For the last 30 years, the Volkswagen Caddy has been the most respected name in the small van sector, synonymous with great build quality and residual values. But with no major update since 2003, does the VW Caddy 2020 still have what it takes to challenge its newer and more affordable rivals?
In the cab
Volkswagen has always taken the same approach to interior design; productivity over style. While it may look dull and uninspiring, the Caddy’s cab area is extremely practical with a wide range of storage spaces including deep door pockets and an overhead shelf.
The cab isn’t the most spacious although designers have countered this by including reach and rake adjustable steering as standard across the range so, even with this tester’s long arms, the steering wheel could be pushed back to a safe distance. The dashboard sits low and the steep gradient slope of the bonnet provides great all-round vision.
VW Caddy 2020 specifications
There are three trim levels on the Volkswagen Caddy; the Startline, Trendline and Highline. The Startline is focused at the fleets and only includes the basics like electric windows, a DAB radio and steel wheels while the Trendline adds air conditioning, cruise control and an 8-way adjustable driver’s seat and the Highline is furnished with luxuries like the alloy wheels, fog lights and a 6-inch touchscreen display with satellite navigation.
Find the exact specifications in our trim level breakdown below:
Volkswagen Caddy 2020 engine and driveline
Like most of its rivals, Volkswagen is slimming down the number of engine options. The 1.0-litre TSi 101hp petrol is aimed at those who carry only light goods as the 175Nm of torque means it struggles with anything more than 500kg. However, on short runs around the city it works out quite economical with 38.2mpg on the urban run (40.9mpg highway).
The 2.0-litre diesels are polar opposite and are one of the torquiest engines in this segment. The 101hp diesel produces 250Nm as low as 1,300rpm while the gutsy 148hp engine generates a colossal 340Nm at 1,750rpm. Fuel economy varies between 42.8mpg and 49.6mpg.
A 5-speed manual is the sole transmission option on the petrol engine while the entry-level 101hp diesel is available with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed DSG automatic. The same 6-speed DSG, which we found to be very notchy at lower speeds and smooth on the open road, is the only option on the 148hp diesel.
On the road
The Volkswagen Caddy is very grounded and doesn’t suffer from the body-roll that affects many small vans. The steering is also accurate which makes cornering a dream although it lacks the refinement of its younger rivals and the road and engine noise fall well short of what should be expected of modern vans. Another thing that we picked up on was the ‘sploshing’ sound of diesel moving around when we came to a stop.
Weights and dimensions
As with most small vans, there are two wheelbases offered on the VW Caddy. The short wheelbase has a maximum load length of 1,779mm – well short of the sector average – and the long wheelbase (known as the Caddy Maxi) has a maximum load length of 2,249mm. The bulkhead is fairly straight which means it doesn’t intrude into the load area like on the Ford Transit Connect. For a detailed look at the dimensions, click the link below:
In terms of weights, there are three nominal gross vehicle weights (GVWs); 2.0t, 2.2t and 2.4t. The 2.0t variants relate to the petrol version only and provide payloads of around 670kg, although the 2.2t petrols have a payload of up to 737kg. Diesel versions can carry a whole kilogram more at 738kg.
Volkswagen Caddy 2020 price and costs
The Volkswagen Caddy 2020 is priced between £16,545 and £25,070 plus VAT and available to order from VW’s respectable 72-strong Van Centre network. Resdiaul values are the highest in the small van sector although AdBlue tanks have just a 9-litre capacity, which means they will need to be refilled at less than 5,000 miles.
View the full Volkswagen Van range.