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Long-term report: Our Volkswagen Caddy’s colour continues to divide opinion

Reviews | Published:

The Volkswagen Caddy is proving to be the perfect workplace tool, but it’s not gaining many fans in other areas

The Caddy's large rear section provides great access

We’ve had the Caddy now for a couple of months and it’s already proved to be a capable tool. Its large load bay and easy accessibility mean it has quickly become a valuable member of the video department, while its economy, at around 55mpg, has done the impossible task of keeping the bean counters happy upstairs.

There’s one place where it’s less welcome though, and that’s at home. 

I’m not sure whether it’s the outlandish Viper Green paint job, or the fact that it’s a van that’s putting her off, but whatever the reason – it’s banned from the driveway at home. Considering we used to have a Volkswagen Transporter on long-term test, and that was ‘accepted’, I can only think it’s the colour that’s she’s not such a fan of.

Even when with supercars, the Caddy stands out
(PA)

But I’m sure there are other reasons too.

For me, a good commercial vehicle is something that’s not only capable of doing the nine-to-five job, but can also cope with family life too. Unfortunately, our Caddy does fall down in the latter department. Yes, it can does well with runs to the tip and picking up odd bits of furniture, but apart from that it’s primarily a work tool. 

Inside, the cabin is strictly utilitarian, and there’s very little in terms of premium fit and finish.

While the plastics are soft touch and durable in places, which is exactly what you’d expect for a VW, there’s nothing that really lifts it into the realms of desirability – but then it is a van, of course. It’s not the sort of vehicle you could take your significant other out for a romantic date for example, especially when I’ve heard a variety of nicknames from ‘Slimer’ (from the movie Ghostbusters) to ‘the Bogey’.

This problem could, of course, be alleviated somewhat by picking your Volkswagen Caddy in a slightly more understated colour.

The Caddy has proved to be a key member of the video team
(PA)

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Then there’s the divider between the front seats and the load bay. I understand that it’s there to stop items in the back sliding into the front, but at times it feels like you’re driving a prison van. Marley, our pooch, also wouldn’t like being in the back with no view out, so instead he get ferried around in my personal Volkswagen Touareg which is considerably thirstier. I’m sure the view out for dogs in the back wasn’t consideration VW designers made when building the Caddy, but as a family workhorse it’s a big factor for us.

Another area where the Caddy falls down is refinement. As a commercial vehicle designed to carry loads, you accept that you’re not going to get Audi levels of refinement, but the noise isn’t great. In fact, even when you’re trying to have a conversation with your passenger, the rumble can be distracting. But where it’s most noticeable is when you’re using the hands-free Bluetooth – on several occasions the conversations are inaudible.

The Caddy's interior is logically laid out
(PA)

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It’s not all bad though. One feature that has gone down well with the other half is the parking system. As you can imagine, visibility is pretty poor – there’s no rear window and even if there was, that divider would obscure the view. The lack of visibility means that parking can be tricky, but thankfully it’s been aided with the self-park system, which detects spaces, then adjusts the steering while the driver controls the throttle and brake to get you into even tight spaces.

The other benefit of the Viper Green paint job is that you never lose it in a car park.

It really does stand out, and funnily enough, I’ve seen quite a few of our Caddy’s siblings in the same colour out on the road – so just as many people must love it as those who dislike it. 

Next stop for the Caddy though is a variety of long journeys up and down the country for some shoots.

  • MODEL: Volkswagen Caddy C20 SWB Highline
  • PRICE: £27,011
  • ENGINE: 2.0 TDI 102ps 5spd manual Common Rail Diesel
  • POWER: 100bhp
  • TORQUE: 250 nm/lbs ft @ 1300-2800rpm
  • MAX SPEED: 107 MPH
  • 0-60MPH: 12.0
  • MPG (COMBINED): 60.1MPG
  • EMISSIONS: 124 g/km CO2

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