PICK YOUR CADDY: For business, play - or both, there is a Volkswagen Caddy to suit you

BY CHARL BOSCH - SEPTEMBER 10, 2014

What started out as a small and compact pick-up based on the Mark I Golf, the Caddy quickly morphed into the country’s best-selling compact van when Volkswagen decided on a change of segment for this model in 2004.

Fast forward to ten years later, and after undergoing a mid-life facelift in 2011, the Caddy range grew with the single short-wheelbase (SWB) van model being joined by an extended- length model known as the Caddy Maxi. More recently, a combination model called the Caddy Maxi Crew Bus was added to the range.

In essence, all three models use the same proven underpinnings of the Mark V Golf, are powered by the same 2.0 TDI engine making 81 kW and 250 N.m. of torque, route power through the front-wheels via a five-speed manual transmission, and are fitted with the same high quality interior trim.

Where each model differs from the other, is in length and seating arrangement. While the traditional SWB Caddy can haul up to 741 kg, the elongated Caddy Maxi can carry up to 813 kg thanks to an extra 470 mm.

Sitting at the top of the range, the Caddy Maxi Crew Bus goes one step further by adding an extra row of seats, which can be tilted forward to reveal the same flat floor as the normal Maxi, and a payload of 815 kg with the seats up.

Having never driven a van before, I was quite intrigued to find out what makes the Caddy tick when presented with the keys to the Maxi Crew Bus late last month.

What immediately became apparent was the mid-range shove of that 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine up front. With the full 250 N.m. available from as low as 1750 rpm, the engine made light work of the Maxi Crew’s extra bulk. Claimed fuel consumption is a low 5.9 L /100 km.

Likewise, the five-speed gearbox has a slick and precise shift action about it, while the clutch is light and the ride setup comfortable for this type of vehicle.

Standard spec of the Caddy Maxi Crew Bus includes a two speaker MP3 compatible sound system with aux input, dual sliding doors, daytime running lights, dual front airbags, ABS with ESP and traction control, half a dozen cup holders and a rubber floor in the cargo area.

In a country where load-hauling and leisure often means bakkie territory, the Volkswagen Caddy Panel Van range proves that you can do both for a lot less.

To find out more about Volkswagen’s commercial Caddy range, visit Tavcor Commercial Vehicles at the bottom of Mount Road, Port Elizabeth, or contact 041 404 4400.