REVIEW | Why the 2022 VW Caddy is one of the best family car buys in the land
The Volkswagen Caddy needs no introduction. It was designed with the idea of blending all the best points of an SUV, MPV and a van into one universal product that can be bought by families, entrepreneurs or a combination of both. In this respect it’s not similar to many cars.
We recently spent time driving the 2022 model which went on sale in SA a few weeks ago. The formula hasn’t changed one bit, not that a wholesale change was needed. The detail changes were to modernise it for market expectations, starting with the exterior.
The styling is closer to VW’s latest cars with a change in the headlight shape. Another marked difference in this area is the closed off upper grille, like in the electric ID models and now with a lower grille with cooling nodes instead. The black bumpers look surprisingly good and they denote the Caddy Kombi 2.0TDI specification on test.
It has seating for seven passengers while there’s also a higher spec version with colour-coded bumpers and a longer base Maxi Caddy Kombi that equally fits seven passengers but with more loading space at the back.
Step inside through sliding doors on each side and it has the same airy feel of a high roof that we’ve always praised. It still has the useful roof storage too but the cockpit has been revolutionised. Adults can fit comfortably in the first row while the last is marginally tighter but still welcoming.
Boot space with all the seats up is 191l, roughly what you get in a Mini Cooper three-door hatch. However, the rearmost seats can also be folded down to create 1,213l which is ample space for everyone’s luggage in any shape or size. You need more space? Open the barn-style rear doors and remove this pair and flatten the rest to liberate a whopping 2,556l. The longer Caddy Maxi Kombi is rated with a max capacity of 3,105l.
The dashboard’s gone completely digital now with capacitive function buttons for the interior lights and volume control. It’s the same dashboard rearrangement as seen on the Golf GTI 8.
Luxury and convenience features in the Caddy Kombi included air conditioning, multifunction steering wheel, digital screen display, electric windows and infotainment hubs but now with a pair of USB-C ports. Optional extras include cruise control and park distance control front and rear.
Power is courtesy of new 1.6l petrol or 2.0l TDI four-cylinder engines. Our Caddy Kombi test unit was powered by the latter which dishes out 81kW and a healthy 300Nm. All Caddy models are fitted with six-speed manual gearboxes and drive the front wheels. The diesel motor feels refined enough with strong low-speed torque whether laden with passengers or cargo.
The quoted consumption is 5.5l/100km but this smooth-riding Caddy sipped 6.5l/100km during its stay. It’s not my favourite engine though. The now discontinued three-cylinder petrol I felt offered the best balance of refinement, grunt and fuel consumption. But there are aspects to love about the 2.0l diesel and it doesn't stop the Caddy being quite fun to drive everywhere if you aren’t fluffing the soft but sensitive clutch. I stalled it on numerous occasions but there's a hill-hold function.
The handling finesse I raved about in the old Caddy is still there. The more you poke its handling abilities, the faster you go into corners with confidence. The Caddy has more the sort of body control you’d expect in a hatchback than in a high-roofed van. It's equipped with traction and stability control as active safety equipment while tyre pressure monitor is another standard essential.
On a long journey, the Caddy is a stable and comfortable steed, and its flexible interior is the big selling point. In a nutshell, the Caddy remains fantastic and close to our hearts as ever for its practicality.
This latest model leads the small niche when it comes to advancements yet monthly sales tell a different story. During the first half of 2022 Caddy sales averaged 20 units sold per month. It should sell by the hundreds, if not thousands, indicating many SA families remain unaware that it's one of the best family car buys in the land.
Type: Four-cylinder turbo diesel
Type: Six-speed manual
Type: Front-wheel drive
Top speed: 180km/h
0-100km/h: 12.4 sec (claimed)
Fuel Consumption: 5.5l/100km (as claimed), 6.5l/100km (as tested)
Electric mirrors and windows, daytime running lights, Bluetooth, multifunction steering wheel, auto on/off lights, USB ports, rain sensor wipers, air conditioning, cloth upholstery, remote central locking, electric windows, ABS, stability control, two airbags
COST OF OWNERSHIP
Warranty: Two years/unlimited km
Service plan: Three years/60,000km
Lease*: R10,222 per month
* at 10% interest over 60 months no deposit
Volkswagen Caddy Kombi 2.0 TDI
WE LIKE: Space, drive quality, fuel consumption
WE DISLIKE: Only two airbags
VERDICT: A versatile family or business car
Motor News star rating
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Opel Combo Life 1.6TD Enjoy, 68kW/230Nm — R439,900
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