There’s been a Caddy in the VW range since 1979, with the original being a pickup based on the Mk1 Golf. The second generation in 1996 was a small boxy van based on the then current Polo hatchback and built in the VW Group’s SEAT factory in Spain.
By the time the third-generation Caddy came along in 2004, it had evolved into the shape we know today. The styling echoes the contemporary Polo and Golf hatchbacks at the front, but at the rear is a one-box shape that provides a large load area and is clearly designed as a van rather than adapted from a car.
The Caddy is wider than most of the competition, making for easier loading. It comes with one sliding side door as standard - a second can be specified as an option - so access to the load compartment is second to none. It can take a Euro pallet, and there are lashing points to allow you to tie down loads.
The latest generation of Caddy launched in 2010 and is available in short- and long-wheelbase versions as well as a five-seater Combi. There’s also a better-equipped Caddy Life which is sold as part of VW’s car range.
Under the Caddy’s bonnet there’s a choice of Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel engines, plus a 1.4 petrol turbo that’s better suited to those who do lots of short journeys. The high-efficiency BlueMotion diesel model is capable of returning up to 70mpg.
The short-wheelbase Caddy offers a load volume of 3.2 cubic metres, and this is upped to 4.2 in the long-wheelbase version. There’s a standard sliding side door, and at the rear buyers can specify either side-hinged double doors or a lift-up tailgate. The option of a folding passenger seat increases the load length of the standard van to a full three metres. Half-height interior panelling in the back protects the vehicle's sides.
The latest Caddy offers high levels of driver safety, with driver and passenger airbags as standard. Side and curtain airbags are an option. It can also come with collision-avoidance technology that monitors the distance to objects in front and sounds a warning if they’re too close. Emergency city braking, which will stop the van automatically to prevent a collision, is available too. Buyers can also specify cruise control, auto dipping lights and a system that monitors the driver for signs of tiredness.
In the cab the driver is well looked after. The Caddy uses the quality materials you’d expect from VW, and there’s plenty of adjustment for the seat and steering column to allow you to find a comfortable driving position. There’s plenty of space for odds and ends, with large door bins, an overhead shelf, a glovebox and a dash-top holder for papers. Top-end models have an easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment package.
The Caddy’s build quality should mean a long life and the reliability to keep your business on the road, combined with practicality and low running costs.