Volkswagen Cross Caddy (2014) Review

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Most of us know the Volkswagen Caddy as a worker bee, utility vehicle. Usually the Caddy comes fitted with a set of seats up front and from there backwards it’s all load bay. It’s low loading height and dual sliding doors make the Caddy perfect for small business owners looking to ferry goods around under a closed roof. Now though, the VW Cross Caddy has morphed into a family van, complete with rear seats. Does the Cross Caddy work as an MPV? We spent a week with the family-based van to decide.

Family Caddy?

Yes, that’s the idea, you get rear seats in the Caddy, a spiced up interior to make it look less like a workman’s shed and some cladding on the exterior that makes it look a bit funkier. The exterior gains some black plastic body armour around the wheel arches and side sills. The silver roof rails are also added for the Cross Caddy as is some privacy glass for the rear window. The interior’s spruce up includes some colour-coded door trim that can match some pretty vibrant exterior colours such as Viper Green or Honey Orange. The trim is backed up with a leather steering wheel and a few high gloss bits of material surrounding the air vents. Storage compartments are abundant and the roof lining compartment runs the width of the entire cabin, just don’t load any heavy items there or you could have it tumble down onto your head.

If you’re looking for space in your MPV then look no further, the Cross Caddy maintains its low loading height and makes use of 750-litres of boot space, fold the rear seats up and that increases to 2852-litres. You can just keep packing in the wife and kids bags until they get tired or they run out of things in the house. Rear legroom is adequate and once the seats are folded up there’s room to roll a mountain bike in upright – an industry standardised test. The Cross Caddy can be ordered as a seven-seater, but comes standard as a five-seater.

Powering up

The Cross Caddy gets a 2-litre turbodiesel engine that generates 81 kW and 250 Nm of torque. It’s still focused at more commercial use rather than passenger use. Usually a 2-litre turbodiesel is good for over 100 kW and around 350 Nm so you might feel a little short-changed by the grunt of the Cross Caddy, but the fuel efficiency makes up for it. VW claims it will return 5.7L/100km on the combined cycle and we were able to achieve this figure easily. I racked up 450km before handing over the keys to the other guys in the office and there was still just over half of the 60-litre tank left.

Ride and Drive

VW has played with the exterior and the interior to make the Cross Caddy feel more home-like, but once you get behind the wheel it still feels like you’re driving a van. The seating position is low, but still feels like a cab-forward design where you sit on top of the front wheels. It’s not a bad daily driver, it’s quite comfortable although the longer wheelbase means the rear end tends to jolt more than the front, although it’s better under load.

The Cross Caddy comes standard with ABS, traction control and an electronically-controlled differential. There’s the added bonus of hill-hold and front and side airbags as well. For the people who like high tech interiors the Cross Caddy may not quite meet their expectations. There’s no USB port or fancy multimedia display unit but there is a radio/CD/MP3 player that has an AUX port. From the options list, the only thing worth having would be the rear parking sensors that come in handy with a vehicle of this size.

VW Cross Caddy - Verdict

The Cross Caddy does a decent job of hiding its commercial skeleton with some colourful tricks like the plastic cladding and colour-coded interior, but once driven it’s still a van at heart. That’s not to say it isn’t good, there’s space in here that most large SUVs can only dream about with hidden compartments that you can lose just about anything in. The engine isn’t as powerful as you’d expect but it copes with everyday driving relatively well and gets good mileage on a full tank. Price may just be the Cross Caddy’s downfall as it will set you back R340 600 and that puts it up there with some quite nice SUVs that carry more desirability and in some cases 4x4 capabilities.

Second Opinion 

As an MPV, the Cross Caddy has lots to offer. With the extra row of seats, the Cross Caddy is a great option for medium-sized families with active lifestyles who place value on having a versatile vehicle that can carry just about anything. When Monday comes around, the Cross Caddy easily transforms into a work horse with the benefit of a comfortable and flexible interior. I enjoyed driving the Cross Caddy, it felt solid and handled well on some of the twisties around Cape Town and the power and torque was enough to get around briskly. Yes, there are many alternatives on the market, but the Cross Caddy excels in terms of versatility and you can't ignore the excellent fuel range which will come in handy when the family sets off on those long distance holidays.-Gero Lilleike

We like: . Storage compartments everywhere and ample space . 1000km range on a single tank is possible . Cool colour palette and new look

We Don't Like: . Still makes you feel like a van driver . Pricey . Lack of engine power and torque for a 2-litre turbodiesel

Also Consider: Citroen C4 Picasso Nissan X-Trail Mazda CX-5

Compare the Cross Caddy against the C4 Picasso and X-Trail here

Volkswagen Cross Caddy Quick Specs

Engine 2-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel
Power 81 kW
Torque 250 Nm
Transmission 5-speed manual
Wheels 17-inch Alloys
0-100 km/h 12.4 seconds (claimed)
Fuel economy 5.7-litres/100km
Fuel Tank 60 L