Following on from our Renault Trafic long-termer, the CarAdvice production team indicated they were keen on something smaller, something ideally with five seats, and something that wasn’t as tall. Enter the 2016 Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Crewvan TSI220.
It’s a long name, and it’s a pretty long van, too. This not-so-compact Volkswagen Caddy van has a longer wheelbase than the standard little one, because it has a set of seats in the cargo area as well as a massive load space.
The Maxi (LWB) Caddy van rides on a 3006-millimetre wheelbase, compared to the more compact SWB model that sits atop a 2682mm span. The Maxi Crewvan measures 4878mm long (SWB: 4408mm) and is also wider at 1793mm (SWB: 1773mm) but sits a little lower at 1831mm high (SWB: 1836mm) – and that final figure means there are no issues with underground parking lots, especially since we didn’t option roof-racks this time around.
Being a van, the payload is important. And in the case of our manual Caddy, that figure stands at 733 kilograms, which is just a bit less than the equivalent Renault Kangoo Crew van (740kg), but a substantial 114kg less than the two-seat Caddy Maxi (847kg).
The load space – with its additional three seats – has dual glazed side doors that can be slid open, and the standard barn doors at the rear mean you can’t get a rear-view camera fitted. If you want a camera, you need to live with a single-piece tailgate, which sucks because you can fit a standard pallet between the rear wheel arches (the Aussie standard is 1165mm by 1165mm, and the gap is 1168mm), and you won’t fit a forklift under an open tailgate.
The space itself is massive. There’s 4130 litres of cargo room behind the first row of seats if you remove the second row seats – yep they come out if you don’t need them! – or if you just fold them forward you have 3950L of space. With the second row in place, there’s 1650L of capacity. That’s huge!
The guys were a bit annoyed about having another manual van to begin with – some of them commute a good hour each way in Sydney’s finest traffic, so an auto would have been appreciated – but the Caddy Maxi Crewvan we got was the entry-level version of the five-seat model range, starting at $29,690 plus on-road costs.
Under the bonnet – and the reason why it has the TSI220 name – is 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine (TSI, as VW calls it) with 92kW of power (at 4800rpm) and 220Nm of torque (from 1500-3500rpm). Cogs are swapped via a six-speed manual gearbox, while there’s a seven-speed dual-clutch auto available, too (that version costs $32,690).
We’ve reviewed the Caddy in the past and been thoroughly impressed with its car-like dynamics and comfort, and we’ll let the production guys tell you what they thought of the way it drove over the coming reports.
As for kit, there’s not as much as some might expect. The lack of a rear-view camera, for example, was unexpected. But there is a touchscreen media system with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, as well as Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. VW announced recently 2017 Caddy models will come with forward collision warning and low-speed autonomous emergency braking, but with ours being a 2016 model, it missed out.
As for other safety assistance, our Caddy had rear parking sensors, and dual front and front side airbags as well as traction control. There’s no airbag coverage in the rear, so maybe consider using those seats sparingly if you’re a big fan of airbag protection.
The boys – Brett, Glen, Sam and Sam (yeah, we have two of them!) – were looking forward to a smaller van to drive around. Stay tuned to see what they thought of the 2016 Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Crewvan TSI220.