Small vans have never been as important as they are now. With business returning to normal and companies adjusting to a new way of doing things, the new Volkswagen Caddy is set up for a new era. Built on the same modular platform that underpins the Golf, Skoda Octavia and a raft of other Volkswagen Group products, the Caddy comes in two lengths, the longer retaining the Caddy Maxi name.
The new Caddy’s exterior design looks fresh and, from mid-level Caddy Business up, receives body-coloured bumpers that enhance the mesh-like pattern on the front. Top-spec Edition versions feature LED headlights as standard and there is a brace of vibrant colours available, too.
Things get even better inside where a stylish new interior blends form and function well. A clear layout with all of the functional controls kept up high and close to the driver’s eye-line is helpful, though not everyone will like the capacitive touch controls for lighting and temperature settings. A small stubby gear selector helps to free up more space between the front seats if the van is specified with the automatic transmission.
When it comes to load volumes, the Caddy Cargo can swallow up to 3.1 cubic metres, while the longer Caddy Maxi can take 3.7 cubic metres. The width between the wheel arches has grown by 60mm, or 62mm on the Caddy Maxi, meaning the latter can accommodate two Euro pallets, as the sliding side doors are also now wider.
How is it to drive?
The car-like cockpit of the Volkswagen Caddy reflects how it drives. Light and accurate steering complements the added level of refinement that this new generation ushers in. Improvements to the suspension setup mean that it rides over lumps and bumps with less bounce, too.
All of the available engines are based on a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel with outputs of 75-, 102- or 122hp. A six-speed manual gearbox is standard on all but the most powerful version, which gets a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic and it’s that version we’re driving here.
Having the extra power makes it a bit easier when carrying heavier loads, although all versions have almost identical gross carrying weights and can tow 740kg - or 1,500kg braked. But it’s the smooth-shifting DSG transmission that makes life easier when driving in traffic. The engine start-stop function has improved and is smoother in operation than before, while the option of adaptive cruise control is a plus on the motorway.
The Caddy’s size makes it ideal for negotiating towns and working on sites where space can be at a premium. Door mirrors (that electrically fold from mid-level upwards) provide good rearward visibility and the reversing camera and parking sensors rank amongst the best in the segment.
When is it coming to Ireland?
The new Volkswagen Caddy is in dealerships around Ireland already and is available to order right now.
Any juicy technology?
Volkswagen knows that, for many drivers, the cabin is also their office, so the new Caddy is well suited to working remotely or on the go. Like in its passenger cars, USB-C is now the connection port of choice, and there are two of them in the centre console alongside a 12-volt power socket.
A wireless charging pad is also available and is designed in a way to keep your phone securely in place. An 8.25-inch touchscreen display is standard, with an optional 10-inch unit available that offers wireless connectivity for smartphone mirroring. Buyers can optionally add a fully digital cockpit featuring a 10-inch display in place of the traditional instrument dials.
Carzone rating: 4/5
In a world where van interiors don’t always get the tasty trappings that passenger cars do, the Caddy sets a high mark. While it isn’t going to be the cheapest in its segment, it offers numerous buying options and model variants to suit individual needs.