Introduction

Despite being technically 15 years old, the Volkswagen Caddy in its current guise has been available since 2015 – with that update bringing the model in-line with the rest of the VW range in terms of design and tech.

Coming as either the Life people carrier, Maxi Kombi or Panel van, we got behind the wheel of the latter, which was also fitted with the high-end Business Pack that added £960 to the list price.

With enough space for Euro pallets in the back due to the wide and flat loading space, we get behind the wheel of the Caddy to see how it stacks up.

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Performance

Available with one of four engines – including three petrols and a sole diesel unit – we got behind the wheel of the most powerful 2.0-litre diesel, which produces 148bhp and 340Nm of torque. Capable of 0-60mph in 9.2 seconds, this version of the Caddy can reach a top speed of 119mph.

We found that with that unit on board, the Caddy was a perfectly capable cruiser over long distances and was punchy when we needed it to be. It isn’t the most efficient engine on hand, but it can still achieve 57.6mpg and output 129g/km of CO2 emissions.

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Ride & Handling

Even though it is a commercial vehicle, the Caddy is very car-like to drive and that’s down to the platform it shares with Volkswagen’s most popular model – the Golf hatchback. It isn’t as refined as its chassis mate in terms noise quietening due to the large load space that can amplify noises into the cabin.

That slightly unrefined feel only comes in at lower speeds, so when it’s up to speed on the open road, it settles down nicely and feels more than refined enough. The slightly firmer suspension can mean bumps can be felt more in the cabin than usual, but that does mean it’s poised in the corners.

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Interior & Equipment

Volkswagen do a great job of making its vans feel as car-like in the cabin as possible, so the Caddy comes with a very similar interior to that of the Golf. It comes with an impressive amount of storage options, including compartments above the windscreen, in the door bins and on the dashboard, while all the equipment is well-laid-out for easier use.

With a van, you need plenty of load space in the back and as we tested the Caddy Panel van in its smallest guise, we found that the 3.2m3load space was easy to access and was unobstructed by the wheel arches. You can load up to 639kg of payload, too. Larger versions can offer up to 4.2m3of load space and an increased payload.

As standard, the Caddy comes with the Composition Colour DAB Radio with Bluetooth and USB/Aux-In connections, cloth upholstery, electric windows, manual air conditioning, anti-dazzle rear-view mirror, rubber floor covering, LED spotlights in the cargo area, 15-inch steel wheels, brake assist, driver alert system, front assist with city braking and multiple efficiency tech.

For the Highline model we tried, it also comes with a 6.33-inch infotainment touchscreen with Bluetooth and satellite navigation, the Lights and Vision Pack, front fog lights and alloy wheels. The Business Pack also adds rear parking sensors, air conditioning and security alarm.

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Cost

Excluding VAT, prices for the Caddy start from £14,325, making it one of the most affordable small vans on the market – especially when you consider the equipment on board as well. In Highline spec and with the additional Business Pack fitted, the Caddy costs from £24,445 – which came with the top-spec diesel as well.

With the top-end diesel on-board, you can expect to achieve at least 50mpg, while the petrol engines can get over 47mpg according to Volkswagen.

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Verdict

Even with newer rivals making their way on to the market recently, the Caddy’s update means that it can stake a claim as one of the best small vans around. The Business Pack adds further appeal to the model, whilst the low running costs can draw drivers in. It is a bit more expensive than some rivals, but the excellent spec and quality finish helps it to stand out above its main competitors.

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