Recently I embarked on a miniature holiday to the newly bustling town of Nelspruit and all of its naturally beautiful surroundings. For this trip I asked the folks at Volkswagen for a Caddy, preferably diesel and automatic. I got the former, however, the vehicle that was delivered had the ever-elusive third pedal.
Vans, by definition are infinitely practical vehicles, they sacrifice all semblance of design and style in the pure pursuit of practicality. Although I must admit that I find the Caddy a cool car, utilised by everyone from mountain bikers to artisans. It has a broad appeal and while the side profile and rear of the Caddy might be bland, the front-end gets a Polo-esque chin and lights for what I feel is the best looking van in its segment.
The interior of the Caddy is a practical place, with a truly massive boot, some 750 litres, which swallowed up golf clubs and three bags with ample room to spare. The vehicle also benefits from great front and rear head and leg room, which carried four people through the beautiful rolling hills of the region, in comfort.
The test unit
I would say that the Trendline model that I had on test is all that you’ll need from a vehicle of this type however, cruise control would have been a nice addition. My test unit had options such as a reverse camera, which integrated with the infotainment system, which had AUX, USB and Bluetooth, all of which come in handy during a road trip. The overall quality and driveability of the model that I drove was exemplary.
Its most redeeming feature has to be the diesel motor, the 2.0-litre turbodiesel has 81kW/280Nm on tap, which made for effortless cruising and great fuel returns. On the drive from Johannesburg to Nelspruit I averaged 5.5 litres/100km and had an overall fuel consumption figure of 6.4 litres/100km for the entire trip. I find this deeply impressive from a hefty vehicle weighing 1645kg - without a load.
The Caddy is not exactly a cheap vehicle at R358 200 for the model that I received, before adding the optional extras. The other competitor in this segment is the Ford Tourneo Connect, which in regular non-Grand guise is only available as a cheaper turbo petrol model while the Grand Tourneo Connect diesel is more comparable to the Caddy Maxi in terms of dimensions and pricing. This makes the model that I had on test a sort of mid-level lifestyle van choice.
I don’t regret choosing the Caddy for my long voyage; it provided occupants with comfort, had enough kit for a road trip and sipped fuel frugally. Sure, on the winding roads of Mpumalanga I found myself wanting something sporty, but when all was said and done the fuel bill didn’t hurt and the Caddy did itself proud. It remains a very highly recommended lifestyle and family van within its segment.
Warranty and service
The Caddy comes with a three-year/60 000km service plan and a three-year/120 000km warranty.