Despite some cold air conundrums, the Caddy Cargo’s build quality and safety
Well, I’ve tried everything. I’ve even consulted the handbook. The late Neil McIntee, the legendary and much-missed former editor of What Van?, would have been horrified.
Yet despite all my best endeavours, I cannot persuade our long-term test VW Caddy Cargo Commerce Maxi 4MOTION’s climate control system to produce cold air.
Luke-warm? Yes. Chilly? No; and when the temperature rises I usually favour transforming the inside of the cab of any van I’m driving into something akin to the inside of a fridge.
Perhaps I’m missing something – I readily concede that it wouldn’t be the first time – but somehow I doubt it. I can only conclude that there is a fault somewhere that will need investigating by a dealer.
As a consequence I’ve been driving around with the windows wound down in hot weather, only to be soundly ticked off by the van’s ever-vigilant on-board computer for increasing aerodynamic drag and boosting fuel consumption and emissions as a consequence. What I called it can’t be printed.
It has also taken me to task for accidentally depressing the accelerator pedal when starting the vehicle because of the impact it has on fuel usage; a fair point, I suppose.
In addition I’ve been told to take a break after driving for an hour. Even at my advanced age I think that’s unreasonable, and it’s an instruction that is highly unlikely to be welcomed by a driver on a high-speed long-distance intercity run chasing a timed delivery slot.
On the positive side though – and putting the apparent inadequacies of the climate control package to one side for a moment – I remain in awe of the van’s overall build quality. The solid clunk the back doors make as you shut them – the sliding side doors and cab doors are the same – makes you want to open and close them again and again just for the sheer pleasure of it.
Put a heavy load on board and our test van pulls just as strongly as it does when it is empty, and when you push it hard around the highways and byways of Herefordshire you become more and more impressed with its handling and stability as each mile passes.
Safety and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles go together like Boris Johnson and cheese and wine parties at Number 10 (but with far more positive and praiseworthy effects) and our demonstrator’s safety pack includes Front Assist with Pedestrian Monitoring and City Emergency Braking System. The latter applies the brakes automatically should somebody step into the road just ahead of you; and I can guarantee that it works a treat.
As I drove around Queen Square in the centre of Bath late one evening a loved-up young couple who only had eyes for each other – and certainly not the traffic – wandered off the pavement straight out in front of me. The braking system reacted, and brought me to a halt – and the couple just kept walking, oblivious to the catastrophe that had just been averted.
What it is to be a teenager...
Report card: Equipment = 5/5
Stress on safety deserves top marks.
VW Caddy Cargo Commerce Maxi 4MOTION
Official combined fuel economy 51.4mpg
Our average consumption 43.5mpg
Price (ex VAT) £24,870
Warranty 3yrs/100,000 miles
Service intervals 2yrs/18,600 miles
Load length 2,150mm
Load width (min/max) 1,230mm/1,614mm
Load bay height 1,275mm
Load volume 3.7 m3
Gross payload 675kg
Braked towing weight 1,500kg
Engine size/power 1,968cc/122hp