Long-term test (Introduction): VW Caddy Alltrack 2,0 TDI DSG

Having recently said goodbye to my Mazda3 long-term test car, I was given the option of sharing the all-new Caddy Alltrack with CAR's photo- and videography crew who use it for tracking-photography work thanks to its practicality and overall spaciousness. I jumped at the opportunity.

I fell in love with the previous-generation, bright green Caddy that operated in the CAR test fleet for more than a year, and the idea of driving such a practical and spacious vehicle that linked perfectly to my current transport needs was very appealing.

Volkswagen has definitely upped the ante with the new Caddy and the Alltrack is the jewel in the crown. It is a refined, practical offering with a modern, compact-SUV like interior that is clearly aimed at the adventurous set.

The Quito alloy rims combine with the protective body mouldings, front foglamps, tinted rear lamps, silver exterior mirror housings and silver roof rails to give the Alltrack a sporty appearance – far removed from its delivery-van roots.

The Alltrack on test is the flagship 2,0 TDI delivering 103kW, which is mated with a DSG transmission, a fantastic combination that makes driving a pleasure.

Likewise, the braking is superb thanks to a feelsome pedal and a long list of acronym-related active safety systems.

The Alltrack is the short-wheelbase version, which definitely improves road handling, but the downside is that you sacrifice the extra packing space offered by the LWB model when the third row of seating is in place.

With the third row of seats in place, the luggage compartment volume reduces from 750 dm3 to only 190 dm3.

To date, I have mostly used the Caddy without the third row of seating and the packing space is ideal. From a practicality point of view, the seating can be adjusted to suit whatever requirement you may have. The three-seater bench can be folded flat and forward, or even removed, and as mentioned the third row can also be taken out very easily.

The list of features is long and includes height-adjustable front seats with lumbar support, privacy glass, climate control, seat warmers for front passengers, cruise control and multifunction display. Practicality is enhanced with a number of storage areas, which include a large shelf above the front passengers and drawers under the front seats. Picnic tables are provided on the backrest of the front seats for passengers – a useful tool for young children.

So far, I've been really enjoying the Alltrack and look forward to a great year with it.

After 1 month
Current mileage:
6 658 km
Average fuel consumption: 5,61 L/100 km
We like: long list of standard features
We don’t like: heavy hatch

Long-term test (Update): VW Caddy Alltrack 2,0 TDI DSG

Providing support on numerous shoots, the Alltrack has played a crucial role as our designated tracking vehicle, ensuring the exceptional photography seen in recent road tests. The image above was taken during one such occasion, where photographer Peet Mocke arrived on location in a Beetle R-Line. Having the two VW family members together reminded me the Caddy shares the same fundamental underpinnings as the now-defunct Beetle.  Indeed, the Caddy, Jetta and Audi Q3 are the last remaining vehicles in the local Volkswagen/Audi stable to ride on the PQ35 platform.

This, the predecessor to the accomplished MQB setup, was designed with compact sized vehicles in mind and is responsible for providing the Caddy with its car-like driving characteristics.
The benefits of the Caddy riding on the PQ35 architecture include MacPherson-strut independent front suspension and notably light yet precise steering, making tight city-street manoeuvres a fuss-free exercise regardless of the Caddy’s body shape. The inclusion of a R9 350 park-distance-control system with a rear-view camera also adds an extra dose of confidence when navigating tight spaces.

The Caddy’s damped ride is commendable and passengers appreciate its sense of composure over sharp road imperfections. These on-road traits speak to the suppleness of PQ35 platform, making it a suitable fit for the Caddy Alltrack’s application.

Over and above tracking duties, the Caddy offered its handy towing services to our road-test engineer Peter Palm and aided associate editor Gareth Dean during a house move. In short, the VW continues to be in high demand and remains a multi-talented member of the CAR fleet.

After 10 months
Current mileage:
19 041 km
Average fuel consumption: 7,73 L/100 km
We like: smooth drivetrain; versatility; dual sliding doors
We don’t like: having to return it to VWSA soon