For our third instalment in the 2016 Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Crewvan TSI220 long-term review, we asked Brett Sullivan, producer, videographer and editor, to tell us his thoughts. To keep it simple, we asked him the same questions.
You’ve spent time driving, loading, unloading and parking the car. What have you thought about it in general?
In general, I think it’s fantastic. It drives well but I found its acceleration ascending hills could be pretty poor. Its gearbox was great, the clutch was very comfortable to use, and the hill-hold function was phenomenal: much better than the Trafic (the video team’s previous whip).
Although, the Caddy was physically smaller than the Trafic, especially with the additional rear passenger seats, we still never struggled for space.
My only frustration was the grip on the surface of the boot was pretty lacking – our gear would slide all over the place. Sliding side doors were really practical for loading, but I wished the rear doors could have opened to the 180-degree angle like the Trafic’s did. Parking the car was fine, except at times the blind spots made it very difficult with the lack of a rear-view camera.
What are the things you liked most about the Caddy?
Size. I hated the size of the Trafic for what we were doing. Sure, it was great to take so much gear around, but the Caddy’s size was perfect for our needs. It was easily practical enough to fit all of our equipment in, transport more than three people (which the Trafic couldn’t), and there were no limitations and height restrictions.
The fact it had Apple CarPlay, with everything from Apple Maps to iTunes. Having used that for the past few months, I would struggle to buy a car without it now.
I also liked its practicality, with great storage compartments under the seat and a section in the roof above the dash to store documents, notes and other stuff.
What are the things you disliked most about the Caddy?
The rear doors apparently never closed. I’d get in the car, start driving and the warning indicator would tell me the back doors were open. So I’d park the car, get out and check them and they’d look visibly shut. No uneven doors aligning etc. So I’d have to slam the doors just to make sure.
The seat adjustment lever in the front row was always pressing against my legs and was pretty annoying in terms of comfort.
And as I said before, the boot floor surface was like an ice rink. I’d have to attempt to wedge the load in place to stop our expensive equipment sliding around to avoid damaging it or the interior walls of the Caddy’s boot space.
What would you change about it?
Honestly, there isn’t too much improvement that I think could be made in this price range. But with that said, I wish the rear visibility was improved in some way, as well as the left side of the vehicle, which I found quite blind for over-shoulder vision.
Was it fit for the purpose of being a production van during its time with us?
Definitely, I could easily cart the entire production team's gear around, while still leaving the rear seats free to travel crew and talent between locations.
Compared to the Renault, what is the biggest advantage of the Caddy?
Its size: it was compact enough to take into underground carparks or low clearance areas, unlike the taller, roof-racked Renault.
Compared to the Renault, what is the biggest disadvantage of the Caddy?
I did miss the rooftop platform for the Renault to assist in achieving high angled shots.
If you needed a van, or you knew someone who did, would you recommend a Caddy?
How has the fuel use been?
I think I was driving it the most and it definitely got a fair few kilometres on the odometer. Driving roughly an hour from home to work, most days, plus a bit of minor travel time outside of work I found myself filling the 50L tank about once a week, with fuel economy roughly between 7.0 and 8.0 litres per 100 kilometres.
Is the lack of a camera a deal breaker?
I actually think it could be. As I mentioned above, the rear visibility is an area I’d love to see improved.
Would you prefer the barn doors or a tailgate?
I think I would maybe try a model with a tailgate to see which I preferred, though I didn’t mind the barn doors!
Did the five-seat layout make a big difference?
A huge difference: I was worried with the extra rear seats as opposed to the Trafic, we would be affected for space to store gear during travel. But the ability to transport more than three passengers between locations was convenient.
Is the load space usable?
Did you fold the second-row seats forward much?
Hardly ever, if ever.