Five things to know about the new Volkswagen Caddy
Denis Droppa drives VW’s new shape-shifting people- and cargo-carrier
The new Caddy has arrived in SA as the fifth generation of Volkswagen’s multipurpose passenger and commercial vehicle.
The Caddy was first launched here in 1992 and has sold more than 35,000 units, with more than 3-million built worldwide since 1979.
Here are five things you need to know about this versatile offering from VW Commercial Vehicles.
1. It is based on the Golf
Built on the same MQB platform that underpins the eighth-generation Golf, the new Caddy delivers a car-like driving feel with tidy road manners. There’s a noticeable improvement in overall refinement and ride quality, the latter particularly prevalent in the long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi which sails along with an impressively bump-soaking ride.
The pick of the engine range is the punchy but economical 2.0l turbo diesel, and its low-revving grunt is suited to carrying heavy loads of cargo or up to seven passengers. The other engine in the range is a 1.6 petrol which needs to be worked a little harder and is thirstier, but still offers honest performance at a more affordable price.
2. It looks better inside and out
The latest Caddy looks less like a delivery van with its more aerodynamic shape which is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, even though the tall roof still reveals its commercial-based role.
The top models are glammed up with colour-coded bumpers, LED lights and roof rails.
Inside, the car has adopted a more modern and digitised look with a touchscreen infotainment system and few physical buttons. The rotary switch for the lights has been replaced by digital controls.
It’s all neat and visually appealing, and the cloth seats offered throughout the range are comfortable, but the dashboard is made of hard plastic instead of the classier soft-touch type.
Another leap into the modern era are digital buttons for light, sight, audio and menu functions.
3. It’s available in nine versions
There are three model lines: the Caddy Cargo two-seater panel van, and the people-carrying Caddy and Caddy Kombi. All three are available as either short-wheelbase models with a 4,500mm length or a long-wheelbase Maxi with a length of 4,853mm.
The 1.6 normally-aspirated petrol engine has outputs of 81kW and 152Nm for a claimed combined cycle fuel consumption of 7.3l/100km. The 2.0 turbo diesel musters the same 81kW but a much gutsier 300Nm, and is claimed to sip just 5.5l/100km — it’s the engine of choice if the budget allows.
All versions are front-wheel drives and six-speed manuals for now, with DSG automatics to follow at an unspecified date due to global supply constraints.
The Caddy is the range-topping spec with niceties like colour-coded bumpers, roof rails, cruise control, leather steering wheel, park distance control, an 8.25-inch infotainment screen and a carpet covering in the passenger compartment.
The dual-use and more budget-focused Caddy Kombi has black bumpers, a rubber floor covering in the rear, and a 6.5-inch screen. It also lacks roof rails and comes with two airbags instead of the Caddy’s six.
All variants have ABS brakes, stability control, tyre pressure sensors and rain sensor wipers as standard safety features.
4. You can pack more into it
The Caddy continues to offer large packing space and great versatility, with up to three rows of seats that can be configured for various passengers or cargo permutations.
The wheelbase has grown by 73 mm over the previous model and the width between the wheel arches has increased by 60 mm.
The short wheelbase version of the two-seater panel van has a load compartment volume of 3,100l and the long wheelbase Caddy Maxi Cargo swallows 3,700l, which is now large enough for up to two Euro pallets.
The Caddy and Caddy Kombi are available with two or three rows of seats, and the long-wheelbase Maxi versions have room for up to seven adults with 446l of boot space (191l in the short-wheelbase seven-seaters).
The passenger versions feature easily removable and folding seats as well as easy-access sliding rear passenger doors.
Depending on model, the boot is accessed through either an upward-swinging tailgate or a split rear “barn” door that opens to an angle of 180°.
5. Prices and warranties
Caddy 1.6i 81kW manual — R484,200
Caddy 2.0 TDI 81kW manual — R573,800
Caddy Maxi 2.0 TDI 81kW manual — R600,400
Caddy Kombi 1.6i 81kW manual — R412,100
Caddy Kombi 2.0 TDI 81kW manual — R476,100
Caddy Maxi Kombi 2.0 TDI 81kW manual — R502,700
Caddy Cargo 1.6i 81kW manual — R404,000
Caddy Cargo 2.0 TDI 81kW manual — R460,600
Caddy Maxi Cargo 2.0 TDI 81kW manual — R487,200
The Caddy and Caddy Maxi passenger derivatives come standard with a three-year/120,000km warranty while the Caddy Kombi, Caddy Maxi Kombi, Caddy Cargo and Caddy Maxi Cargo have a two-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. Service intervals are 15,000km.
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