They love caravan and camping in Europe, but it’s not caravaning as we know it.

Their vans are much smaller and so too are the cars that tow them, such as the Volkswagen Golf.

Germany’s most popular compact car, is a “great” towing vehicle, says the company.

“This is due to its high trailer weight capacity of up to 1800kg, which is enough for most large caravans.”

1800kg? Large? That’s right. Wwe’ve got larger dog trailers than some of their vans.

Think no shower or toilet and barely any room for a bed — but they love their camping.

The Golf makes it easy to operate trailers, says Volkswagen.

The optional hitch is mounted directly on the vehicle, but can be folded and stored invisibly in the car floor when it is not in use.

During the journey, the safe handling of the Golf demonstrates its skills as a towing vehicle.

Its electronic stabilisation program also includes a trailer stabilisation system that prevents the caravan from rocking, or even jack-knifing, with calculated braking interventions on the towing vehicle.

When parked, the optional anti-theft alarm also monitors the trailer – if the power connections are unhitched without authorisation, the system is set off.

The Golf even offers “Trailer Assist” to help drivers back up their van in the Black Forest.

By using the same lever as the one controlling the position of the rear-view mirror, the desired angle can be set with “Trailer Assist” before manoeuvring.

The system assumes control of the trailer position (within the limitations of the steering system) by constantly measuring the angle of draw bar to the vehicle.

A practical feature especially for caravans which are difficult to handle using the exterior mirrors because of their width: When using “Trailer Assist”, every trailer or caravan is parked expertly at the first attempt.

Talk about versatile!



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Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.
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