The Magazine for LCV Fleet Operators
Volkswagen's latest Caddy Cargo van is offered with a choice of three Diesel engines or a single petrol motor. Road Test: VW Caddy TDi

Volkswagen’s latest Caddy Cargo van is offered with a choice of three diesel engines or a single petrol motor. There will be some urban demand for the lone TSi that we tried last month, but there is little doubt that diesel sales will continue to make up the bulk of Volkswagen’s orders for some time to come. But which one should you go for?

Powertrain

Though there are three diesels, they are all based on the same 2.0-litre TDi motor. You can have 75hp with 250Nm of torque, 102hp and 280Nm or this range-topping 122hp version with a strong 320Nm of torque. 

That choice becomes somewhat easier if you don’t want the regular six-speed manual gearbox or front-wheel drive. The 122hp engine is the only one of the three that can be had with a seven-speed DSG automated transmission, or with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system, though not, interestingly, at the same time.

You are also limited by specification. If you want the base Commerce trim, then you can have any of the engines in the shorter van. The 75hp engine is not offered in the long wheelbase Caddy Cargo Maxi at all. Nor is it available once you start to rise up the trim levels, with only the 102hp and 122hp diesels available in the Commerce Plus and Commerce Pro models.

Where all three diesel engines are available, VW quotes pretty much the same fuel consumption and CO2 figures for the three, with the figures only falling when you add the 4Motion driveline, so there is little to choose from at the fuel pumps.

Load carrying capacity 

The short wheelbase Caddy Cargo remains the more popular of the two lengths on offer, though there are certainly companies that take the Maxi model. The standard-length van delivers a 1.3m3 load volume, with 1,797mm from the back doors to the bulkhead. 

As with the larger model, there is no load-through facility or folding bulkhead offered on the VW to increase those dimensions. Plus, you only get the one sliding side door as standard on the shorter van, rather than the two doors of the Maxi model.

In Commerce Plus trim, the Caddy Cargo offers a 648kg payload, which is much the same as the 102hp version. You can also tow a trailer up to 1.5-tonnes with either of the more powerful diesel vans. That drops to 1.4-tonnes if you do go with the 75hp engine.

In the cab

As mentioned in our petrol Caddy report last month, all models now come with a comprehensive range of ADAS safety and driver assistance systems, from post-collision braking, Brake Assist, Driver Alert and an Electronic Differential Lock, to Engine Drag Torque Control, Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Braking.

This Commerce Plus van also has standard body-coloured bumpers and rear parking sensors outside, along with air conditioning, a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel and electrically-adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat inside. 

Indeed, the seats are a bit special on the Plus and Pro models, as they are what VW calls an AGR ergoComfort seat. This brings manual height adjustment and adjustment for the seat cushion angle and depth. They are not a sports seat as such, but they offer a similar level of support and adjustment, making for a very comfortable day at the wheel for those undertaking longer journeys.

Commerce Plus also comes with a Composition audio system, with a 6.5” colour touchscreen, though our van had been upgraded with the Discover Media navigation system, with its 10” touchscreen and four speaker set-up (£1,332). The only other option on this van was the Starlight Blue metallic paint (£612).

On the road

Unsurprisingly, the smallest model in the Caddy Cargo range with the most powerful engine is a recipe for rapid progress. That said though, the VW doesn’t feel at all excessive, just very comfortably on top of the job, whatever that task may be.

It is happy tackling the urban stop and go, or cruising on the motorway, providing relaxed travel in either situation. If you do need to make a rapid overtake though, the 122hp engine provides more than enough shove for quite spirited acceleration.

The good news is that the Caddy Cargo feels equally up to the task if asked to hustle along a country road, with secure, stable handling and a reasonably comfortable ride, even when unladen.

Conclusion

Of course, while you might not lose anything at the pumps, there is a price to pay for the additional performance on offer with the higher-powered engine. In this short wheelbase Commerce Plus van, the 122hp engine will set you back £900 more than the 102hp. As mentioned, you can’t have the 75hp engine in Commerce Plus, but in the standard Commerce van, the 102hp is a further £875 more than the 75hp model.

In truth, the 102hp is likely to be the most popular, appealing to larger fleets and to smaller SME businesses. If, however, you regularly tackle longer journeys, or always run fully laden or with a trailer, the 122hp engine provides more than enough power for a van of this size.

Volkswagen Caddy Cargo Commerce Plus TDi specs

Basic price

£21,100 Engine 1,968cc Power 122hp @ 2,750-4,250rpm Torque 320Nm @ 1,600-2,500rpm

Weights (kg)

GVW 2,220 Kerb weight 1,572 Payload 648 Towing 1,500

Dimensions (mm)

Load space length 1,797 Load space width 1,614 Width between wheel arches 1,240 Load space height 1,272 Load volume 3.1

Cost considerations

Fuel tank capacity  50 Fuel consumption 57.6mpg
CO2 127g/100km  Service interval 2 year/18,600 miles
Warranty 3 years/100,000 miles 

VanUser rating :  4.5