David MottonSee other Blog articles filed in ‘Tow cars’ written by David Motton
Tow Car Editor
So, 2015 is here. There were some fine new tow cars in 2014, but I have a feeling 2015 will be even better.
Here's my pick of the top new tow cars for this year. Some of these cars are entirely new, some have been launched in 2014 but I haven't had an opportunity to tow with them yet. Either way, these are the tugs I'm most looking forward to testing to discover what tow car potential they have in 2015.
Land Rover Discovery Sport
I've driven the Discovery Sport on snowy roads in Iceland, but I can't wait to get behind the wheel on familiar roads and with a caravan in tow.
Most new cars are much lighter than the models they replace, but the Discovery Sport is a healthy 1854kg for the manual with a towing limit of 2000kg (the old Freelander weighs from 1785kg). The nine-speed automatic (yes, nine) has a kerbweight of 1863kg and a 2200kg towing limit.
There's no doubt the Discovery Sport is far more practical than the Freelander it replaces, thanks to its larger boot and seven seats. But how well does it tow a caravan? And is it good enough to justify the price hike? I look forward to finding out.
One of the first dates in my diary for 2015 is a test drive of the new Volkswagen Passat. The version that's about to be replaced remains a very fine car, and early reports suggest the new model builds on its strengths but with a more distinctive design than the middle-of-the-road look of the previous model.
Some say the new Passat delivers executive car quality at a mainstream price. I'll find out in early January, when I'll badger Volkswagen for a car with a towball for a full test to see how well the new Passat tows – could it be the car for your future caravan holidays?
The new Ford Mondeo has been a long time coming. Restructuring within Ford and the closure of its Belgian factory means we're only now getting hold of a car that was first shown in US-spec back in 2012. Will it have been worth the wait, or is the car out of date before it's been launched?
I took a quick look at a Mondeo which another title was testing at the same track used by Practical Caravan, and in the metal it looks huge. That should benefit interior space, but will it have made the Mondeo less wieldy to drive? And more importantly, what tow car ability will it have? Well, driving the new Mondeo is the second event in my January diary after the Passat launch. I'll be asking for a car to tow with as soon as Ford can make one available.
I think the SsangYong Korando is one of the most underrated cars on sale, so I'm looking forward to driving the new Tivoli. This compact crossover will rival the likes of the Nissan Juke and should arrive in the UK during the second half of 2015. In the design sketches released so far it looks a handsome car, which will do its sales prospects no harm at all in such an image-conscious section of the market. Like other SsangYongs, the Tivoli will come with a five-year warranty.
We'll know more about the car after the Geneva Motor Show in March. If it delivers the Tivoli will be one of the most exciting small tow cars of the year.
Our former editor, Nigel Donnelly, was among the first British journalists to drive the new Kia Sorento in Korea.
It still has the 2.2 CRDi engine, so there's muscle to spare for towing a caravan. However, Nigel reports that the third-generation Sorento rides and handles better than today's car, and the interior is now more stylish and better built.
I'm twisting arms to make sure we have a new Sorento to review at the 2015 Tow Car Awards, with UK sales starting in the spring.