"Tell me, what do we do on a caravan holiday?" asked a puzzled Jeremy Clarkson during the infamous "Top Gear goes to Dorset" episode a few years ago. If only that ill-fated trip had begun in a Volkswagen Jetta Sport 2.0TDI DSG, which has just been awarded the accolade of Caravan Club Towcar of the Year 2012.

To be fair, I don't think we can blame their catalogue of misfortunes solely on the Kia Cerato, which was a previous winner of the Caravan Club's greatest accolade. No disrespect to VW, but I doubt any vehicle could improve the Top Gear trio's unenviable record of trashing the Great Outdoors. Still, it does make for great TV.

But back to the Volkswagen Jetta Sport, which picked up the top honour in its under £25,000 price class. It was then named overall winner of the 29th Caravan Club Towcar of the Year, held this week at the Royal Automobile Club in London.

To be eligible for this year's Awards, vehicles had to be newly launched between 1 August 2010 and 30 September 2011, though substantially modified existing models could also qualify.

The Volkswagen Jetta Sport was put through its paces last month at the Millbrook Proving Ground in Bedfordshire. You won't be suprised to hear that none of the "driving" or "caravanability" (is that even a word?) judges were drawn from the ranks of Top Gear presenters.

Apparently a key caravanability criterion is a vehicle's ability to carry a set of awning poles. But when you're on holiday it's equally important to know how to react should the caravan go up in flames.

Former F1 driver Johnny Herbert was special guest at the Awards ceremony. He attended the testing sessions and also presented the Class awards to representatives of the winning manufacturers.

Other winners on the night included the Škoda Superb Estate Elegance 2.0 DSG and the Volkswagen Touareg Escape 3.0 V6 TDI. The latter came out on top in the £32,000 price bracket.


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