For many a year, owning a van, or ‘commercial vehicle’ was always the poorer choice: they were noisy, draughty, underpowered, and uncomfortable. Very slowly, commercial manufacturers started to understand that just because you drove a van, it didn’t mean that you were happy to sacrifice all forms of comfort, just for the added convenience of being able to carry ‘stuff’.
It could be said that Volkswagen were one of the early adopters of this philosophy, as demonstrated by the continual updates to the Transporter range, and that ethos has now worked through the entire range, with the VW Caddy benefitting the most.
There’s been talk for some time about how Volkswagen are going to release something that looks a little sportier, in fact since the first design sketches were made public, but for the main part, the industry expected the look to be softened up for production, or toned down … less muscular, more practical.
But as we’ve now seen, that fresh new look is still right there. Yes, you can see the familial lines hiding behind it, but there’s no mistaking that Volkswagen have flexed their design house brawn; the Caddy looks great.
To prove their point about commercials needing to be more ‘car like’, Volkswagen have used the MQB platform from the Golf, Audi TT and Skoda Kodiaq for the underpinnings, which is the first time it’s been used for a commercial.
The rest of the Caddy hasn’t just been refreshed either – it’s a whole new vehicle from the ground up. This means that Volkswagen have managed to just stretch it where it needed stretching, and lower it in the roofline, giving the Caddy something of a wide, low look.
Those extra dimensions (93 mm longer, 62 mm wider) mean that you can now fit in two Euro pallets in the cargo area, which really does make it ideal for the commercial hauler. With that said, Volkswagen don’t just want to target the commercial user, they’re looking for ‘lifestyle’ sales also, so they’ve crammed the Caddy with tech.
There are 19 different driver assistance systems available, from Rear Cross Traffic Alerts, through to Travel Assist, which gives a degree of semi-autonomous driving while on a motorway (providing you keep your hands on the steering wheel).
As you might expect, even more so when you know that VW are after opening up the market, the Caddy has had some great details engineered in; from the fold-flat passenger seat which makes a great mobile office, to the built-in 230v power sockets, the Caddy is a surprisingly well-thought out load-lugger.
Of course you’re going to be curious about the engines, and whether the diesel is … as compliant … as they say, and Volkswagen have gone above and beyond to show that the diesel is one of the cleanest diesels in the world, partly thanks to their ‘double-dosing’ system for the AdBlue, and partly thanks to better aerodynamics – the new Caddy is around 12% more efficient than the outgoing model.
The whole package has been brought together with the clever use of technology, and design ethos: more efficient, more intuitive controls, a greater level of technology (like the 10-inch touchscreen and fully digital instrument cluster), slimline headlights with LED technology, and a design that works from pretty much any angle.
Speaking of design – Volkswagen have incorporated the grille into the front bumper, and while it doesn’t immediately stand out as to why, you know that it just looks slightly different, better. It changes the look entirely, and you can almost guarantee that more manufacturers will be following suit with their next raft of design changes.
Another point worth mentioning is that the Caddy now has separate locking systems for the load space and front cabin, and has solid rear doors fitted as standard, which means it’s just that little tougher for the more nefarious of society. A good move by Volkswagen.
We’re just starting to get all of the latest details and specifications through from VW, so if you’d like to find out more, or have any technical questions that you’d like answered, get in touch with one of our professionals, and they’ll be able to advise you of all the latest news, and of when to expect delivery.