For the second year in a row, Volvo has won the overall title at the annual Caravan and Motorhome Club Towcar of the Year Awards. This time around it was the premium compact SUV XC40 that drove off with the 2020 title, following in the treadmarks of its bigger brother, XC60, which achieved the same feat last year. Volvo also scooped two other awards at the highly respected ceremony held at the glitzy Royal Automobile Club on London’s Pall Mall.
The award-winning Volvos were among 36 vehicles tested by expert judges at the Millbrook proving ground in Bedfordshire. Each car was checked by the club's technical team before being put through their paces by a specialist driving team. Performance was tested and each vehicle’s ‘caravanability’ was assessed, taking into account factors such as the boot space available to carry kit, accessories for a caravan trip and the towball height.
The judges heaped praise on the XC40, Volvo’s compact SUV with striking, Scandinavian-influenced design. One said: “There’s one word that sums up towing with this car: effortless. We assess on many different criteria, and you might get a car that scores very highly on one and not on others – the XC40 is just across-the-board great.”
Regarding its performance at Millbrook, another judge said: “It was stable on A-roads and the test hill route as it was on the motorway, and it was fine to drive on them all. It picks up speed brilliantly - it’s never underpowered, you’re never in the wrong gear. Everything is where you want it to be when you’re towing, and it’s incredibly controllable when reversing.”
With the wellproven D4 powertrain, the XC40 can tow braked trailers of up to 2.1 tonnes, making it a worthy choice for caravanners. The SUV’s relatively compact dimensions make for easy and agile manoeuvring, while its cleverly designed interior provides plenty of space for passengers and cargo. In fact, there are 460 litres of luggage space available behind the rear seats, which extends to an impressive 1,336 litres with the rear seats folded down.
Meanwhile, the V60 D4 AWD Cross Country Plus’s win in the 1,500-1,700kg category brought equal positivity from the judges: “The V60 performed amazingly well in the driving rain and high winds at Millbrook. It’s a beautiful-looking car and comes loaded with technology; the V60 is fantastically controllable, even at very low speeds, and its substantial kerbweight means it can cope with heavier, more luxurious caravans.”
The V60’s estate car body has been designed to maximise interior space and practicality, a virtue that also drew praise from the judges: “There’s plenty of luggage capacity – our team even managed to pull the load cover over all our equipment – and the electrically retractable towbar was easy to use.”
Volvo's 190hp D4 diesel engine in both winners is a highly capable, powerful performer when it comes to providing the strong, lowrev torque and smooth power delivery that are required for surefooted towing. The 2.0litre unit musters a maximum 400Nm of torque, available all the way from 1,750 to 2,500rpm, for effortless, flexible performance, even when fully laden.
Allwheel drive in both cars ensures stable handling on all surfaces and in all conditions, while the standard eightspeed automatic gearbox adds to the allround refined driving experience for enhanced long-distance comfort. Volvo's Polestar Engineered Optimisation performance upgrades are also now available for both models. This range of electronic enhancements focus on five key areas – including engine performance, gearshifts and accelerator response – to deliver a more precise and controlled driving experience, making it the ideal upgrade for those who tow.
As standard, both models come with cutting-edge connectivity to make life on the move as convenient as possible. Owners can also specify their XC40 or V60 for life in the great outdoors with a wide choice of accessories, including roof boxes ranging in volume from 320 to 430 litres, special carriers for bikes, skis and canoes, and even a dog harness for the back seats.
David Baddeley, Operations Director of Volvo Car UK, said: "For decades, Volvo has been proud to serve a broad range of customers who choose us for their towing needs. It's an honour to see that the XC40 and V60 have performed so strongly in the Caravan and Motorhome Club’s awards, which reflects the realworld priorities of people who need a towcar they can trust to do the job, that is safe, stylish, well equipped and cost effective to run."