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VW finds 'sweet spot' with Caddy

2011-03-04 11:13

[11:04:15 AM] Hailey Philander: THREE STRONG: The Caddy lineup for 2011; from the top, Maxi Panel Van, Trendline and Maxi Trendline.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer VW
Model Caddy
Engine 1.6i; 2.0 TDI; 2.0 TDI; 2.0 TDI
Power 75kw at 5600rpm; 81kW at 4200rpm; 81kW at 4200rpm; 81kW at 4200rpm
Torque 148Nm at 3800rpm; 250Nm at 2750rpm; 250Nm at 2750rpm
Transmission 5-speed manual
Fuel Tank 60l
Fuel Consumption 8.2l/100km; 5.6l/100km; 5.6l/100km; 5.7l/100km
Front Suspension McPherson struts and stabiliser bar
Rear Suspension Leaf springs and stabiliser bar
Service Intervals 15 000 km
Warranty 2 years/unlimited km Warranty


It must be difficult to find the sweet spot if you’re driving a “white van” and being subjected to daily snarls, traffic jams and deadlines.

But count the number of Volkswagen Caddys to see why VWSA’s head of commercial vehicles Jaco Steenkamp is largely unfazed by its competitors.

Despite a growing pool of rivals, the VW has maintained a steady 60% of the local market share in the small panel van segment and the changes introduced to the range for 2011 should do much to anchor Caddy’s position at the top.


The range, subjected to a dramatic facelift, continues with two wheelbase lengths but adds items such as new diesel engines, DSG for the first time in this segment and a seven-seat option for the Crew Bus (at R4970).

The three-strong Caddy line-up comprises the Panel Van, Maxi Panel Van and Maxi Crew Bus although, in line with German standards, the passenger-orientated Caddy Life is now called the Caddy Trendline.

The latest interpretation of the new Volkswagen face works equally well on the company’s commercial van which has taken on a more aggressive appearance. At the front, a new grille, bonnet, headlights with daytime running lights as standard are visible. What’s no longer visible is the forehead-mounted bee-sting aerial; that function has been integrated into the rearview mirror. Badging detail on the front and back are different; the tail lights are new, too.

Other highlights include a new 12-colour palette to give corporate buyers a number of opportunities to mix and match and new optional 15” alloy rims.

SLIDE AND GO: One or two side sliders make loading easier, particularly in tight parking spots.

Changes to the cabin include a new steering wheel (multifunction steering an option for Trendline buyers only), new aircon controls and a new instrument cluster with a larger multifunction display and an on-trend shift indicator for manual models. However, we’d be delighted to know how many drivers of delivery vans and shuttles care enough about the efficiency of their Caddy enough to pay attention to this useful feature…

As for firepower, the Caddy range’s 1.6-litre petrol with five-speed manual is carried over, while the pump deuse 1.9 TDI has been put out to pasture with the introduction of 81 and 103kW versions of the common-rail two-litre TDI.

No 1.6-litre versions was available to sample at the local launch of the Caddy up on the oxygen-starved Reef but my partner and I tried our hands at a delivery-special long wheelbase Maxi panel van with the 81kW engine and the range-topping Maxi Trendline 2.0TDI DSG.

Our first leg was competed in the white van, which impressed with its comfortable ride (Caddy rides on the Golf platform) and refined cabin. OK, so the materials are understandably robust, but all seems to fit well together and the quiet cabin (apart from the occasional knock from the clear load space where eight fixed load lashing rings are provided) was a haven for jabbering driving mates

APPEALING: The Caddy rear end has been sharpened too, with new tail lights and updated badging.

Four doors – two sliding on the Maxi and two swinging – allow easy access to the load space and the high roof means stooping while stomping about in the rear is optional.

Without a load, the diesel engine made light work of the winding route from Kempton Park to the diamond town of Cullinan while shifts through the five-speed manual were light yet decisive.

We were encouraged to drive the two-litre equipped with the six-speed DSG – and this did not disappoint.

Combined with the 103kW engine, the DSG that has become a favourite across the Volkswagen range ensured shifts were smooth, seamless and unobtrusive. The Maxi Trendline’s seven seats are standard and, while not being the most luxurious MPV you’ll come across, it does have the benefit of seats for seven and usable luggage space.

For added functionality, as well as being able to fall completely flat, the second row of seats can now be completely removed when additional space is required. In the five-seater Trendline, when the second row of seats is folded, the load capacity when packed to the roof is 2852 litres. In the Maxi Trendline version, this space swells to 3700 litres.

LOOK SHARP: New cabin features include a three-spoked steering wheel, an instrumentation cluster with a larger information display and new trim fabric and designs.

And while load space remains a key Caddy consideration – whether the load is animate or fodder – safety for anyone other than the driver seems to be less so. Caddys come with front and side crash bags and a seat-belt warning indicator as standard for the driver – other occupants will have to fend for themselves although three-point belts and height-adjustable headrests are provided for those seated on the second row.

However the full suite of ESP functions, including ABS, electronic differential lock and traction control, is standard across the range and trailer stabilisation is standard on all models fitted with the optional tow bar. Cornering front fog lights are standard on the Trendline models, options on the commercials.

The Caddy is available through VW’s 118 dealers, including 13 dedicated commercial vehicle shops, countrywide.


Commercial models
Caddy Panel Van 1.6i 75 kW - R172 940
Caddy Panel Van 2.0 TDI 81 kW - R199 900
Caddy Maxi Panel Van 2.0 TDI 81 kW - R209 200
Caddy Maxi Crew Bus 2.0 TDI 81 kW - R219 200

Commercial models are sold with a two-year unlimited distance warranty.

Passenger models
Caddy Trendline 1.6i 75 kW - R240 110
Caddy Trendline 2.0 TDI 81 kW - R255 495
Caddy Maxi Trendline 2.0 TDI 81 kW - R269 880
Caddy Maxi Trendline 2.0 TDI 103 kW DSG - R292 080

Passenger models are sold with a three-year or 120 000km warranty. Service and maintenance plans optional across the range.

Service intervals 15 000km.

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