VOLKSWAGEN has spruced up its very successful Caddy range, the popular light urban delivery van getting a boost to safety features and a new sharper exterior design. The Caddy already holds sway in a segment that has seen close to a 20 per cent growth on last year and this pep up should serve to keep that advantage.
Now, the range - both for commercial and private use - is extensive, very extensive, so let's attempt to break it down.
With the new diesel engine not available until next year, for now all Caddy models are served by the TSI220, a 1.4-litre turbo-charged petrol unit offering 92kW at 4800rpm and 220Nm between 1500 and 2500rpm. It is a 20% more powerful than the engine it replaces and is paired with either a six-speed manual gearbox or seven-speed DSG.
It is an efficient marriage as we found during the launch in Sydney with the Caddy fleet of foot in the inner city, negotiating traffic and changing direction with ease with an obvious surge of power when needed. It is a tad noisy but feels fairly comfortable both under load and not, although slightly less balanced with the latter, with sharp braking and good recovery after bumps.
Those of you who intend to use the Caddy primarily as a work vehicle, and let's face it that's the majority, will be glad to hear that the rear has remained the same making it easier to transfer specialised fittings. It is available in two lengths with the shorter wheel base at 2682mm with the Caddy Maxi on 3006mm and close to half a metre longer overall. Payload is 773kg for the shorter van climbing to 847kg on the long wheel base. Two asymmetrically split rear wing doors of differing size allow loading cargos of up to 1134mm in height with an optional lifting tailgate.
On the inside the Caddy remains efficient but workmanlike. Plastics are hard and cheap looking and in the case of the roof shelf poorly finished but I suppose it is made to be resilient not pretty. There are storage options aplenty for phones, notepads, clipboards, coffee maybe even a small kitchen sink. The seating position is good as is forward visibility but it is cheeky to expect buyers to hand over another $600 for parking sensors especially if your Caddy doesn't have a rear window.
Safety has been improved to include four airbags, Multi-collision brake, hill-hold control and Fatigue detection system but a rear view camera, sat-nav and things like a bigger infotainment screen with App Connect has to be optioned.
Comforts in the Caddy Peoplemover are decidedly more generous. First things first though. You have the choice of a either a short wheel base with five seats as standard or a seven-seater Maxi (from $34,990). A third row can be optioned into the SWB for $1000 but it will reduce your cargo space from 750-litres to a touch under 200l.
The console on the People mover is much more car-like and boasts a host of passenger-focused technologies as well as comfortable seating and generous head and leg room. Reverse camera and sensors are standard as is a suite of driver assistance technology but VW has missed a trick with no curtain airbags for the third row.
Pricing (excluding on roads)
Caddy Van TSI220 92kW 7 Speed DSG $28,990
Caddy Maxi Van TSI220 92kW 6 Speed Manual $28,190
Caddy Maxi Van TSI220 92kW 7 Speed DSG $31,190
Caddy Maxi Crewvan TSI220 92kW 6 Speed Manual $29,690
Caddy Maxi Crewvan TSI220 92kW 7 Speed DSG $32,690
Caddy Trendline TSI220 92kW 7 Speed DSG $32,490
Caddy Maxi Trendline TSI220 92kW 7 Speed DSG $34,990
Caddy Maxi Comfortline TSI220 92kW 7 Speed DSG $37,990