Volkswagen Caddy (2016) First Drive

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We get acquainted with the latest iteration of the Volkswagen Caddy, arguably VW’s most "multi-purpose" MPV of the lot 

The Caddy has seen duty as a panel van, five-seater, seven-seater and a slightly rugged Cross Caddy. The newest addition, launched in KZN in January 2016, is an evolution of previous versions but VW has made a concerted effort to make the Caddy more appealing to the passenger car market (in other words, families). VW has also designed a new model to compete with the Toyota Avanza, Honda Mobilio and the Suzuki Ertiga. We had a chance to take it for a spin in the Midlands.

Engines

The engine lineup begins with a 1.6-litre petrol engine that produces more power (81 kW, as opposed to 75 kW) and 155 Nm of torque. Then there are two power outputs for the 2.0-litre turbodiesel. Turbodiesels with manual gearboxes produce 81 kW and 250 Nm, while the DSG-equipped versions deliver outputs of 103 kW and 320 Nm. We were able to test the turbodiesel engine in both states of tune and, even though neither Caddy was heavily loaded, the motors pulled smoothly with surprisingly little turbo lag. Fuel consumption is bound to be a massive factor for buyers looking to put the Caddy to work and the newcomer (in turbodiesel guise) is particularly efficient around town and in start/stop traffic. We saw an indicated return of 5.2L/100km after 170km of driving on day one and, on the following day, 7.1L/100km over 300km of freeway driving at a steady 120 kph.

Long and short

There are four models available in the new Caddy range – Panel Van, Crew Bus, Trendline and Alltrack (this model replaces the Cross Caddy). The first two are positioned as workhorses for the commercial customer, with the Crew Bus aimed at the taxi/Uber market. 

The Trendline and Alltrack are more for the private buyer. All models except the Alltrack are available in long wheelbase (Maxi) as well as short-wheelbase models. The longer wheelbase adds an extra 469 mm to the loading area and comes with seven seats. All seats can be folded, tumbled and removed with relative ease. The only thing the seats don’t do is fold flat so it’s best to actually take them out when they're not needed. Loading space, even in the seven-seater, is plentiful behind the final row of seats and legroom is decent for all rear passengers.

The look

The Caddy isn't unattractive, but it still looks more like a commercial van than a fashionable people mover. However, passenger vehicle buyers will be buoyed by the fact that Volkswagen has engineered its newcomer to incorporate several passenger-car attributes.

The front-end features the latest generation LED daytime running lights and xenon headlights are optional. The tailgate has some new creases designed into it to make it look less like a barn door, but the result is still unmistakeably van-ish. On the flipside, the Caddy is extremely versatile, spacious and drives as smoothly as a Golf. What's more, the VW can be specced with handy features such as a reverse camera and parking sensors, a fatigue detection system and additional airbags for rear passengers.

Peace of mind

The Volkswagen Caddy is available with a flexible warranty system that allows owners to decide whether they want to extend their vehicles' service plans and warranties. The new Caddy Panel Van and Crew Bus (except 1.6 with 81 kW – service plan optional) come standard with a 2 year/unlimited km warranty and a 3-year/60 000 km service plan. The Caddy Trendline (including Alltrack) comes standard with 3 year/120 000 km manufacturer warranty and a 3-year/60 000 km Service Plan.

Pricing

Panel Van

 Caddy Panel Van 1.6i 81kW    R234 000
 Caddy Panel Van 2.0 TDI 81kW  R265 700
 Caddy Maxi Panel Van 2.0 TDI 81kW  R289 400
 Caddy Maxi Panel Van Sport 2.0 TDI 81kW  R312 400
 Caddy Maxi Panel Van 2.0 TDI 103kW DSG  R317 900

Crew Bus

 Caddy Crew Bus 1.6i 81kW    R226 800
 Caddy Crew Bus 2.0 TDI 81kW   R270 500
 Caddy Maxi Crew Bus 2.0 TDI 81kW  R302 600
 Caddy Maxi Crew Bus 2.0 TDI 103kW DSG  R331 100

Trendline

 Caddy Trendline 2.0 TDI 81kW  R351 200
 Caddy Maxi Trendline 2.0 TDI 81kW  R369 900
 Caddy Maxi Trendline 2.0 TDI 103kW DSG  R399 300

Alltrack

 Caddy Alltrack 2.0 TDI 81kW  R365 400
 Caddy Alltrack 2.0 TDI 103kW DSG  R395 000

                                   
                            

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