Long-term test (Introduction): Volkswagen Caddy Alltrack 2,0 TDI 103 kW DSG

Having recently said goodbye to the seven-seater Caddy Alltrack that was used largely by the film and camera crews of CAR, our new long-term range topping Alltrack arrived in five-seater guise. This time round, it will have more of a dual purpose role: still the go-to vehicle for our camera crew, but now also doing service as a family car.

This Caddy arrived with handy optional extras, including a removable towbar and front-rear park-distance control. Having previously spent a year driving a Passat mated with a DSG gearbox, I’ve been pleased to note that this six-speed DSG matches the smoothness and refinement of the Passat’s transmission.

The Alltrack is offered only as a short-wheelbase model and, whereas that does mean less interior space, it gives the vehicle a more purposeful appearance and should attract buyers looking for all-round family practicality and good looks seldom found in van-based commercial vehicles.

Space is obviously a key requirement for this target market and this Caddy has plenty of it, with a large, deep boot offering 1 095 litres of packing space behind the second row of seats (1 781 litres with these seats removed). To add to its practicality, that second row can be folded all the way forward if removal is too much of a hassle. The cabin is refined and the clever use of chrome inserts give it a feel of sophistication that matches a number of compact SUVs and crossovers. There are also many convenient storage areas, including a large shelf above the front passengers and sliding drawers under the front seats. The sliding doors are standard and have proved extremely useful when doing the school run in congested and tight spaces, as has the standard hill-hold control.

The punchy 2,0-litre TDI delivers 103 kW and 320 N.m of torque, and is proving relatively frugal; to date, we have managed an urban consumption of 8,01 L/100km against the manufacturer’s claim of 7,5 L/100km. The Alltrack comes standard with cruise control, which will definitely help lower consumption on the open road, enabling the Caddy to nudge close to the claimed extra-urban figure of 5,4.

To date, most of the driving has been round town and I look forward to spending more time behind the wheel of the Caddy on the open road, fully laden to appreciate the refinement and versatility it promises.

After 1 month
Mileage now:
2 381 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km):
8,01 L/100 km
We like:
practicality; DSG; sliding doors
We dislike: nothing yet

Long-term test (Update): Volkswagen Caddy Alltrack 2,0 TDI 103 kW DSG

The Caddy Alltrack is essentially a practical MPV masquerading as a crossover, with its subtle exterior additions cloaking its obvious commercial-van roots. Helping its wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing appearance are dual-tone Quito 17-inch alloys and the inclusion here of a lighting package to the tune of R11 950 that adds LED daytime running lights, bi-xenon headlamps and blacked-out taillamps.

As we’ve mentioned before, the Alltrack is a handy member of the CAR fleet, providing an appreciable level of versatility and refinement. Having spent hours behind the leather-wrapped steering wheel, I’ve come to value the drivetrain as the vehicle’s standout feature. With 320 N.m of torque delivered from 1 750 r/min, the 2,0-litre TDI offers sufficient in-gear acceleration. Moreover, the six-speed DSG transmission offers swift upshifts and well-timed downshifts.

What’s more, the Caddy’s versatile size makes it a comfortable people carrier with many interior storage options and welcome rear air vents. Simultaneously, it’s an ideal load hauler once the rear seats are removed.

On our recent trip to Port Shepstone for Performance Shootout 2018, the Caddy was packed to the rafters with equipment but this had little impact on the driving dynamics. Interestingly, with a payload of 759 kg, the Caddy is rated to carry 141 kg more than its Amarok 2,0 BiTDI cousin.

A minor gripe is the fact that diesel swilling round the 55-litre fuel tank is audible from the interior. When parking, this sloshing sound can be confused for thumping an unseen obstruction, causing short-lived panic. In terms of fuel usage, however, the Caddy has proven to be efficient and overall consumption has dropped below 8,0 L/100 km.

After 7 months
Mileage now:
12 751 km
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km):
7,82 L/100 km
We like:
frugal yet punchy drivetrain; standard cruise control
We dislike: lack of lumbar support; no optional sat-nav