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2015 VW Caddy revealed

Big changes are planned for Volkswagen's smallest van.

The Caddy is already a clear bestseller in the Australian baby van segment. The fourth-generation model with a host of upgrades, including new safety technology, smart powertrains and fresh styling, should further increase its appeal.

The new Caddy will be introduced in Europe in June, but won't arrive here until the last quarter of this year.

It appears as though the wait will be worth it. Among the headline features of the new Caddy is City Emergency Braking, which is available on a few passenger cars.

Operating at lower speeds, it uses a type of laser to detect objects in front. When it determines the object is getting closer and a collision is imminent, it not only sounds an alert but also applies the vehicle's brakes.

This setup has great potential to reduce the amount of driver and passenger injuries and in some cases reduce their severity.

A reversing camera will also be available on the Caddy, which is refreshing given the poor vision in vans.

It is most effective in reducing lower speed nose-to-tail crashes, which should be appreciated by van drivers or fleet operators, who know how such accidents can prove costly thanks to time off the road and the bill for repairs.

VW is going further with the Caddy's optional radar-based adaptive cruise control, which adjusts the speed of the van depending on the pace of vehicles in front (and can also perform emergency braking). This operates at up to 160km/h, although we're not sure when a van driver would go so fast.

A reversing camera will also be available on the Caddy, which is refreshing given the poor vision in vans.

Capping off the technology suite is the automatic parking, which is increasingly available on passenger cars.

VW says the kerbside and perpendicular parking assistance will be of great use to couriers, although some may suggest that couriers should be capable of parking a van.

The maker has freshened the styling of the Caddy, which takes on the latest small passenger design cues as seen on the Polo and Golf.

As you might expect from VW, the design is clean and sharp, but not bold or adventurous. There are front and rear tweaks but the body shape remains essentially the same, which means there is no impact on practicality.

The designers also spent some time updating the interior.

The leanest version of the engine... averages less than 4.0L/100km

There are changes to the dashboard, with new vents and a new mid-mounted multimedia screen.

Volkswagen's engineers also worked hard to comply with Euro6 emissions requirements, developing a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel that will be available in Europe.

VW is keeping the exact economy numbers close to its chest, but says the leanest version of the engine, fitted to the Caddy BlueMotion model, averages less than 4.0L/100km, which is remarkable. There is a Euro5 version of this engine, which could well be the one chosen for Australia.

Outputs start at 55kW and top out at 103kW. There was no mention of the torque figures for either version of the engine.

There was also no mention of a petrol engine at the European preview but it is likely that at least one petrol four-cylinder engine will be made available as is the case currently.

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