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Reader test: VW Caddy

2009-02-17 06:28

Luan Erasmus

Said Luan about this picture provided, "unfortunately it's the only one I have since I never liked the looks and never felt the need to take any."

Reader Luan's Caddy experience was anything but uplifting. He tells us why the Bantam or Corsa Ute would've been better buys.

I recently read a reader's review on the Corsa Utility bakkie and it inspired me to write my own.

I drove a 2005 Volkswagen Caddy bakkie, which was a company car. The company paid around R112 000 for it, so with a price tag like that you would expect a lot of car... Sadly the Caddy did not deliver.


It's a Golf and it looks like, well any other Golf for the past 30 years. It's not an attractive car for most, in fact the only people I find that still think Citi Golfs are good looking are the die-hard VW fans that will agree with everything VW does plainly because it's VW.

The standard VW mags were quite nice though but we replaced them with 17-inch TSW mags which looked even better. There's not much else you can say about the looks on a Citi Golf or the Caddy, it's been the same for many years and it's probably not going to change anytime soon, you either love it or hate it.

Performance and handling

The R112k price tag did at least buy a 1.6-litre engine, which had some grunt but was nothing spectacular - 60 kW is hardly exciting for a 1.6. This gave you a mediocre 0-100 time of 11.2 seconds. On the highway you could easily do 140 km/h, but as soon as you go over the 115 km/h mark all the screws that hold the dashboard together go on holiday and every single part in that car starts its own symphony orchestra.

Handling wasn't bad, but we fitted some fat tyres which was probably the biggest cause for this. The steering wheel was very heavy, being a Golf you obviously didn't get power steering, in fact if there was an opposite for power steering that would've been what you got here. Don't even try turning the wheels when the car is standing still - you'd need special training for that.

Everything in the car was hard and needed to be used with force. We had constant problems with the clutch due to it being so stiff, I actually hurt my foot on it once. It was not a pleasant or easy drive.


This was fitted with the new Citi Golf interior which is a major improvement over the old one that we'd seen for so many years. The dials and gauges were nice enough and the dash was clean and defined. The problem is that although the interior wasn't bad, it's not really good either, there's nothing in there that would make you say "Oh golly gosh that's nice".

The cabin was frustratingly small, climbing in the car felt like jamming your foot into a shoe that was two sizes too small. I'm only 1.78m tall and there wasn't nearly enough space for me in there even when shifting the seat against the back of the cabin. I actually had to position the seat more upright in order to move it right back and get enough leg space, so after a couple of minutes in the car my lower back felt like that of a 70 year old.

No matter what speed you were going at, there was always a rattle. If you sped up 10km then that rattle goes on lunch and the shift gets taken over by something else. I had rattles coming from the handbrake, door handle, cubbyhole and dashboard, no matter what you did there was always a rattle.


That major price tag was enough to give you an aircon... If you're waiting for me to add anything else to that list you're going to be very disappointed. There were no electric windows, no ABS, no airbags, not even a radio! So we had an aircon, but the belt kept snapping so eventually I just stopped fixing it.


In the beginning we got 10km/l, not good, not terrible. We sent it in for a service every 15 000 km as specified. At the end we were lucky if we got 7km/l, sometimes we got even less. And this was when the petrol price was on the up, so it was really not a good thing.


So where does this leave us? It's not a good looking car, doesn't have enough space for anyone with legs, the drive is horrible and even with a big price tag you didn't get any luxuries. For the same price we could have gotten a Bantam or Corsa Utility that would've given us much more so I can't with a clear conscience recommend this to anyone.

Child-sized cabin
Design is dated
Economy was horrifying
Ride is very hard
Too expensive
More attractive options available
The rattles... oh the rattles!

It was a work horse, and apart from the clutch didn't give any real problems.


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