The Volkswagen Caddy can now look back on a 41-year history, making it only five years younger than the Golf. He initially shared a number of components with him until he was sent in round two and three on a Polo basis from 1995. Volkswagen and lifestyle barely matched 25 years ago and so the construction and delivery vehicle was a rather pragmatic commercial vehicle with a manageable coolness factor. Nevertheless (or because of it?) A hard-established (and inclined to tuning) community has formed around high-roof station wagons and flatbed trucks.
Something for families since generation four
Only the fourth generation from 2003 onwards was fully suitable for families, offering two sliding doors on the side, sufficient space in the second row of seats and a large trunk at the same time. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles stuck to this concept and recently presented the Caddy for the 2020s with model series number five. From 23,060.80 euros (including 16% VAT), the Caddy V is available as a passenger car version in the price list, is now based on the current MQB platform from Wolfsburg and not only shares the infotainment system with the Golf VIII.
Cheaper than Golf Variant and Touran
The price sheet shows at first glance: The Caddy is significantly cheaper than the Golf Variant and Touran. The reason for this becomes apparent when you get in. The cockpit conveys a lot of “golf atmosphere”, but the materials used are mostly simple and knock-proof. After all, the car version of the caddy offers a leather steering wheel and foam armrests in the front doors on request. Above all, the new MIB3 infotainment system is optionally enthroned as “Discover Pro”, which has also sold the last real buttons and, above all, the air conditioning control unit in the high-roof combination.
Digital turning point also in the commercial vehicle sector
A small loophole has remained, however. Because analog speedometer needles and a slimmed-down infotainment system (with two real dials) can still be ordered or correspond to the standard trim. The Caddy can now charge smartphones wirelessly, and the holder in the center console is robust and at the same time well thought-out. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also work without unplugging; alternatively, mobile devices can be connected to the car via four USB-C slots, two of which are in the rear. If you need electricity for larger devices, you also have the option of using 12-volt connections in the center console and in the trunk (a Schuko socket is optionally available).
Two sliding doors, variable interior
During the first test drive in the area around Munich, they sat on comfortably cut seats, although the “Pure Diamond” artificial leather cover deserves no praise. Even in autumn “normal temperatures” one tends to sweat, the fabric chairs seem to be the recommended choice here. The two sliding doors that not only make it easier for the youngsters to be invited, but also to get out of the narrow parking spaces, are great cinema. The foldable and removable chairs in the second row of seats can be arranged in a ratio of 1: 2, whereby the acrobatics of sitting require some muscle strength and always two free hands.
Huge trunk, up to seven seats
What remains is the view of the trunk, which, without the bench seat folded down and as a five-seater, initially holds 1,213 liters (up to the height of the rear seat backrest) and a maximum of 2,556 liters. Alternatively, a seven-seater option is also available without a maxi add-on to extend the body. So much for the practical qualities of the new VW Caddy V – but how does it drive?
Driving performance at car level
In short: very car-like. The steering smoothly with still sufficient feedback, the standard chassis (including the rear rigid axle with coil springs) extremely comfortable, but not misleading to cover certain dynamic requirements. First we drove the currently unavailable 2.0-liter TDI in the power variant with 75 kW / 102 PS and a maximum of 280 Newton meters of torque. An easy-to-shift six-speed manual gearbox (from 90 kW / 122 PS alternatively with a seven-speed DSG) made driving pleasure on the predominantly free country roads in the Bavarian Oberland.
Initially exclusively as diesel
The common rail diesel with its emission-reducing twin dosing technology is powerful, mobilizes the 1,700 kilogram Caddy appropriately and, if necessary, holds back on fuel consumption. The on-board computer recapitulated 6.5 liters per 100 kilometers on the first exit, although we did not see any difficulty in moving the station wagon much more economically. On the other hand, the background noise of the diesel engine could be described as concise, as it echoes loudly into the interior in a grumpy manner and turned upwards. Here and in terms of general noise insulation, the Caddy V cannot completely disguise its commercial vehicle origins.
Nowadays, commercial vehicles can no longer do without assistance systems. Volkswagen supplies almost everything that is also available at Golf and Co. Among other things: adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning as well as lane departure warning, parking assistant and reversing camera. Travel Assist is now also available in the Caddy V and is intended to make everyday driving easier.
Petrol, natural gas and hybrid will follow
After the upcoming market launch of the front-wheel drive diesel models, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will present the all-wheel-drive 4Motion variants as well as the petrol and natural gas variants at the beginning of 2021. Hybrid variants are also planned for later in the model cycle – there will probably not be a purely electric version of the Caddy V. (Text and image: Thomas Vogelhuber)