From Towcar Awards 2008

List price: £23,315 (when tested)
Kerbweight: 1684kg
85% Match: 1431kg
Max towing weight: 2000kg
Towball limit: 75kg

LAST YEAR’S overall champion still makes a superb towcar.
Four-wheel-drive traction combines with sure-footed handling to make the Passat a superb drive in bad weather. Braking performance is strong, too.

Even in the wet, the VW stopped from 30mph in just 11.46 metres. The electronic handbrake never failed to hold the outfit on the 1-in-6 test hill, and released smoothly and automatically when the driver pulled away.

Our test car was fitted with the old VW 2.0-litre diesel. The Passat is the quietest model fitted with this unit, although by the time you read this, the new engine from the Tiguan 4×4 will have made the Passat more refined.

Very practical

The spacious boot swallowed almost the entire load of holiday gear, while the full-size spare wheel and 12V socket in the boot also contributed to the VW’s strong score for practicality.

Nonetheless, the Passat loses out to the Mondeo, which is even better to drive and rides bumps with more finesse.

We say

Towing: 5/5
Solo: 4/5
Practicality: 4/5
Buying & owning: 4/5
Verdict: 5/5

A superb all-weather towcar, just eclipsed by the Mondeo.

Braking 30-0mph 11.46m