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Movers And Shakers At The Towcar Of The Year Awards 2014

The Towcar of the Year Awards is a time to showcase the sturdiest, sharpest and speediest towcars on the market. This year they were held at Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire during a three-day intensive test, with a fleet of Bailey caravans of various weights and sizes on hand to put the towcars through their paces.

Forty one cars entered the competition, all of which had to participate in a two-mile high-speed bowl test, in order for the panel to assess the speed and composure of the car, followed by a series of emergency stops and hill start tests.

The contestants were categorised into seven price bands (from £16,000 to £51,000), plus commendations were awarded to two 4x4 classes cars above and below 1,800kg in weight. There was also a new Judges Special Award bestowed upon a car that really stood out from the rest.

Caravan sales in the UK hit an all-time high this year and so the stakes could not have been higher when it came to finding the best accompanying towcar. Below are the seven winners and a number of dealerships in the Midlands where it is possible to buy each car.

Winner of Vehicles Under £16,000:
SsangYong Korando SE

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This SUV is an exceptionally stable car and safe bet at only £15,597. The compact 4x4 surprised everyone with its poise and composure when hitched to the Bailey Pegasus GT65 Verona. Although it suffers from a fair bit of body roll, the exquisitely light steering makes it super easy to manoeuvre.

Judges’ comments: ‘Pulled well through all gears and gave a smooth ride.’

Grovebury Cars – Midlands – 0845 145 0955 http://www.groveburycars.co.uk/ssangyong-korando

Unity Automotive – West Midlands – 0167 653 3145

Winner of Vehicles £16,000 - £20,000:
Škoda Octavia hatch 1.2 TSI SE 105PS

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Although only powered by a small 1.2 litre engine, this hatchback really packs a punch and performed well when attached to the Bailey Orion 400-2. Although it struggled on the long steeper inclines, it demonstrated effortless ease on the flats, with precise steering and a soothing, supple ride.

Judges’ comments: ‘Lovely gearbox, really easy to use.’

Faintree Skoda – West Midlands - 0843 320 1295

Furrows – Shrewsbury - 0169 165 4141

Winner of Vehicles £20,000 - £25,000:
Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG

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This saloon, hitched up to the Bailey Pegasus GT65 Genoa, beat ten other hopefuls to win this price category. The powerful 2.0 diesel engine is one of its strongest features, as are its gentle ride and expert body control.

Judges’ comments: ‘Very stable and good to drive.’

Johnsons Volkswagen – Midlands – 0845 124 5140

Winner of Vehicles £25,000 - £31,000, Winner All-Wheel Drive Under 1,800kg and Overall Winner:
Škoda Superb Elegance Estate 2.0 TDI CR 170PS 4x4 DSG

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This is an incredibly talented car and outmanoeuvred all the contenders to take the top spot for 2014. Auto Express said, ‘in 2.0-litre TDI Elegance trim, with a DSG gearbox and four-wheel drive, it was ahead of its rivals in terms of value for money, stowage, stability and outright ‘caravanability’ (i.e. how easily it held a range of camping essentials, including awnings, water carriers and picnic tables). With 168bhp and 350Nm of torque, it demonstrated confidence and poise when towing the Bailey Unicorn Seville around the high-speed bowl; in fact it barely even noticed the extra weight! This is a fantastic family vehicle at a great price.

Faintree Skoda – West Midlands - 0843 320 1295

Furrows – Shrewsbury - 0169 165 4141

Winner of Vehicles £31,000 - £41,000:
Jaguar XF 2.2D Luxury

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If you want to caravan in style then this is the car for you, with an elegant interior, comfortable ride and effortless cruising ability. The leather seats offer a sleek driving experience, although legroom may be an issue for rear passengers.
Judges’ comments: ‘Who wouldn’t want to caravan in a Jag?!’

Stratstone Jaguar – Midlands – 0133 252 4325

Winner of Vehicles £41,000 - £51,000:
Jaguar XF Sportbrake 3.0D Portfolio

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This car was hitched up to the heaviest caravan on the test – the six-berth Pegasus GT65 Ancona – but with its smooth V6 diesel engine, 237bhp, and 500Nm of torque, this Jaguar easily coped with the extra weight. Considering how large and spacious the car is it is surprisingly agile, meaning you’ll actually want to seek out those long windy country roads.

Judges’ comments: ‘Just brilliant.’

Stratstone Jaguar – Midlands – 0133 252 4325

Winner of Vehicles over £51,000 and All-Wheel Drive over 1,800kg:
Land Rover Range Rover SDV8 Autobiography

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This towering SUV had no problem pulling the twin-axle Bailey Unicorn Barcelona, managing to cover 30-60mph in just 7.4 seconds. The interior is as plush and luxurious as any Bentley and the numerous gadgets are bound to keep you entertained on a long journey (which include an electronically deployable tow bar). Although this car has a steep price - £95,000 to be precise – the perks are plain to see.

Judges’ comments: ‘Simply perfect for towing’

Colliers Land Rover – West Midlands – 0843 022 5688

Stafford Land Rover - Midlands - 0843 658 8390

Winner of Judges Special Award:
Dacia Duster Ambiance 4x4

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The judges agreed to commend this SUV due to its ability to tow the Bailey Orion 400-2 so competently and at such a low price (it retails for £14,685 making it one of the cheapest 4x4 on the market). It also boasts various kit – six airbags, Bluetooth, USB connectivity – and up to 1,636 litres of boot space.

Judges’ comments: ‘It tows really well without any fuss.’

Dacia Birmingham – Midlands – 0121 418 0236

It would appear the British love affair with caravans is still going strong, but how about taking that relationship to the next level and find your caravan the perfect partner…


Salop Caravans Cosford     Newport Road, Albrighton, Wolverhampton, WV7 3NA     Tel: 01902 374170     Fax: 01902 373130     E-mail: info@cosfordcaravans.co.uk

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