Now it may seem a bit strange that I’m writing a posting of the 2011 awards, however its still very relevant for many caravanners who will be purchasing a second hand tow car.
The first part of the video explains how they setup the cars and caravan for the tests. The car and the caravan are appropriately ballasted, the caravan to 85% of the cars curb weight. They then show a clip of a hill start test, unfortunately for the little Hyundai shown it seems to be struggling quite a bit. The lane change test is quite dramatic as it would be to avoid obstacles in real life. The constant radius bend test will also shown the stability of the vehicle and its control of the caravan. Apparently as stated in the video a reasonable result is stability at 40 MPH but the better tow cars can exceed this. Some of the tests are targeted at stability and breaking where others are testing how quickly and smoothly the car can accelerate with the caravan.
They then also look to the practical tests such as boot volume, spare tire type, tow bar installation and also how easy it is to fit additional mirrors. The Practical Caravan awards are looking for great tow cars that are also great everyday cars.
In 2011 VW did particularly well with the Golf and Passat estate winning the lower weight class awards. Next came the Ford Mondeo estate and the BMW 5 series estate. When it comes to large caravans it was the Land Rover Discovery which came out on top which is the same today in the 2014 awards. There were other awards such as for fuel economy for the 1.7 Diesel Astra. The overall award went to the VW Passat estate.
If you are looking to purchase a second hand car that you also want to tow with its worth popping over to the Practical Caravan website to read the reviews of these cars.