Volkswagen's new Caddy provides passenger car-like comfort with roomy dimensions.

Volkswagen's new Caddy provides passenger car-like comfort with roomy dimensions.

Now a high-roofed van based on the Golf five platform and fully imported from VW's Poland factory, the Caddy brings yet another compact MPV on to the market. The overall design philosophy is similar to that of the Renault Kangoo and Citroen Berlingo/Peugeot Partner.

Teeing-off with the commercial Van, VW believes that the growth in the South African economy and buoyant vehicle sales will lead to small businesses needing a high capacity delivery van for inner-city transport. The VW bakkie, based on the Golf 1, will not be ditched, but will remain under a yet-to-be-announced name.

Two basic versions of the new Caddy are offered. Firstly the van, intended mainly for commercial purposes, with asymmetrical double-wing doors and a choice of door windows or steel panels. A sliding door on the left side allows sidewalk loading and a second right-side sliding door is an optional extra.

Two engine options exist for the van - the familiar 1,6-litre petrol producing 75 kW with 148 N.m of torque, and a brand new offering in the form of a 2,0-litre, non-turbocharged diesel producing 51 kW and 140 N.m of torque.

We were not expecting much from this new engine, but were very pleasantly surprised by the low-down torque and smoothness. If we didn't know otherwise, we would have sworn there was some forced induction going on under the bonnet.

The Caddy comes in two variants, the base model and a Life model. Again, two engine options are supplied, this time the same 1,6 litre and the familiar 1,9 TDI with 77 kW and 250 N.m doing duty in the Polo and T5 Kombi ranges. The Life models are aimed at the lifestyle buyer and come with air-conditioning, a second sliding door, four air-bags, a radio/CD player and electric side mirrors.

The styling reveals typical VW neatness from the front, but is somewhat large and bus-like at the rear, especially in the tailgated versions. The van doors tend to break the expanse of metal better.

Interior fit and finish is good, but don't expect the same quality of materials as you would in the Golf 5. The facia is hard plastic and most of the storage bins do not have that usual VW touch - rubber mats - to keep oddments from moving around.

Prices are:

1,6 Van R122 750

2,0 SDI R131 250

1,6 Caddy R162 500

1,9 Caddy TDI R185 000

1,6 Life R182 500

1,9 Life TDI R195 000


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