The Volkswagen Caddy is one of the longest-serving nameplates in the commercial vehicle (CV) industry. It has been around in Europe since 1980 and we are currently on the third generation, which has been in service since 2003 – making it the variant of Caddy that has been in production for the most time so far, although it has had two significant updates in both 2010 and 2015. It is due to be replaced by an all-new Mk4 Caddy based on the MQB platform in 2020, but it continues to find a loyal customer base, even in its dotage. Rivals include the Ford Transit Connect, the Fiat Doblo, the Citroen Berlingo and the Renault Kangoo.
Volkswagen CV Ireland sells the Caddy range with a 102hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel TDI engine powering almost all models, although a 150hp TDI derivative is available on two vehicles. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard on all 102hp models, while the 150hp comes with a six-speed DSG automatic (this is an option on some 102hp vehicles). There are two body styles, the regular Caddy Panel Van (4,506mm long) and then the Caddy Panel Van Maxi (4,976mm long). The extra length in the Maxi is made up in the main by a three-metre wheelbase, stretched by 324mm compared to the regular Panel Van. Three trim lines are offered on both Caddy models, which run Startline, Trendline and then Highline.
The 150hp TDI is only available as a Highline in either Panel Van or Panel Van Maxi formats; no DSG is offered on the Startline or Trendline Maxi vehicles. All Caddy models have two seats and five doors: two into the cabin, two hinged at the rear and a sliding side door. The maximum payloads across the range are between 720-814kg, the lowest being the Highline 150 TDI DSG Panel Van and the highest being the Caddy Panel Van Maxi 102 TDI Startline; be aware, on models where DSG is offered, they have a slightly lower maximum payload than their manual equivalents. Minimum and maximum load widths are 1,170-/1,556mm for the Panel Van, and 1,168-/1,532mm for the Maxi.
Startline models come with 15-inch steel wheels, cloth trim, electric door mirrors and windows, Bluetooth connectivity, a trip computer, a Composition Colour radio with USB connection, ABS, ESP and an auto start-stop system, among more. Trendline adds the Multifunction Display Plus, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-way adjustability for the driver’s seat and also rear parking sensors. Highline further brings alloy wheels (15s on the 102hp, 16s on the 150hp TDI), the Composition Media entertainment system, auto headlights and rain-sensing wipers, climate control, a heated windscreen and front fog lights, too.
CO2 emissions on the Caddy range from 124-136g/km, with fuel economy spanning 44.8-46.9mpg (6.3-6.0 litres/100km) for the 102 TDI manuals, 42.8-47.1mpg (6.6-6.0 litres/100km) for the 102 DSGs and 41.5-45.6mpg (6.8-6.2 litres/100km) for the DSG-only 150 TDI. The warranty offers two years unlimited mileage, while servicing can either be paid for on a fixed-price basis (with per month costs as low as €18.99) or as and when the vehicle needs maintenance.
Strong engines, plenty of body flexibility and car-like driving manners are why the Volkswagen Caddy remains such a strong contender in the compact commercials marketplace, 17 years after its platform first launched.