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New VW Caddy Maxi is an MPV par excellence

With more cabin space, a host of new technological features and revised interior and exterior design, the new Volkswagen Caddy is a significant step up from its predecessor.

With more cabin space, a host of new technological features and revised interior and exterior design, the new Volkswagen Caddy is a significant step up from its predecessor.

With styling closer to VW’s latest cars, the  fifth-generation model was launched in South Africa earlier this year. In our market, over 35,617 units of the commercial vehicle were sold. In 2020, amidst pandemic-related constraints, Volkswagen sold 1,730 Caddy examples.

Caddy traces its lineage back to 1979, when the original was developed as a van version of the first Golf. A variation of this became popular on local shores, with the Caddy name being used on the single-cab version of the first generation Golf, which stayed in production for many years.

Like its predecessor, the new Caddy is offered in a wide variety of configurations, catering to both private and commercial buyers. I recently drove the Caddy Maxi LWB 2.0 TDI, with seven seats.

With a modern exterior character, the Caddy is attractive for a van. Under the skin, it uses the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform, which is shared with various models, including the Golf 8. The model I tested benefits from LED headlights, LED rear lights, body-coloured bumpers, black roof rails and 16-inch Wien alloy wheels.

A staple for South African businesses, Caddy’s primary colour is white.

If you want to feel the breeze through, a panoramic sunroof is an optional extra. The vehicle is also equipped with a removable tow bar. Geared towards passengers, the Caddy Maxi is lengthier than the regular version, allowing for more stretching space.

As debuted in the Golf 8, the new Caddy features a digital operating concept, though it was easier to navigate than the Golf, since regular buttons were retained for certain tain functions. The instrument cluster remains analogue. LED interior lights enliven the cabin at night. The new Caddy can be had with driver assistance systems, such as cruise control and parking assist. A reverse camera also made life easier.

The VW Caddy is offered in two engines: the 1.6i engine with 81kW/152Nm; while the 2.0 TDI we drove delivers 81kW and 300Nm, with a claimed consumption of 5.5l/100km. The range starts from R484,200 for the 1.6i engine variant, the Caddy Maxi I tested comes in at R600,400.

I was impressed by the sufficient power of the four-cylinder, turbocharged-diesel engine. The six speed manual transmission was the icing on the cake, with easy operation, but mastering the clutch at first was a tad tricky, as the vehicle seemed prone to stall. It cruises well and has plenty of steam around town.

Distinctive design inside and out: Caddy’s smart infotainment system features (8.25-inch) intuitive touchscreen radio that puts entertainment at driver’s fingertips.

With its sophisticated appearance, refined drive and versatile cabin, it would make a great addition to the garage of a growing family, or a business owner who needs people-moving capability.


*For the latest on sizzling new car models launching in South Africa, make sure to regularly visit the NOWinSA/Automobile page!

Prashirwin Naidu
Prashirwin Naidu
Aspiring scribe, Prashirwin Naidu is a writer focusing on cars and the arts.
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