The Volkswagen Caddy has always disguised its cost controls beneath a veneer of high quality materials and tidy manners. Unlike most of today’s LCV which come which cheap and rudimentary interiors, the Caddy had always lead the way with comfortable cabs and top notch build quality.
Without a doubt, the new model represents the peak in Caddy’s history, but the previous model wasn‘t far behind it either.
The third generation of Caddy was based on the Touran platform, which gives it a spacious cabin and a big load area. The vehicle was offered with 2.0 SDI and a 1.9 TDI turbo engines.
In the small LCV realm, the Volkswagen Caddy competes against rivals like the Ford Transit Connect, Citroen Berlingo or Peugeot Partner. The Caddy was always slightly more expensive than its rivals, but its biggest advantage was its standard sliding side door which at its rivals was offered only as an optional feature.
We always liked Volkswagen’s design language as its minimalist style had been considered handsome by many critics. It’s true that the old generation wasn’t as good looking as the new one, but it had a pleasant appearance that inspired solidity. The overall exterior design it’s conservative but not boring featuring a typical Germanic look.
The front features a typical Volkswagen look with an imposing grille and two big headlights. The bumper is slightly oversized and it’s fitted with a big air intake. Compared to the previous model, the third generation takes an evolutionary styling step that’s still easily identifiable as a Caddy.
Compared to the previous model the third generation’s load volume was increased with 300 liters. The vehicle is also fitted with a standard sliding side door and two asymmetrical rear doors which open to a 90 degree angle.
The previous generation Volkswagen Caddy had a payload capacity of 819 kg with a maximum towing capacity of 1500 kg.
The Volkswagen Caddy’s interior is pretty attractive. The dashboard is cleanly styled in the classic Volkswagen idiom, and the plastics and materials present well. The truth is in the touching, though, and where you’d expect some give, there is none.
The Caddy is one of the most spacious models in its segment and it’s better dressed than the majority of its competitors. Hence interior quality, despite the hue and cry, is much better than what you’ll usually find in this class.
Volkswagen’s attention to ergonomics can be seen also in its commercial vehicles and the Caddy makes no exception with every control located within easy reach and an intuitive instrument panel with clear gauges.
Front and side visibility is nothing short of excellent and the A pillars are pretty thin too. You won’t have any complains about the exteriors mirrors either as they offer an adequate rear visibility.
The seats are a bit hard, but they’ll prove comfortable on long runs and there are also plenty adjustments to keep you satisfied.
The storage department finds parity with much of the competition while the standard equipment is pretty generous including remote central locking, reach and rake adjustable steering wheel, heat reflective glass, power steering and a large overhead storage tray.
Engines and performance
The 2.0-litre TDI unit can be found at many vehicles across the Volkswagen range, in various versions. The one that equipped the old Caddy developed 138 hp. Powered by this engine, the third generation Volkswagen Caddy was able to hit 100 kmph in 10.6 seconds which is at par with the best competitors.
This unit offers a peak torque of 320 Nm achieved from as low as 1750 rpm offering enough acceleration to let you drive without problems through the city.
The maximum power can be felt after 1500 rpms when the TDI delivers its best performance.
The 1.9 TDI turbo diesel unit delivers a maximum output of 102 hp being able to reach 100 kmph in 13.3 seconds and a top speed of 165 kmph. Both engines are married to a five speed manual transmission.
Ride and handling
The vehicle it’s fitted with a pretty absorbing suspension which is based on the Touran’s setup. Given its utilitarian nature, the Caddy’s ride is surprisingly comfortable, while the rear leaf springs are still also able to cope with different loads without too much fuss.
On road, the Caddy feels more like a passenger car and less like and LCV with an accurate and sharp steering and a pretty limited body roll. It’s true that the steering has a nice weight to it, but tells the driver little about what the wheels are doing.
The stopping power is nothing short of excellent as the Caddy is fitted with all around ventilated disc brakes combined with ABS and EBD.
Other safety features include traction control, standard driver’s airbag and optional passenger and side airbags. Central locking with deadlocks and an immobiliser are also standard, while an alarm is offered as an optional feature.
The third generation Volkswagen Caddy did achieve its mission of delivering good value and maximum functionality.
The vehicle was one of the best built LCVs you’d find in this segment, but this high quality came with a high price as well. Though given its reliability and the proven German quality, the Caddy represents a good choice for the particular buyers interested in driver’s comfort and less for the fleet owners who are mostly interested to cut costs as much as possible leaving the driver’s comfort on the second and even third place.
The old Caddy was also fairly spacious and the engines rewarded you with plenty of punch. The handling was also part of the first class and you’ll also like the ride quality which is surprisingly good for a commercial vehicle.