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First Drive: The Business Pack keeps the Volkswagen Caddy a class act

Reviews | Published:

Craig Cheetham gets behind the wheel of a VW Caddy equipped with the new Business Pack

What is it?

The Caddy is Volkswagen’s compact van, and is built on the shared-platform architecture of the Golf. As a result, it is positioned as one of the most comfortable and dynamic small vans on the market, but with the added practicality of a load bay that can swallow a lashed-down Euro Pallet with room to secure it.

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What’s new?

The Business Pack is the latest key feature for Caddy buyers, costing £950 and including reversing sensors, a full perimetric alarm system and air conditioning or climate control, depending on model. In addition, there’s a new infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, while all VW vans now get autonomous emergency braking as standard – the first van manufacturer to standardise the technology across its range, and a massively attractive feature for fleet managers looking to reduce their insurance costs, accident risk and vehicle downtime.

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What’s under the bonnet?

The Caddy comes with a choice of engines, including 1.0 and 1.4 TSI turbocharged petrol units and a choice of 2.0 TDI units with either 102 or 150PS outputs. The latter, as tested here, is extremely swift and is ideal for long-distance courier work thanks to its 57mpg fuel economy and decent performance, though the smaller engines are both cheaper and perfectly up to the job.

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What’s it like to drive?

In terms of ride and handling, the Caddy is excellent, with car-like dynamics and a supple ride.

The acoustics are a bit tinny, though, with a noticeable boom through the load bay and cabin. Our test van had a laminated rubber floor, which may have contributed to this, but its notably louder than the Ford Transit Connect and Nissan NV-200 models that we drove recently.

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The noise is only really noticeable at low speeds, though, and at cruising speeds the Caddy becomes a refined companion.

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How does it look?

With new versions of the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo on the horizon, the Caddy is one of the older vehicles on the market – but it certainly doesn’t look left behind. It’s clean and neatly styled, if a little plain.

With that in mind, though, it is unlikely to age as dramatically as some of the more unusually styled vans on the market, and that, in turn, will give a major boost to its residual values.

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What’s it like inside?

Upfront, the Caddy is like a Golf. Smart, comfortable and ergonomically laid out, while the quality of the dashboard plastics and minor controls is as good as it is in the passenger car range – indeed, VW vans do an extremely good job of making the driver feel valued – something that will give the van a lot of appeal to customers who want their vehicle to present a strong image.

It’s based on a car-sourced platform, but with a bespoke body capable of carrying up to 3.2 cubic metres, or 4.2 cubic metres if you opt for the extended wheelbase Maxi model. The load bay is easy to access, with a flat load floor, unobtrusive wheelarches and a wide side-loading door where specified. Maximum payload is 857kg.

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What’s the spec like?

Like all vans, the entry-level Caddy models are fairly basic, though electric windows and remote locking are standard features, as is AEB, which we think is a major win for the German brand.

Move up the range and it gets quite plush, with great audio and climate options that will prove popular with drivers and small business owners. High Line versions also get 16-inch alloys, sat nav and a leather steering wheel and gearknob. They’re very well-appointed little vans, if a little pricey.

Verdict

With recent spec enhancements and the addition of AEB as standard, the Caddy maintains its position as a strong choice in the small van market despite newer rivals coming on the scene. The Business Pack is also a big attraction to fleet managers, as it will keep insurance costs lower and make the van more popular with drivers.

It’s not the cheapest or newest van in its sector, but the Caddy is still a class act with a feeling of quality above that of most of its rivals.

  • Model: Volkswagen Caddy High Line with Business Pack
  • Price: £24,445
  • Engine: 2.0 TDI
  • Power (bhp): 148
  • Torque (Nm): 320
  • Max speed (mph): 119mph
  • 0-60mph: 9.2secs
  • MPG: 57.6
  • Emissions (g/km): 129

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