THE final month of Caddy ownership finishes the way it started with last-minute miles added to the Volkswagen CV’s odometer- and a trip near Volkswagen UK’s headquarters for the launch of our van’s replacement – the Mk4 Caddy.
Driving the all-new Caddy almost felt like cheating with your best-mate’s girlfriend, after five months with the Caddy Black. The good news for current Volkswagen Caddy owners is that there’s not a gulf of difference between how the Mk3 and Mk4 drive, but with added polish.
The Mk4 Caddy models we drove were really early vans, so none could compare to the hi-spec of our special edition van. However, the Bluemotion model has a good selection of standard kit, such as the touchscreen radio with DAB (really wish ours had that!) and the dashboard design looks more Golf-like, even if the plastics still aren’t quite up to car standards.
The new Caddy highlighted why we’ve really appreciated the Black Edition’s full bulkhead, as the van we drove had a half one and all we could hear was the din being created in the empty load area.
On top of the new interior, Caddy 4 features lots of clever safety kit, that’s also been raided from Volkswagen passenger cars. These include Automatic Post-Collision braking, front and curtain airbags, Electronic Stability Control and ABS.
Volkswagen kindly let us park our Mk3 with a black Mk4 at the launch, to get some pictures and check out the exterior differences.
To be honest, the changes are more evolution that revolution. At the front, there are new headlights, a wider, chrome-trimmed three-slat grille and a chunkier front bumper.
The changes are less obvious from the side, but we like the smaller car-like mirrors and chunkier repeaters. Finally there are new rear light clusters and a new rear bumper at the back.
We’re hoping to replace the Black Edition with the new one courtesy of the Volkswagen Press Office in due course, so it will be interesting to see how the new looks and tech can improve on this easy-going, high-quality van.
But back to the Black Edition…
More trips to the stowage unit have impressed as to the amount of stuff we can get in the back of the Caddy without breaking a sweat. In fact, it actually drives better when it’s loaded!
These cold autumn mornings have seen us use features we didn’t use throughout the spring and summer in the Caddy. The air-con has been used more occasionally, so fuel economy mark has crept up a little, (good news considering the company’s diesel consumption issues!) but one downside is that the heater seems to be working harder in the colder mornings to clear the screen. On the flip side, heating those big mirrors saves valuable time in the mornings as they work quickly.
On top of taking us to the new Caddy launch, this Volkswagen van has been to Peterborough twice, Stanford once and even been valet parked at Heathrow! As such, the mileage has crept past the 6,000 mark and when Volkswagen has it back, we reckon it will be closer to the 6,500 mark!
It might have been a commercial, but of all the long-termers we’ve run it is the one that’s attracted the most positive attention. If we had a pound for all the times we’ve been asked about it, either at the petrol station or when it’s been parked! Then there’s the time I was at a car launch event and all one of the support staff wanted to talk about when taking me back to this Volkswagen was how awesome it looked!
The fact that we’ve only opened the bonnet just once in the six-months and roughly 4,000 miles we’ve been driving the Caddy tells you how reliable it has been – maybe we should fight the Volkswagen collection driver for the keys! I’m really going to miss it.