go on forever and it      get there and there was too much            well enough in strong crosswinds
Here’s another vehicle with an              won’t complain if you put a big             body roll. At slower speeds it did not      but the ride wasn’t comfortable.
abundance of storage space, with a          caravan on the back. Whether you            give a comfortable ride and on the hill     Five-speed manual transmission has
useful underfloor slide-out unit in the     could live with its uncomfortable ride      route it was difficult to get the parking   a nice enough action, which is just as
boot ideal for concealing valuables.        and noisy interior only you can say. At     brake to hold. Good points include a        well as it needs plenty of use. The
Easily accessible socket too, and nice      high speed it didn’t feel all that happy,   high noseweight limit (128kg) and the       Santa Fe struggled up our long 14%
and level when hitched.                     with lots of buffeting; and the brakes      mirrors give good visibility. The           gradient and, although it managed
                                            don’t inspire confidence. Handbrake         towball was too high – 540mm from           to restart on the tough 17% hill, the
                                            performance is good, though, and            the ground– so when hitched the             handbrake just wouldn’t hold. Credit
                                            the LR shrugs off hill starts. Rear seats   nose of the caravan was pointing            where it’s due – full marks to Hyundai
                                            have to be folded sideways to create        upwards. Cavernous rear storage             for supplying detailed towing
Mercedes-Benz                               load space, and then you turn               compartment, though, and the tool           information, there is a good amount
C220 CDi                                    Defender into a two-seater only.            kit was handily placed beneath the          of storage space and the vehicle sits
£28,797 as tested                           Excellent 150kg noseweight limit.           nearside rear seat.                         level with caravan behind.
Make sure you read the handbook
before you tow with a manual-
transmission C-Class; the driving
technique for getting away on hills
can seem daunting. Keep your feet on
the footbrake and clutch as you             NISSAN X-TRAIL AVENTURA EXPLORER EXTREME                                                LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90
release the (foot-operated) on/off                                                                                                  STATION WAGON
parking brake then, as you move your
right foot to the accelerator, pressure
in the brake system is maintained for a
a couple of seconds while you
engage the clutch. In practice it works
but it needs practice. If you stall, you
have to act swiftly to get your left foot
on to the parking brake. On the track,
the C220 was brisk and the six-speed
gearbox well suited to towing. High-
speed stability was not a strong point,
though. Promising pretty reasonable
running costs for a Merc, the C220          MERCEDES-BENZ C220 CDI                                                                  SSANGYONG REXTON II SX
disappoints as a load carrier – it
swallowed only half our typical
caravanner’s load.

Renault Grand Espace
Tech Run dCi 150
£25,278 as tested
With just driver and ballast to simulate
one passenger on board, the 2.0-litre
diesel Espace struggled, needing
second gear to tackle a long 14%
straight that many cars took in third       RENAULT GRAND ESPACE                        HYUNDAI SANTA FE 2.2 CRTD CDX + 7 SEAT
                                            TECH RUN DCI 150
gear – not a good start for a large
people carrier. At speed the Renault
didn’t feel in control, either, but at
least the brakes work well. The
elctronic ‘push-button on, auto-off’
parking brake is particularly useful
when you are towing. You need to
lose a couple of seats to turn this
Renault into a decent load carrier.

                                                                                                                         CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2008         13

 CARS OVER £32,000
                                                                                                                              transmission. Somehow it seemed
                                                                                                                              sluggish off the mark, but speed
                                                                                                                              picked up rapidly to well over the UK
                                                                                                                              limit. At high speed the Shogun was
                                                                                                                              buffeted strongly by crosswinds and
                                                                                                                              didn’t always feel completely in
                                                                                                                              control. Performance on our hill route
                                                                                                                              was impressive, with easy take-offs on
                                                                                                                              steep gradients helped by a decent
                                                                                                                              handbrake. Even on the 17% hill our
                                                                                                                              Shogun/Senator Louisiana outfit got
                                                                                                                              away in two-wheel drive rather than
                                                                                                                              having to engage 4WD or low-ratio.
                                                                                                                              Shogun interiors are much improved,
                                                                                                                              and the high driving position and big
                                                                                                                              mirrors are a boon when towing. A
                                                                                                                              rear-mounted spare wheel means the
                                                                                                                              towball sticks out a long way for
  CLASS WINNER                              disappoint them. The six-speed             some view through many caravans.       clearance – mind you don’t catch your
  Land Rover Freelander 2                   gearbox changes seamlessly when            Towing electrics are accessible, the   shins. Storage compartment took a
  £32,728 as tested                         left to its own devices, it copes easily   noseweight li mit of 150kg is good     full load with little complaint.
  Land Rover’s Freelander has grown         with hill starts and descents (just        and the handbook is pretty
  into a better-looking, better-            leave matters to Hill Descent              comprehensive. It also swallowed
  equipped 4x4 with a style that is         Control if you are off-road) and on        most of our load. A worthy winner
  bound to appeal to caravanners.           the flat you won’t find the Freelander     of the top price class.
  Whether they will pay over £30,000        put off its stroke by gusty crosswinds.                                           Mercedes-Benz R320 CDI
  for one remains to be seen, but the       Icing on the cake is a pair of big,                                               £44,418 as tested
  diesel-engined, auto-transmission         square door mirrors and a high                                                    Compared with the ML, the R-Class
  version tested here would not             enough driving position to give you                                               had ‘only’ a 3.0-litre V6 under the
                                                                                                                              bonnet but the same column-stalk-
                                                                                                                              operated auto transmission giving a
Mercedes-Benz ML420 CDI                     MITSUBISHI SHOGUN 3.2 DI-DC WARRIOR LWB AUTO                                      choice of seven speeds. Gear changes
£53,500 as tested                                                                                                             were imperceptible and despite the
Another car that has improved over                                                                                            smaller engine – in a car that weighs
the years, Mercedes-Benz’s ML was                                                                                             2270kg empty, with a 1930kg caravan
submitted with 4.0-litre V8 engine and                                                                                        on the back – progress was fast. Again,
seven-speed automatic transmission.                                                                                           though, there were times when this
What else would you expect for                                                                                                big people carrier was put off its
almost £54,000! Gear selection is                                                                                             stroke by strong winds. Self-levelling
controlled by a steering column stalk.                                                                                        air suspension at the back is a bonus,
To be honest, the ML420 shrugs off                                                                                            in theory at least, but at slow speeds
caravan towing with such ease that it                                                                                         there was a tendency for the caravan
seems nit-picking to criticise, but the                                                                                       to ‘snatch’ a bit too much. You need to
controls, especially the steering, are so                                                                                     get down on hands and knees to
light that you can tend to over-                                                                                              access the 13-pin socket, and to fit in a
compensate for any misalignment                                                                                               full load two of the rear seats need to
due, for instance, to crosswinds. Like                                                                                        be down.
other M-B models it has a foot-
operated parking brake, but that’s no
disadvantage with automatic
transmission. An excellent load carrier
with 140kg noseweight limit and it sits     MERCEDES-BENZ ML420 CDI                     MERCEDES-BENZ R320 CDI
level with a caravan hooked up.
Thumbs up for handbook information,
but an expensive car to buy and run.

Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2
DI-DC Warrior LWB
£32,691 as tested
The Shogun tested came with a big
(3.2-litre) four-cylinder diesel engine
and five-speed automatic

safe on track,safe on the road
FOR THE past 10 years The Caravan
Club has used Bailey caravans for
testing cars in its Caravan Club Towcar
of the Year competition. This year’s
testing made use of models from all
four of Bailey’s current ranges:
Discovery, Ranger, Pageant and
Senator, loaded to weights that varied
from 880kg to 1968kg.
    All models come with a three-year
manufacturer’s warranty and six-year
body integrity guarantee, and all use
Al-Ko fully-galvanised chassis.              DISCOVERY SERIES 5                         feeling of lightness inside. Large,      and stereo radio/CD/MP3 player
Pageant and Senator are fitted as            This is Bailey’s low-cost, low-weight      aircraft-style overhead lockers offer    become part of the standard
standard with hitch-head stabilisers         range offering three models with ex-       good storage in Rangers, while on the    specification. A range of interior
and for 2008 Senators are also fitted        works weights with a maximum of just       equipment front there is a four-burner   layouts is offered, sleeping two, four
with Al-Ko’s fully automatic ATC trailer     993kg. Mercury, Neptune and Mars           hob, blown-air heating and fully-        or five adults.
stability devices – Bailey being the first   models offer two, five and six berths at   sprung upholstery. Prices range from
manufacturer to offer this safety aid.       prices from £8599 to £8999.                £9895 to £11,875.                        SENATOR SERIES 6
    It is worth pointing out that The            Features include 3kW heaters,                                                   Bailey describes its Senator models as
Caravan Club disconnects all anti-           cookers with three-burner hob plus grill   PAGEANT SERIES 6                         offering ‘the ultimate touring
snaking hardware for Towcar of the           and oven, and big gas/electric fridges.    With Pageant (seven models,              experience’ and it’s not hard to see
Year testing, and it is a testament to                                                  £11,795 to £12,645), buyers have         why. One two-berth and five four-berth
both Bailey and Al-Ko engineering            RANGER SERIES 5                            even more in the way of home             models, priced from £13,980 to
skills that none of the caravans in this     Next step up is the Ranger series,         comforts. Apart from higher quality      £16,450, feature energy-saving
year’s competition misbehaved on             seven caravans fitted with large,          furniture and furnishings, a             interior lighting, heated towel rails and
the test track.                              panoramic sunroofs to help maximise a      microwave oven, directional TV aerial    17in flat screen TVs.

For more details see
                                                                                                                       CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2008            15

 MAKE/MODEL                                                            CARAVAN               NOSE                     GEARS/                       FUEL/
                                                                       WT (kg)               WEIGHT                   SELECTION/                   CYLS/
                                                                                             LIMIT (kg)               DRIVE                        CC

 UNDER £16,000
 Daihatsu Materia                                                          880                     50                 5/MAN/FWD                    P/4/1997
 Skoda Fabia 3 1.9 TDI                                                     995                     50                 5/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1896
 Skoda Roomster Scout 1.9 TDI                                             1067                     50                 5/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1896
 Kia cee’d 1.6 LS CRDi                                                    1248                     75                 5/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1582
 Fiat Bravo 1.9 MultiJet 150 Dynamic                                      1220                     60                 6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1910

 £16,000 – £20,000
 Nissan Qashqai Acenta                                                    1250                     75                 6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1461
 Mazda3 2.0 Diesel TS2                                                    1262                     75                 6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1998
 Jeep Patriot 2.0 CRD Sport                                               1398                     75                 6/MAN/AWD                    D/4/1968
 Seat Altea XL Stylance 2.0 TDI                                           1312                     75                 6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1968
 Volkswagen Golf Estate SE 2.0 TDI                                        1192                     75                 6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1968
 Ford Mondeo Zetec                                                        1325                     80                 6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1997
 Toyota Auris T180 2.2 D-4D                                               1233                     60                 6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/2231
 Skoda Octavia Estate 1.8 TFSI                                            1139                     75                 6/MAN/FWD                    P/4/1798

 £20,000 – £25,000
 Skoda Octavia Scout TDI                                                  1301                    75                  6/MAN/AWD                    D/4/1968
 Skoda Superb 2.0 TDI                                                     1290                    75                  6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1968
 Volvo C30 2.0D SE Sport                                                  1202                    75                  6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1997
 Nissan Qashqai Tekna All-Mode 4x4                                        1432                    75                  6/AUT/F-AWD                  D/4/1994
 Ford S-Max Zetec                                                         1522                    80                  6/AUT/FWD                    D/4/1997
 Kia Sorento 2.5 CRDi XS                                                  1755                   120                  5/MAN/AWD                    D/4/2497
 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 2.8 CRD                                          1683                   170                  5/AUT/R-AWD                  D/4/2777
 Isuzu Rodeo Denver MAX LE                                                1632                   120                  5/MAN/R-AWD                  D/4/2499
 Dodge Nitro 2.8 CRD SXT                                                  1713                   126                  5/AUT/F-AWD                  D/4/2777

 £25,000 – £32,000
 Mitsubishi Outlander 2.0 Di-D Elegance                                   1437                   100                  6/MAN/R-AWD                  D/4/1968
 Ford Mondeo Titanium X Estate                                            1360                    80                  6/MAN/FWD                    P/5/2521
 Renault Grand Espace Tech Run dCi 150                                    1600                    80                  6/MAN/FWD                    D/4/1995
 Volvo V50 D5 SE Sport                                                    1333                    75                  5/AUT/FWD                    D/5/2400
 Land Rover Defender 90 Station Wagon                                     1606                   150                  6/MAN/AWD                    D/4/2401
 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRTD CDX+ (7st)                                     1584                    88                  5/MAN/R-AWD                  D/4/2188
 Nissan X-Trail Aventura Explorer Extreme                                 1449                   100                  6/MAN/AWD                    D/4/1995
 SsangYong Rexton II SX                                                   1784                   128                  5/AUT/AWD                    D/5/2696
 Mercedes-Benz C220 CDI                                                   1347                    75                  6/MAN/RWD                    D/4/2148
 Volvo V70 2.4D SE                                                        1511                    75                  6/AUT/FWD                    D/5/2400

 OVER £32,000
 Mitsubishi Shogun 3.2 Di-CD Warrior LWB                                  1917                   135                  5/AUT/R-AWD                  D/4/3200
 Land Rover Freelander 2                                                  1737                   150                  6/AUT/AWD                    D/4/2179
 Mercedes-Benz R320 CDI                                                   1930                    85                  7/AUT/AWD                    D/6/2987
 Mercedes-Benz ML420 CDI                                                  1968                   140                  7/AUT/AWD                    D/8/3996
 Prices are for cars as tested, including manufacturer-approved towing equipment. Class winners in red. In cases where 85% of a car’s kerbweight
 exceeded the Maximum Technically Permissible Laden Mass of the heaviest caravan, excess ballast was loaded into the car


102@6000 – 98@4400    169     8D       £11,385
105@4000 – 240@1800   129     4E       £13,300
105@4000 – 240@1800   139     5E       £14,355
113@4000 – 188@1900   125     6E       £14,735
150@4000 – 225@2000   149     10       £15,594

105@4000 – 240@2000   145     5        £16,819
143@TBA – 266@2000    162     9E       £17,222
138@4000 – 229@1750   180     11E      £17,459
138@4000 – 236@1750   157     8E       £17,885
138@4000 – 236@1750   148     12       £18,366
138@4000 – 250@2240   156     8E       £18,952
175@3600 – 295@2000   164     13A      £19,395
160@5000 – 250@1500   176     TBA      £19,725

140@4000 – 320@1750   173     10E      £20,035
140@4000 – 320@1900   169     12E      £20,468
136@4000 – 320@2000   151     12E      £21,395
150@4000 – 320@2000   208     10       £22,254
128@4000 – 236@1750   194     11E      £22,327
168@3800 – 392@2000   209     13       £23,465
174@3800 – 295@2000   263     10E      £23,589
165@3600 – 293@2200   N/A     12A      £23,686
174@3800 – 339@2000   250     11E      £24,036

138@4000 – 228@1750   183     12E      £25,188
216@5000 – 236@1500   222     14E      £25,252
110@4000 – 340@2000   196     13A      £25,278
180@4000 – 350@1750   184     15E      £25,445
121@3500 – 266@2000   266     13       £26,351
153@4000 – 253@1800   191     13P      £26,360
170@3750 – 360@2000   198     14E      £26,981
185@4000 – 297@2300   233     14A      £27,279
170@3800 – 295@2000   156     14E      £28,797
163@4000 – 340@1750   195     14E      £28,945

168@3800 – 275@2000   280     14A      £32,691
158@4000 – 295@2000   224     13E      £32,728
224@3800 – 376@1600   253     20D      £44,418
306@3600 – 516@2000   294     18A      £53,500

                                                 CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2008   17
                                                                                       CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR

IF THIS Towcar of the Year 2008
supplement has whetted your appetite
for a new towcar, here are a few
pointers to help you get it right.
    The Caravan Club Towcar of the
Year competition is an excellent guide
and starting point. Along with each
written description in this supplement
take a look at our specification tables,
where you’ll find brief but relevant
details about this year’s entrants.
    The type or style of car you require
may be governed as much by the size
and weight of your caravan as it is by
your own or your family’s needs. For
instance, if you have a big family and a
big caravan your choice is likely to be
restricted to a large MPV or 4x4. For
those enjoying wider choices, the
variations can become more complex;
but don’t fall into the trap of buying a
car exclusively for towing, only to end
up with one that doesn’t fulfil your other
– perhaps more important – needs.
    I often speak to caravanners who
have bought an off-roader or people
carrier for the caravan they use a
couple of times a year, yet complain         “34 out of 36 entries in this year’s competition
bitterly that it’s expensive, unwieldy
and too big for their everyday needs.        were diesel. That speaks for itself ”
Like most things, your towcar choice
needs a bit of thought, a bit of research    that a car with an exceptional petrol     couplings have a maximum noseweight           caravans you may need a 2x7-pin-to-
and a good dose of common sense. If,         engine won this year’s competition.       figure of 100kg. One other                    13-pin adapter – cost from around
for example, you drive 10,000 miles a        Modern diesels are ever more refined      recommendation you’ll see is that the         £15 to £40, with extra cable to lash
year but tow 1000, then perhaps              and produce lots of pulling power         ‘ideal’ noseweight of your caravan is         down. While 13-pin sockets are
there’s room for compromise – as long        with very good fuel economy.              7% of its laden weight. Because of            becoming more common on cars,
as it’s a safe compromise. Maybe if               You also need a heavy enough car     towcar and/or caravan limitations, this       some car makers still offer a choice.
there’s just two of you, that family         for your caravan. The Caravan Club        figure may be difficult to attain; but it’s   The majority of new UK caravans will
hatchback you fancied might                  recommends that your holiday-ready        worth trying to get as close as possible.     be fitted with 13-pin plugs by some
accommodate awning, gas cylinders            caravan (containing all your                  The Caravan Club recommends               time next year.
and tinned foods, enabling your              possessions) shouldn’t weigh more         having your towcar fitted with the car             Kerbweights, noseweights,
caravan to be towed at an acceptable         than 85% of the car’s kerbweight.         manufacturer’s approved towing                power/torque figures, towing
weight ratio, saving the purchase of         So aim for this, but in any event         equipment. As far as the ever-more-           equipment prices etc should all be
that estate car which is far too big for     never tow a trailer weighing more         complex vehicle electrical systems            available from your car dealer. But not
48 weeks of the year.                        than your towcar.                         are concerned, this advice is probably        all know about towing. If the dealer is
    But let’s start with the towing               You’ll also need to know the         more important now than ever before;          vague, disinterested or unwilling to find
basics. Your ideal towcar must have          noseweight, or ‘static vertical           and if you experience problems your           out, vote with your wallet and go
adequate power to pull your caravan          download’ if we’re getting formal. This   recourse to a single supplier should          somewhere else. But The Club is here to
and enough weight to control it.             is the weight your loaded caravan’s       simplify matters. That said,                  help through its Technical Department,
Transmission choices are up to you –         hitch imposes on the towball. While       independent towbar makers produce             Club Magazine Towcar Tests and, of
automatics these days are excellent,         you want it as heavy as permitted, this   only Type Approved equipment.                 course, Caravan Club Towcar of the Year
with some even sensing a trailer             load shouldn’t exceed the car maker’s     Again, be careful about electrics and         competitions. Members can download
being towed and adjusting their gear         maximum load nor the caravan              wiring kits – non-manufacturer-               a detailed leaflet, Choice of Towcar from
selection to suit. Engines? Well, 34         coupling’s maximum load. Typically,       approved kits could cause warranty  , or it is
out of 36 entries in this year’s             family car noseweight limits range from   problems if faults occur. Oh, and do          available from The Club’s Information
competition were diesel. That speaks         50kg to 80kg, with some 4x4s going        you want twin 7-pin sockets or a              office on 01342 336611.
for itself – though I have to concede        beyond 150kg – though most caravan        single13-pin? For current UK                       Happy and safe towing!

                                                                                                                         CARAVAN CLUB TOWCAR OF THE YEAR 2008             19

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