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Volkswagen’s fifth-generation Caddy van has been launched in the UK, offering increased load volume, lower emission drivelines, increased safety technology and an improved driver... Cargo carrier

Volkswagen has sold more than 3 million Caddy vans over the last four generations, so this new fifth model has a lot to live up to. Based on VW’s MQB platform, which also underpins the latest Golf, the new Caddy has access to a host of driver assistance and safety systems, plus much of the infotainment and dash layout already seen in the company’s cars. Indeed, the Caddy name now relates to just the people-carrying versions of the vehicle, while the vans are now called Caddy Cargo.

Load carrying capacity

The standard van has a 73mm longer wheelbase, with an overall length up by 92mm. That leads to more load length, while new rear suspension has resulted in 60mm of increased width between the wheelarches. The rear door aperture has also been stretched by 51mm, for easier access to the 3.1m3 interior. That means that a Europallet can now be carried sideways in the cargo space.

For the longer Caddy Cargo Maxi, which boasts a 3.7m3 load volume, there is a new sliding side door that is said to be the largest in the sector. This allows a Europallet to be loaded in the side of the van.

Powertrain

There are three diesel engines, offering 75hp, 102hp and 122hp, along with a petrol engine delivering 114hp. Twin SCR catalytic converters on diesel models result in lower NOx emissions and all meet Euro 6d standards. There are no plans for electric versions of the Caddy Cargo, as VW will base its EV vans on the ID.Buzz model to be launched later in the year.

All engines have six-speed manual gearboxes, with a seven-speed DSG transmission as an option. The 122hp engine can also be matched to VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system, which makes a return to the UK market.

While the front McPherson strut suspension has been revised for improved steering, the rear leaf spring has been replaced by coil springs. This allows for the increased internal load space, but also makes it easier to fit front and all-wheel drive.

In the cab

Caddy 5 launches a new naming policy for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, with Commerce being the entry level, followed by Commerce Plus and Commerce Pro. All vans come with a host of ADAS systems, including Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, Electronic Differential Lock, Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Braking System.

Caddy Cargo Commerce standard equipment includes VW Composition Audio DAB+ radio with a 6.5” colour touchscreen, Bluetooth and SD card interfaces. All Caddy vans also have WeConnect preparation and it is possible to add the popular Business pack to the Commerce trim.

Caddy Cargo Commerce Plus trim adds body-coloured bumpers, rear parking sensors, air conditioning, a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel and storage under the driver and passenger seats. Move up to Caddy Cargo Commerce Pro and you add 16” alloy wheels for short vans and 17” alloys for Maxi models, front and rear parking sensors, a heated windscreen, LED rear lights and heated power-folding door mirrors.

There is also a Lights & Vision pack with auto-dimming rear-view mirror, auto wipers and lights, while the infotainment moves up to VW’s Discover Media navigation with 10” touchscreen.

Whichever model you choose, there is a totally new interior, with flush fitted screens and touch sensitive controls for the lights and the heating and ventilation systems. This does result in multiple prods at the screen to adjust the cabin temperature, which I’m not sure is actually progress.

On the road

VanUser spent some time in a Caddy Cargo Maxi in mid-range Commerce Plus trim, with the 102hp engine and a manual gearbox, which is fairly representative of a popular model. The interior is certainly a big step up from the previous model, with a totally new dash and centre console design. It all works well and the Caddy Cargo is a comfortable van in which to spend time. If desired, you can now specify AGR ErgoComfort seats, if you spend a lot of time at the wheel, which offer even more adjustment and support.

The 102hp engine has plenty of power for a van of this size and the six-speed manual gearbox delivers a good spread of ratios, for relaxed urban stop and start work or for higher speed dual carriageway work. The engine noise is well suppressed and a full bulkhead stops any booming noise from the rear, though you do get some road noise from the wheels at higher speeds.

Conclusion

For Volkswagen, the Caddy Cargo has arrived at an opportune time, bringing the van bang up to date, as several other manufacturers prepare to introduce new models in this sector. As if to prove that fact, VWCV reports a strong order bank for the new van, with plenty of fleet interest.

Certainly, the van feels like a very focused update, with VW’s engineers having left hardly any component untouched in their efforts to move the game forward. Not having to work in electric and hybrid drivelines from day one must have helped, as it has allowed the company to deliver a diesel van that should be exactly what today’s customers are looking for. It is good to see that Volkswagen still considers the inclusion of safety and driver assistance systems, many of which are standard equipment, to be of equal importance.

VanUser rating: 4.5