Think ‘VW Golf’ and what comes to mind? A small, nippy runaround? A great ‘first car’?

Think again.

Not only has the Golf grown in size over the years, it’s seriously grown up, too.

And after its extremely impressive showing at our recent Tow Car Awards 2017challenging for a class win, no less – the opportunity to spend time in an interesting variant, with features that will appeal to many caravanners, was one we were not going to turn down.

So what tow car boxes does it tick?

What could be better?

The model which ran the Škoda Octavia Estate so close for top honours in the ‘Up to 1400kg’ class was a 2.0-litre turbodiesel hatchback with 150PS and a DSG.

Now what could make an excellent tow car even better? How about one that’s heavier, with a bigger boot and four-wheel drive?

Step forward the Volkswagen Golf Alltrack Estate. Every Alltrack has four-wheel drive and you get to choose between a 110PS 1.6-litre diesel with a six-speed manual, a 150PS 2.0-litre diesel also with a six-speed manual, and a 184PS 2.0-litre diesel with a DSG auto.

It’s the latter that we’re testing here, which means it uses the same DSG transmission as the Golf at our Tow Car Awards, albeit now with 280lb ft torque, 29 more.

A 210kg increase in kerbweight compared to the Golf hatchback (now 1576kg for this Alltrack) improves matching ratios – and would put the Alltrack into the class above during Tow Car Awards testing.

Number crunching

So far, so good for the Alltrack. But do these added benefits hurt your wallet?

The VW Golf range starts at £17,765 OTR. The Turmeric Yellow metallic hatchback at our Tow Car Awards was priced from £26,300 OTR, £35,370 as tested.

The estate range starts at £19,470 OTR. This Oryx White Alltrack Estate costs £31,060 OTR, £32,980 as tested.

Finally, for the number crunching at least, boot capacity. And, unsurprisingly, the estate’s on top here. By quite some margin.

Choose this VW Golf variant and you get a minimum capacity of 605 litres and a maximum of 1620. Its hatchbacked sibling offers 380 and 1270 litres respectively.

Behind the wheel

As soon as you get inside the VW Golf Alltrack, it’s clear why its sibling so impressed our Tow Car Awards judges. It is simply a super-refined, mature, polished and very complete package.

The premium feel is inescapable, from the stylish cabin to the large, high-resolution touchscreen which is a cinch to operate. The snazzy digital dashboard is easy to read, too.

And that impressively sized boot has no large lip to lug items over and the generously proportioned rear seats are simple to drop at the touch of a lever.

The Golf’s four-cylinder engine, in no small part assisted by the fact that its 280lb ft of torque kicks in from just 1750rpm, is powerful and a perfect partner to the DSG auto.

It’s easy and relaxing to drive. And if driving is something you take pleasure from you’ll enjoy its responsive steering and precise, clean turn-in.

The swivelling towbar, fitted to our test car, is a £690 option, which adds a 13-pin connection and 12 electrified poles providing vehicle lighting plus additional power supply for the caravan auxiliary battery charger, internal trailer lighting and fridge.

All-weather contender

So wowed were we in Tow Car Awards testing by the Golf, that we had to try its four-wheel-drive, bigger-booted stablemate, and we’re pleased to say it did not disappoint.

For superior traction whatever season you take your caravan holidays and more space for your kit, it’s hard to argue against the VW Golf Alltrack Estate.

Apart from it being around £7000 more than its VW Group cousin, the class-winning Škoda Octavia Estate.

That’s quite a lot – but it is quite a car. And given that the Alltrack offers a substantially heavier package, it’s not really a fair fight.