The Caddy is the second best-selling van range in the UK after the Transporter produced by Volkswagen. It has achieved numerous awards such as ‘Best Small Van’ and ‘Best Compact Van’ from all the leading fleet and commercial vehicle magazines.
I spent the day driving the new Caddys at Heythrop Park – the 5,000 estate in Oxfordshire first created by the Duke of Shrewsbury in the early 18thcentury. It’s a beautiful estate complete with a cruciform avenue of laburnums, ornamental ponds and walled pleasure gardens.
The Caddy and Caddy Maxi are the most compact vehicles in Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ van range. The new vehicles feature new, more efficient diesel engines. The 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, common rail TDI engines are quieter, more refined and economical with lower emissions, and are now EURO5 compliant. The Volkswagen DSG automatic gearbox is optional with 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre TDI engines.
New exterior styling brings the new Caddy and Caddy Maxi up to date using the latest Volkswagen DNA with a frontal design similar to the new Transporter and Amarok pick-up. At the rear, there are revised light clusters, badging and a tailgate handle.
To offer reduced emissions and fuel costs, the new Caddy and Caddy Maxi ranges include the natural gas (CNG)/ bio-methane) powered EcoFuel and the efficiency of the optimised second generation BlueMotion Technology models using revised gearing, low friction tyres, a Stop/Start system and battery regeneration. Fuel consumption for the new BlueMotion Technology range has improved by up to 11.7 per cent, while emissions are up to 10 per cent lower than before.
The new Caddy Maxi range is available in three derivatives: as a panel van, window van with five seats, or a spacious Maxi Life people carrier with seven seats. A kombi model is also due to join the range.
The Caddy s have a sleek appearance with a highly functional ‘monobox’ shape. The smooth curved side panels are a distinctive feature of the Caddy, while the larger Caddy Maxi has an inset side panel. The marketing aim is to give the vehicle saloon type qualities. The interior is neat and unfussy – a tried and tested VW characteristic. There is a quality finish to the interior which takes you by surprise when you remember your are basically stepping into a panel van.
The dashboard is simply and clearly laid out and offers many practical storage spaces as well as clear instrumentation and easy-to-use controls. The layout is simple but effective, with the dials and buttons you need feeling solid and falling easily to hand. The controls for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning are housed in the centre of the facia. Air ventilation outlets are situated in each footwell and around the windscreen, and there are four directional vents in the dashboard. Two smaller vents positioned next to the A-pillars help keep the cab’s windows mist-free.
The extra weight that the Caddy carries over its competitors might not be obvious in the van’s driving dynamics ( unleaden it feels light ) but it certainly manifests itself in the cab where there’s an air of sturdiness that’s uncommon in small LCVs. Load it up however and the Caddy performs beautifully although I’m not sure about taking it to it’s top speed of 106 mph too often. There are anti-roll bars back and front for highly composed cornering.
“Volkswagen have gained market share over the last 12 months and this has been achieved by producing even better quality products without going in for massive discounting”, explained the Director of Commercial Vehicles Simon Elliot. “Our customers know that buying a VW makes commercial sense, our vehicles are engineered to produce maximum efficiency with the minimum depreciation.”
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