Spring 2004 saw the arrival of Volkswagen’s current Caddy on the streets of the UK. And the big news is that Maxi longwheel base versions joined the line-up in the first quarter of 2008.
Three engines are up for grabs and all are diesels. The 2-litre SDI normally aspirated unit produces 69hp and develops 140Nm of peak torque, while the 1.9TDI provides 104hp and 250Nm. Go for the new 2.0TDi and power rises to 140hp with torque peaking at 320Nm. VW is sticking with unit-injection for its Caddy engines, instead of going common rail, at least for the time being. The 2.0SDI and 1.9TDI drive the front wheels via a manual five-speed gearbox, while the 2.0TDI benefits from a six-speeder.
The 6-speed DSG semi-auto gearbox option is superb. Suspension is conventional with an independent MacPherson strut front assembly and a leaf-sprung axle with an anti-roll bar at the rear. Brakes are discs all-round and ABS and traction control are included. Power steering is standard.
Asymmetrically split rear doors give access to the 3.2m3 (4.2m3 for Maxi) load bay and there’s the option of one or two sliding side doors. Six load-tie points are provided. With a GVW in excess of 2,200kg, a payload of 815kg and the ability to tow a braked trailer grossing at up to 1,400kg Caddy is pretty heavy duty.
The cab is classic VW; not particularly inspirational, but practical. The gearstick is floor-mounted and the seats are set at a sensible height for ease ofaccess. We reckon the SDI is under-powered for some applications, but the TDIs are well up to the job. Refinement is good with very little vibration transmitted from the engine. The ride quality and handling are well up to par, although the steering hinders the latter as it is a tadover-assisted.
VW’s Caddy has rock solid build quality and is designed for heavy work. The addition of the Maxi variants broadens the appeal of this excellent workhorse.