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VW_Caddy_review
We’ve driven the VW Caddy BlueMotion – the one intended to make the most of your fuel bills

VW Caddy C20 BlueMotion1.6-litre TDI

What is it?

The VW Caddy has been a popular small panel van for a long time and it’s easy to see why.

It’s well turned out, has a comfortable, well-equipped cab, offers choice of two 1.6-litre and two 2.0-litre engines with power outputs of 75hp, 102hp, 110hp and 140hp, payloads from 681kg to 766k, and, for its size, an impressive load capacity of 3.2cu m.

Throw in the inherent Volkswagen quality and you can see why the Caddy has found favour for so long – the original model was introduced more than 30 years ago.

VW_Caddy_review
VW quality in here, with plenty of storage space too. Air con is standard

Interior quality is well up to standard, indeed, better than that of many rivals. And clever use of the dimensions gives the Caddy plenty of interior space.

All the instruments are beautifully styled, and clear, and the controls are also well laid out. The driving position is good with driver’s seat height adjustment and steering wheel reach and rake.

A radio/single MP3 compatible CD player with AUX-in socket is standard and the optional package of body-coloured bumpers and wing mirrors fitted on the test model (£210) includes electrically operated windows and heated, electrically adjustable wing mirrors.

Air con is standard, although the test van had optional (for an extra £810) climate control.

There’s plenty of storage including a large roof-mounted shelf above the driver which will take items the size of A4 folders.

The door bins are a decent size – big enough for a 1.5-litre drink bottle. There are four cup holders and numerous smaller storage compartments around the handbrake lever in the centre console/armrest.

The interior headroom seems especially good, creating a general feeling of spaciousness in the cabin.

The test van had a full-height bulkhead, with a solid lower half and plastic mesh at the top – these can make the cab a little noisy when the van is unladen. A full-height solid bulkhead is a £100 option.

VW_Caddy_review
Mesh is standard at the top of the bulkhead – but it can get a bit noisy in the cab if the van is empty. You might want to fork out the extra £100 for a full bulkhead
VW_Caddy_review
The BlueMotion’s economy boosting features don’t blunt the Caddy’s performance, and with a chassis shared with the Golf, ride and handling are a given

With 250Nm of torque, the 102hp 1.6 TDI engine is remarkably lively. It’s mated to a slick five-speed manual gearbox. The Caddy shares chassis components with the Golf and Touran, which pretty much ensures excellent ride and handling putting it among the best vans to drive in its class.

The fuel-saving BlueMotion test model provides a very effective Stop/Start, brake energy recuperation for fuel and CO2 efficiency, ride height reduced by 27mm, 15in wheels with 195/65R15 low rolling resistance tyres, as well as cruise control and hill-start assist.

VW_Caddy_review
BlueMotion adds features like stop/start, low resistance tyres, and brake energy recuperation

When it comes to safety, the Caddy has ESP incorporating ABS, EDL (electronic differential lock), Traction Control System, and EBD, as well as driver’s airbag and and automatic activation of hazard lights under emergency braking. The test van had optional rear parking sensors, which are a £240 extra, as well as front fog lights that look around corners (£195).

In the back you can carry a standard Europallet can be carried but only lengthways, whereas all rivals have the 1200mm-plus required to accept a Europallet widthways.

And the Caddy falls behind most other vans in its class in terms of payload, at a maximum of 750kg. By comparison, Vauxhall Combo and Fiat Doblo Cargo offer payloads of up to 1000kg.

The asymmetrically split rear doors are glazed and have wash-wipe and heated glass. Six load lashing rings are fitted in the cargo area.

Service intervals for the Caddy can be set at fixed time and mileage parameters, but the development of new TDI engines and synthetic oils have resulted in an alternative LongLife Service regime, so called because there are no set intervals between services.

Volkswagen TDI engines have built-in sensors that continually monitor oil quality, so a smart chip decides when it needs changing and lets you know. Depending on how you drive expect a reminder from a minimum of 9000 miles or 1 year up to a maximum of two years or approximately 18,000 (whichever is sooner).

All Caddy and Caddy Maxi models sold through the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles UK Van Centre network have a three year bumper-to-bumper warranty. The first two years with no mileage restrictions are manufacturer operated, while the third year (and up to 100,000 miles) is a Van Centre warranty.

 

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There’s no doubting the Caddy’s quality, but the load area isn’t a match for some of the competitors in terms of size and payload

What’s hot?

  • Volkswagen design looks sleek and smooth.
  • Build oozes quality and inspires confidence.
  • Super cab with good storage, well-positioned controls and stylish yet clear instrumentation.
  • Lively engine with plenty of push-you-on torque.
  • Excellent ride and handling.
  • BlueMotion technology gives good economy and reduced emissions.

 

What’s not?

  • Load dimensions prevent a Europallet being carried widthways, unlike some rivals.
  • Payload also falls short of that of some other vans in the class.
  • Half-solid, half-mesh bulkhead makes cab noisier when unladen.

 

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The upsides are everything you’d expect from VW: easy to live with, great built quality, fun to drive. Just needs to be a tad wider in the back

Business Vans verdict

There’s no doubt, the Caddy is a super small van that’s well built, fun to drive and easy to live with on a day-to-day basis. The Volkswagen quality is apparent and reflected in the design and equipment.

On the downside, the payload is a little lacking and loadspace slightly compromised by the width between wheel arches.

 

What you need to know

On the road price ex VAT (as tested):£15,195
Load length:1781mm
Load width (max):1552mm
Load height (max):1244mm
Load capacity:3.2 cu m
Payload:676kgkg
GVW:2049kg
Towing capacity braked/unbraked:1500kg/750kg
Engine:2.0-litre 4-cyl turbodiesel
Power/Torque:102hp/250Nm
Economy (combined):61.4mpg
CO2 emissions:119g/km

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