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FIRST DRIVE | New 2022 VW Caddy is a practical wagon for work or leisure

13 April 2022 - 08:08 By ZIPHORAH MASETHE
The Caddy sports a fresh new look.
The Caddy sports a fresh new look.
Image: Supplied

The new Volkswagen Caddy has finally hit Mzanzi shores.   

If social media is your preferred barometer, reactions to he appearance of the new model seem to be mixed. This was my impression after posting a few images of the vehicle while reporting from the local launch last week. 

It is a world apart from its predecessor, having grown in dimensions and receiving a complete stylistic overhaul. My internet skeptics were not too pleased, but we certainly came away rather impressed by the overall substance of the new Volkswagen  beyond the visuals.  

The Caddy sports a fresh new look.
The Caddy sports a fresh new look.
Image: Supplied

A bit of background on the baby multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) from the Volkswagen commercial vehicles stable. Inception of the nameplate dates back to 1979 with a pick-up version based on the Golf 1. We did not receive the second generation based on the Polo of the era.    

The third iteration revived the name in our market, based on the Golf 5 and Touran. The fourth instalment was a significant revision of the existing ingredients used by its predecessor. Locally, Caddy has amassed sales in excess of 35,000 units, serving businesses and private owners as a cargo-shifter and people-mover.   

Here we are with the all-new, fifth-generation Caddy, based on the ubiquitous Volkswagen Group MQB platform. It is available in a number of variants: Caddy, Caddy Maxi, Caddy Kombi, Caddy Kombi Maxi, Caddy Cargo and Caddy Maxi Cargo. It covers the spectrum from bare-bones van to a format geared towards passenger transportation.     Our drive was with a highly-specified Caddy Maxi sporting an optional sunroof and roof rails. This is a seven-seater model.

Interior quality has improved.
Interior quality has improved.
Image: Supplied

Inside the cabin, a driver-orientated dashboard features, integrating an infotainment system that is Apple Car Play and Android Auto compatible. There was no shortage of amenities, including keyless-entry, adaptive cruise control and rain-sensing wipers. Driver assistance features like side assist and rear cross traffic alert proved useful. In this model, wheelbase has grown by 73mm and it is wider by 60mm.    

The short wheelbase version panel van can load up to 3,100l in volume, while the long wheelbase Caddy Maxi Cargo can take up to 3,700l. There are two tailgate configurations, depending on model: a regular upward-swinging design or the split, barn-door type. The Caddy drives smoothly and absorbs road imperfections deftly. We got a bit lost on the route and took an unplanned gravel route section which the Caddy took in its stride. A 1.6-litre petrol engine is offered at the basic end (81kW/152Nm), while a 2.0 TDI serves 81kW/300Nm. Both use six-speed manual gearboxes.    

Existing Caddy owners are sure to be impressed by the improvements in refinement and technology of the new vehicle.

Occupant space is expectedly generous.
Occupant space is expectedly generous.
Image: Supplied

As for those commentators who disliked the look? The great thing about the Caddy is that it offers a seemingly endless scope of customisation for your intended application. From a medical support vehicle to wheelchair-friendly transportation, catering vehicle or a Volkswagen Camp Fest showstopper with a huge sound system and air suspension, the Caddy is your blank canvas.

PRICING:    

Caddy 1.6i: R484,200 

Caddy 2.0 TDI: R573,800 

Caddy Maxi 2.0 TDI: R600,400 

Caddy Kombi 1.6i: R412,100 

Caddy Kombi 2.0 TDI: R476,100 

Caddy Maxi Kombi 2.0 TDI: R502,700 

Caddy Cargo 1.6i: R404,000 

Caddy Cargo 2.0 TDI: R460,600 

Caddy Maxi Cargo 2.0 TDI: R487,200

The passenger version Caddy and Caddy Maxi come standard with a three-year/120,000km warranty while the Caddy Kombi, Caddy Maxi Kombi, Caddy Cargo and Caddy Maxi Cargo come standard with a two-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. 


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