Volkswagen’s compact van, the Caddy, is well established in the UK, having first arrived on these shores in 1982, and the fifth generation of the highly respected model will come to showrooms in March 2021.

The new Caddy is built on Volkswagen’s modular MQB platform that hosts a raft of front-wheel drive passenger cars, including the VW Golf. This results in a more comfortable driving experience, according to VW.

The rear axle is new – with a coil spring construction replacing a leaf spring design. It is designed and balanced to deliver better agility in all load situations, says VW, while maintaining ride comfort.

It will be offered with two wheelbase options – standard and Maxi – with carrying capacities of 3.1m3 and 3.7m3 respectively. These are down from the capacities of 3.2m3 and 4.2m3 in the current Caddy and Caddy Maxi.

Four engine options are on offer – 75hp, 102hp (the projected best-seller) and 122hp diesels, the last of which is new to the line-up, and a 114hp petrol. The 75hp and 102hp engines come with a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive, while the two more powerful engines can be had with an optional seven-speed auto. The 122hp diesel is also set to be available with four-wheel drive. The manufacturer says the new Caddy will be up for grabs in three trim levels, but has not confirmed what these will be called.

All new Caddys come with an infotainment touchscreen, measuring between 6.5in and 10in depending on spec, while a Digital Cockpit driver information display is available as an option. The introduction of the integrated eSIM, which is already a feature on the Transporter and Crafter models, allows access to mobile online functions and We Connect services.

Newly available safety systems include travel assist, which delivers assisted driving across the full speed range, and trailer assist.

Other standard equipment across the range includes electric windows, a height-adjustable driver’s seat and a new multifunction steering wheel.

Caddy range prices, excluding VAT, start at £17,800 for entry-level models. Mid-range models, priced from £19,275, include electronically controlled air conditioning, body-coloured bumpers, rear parking sensors, power-adjustable lumbar support for the driver’s seat, and a leather steering wheel. Top-of-the-range models, from £22,075, add satnav, front parking sensors, an anti-theft alarm system, power-folding door mirrors, LED tail lights and alloy wheels. At £26,850 the four-wheel drive Maxi will be the most expensive variant.

We got behind the wheel of a left-hand drive Caddy with the new 122hp 2.0 engine in a version equating to the top trim level due to the presence of the Discover Media satnav, the Lights and Vision pack (auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and rain sensors with automatic wipers and intermittent control), and alloy wheels. In the current nomenclature top trim is Highline.

Volkswagen has made 19 assistance systems available to the new Caddy and says six of these are new for the fifth-generation model. As we discovered, travel assist keeps the van on the straight and narrow on winding roads by pulling the steering back into lane and issuing audio warnings if you veer too close to the kerb or centre of the road.

Our van came with the snappy six-speed manual transmission and this worked in harmony with sharp steering and the responsive 122hp engine. With a half load in the back the handling and ride quality were impressive. As standard, the load bed is reached via twin rear doors and a nearside sliding door. Our van included optional glazed rear doors and a second sliding door on the offside. The Maxi gets the offside sliding door as standard. Customers can choose a tailgate rather than rear doors if they require shelter when loading or work at the roadside, for example.

The overhauled cabin is slicker than before, while new switchgear includes an electronic handbrake with auto hold function.

Volkswagen Caddy 5 2.0 122hp DSG 

Price (ex VAT) £22,075

Price range (ex VAT) £17,800-£26,850

Insurance group tbc

Warranty 3yrs/unlimited miles

Service intervals 10,000mls

Load length 1,779mm

Load width (min/max) 1,230/1,613mm

Load bay height 1,244mm (est.)

Gross payload 647kg (est.)

Load volume 3.1m3

Engine size/power 1,968cc/122hp

Combined fuel economy tbc

CO2 tbc