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Volkswagen Caddy 2010 Review

Volkswagen can’t put a wheel wrong at the moment. The Golf won last year’s Carsguide Car of the Year; it’s small sibling Polo collected both this year’s CCOTY and our Best Green Car award, to say nothing of a swag of honours from lesser media outlets.

A brand which was a local also ran five short years ago, is now a permanent fixture in the top 10. And, globally, Toyota quakes at the gathering momentum of VW’s tilt at global dominance.

The Golf remains VeeWee’s lifeblood though. Versions of that perennial model and those others that it underpins are becoming too numerous to count.

The Caddy range, a comparative newcomer to these shores (it debuted here in 2004), is in its commercial van guise Europe’s most successful compact cargo carrier. The people moving version, the Caddy Life and the long wheelbase Caddy Maxi Life, have seats – seven in the latter’s case – where the van has space.

It is essentially a long, tall Golf. We drove the range topping Maxi TDI320 at its Australian launch this week.

VALUE

While the commercial Caddy vans start from as little as $22K, the five seat Caddy Life is $28,990 for the manual TDI250, $31,990 with the seven speed version of the twin clutch DSG auto. A third row of removable seats is a $690 option.

That’s a standard fitting on the long wheelbase Maxi Life, as are roof rails, tinted and DSG. It’s $39,990 for the TDI250, $42,990 for our TDI320.

If you see the seven-seater as a rival for those people movers listed below, then its right among them in terms of go for the dough – at least the TDI320 is. Torque doesn’t come cheap, but even without experiencing the smaller engine variant, you feel it’d struggle to stay in the hunt with seven souls and their gear aboard.

Confusingly for other VW buyers, but in keeping with commercial customer demand, it is the torque rather than power figure that gives each model its marketing name. The three grand for the TDI 320’s extra 70 Newton metres strikes us as money well spent.  The top dog also gets chrome bling, 17-inch alloys, roof rails and removable rear seating.

TECHNOLOGY

While the TDI250 has the newer seven–speed DSG, the 320 has the heavier hitting six-speed on the 320 to deal with the common rail direct injection four-cylinder turbo diesel. It’s a drivetrain familiar enough by now, but one its competitors cannot match for sophistication nor economy.

DESIGN

All models get twin sliding doors, and the choice of a barn door or a tailgate at the back. The Maxi, 40cm longer than the five-seater at more than 4.8 metres and as tall at 1.2 metres, is cavernous within.

With seven seats up (the back two are strictly for kids), there’s 530 litres to stick stuff, 3700 with five seats stowed. Its commercial antecedents are a bit too obvious at this money, though the rather delivery van look also means plenty of storage nooks in which children can stick half chewed confections and lose fiddly playthings.

Up front it’s pure Mark VI Golf, with steering wheel mounted audio controls and multi function display on which the speedo might just be the most useful. Factory sat-nav can be optioned.
 
SAFETY

Top notch as it ought to be, with assertive if slightly touchy brakes, vouchsafed by ABS, electronic stability program, brake assist and a full array of airbags. Golf scores five stars in European crash testing, as should this.

DRIVING

It’s a bit, like, well … a long, tall Golf. Which can only be, within the constraints of its type and intended use, about as good as it gets.

Mildly stretched on a bit of the old Pacific Highway, the Maxi was easily capable of holding double the signposted cornering speed. The DSG, so often accused of being hesitant off the mark, for some reason runs better works better with this engine in this model than any of the many in which we’ve tried it.

The Golf’s steering seemed to loose feeling in the transition between Marks V and VI, and that’s another aspect that carries over to the people-moving version. But it is direct and accurate, certainly more than enough for its likely use.  The real test would come fully loaded, but it’s hard to imagine the TDI320 not having enough grunt to get he job done.

VERDICT

It’ll move the people and/or most of their stuff. 70/100

VOLKSWAGEN CADDY MAXI LIFE

Price: $39,990-$42,990Engines: 1.6L turbo diesel (75kW/250Nm), 2.0L turbo diesel (103kW/320Nm)
Transmissions: 7- or 6-speed twin clutch auto
Thirst: 5.8/100km (TDI250); 6.3L/100 (TDI320)

Pricing Guides

$11,999
Based on 39 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$3,913
Highest Price
$14,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.6 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $6,160 – 8,690 2010 Volkswagen Caddy 2010 1.6 Pricing and Specs
1.9 TDi 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $8,970 – 14,990 2010 Volkswagen Caddy 2010 1.9 TDi Pricing and Specs
Maxi 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $8,800 – 12,430 2010 Volkswagen Caddy 2010 Maxi Pricing and Specs
Maxi TDI250 1.6L, Diesel, 5 SP MAN $7,880 – 15,000 2010 Volkswagen Caddy 2010 Maxi TDI250 Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$9,999

Lowest price, based on 5 car listings in the last 6 months

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