OUR RATING
7 / 10



Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review

The all-new Volkswagen Caddy has arrived down under with more performance, technology, improved practicality and dynamics. Best still, prices start from as little as $21,990.

Volkswagen is best known for passenger vehicles such as the Golf, Polo and in more recent times the Toureg, Passat and Jetta. Nonetheless, the People’s Car from Germany has a plan to be the world’s biggest automobile manufacturer in the next decade. As a result, it continues to strive for more market share in other segments.

That’s not to say VW is new to the commercial van segment, not at all. Its involvement has spanned over 30 years with the introduction of the very first Volkswagen Caddy in 1980 (which was even available as a ute). The model lasted an impressive 16 years and was replaced with the second generation (1996-2004) and eventually the third generation (2004-2010).

The introdution of the all-new fourth generation Volkswagen Caddy comes at a time when VW Australia is on a so-far-successful campaign to become a big player in the local market.

In a further sign of confidence in its product, Volkswagen has recently addressed consumer concerns by changing its warranty support to an unlimited kilometer 3 year across the 2011 model year range. This applies to all new Caddys.

Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review

Long gone are the days when vans were just a tool. The smarter companies and sole traders are now using their vans as outdoor marketing billboards and the Caddy has managed to prove itself as a ‘cool’ choice when it comes to customer perception. Its smart European design and cute (but not girly) character has been a hit with the local market with year on year growth since its launch in 2005.

From the outside one can easily pick the new Caddy as a VW. The family DNA look from the transporter and its passanger cars has caught on and everything from the A-pillar forward is new. At a quick glance you will be forgiven for mistaking the Caddy as a big Golf. From the new daytime running lights to the adaptive cornering lights (option), the Caddy has access to some of Volkswagen’s latest passenger-car technology.

As for the rear-end, Volkswagen Australia has decided to keep barn-doors as standard (no cost option for a tailgate) whilst cubic volume inside the vehicle is the same as before with 3.2m for the Caddy and 4.2m for the long-wheel base Caddy Maxi variants.

In addition to the updated exterior the biggest change is under the hood. Volkswagen has introduced more powerful and fuel efficient engines throughout the range. The existing 1.6-litre MPI engine has been replaced with two new petrol engines: TSI160 for the short-wheel base variants and TSI175 for the Maxis.

To better market and differentiate the new engines, VW has adopted a unique naming convention which makes use of the car’s torque figure. For example, a TSI160 has 160 Nm of torque and a TSI175 has 175 Nm. The numbers have no relation to engine capacity (1.2) or kilowatts.

Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review

This also applies to the diesel variants. The outgoing 1.9-litre TDI has been replaced with a 1.6-lire engine which is referred to as TDI250 whilst a bigger 2.0-litre TDI320 is available in cady maxi life models.

For the very first time a commercial van is also available with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The 7-Speed DSG is technology one might expect to see in performance cars such as the Polo GTI, nonetheless it’s also available in the Caddy.

To review the new Volkswagen Caddy we started our journey from Kulnura to Cremorne on a Sunny day in Sydney.

First in line was the very base model TDI250 Caddy with a five-speed manual. With just 75 kW and 250 Nm of torque, it’s hard to expect much but it does manage to get going at a reasonable pace.

Given the majority of base model Caddys are expected to spend their life as inner-city vehicles, you wouldn’t hear all that many complaints. In saying that, the 5-speed manual does take some getting use to.

From the base model we moved into a Caddy Life powered by the same engine and transmission. The rear seats are rather comfortable and the interior trim is up to Volkswagen quality. It comes with five seats standard but can be optioned to seven if need be. There is more than enough storage compartments to safely hold the usuals. If you need more space you can always remove the third and second row seats which means your Caddy Life becomes a standard Caddy van in no time (very useful for moving furniture). On the other hand, the Caddy Maxi Life comes with seven seats standard and has a potential load volume of 3,880 litres with no second and third row seats.

Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review

Interested buyers looking at a Caddy Life will be happy to know that although it may have commercial van DNA, the interior is spacious and well put together. Based on a short drive in both body types the only minor criticism we can think of is that the manual gearbox and TDI250 engine combination can perhaps do with a little more go.

Despite initial thoughts about the TDI250 engine needing more oomph, there was a pleasant surprise when we got behind the wheel of a DSG variant. Even though it’s powered by the same engine, 7-speed DSG variants are totally different vehicles.

Not only do DSG variants feel significantly quicker than manuals, they’re also much smoother and easier to drive. The gearbox still has the traditional DSG delay when going between drive and reverse (and vice versa) and the momentary lag as the turbo spools up, but flatten the accelerator and it gets up to speed in no time. Even though it’s a $3,000 price hike, it’s worth every cent. Handling wise the Caddy is just as you’d expect. It goes around corners fine but you wouldn’t exactly push it to its limits.

As for fuel consumption figures, there has been considerable improvements over the superseded model. The base model Caddy Manual TSI160 has a combined figure of 6.9L/100km for the city and highway combined. With a TDI250 diesel engine it uses just 5.7L/100km in both manual and DSG. The long-wheel-base Caddy Maxi manual petrol TSI175 chews 7L/100km whilst its diesel brother makes do with just 5.8L/100km in both manual and DSG form. If you opt out for the range topping Caddy Maxi TDI320 DSG, you will be pleasantly surprised  with a low consumption figure of 6.3L/100km. Overall, pretty impressive numbers across the range.

Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review

One area where the van segment has continued to lag is safety. Models from other manufacturers lack some rather basic safety features such as ABS and ESP as standard equipement and herein is where Volkswagen has the upper hand. It’s hard to ignore safety in commercial vehicles given the amount of kilometres they cover. If you value your safety, it’s hard to take the new Caddy for-granted. It’s the only vehicle in its class that comes with ABS and ESP as standard and it’s also available with front and side airbags. It would’ve been good to see Volkswagen offer side airbags as standard across the range, but alas, they are an option on all variants except the range topping Caddy Maxi Life.

The new fourth-generation Volkswagen Caddy range offers a great option for not only commercial operators but also families looking for that little more extra space for an affordable price. Thanks to its European styling, clever practicality and emphasis on technological innovation, the Caddy remains at the top of our shopping list in its segment.

Caddy Van Pricing:

  • Caddy Van TSI160 5 Speed Manual $21,990
  • Caddy Van TDI250 5 Speed Manual $26,650
  • Caddy Van TDI250 7 Speed DSG $29,650

Caddy Maxi Van Pricing:

  • Caddy Maxi Van TSI175 5 Speed Manual $24,990
  • Caddy Maxi Van TDI250 5 Speed Manual $27,990
  • Caddy Maxi Van TDI250 7 Speed DSG $30,990
  • Caddy Maxi Van TDI320 6 Speed DSG $32,990

Options

Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
Volkswagen Caddy Review
  • Metallic Paint $790
  • Colour bumpers, mirror cover & doorhandles $890
  • Rubber Floor rear/LWB (Maxi Van) $490
  • Tailgate (No Cost Option) $ –
  • Window Package (fixed windows, Caddy only) $790
  • RHS Sliding Door (Caddy SWB only) $690
  • 16″ Alloy wheels “Siracusa” – not 63kw TSI $1,690
  • Light & sight with rain sensor $390
  • Front Side (head/thorax) Airbags $890
  • Park Distance Control rear $590
  • Cruise Control (Caddy only) $590
  • RNS510 Sat Navigation, 4 speakers with Multifunction Display $3,690
  • Roof Rails $490
  • Leather Multifunction Steering Wheel with Multifunction Display $790

Caddy Life Pricing:

  • Caddly Life TDI250 6 Speed Manual $28,990
  • Caddly Life TDI250 7 Speed DSG $31,990

Caddy Maxi Life Pricing:

  • Caddy Maxi Life TDI250 7 Speed DSG $39,990
  • Caddy Maxi Life TDI320 6 Speed DSG $41,990

Options

  • Metallic Paint MP $790
  • Dark Tinted Glass in passenger area $490
  • Alarm System with back-up horn $490
  • Multifunction Leather Steering Wheel – Caddy Life Only $790
  • Colour bumpers, mirror cover & door handles  (Caddy Life Only) - $490
  • Additional 2 Seat Bench – Caddy Life Only $690
  • Roof Rails – Caddy Life Only $490
  • Front Side (head/thorax) Airbags – Caddy Life Only $890
  • Park Distance Control Rear – Caddy Life Only $590
  • Fog lights with corner function – Caddy Life Only $490
  • Multifunction Display – Caddy Life Only $390
  • Light & sight with rain sensor – Caddy Life Only $390
  • RNS 510 Satellite Navigation w/ 30GB HDD (Caddy Maxi Life) - $2,990
  • 17″ Alloy wheels “Zolder” Caddy Maxi Life Only $790

Specifications:


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VOLKSWAGEN CADDY BREAKDOWN

Volkswagen Caddy Review
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  • RickyC

    Strange name, Caddy. In the USA, if you told someone “I just bought a Caddy” it would infer a Cadillac. At least, it used to. I remember back in the 1980s my grandfather would always call his car “the Caddy”.

    • f1worldchamp

      The VW looks better than most 80′s Cadillac’s :)

      • Dave

        “The VW looks better than most 80′s Cadillac’s :)”

        A matter of opinion. :)

        Why someone would buy one of these to haul passengers over a Hyundai, Odyssey, Mitsubishi or other people mover simply beggars belief.

        I see them around and always mistake them for Bakers Delight bread vans. F-ugly.

  • BMW-Lover

    A nice looker. Does the 3 year warranty extend to commercial users? Some makers have reduced warranty for business users. This is a bit pricey for a van made in Poland. Also lacking a rear view camera that should be a must these days for 2011 models of vans selling for $42k.

  • filippo

    Forget the 7 seat model. Just give us the Touran.

    • RickyC

      The Sharan would be better.

  • Aussie

    It’s good news for those needing a 7 seater as the previous Maxi Life was woefully underpowered. Now if they can improve the price point they will sell. The problem is they are competing with 7 seater SUVs in this price bracket. Arguably an SUV is better value for the same coin.

  • t39

    “Maxi” has neither side nor curtain airbag protection for 2nd and 3rd rows. (side airbags are there in 1st row only). This makes it USELESS as a family car as people shopping for unsafe 7-seaters are better served by the used car market.

    Yes, bring on the Touran.

  • Joe

    I sure hope those engines have covers over the top.. messy!

    • golfer

      If you have nothing better to do than show off a caddy’s engine to people, you need to give yourself an uppercut.

  • Ron Hillebrandt

    Hey VW,
    If the Caddy isn’t appreciated in Australia, send it to the US…..perfect little toy hauler, especially since the little Mitsubishi is no longer competition and the Ford mini cargo is to small. Awesome, especially in the Diesel configuration.

  • anthony

    The Caddy,just like every other VW model,is the right car for the right time.

  • CADDY7L

    I have had several late model cars but my favourite of all was my little
    Caddy with 1.9 TDI/ 6 speed DSG and more importantly the OETTINGER tune.
    I was hoping to see a bigger engine (TDI) across the range in the new model and was going to purchase one. The 1.6L TDI is dissappointing to say the least. Why they don’t have available the 2.0 litre DSG version in ALL models is beyond me. A lot of buyers opt for the bigger donk as I have with the 120 Vito I currently have. As the long awaited 2nd generation of this platform Caddy, it has to be around for quite a while and I feel it has lost some of it’s appeal.
    Still the best little van in it’s class but the crown will slip before it’s next revamp.

  • James

    OMG a 7 seater and there good little vans and buisness cars. Most builders and tradies use them for getting around.

  • Hank

    Great little van but beware when it breaks.DSG gearbox failed at 77k and out of warranty.Cost $8,900 to get back on the road. Will buy manual next time.

  • joseph

    I am needing clarification here. the car is 3 years old, making a noise in the area of the gearbox..mechanics seem to feel the whole gearbox needs replacing. i find this strange as i can still change gears with ease..i know it is not easy to diagnose the problem without seeing the car.. but my question is: how could it be the whole gearbox, if the gears change smoothly and the car is only 3 years old… advice is sought urgently

Volkswagen Caddy Specs

1.6 : 1.6L MULTI POINT F/INJ - 5 SP MANUAL - UNLEADED PETROL - VAN
Car Details
Make
VOLKSWAGEN
Model
CADDY
Variant
1.6
Series
2K MY08
Year
2010
Body Type
VAN
Seats
2
Engine Specifications
Engine Type
MULTI POINT F/INJ
Engine Size
1.6L
Cylinders
INLINE 4
Max. Torque
148Nm @  3800rpm
Max. Power
75kW @  5600rpm
Pwr:Wgt Ratio
56.6W/kg
Bore & Stroke
81x77.4mm
Compression Ratio
10.5
Valve Gear
SINGLE OVERHEAD CAM
Drivetrain Specifications
Transmission
5 SP MANUAL
Drive Type
FRONT WHEEL DRIVE
Final Drive Ratio
0
Fuel Specifications
Fuel Type
UNLEADED PETROL
Fuel Tank Capacity
60
Fuel Consumption (Combined)
8.4L / 100km
Weight & Measurement
Kerb Weight
1325
Gross Vehicle Weight
Not Provided
Height
1833mm
Length
4405mm
Width
1802mm
Ground Clearance
176mm
Towing Capacity
Brake:1300  Unbrake:710
Steering & Suspension
Steering Type
RACK & PINION - POWER ASSISTED
Turning Circle
11.1
Front Rim Size
6x15
Rear Rim Size
6x15
Front Tyres
195/65 R15
Rear Tyres
195/65 R15
Wheel Base
2682
Front Track
1537
Rear Track
1531
Front Brakes
DISC - VENTILATED
Rear Brakes
DISC
Standard Features
Comfort
Air Conditioning
Control & Handling
Electronic Brake Force Distribution, Traction Control System
Driver
Power Steering
Entertainment
Radio CD with 4 Speakers
Safety
Airbag Driver, Anti-lock Braking
Security
Central Locking Remote Control
Optional Features
Control & Handling
15 Inch Alloy Wheels
Driver
Cruise Control
Exterior
Fog Lights - Front, Metallic Paint, Side Door
Interior
Window Pack
Safety
Airbag Passenger, Side Front Air Bags
Other
Service Interval
12 months /  15,000 kms
Warranty
36 months /  100,000 kms
VIN Plate Location
19-O-11
Country of Origin
GERMANY