The Caddy has long held a deserved reputation for being one of the most well built and highest-quality light vans in the marketplace.
It has also picked up a less welcome name for being, well, a little boring when it comes to styling. When the fourth-generation Caddy arrived in the UK in September 2015 it did not appear to be radically different to its predecessor despite having taken on restyled headlights and a sharper, more angular look to the front wings and bonnet.
But the introduction of a limited-run Black Edition to the model’s line-up in November 2016 may help it to shed its understated, conservative image. Just 500 special-edition vans, which have a basic price tag of £17,983, excluding VAT, will be available to UK customers.
In addition to the top-of-the-range Highline trim level the Black Edition’s exterior gets – no surprises here – black pearl-effect paint, black roof rails, body-coloured bumpers, door mirrors and handles, front fog lights with cornering lights, lowered suspension (by 27mm) and 17-inch two-tone black and silver alloy wheels.
Inside, the Black Edition features full carpeting, a leather multi-function steering wheel, gearknob and gaiter, climatic air-conditioning and heated windscreen.
Volkswagen claims the extras would normally put £2,000 onto the price of a Highline but are available on the special-edition model for just £800. Otherwise, the Black Edition still gets all the goodies that come with the Highline, such as cruise control, DAB radio, rear parking sensors (although these two are commendably standard from entry-level Startline) and VW’s Driver Alert System, which registers deviations from normal steering patterns at speeds of above 40mph and uses visual and audio warnings to alert the driver and recommend they take a break.
Like all Caddys in the range this one is equipped with Volkswagen’s suite of Bluemotion technologies. These include stop/start, hill-hold assist, regenerative braking and low-rolling resistance tyres. As a result, the Caddy Black Edition returns 60.1mpg on the official combined cycle and has CO2 emissions of 123g/km.
By way of comparison, arch rivals the Ford Transit Connect claims 70.6mpg in its most frugal 1.5-litre Econetic guise, but the rest of the 1.6-litre diesel models come in at just under 60.0mpg.
Also in common with the rest of the Caddy line-up, the Black Edition comes with a 3.2m3 load space and a payload capacity of 628kg. The cargo box is reached through twin rear doors as well as a near-side sliding door. Six lashing rings are installed to secure loads but the cab occupants are protected by a full-height bulkhead with solid lower and mesh upper portions in any case.
The Caddy is available with a Euro6 2.0-litre diesel producing either 102hp or 150hp and three Euro6 petrol engines: an 84hp 1.2, a 102hp 1.0 and a 125hp 1.4. The Caddy Black comes with the 102hp diesel coupled to a five-speed manual transmission, and once out on the motorway it could really do with a sixth gear to reduce engine noise.
On the plus side, an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat and reach- and rake-adjustable steering wheel make for a comfortable driving position.
Being the lower powered of the two diesel engines on offer the performance is not blistering, with a 0-62 time of 12 seconds and a top speed of 107mph. But this is not one of the brand’s highly tuned Sportline models – its appeal is in its looks.
A sleek-looking special-edition model that retains the Caddy’s traditional virtues of practicality and class-leading build quality.