From March 2008 issue

List price when tested: £17,862
Kerbweight: 1477kg
85% match: 1255kg
Max towing weight: 1500kg
Towball limit: 75kg
30-60mph: 12.2seconds
30-0mph: 10.8m

IF YOU want the space of an estate, but don’t have a heavy van to tow, we’d strongly recommend the Volkswagen Golf Estate. It has plenty of luggage room without the higher running costs of a bigger, heavier car.

It’s especially good with the punchy 2.0 TDI engine. With 236lb.ft of torque to call upon in a car which weighs around one-and-a-half tonnes, performance is very strong. Even when towing the Golf doesn’t hang about. With a Sprite caravan behind it the Golf accelerated from 30-60mph in just 12.2 seconds.

Excellent performance

The VW stopped just as well as it went, taking 10.8 metres to stop car and caravan from 30mph. Given the test track was wet at the time, that’s an excellent performance.

We’ve got no complaints about stability, either. The Golf was rock solid through the lane-change test, even at high speeds, thanks to well controlled suspension and direct, precise steering.

An enjoyable drive

Unhitch the caravan and the Golf is enjoyable to drive, with agile cornering matched to a comfortable ride. It’s not as entertaining as a Ford Focus, but then a Focus doesn’t absorb bumps as well as the Golf does.

Inside, there’s enough room front and rear for adult passengers to get comfortable. There’s 505 litres of luggage space, which can be extended to 1550 litres when the rear seats are folded.

Some rivals, like the Kia Cee’d SW, undercut the Golf on price. However, the Golf holds its value well in the long run, which helps offset the high purchase price.

Good economy from the 2.0 TDI engine (50.4mpg according to official figures) also keeps running costs down. We managed 29.4mpg when towing around our economy route.

We say
Towing: 5/5
Solo: 4/5
Practicality: 4/5
Buying & owning: 4/5

Verdict: 5/5 – An excellent family estate and a cracking towcar.

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