• First award for brand new compact hatchback
  • Scooped ‘up to 1,424kg’ weight category as well as overall title
  • Judges praise towing performance, practicality, driving dynamics and value for money

1a21b5e3-864d-4f08-afb7-03b2b48a56dbMilton Keynes, Friday 14 June – The all-new ŠKODA Octavia has been honoured as ‘Tow Car of the Year 2013’ by a panel of industry and media experts. It was voted number one from a list of 46 vehicles. The car only arrived in ŠKODA showrooms on 16 March and this is its first award.

The ŠKODA Octavia was available to be considered for the top prize after it secured number one spot in the ‘up to 1,424kg’ weight category. Judges included the Editor and Tow Car Editor of Practical Caravanmagazine, the Deputy Road Test Editor of What Car?, and the technical department at The Camping and Caravanning Club. The ŠKODA Octavia they used for the test was the 2.0-litre TDI 150 Elegance.

Speaking on behalf of the panel, David Motton, Tow Car Editor, Practical Caravan, commented: “With three out of five weight classes awarded to new models this year, the strength in depth has never been greater. That makes the ŠKODA Octavia’s win all the more remarkable. The Octavia has been given the nod over brilliant cars like the BMW 330d Touring and Jaguar XF Sportbrake.”

The ŠKODA Octavia’s 1,330kg kerbweight makes it the lightest overall winner in the seven-year history of the Tow Car Awards. That means it’s best suited to pulling relatively light tourers, but with caravan manufacturers building increasingly desirable lightweight models, the Octavia has solid appeal for the towing community.

“Owning a car that treads lightly on the scales needn’t be a barrier to enjoying your caravanning,” added Motton. “The ŠKODA tows brilliantly, is extremely practical, good to drive and costs less than you’d think. Most importantly, it proves that a great tow car doesn’t need to be heavy, thirsty or expensive.”

In its weight category, the Octavia impressed the judges because even when driven hard in a lane-change test, it stuck to its course no matter how much the caravan behind slid around.

The ŠKODA claimed the overall prize, thanks to its huge cabin and impressive value. “No other small family hatchback packs in so much space for passengers or luggage,” explained Motton. “In fact, the new generation is not really a ‘small’ family hatchback at all, with enough head and legroom to rival larger cars, especially for those travelling in the rear seats.”

The car’s generous 590 litres of luggage space also found fans among the judges, who said it was easily able to copy with a typical touring load.

Alasdair Stewart, Brand Director for ŠKODA UK, commented: “The all-new Octavia is an exceptionally practical family car, so for it to win its first award for towing − a practical family activity − is very appropriate. We hope it will be the first of many honours.”

The Tow Car Awards is a joint venture between Practical CaravanWhat Car? and The Camping and Caravanning Club, with caravans and technical support supplied by the Swift Group. Each car goes through a series of towing tests on a closed test track, including 30-60mph acceleration, 30-0mph braking, a hill start and an emergency lane-change test. The aim is to find cars which are great to tow with, but which are also good value and easy to live with in everyday driving.

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