TowCAR of the Year 2014 – Part 5

Subaru Outback 2,0D Premium Lineartronic – The Overall Winner of TowCAR of the Year

The boxer engine works well, even though it produces only 110 kW. Interior space is impressive, both fore and aft. With the Subaru’s low-ish 1 626 kg mass, the caravan does affect its stability, but not to a great extent. While the Lineartronic CVT transmission does a great job with little slip, the vehicle’s long-term reliability with a busy towing schedule is uncertain. As we reported in our road test of this vehicle in the January issue, it’s adept at serious off-roading, too; perfect for overlanding with a bush trailer.

Pro: good ride comfort

Con: grabby clutch

 

Toyota Fortuner 3,0 D-4D AT

The faithful Fortuner remains a solid proposition. There isn’t a fancy transmission or paddles, just an old-fashioned but proven four-speed automatic. The Toyota isn’t the most powerful contender here, but it’s not too heavy and coped well enough in our various tests. There is some shimmy from the ladder chassis and some turbo lag (but less than on the Pajero Sport), but thanks to stability control the skidpan experience was not a scary one. It might not be the most modern car here, but Toyota’s forte is its reliability, making it a good long-term bet.

Pros: reliability and longevity

Con: some chassis shake

 

Volkswagen Tiguan 2,0 TDI Sport&Style DSG

This diminutive Volkswagen surprised all who drove it by having the sportiest nature in this line-up. The engine output of 103 kW is adequate thanks to the vehicle’s light mass of about 1 600 kg. The caravan caused the Tiguan’s rear to buck, but it should cope fine with a smaller ‘van in tow. The ride was good and the DSG gearbox had no slip, so it pulled away very well with less grab than the Kuga. Will the ‘box handle long-term towing? Time will tell, but the Tiguan is a very competent all-round vehicle.

Pros: sporty and fun to drive

Con: better suited to smaller caravan

 

The test videos:

Part 1: Read more about TowCAR of the Year here (click).
Part 2: We test the Chevrolet Trailblazer, Ford Kuga and Honda CR-V here (click).
Part 3: Videos and information of the Hyundai Santa Fe, Jeep Wrangler and Kia Sorento can be read here (click).
Part 4: The Land Rover Freelander, Mitsubishi Pajero and Nissan Pathfinder are tested here (click).
Part 5: Finally you can watch videos and read more about the Subaru Outback, Toyota Fortuner and Volkswagen Tiguan here (click).

Test Summary

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