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Car reviews - Volkswagen - Caddy - Life TDI 250 people-mover

Launch Story

Volkswagen logo7 Dec 2010

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI and PHILIP LORD

FRESH from the Volkswagen factory is a new 2011 Caddy range that boasts standard electronic stability control (ESP) across the range, more efficient engines, a new dashboard and front-end sheetmetal, plus lower prices on some models and upgraded features at no extra cost on others.

The 2011 facelift also heralds the return of the Caddy Life, the short-wheelbase people-mover ditched from the range when the long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi Life was introduced in 2008.

The Caddy Van is a star performer for Volkswagen: second only to the Toyota HiAce in the van segment, it is Volkswagen’s top-selling light commercial vehicle.

The Caddy Maxi Life has not fared so well it has been a low-volume seller in the people-mover segment, currently running at 2.2 per cent of the sub-$55,000 people-mover segment.

The all-new engine range is labelled according to its peak torque figure, as per Volkswagen’s commercial range convention.

Two new TSI turbocharged petrol engines are offered in the 2011 Caddy, replacing the MPI 1.6-litre. Both the TSI 160 and TSI 175 engines are variations of the direct-injection 1.2 litre engine available in Volkswagen’s latest Polo and Golf hatchbacks.

The 1.2-litre TSI 160, standard in the entry-level Caddy, develops 63kW at 4800rpm and 160Nm of torque between 1500 and 3500rpm. The TSI 160’s combined fuel consumption is 6.9L/100km and CO2 output is 160g/km.

The 1.2-litre TSI 175, available in the Caddy Maxi, develops 77kW at 5000rpm and 175Nm of torque at 1550rpm. Combined fuel consumption is 7.0L/100km and CO2 output is 163g/km.

The Caddy’s 1.9-litre Pumpe-Duse engine has been replaced with two common-rail direct-injection diesel engines: the 1.6-litre TDI 250 in the Caddy and Caddy Maxi and the Caddy Maxi-only 2.0-litre TDI 320.

The people-movers, the Caddy Life and Caddy Maxi Life, are fitted with the diesel engines only: the TDI 250 in the Life and Maxi Life and the TDI 320 in the Maxi Life only.

The TDI 250 has a peak power output of 75kW at 4400rpm and peak torque of 250Nm at 1500rpm. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions for the Caddy TDI 250 manual is 6.6L/100km and 149g/km respectively (Caddy Life manual: 6.7L/100km and 152g/km). The automatic Caddy TDI 250 DSG achieves 6.5L/100km and 149g/km and Caddy Life TDI 250 DSG 6.6L/100km and 152g/km.

The long-wheelbase diesels are slightly heavier on fuel and carbon emissions. The Caddy Maxi TDI 250 manual averages 6.7L/100km and 152g/km and the Caddy Maxi TDI 250 DSG 6.6L/100km and 152g/km. The Maxi Life TDI250 is DSG-only and achieves 6.7L/100km and 155g/km.

The Caddy Maxi and Maxi Life are available with the 2.0-litre TDI 320, which develops 103kW at 4200rpm and 320Nm of torque at 1500rpm. Fuel consumption is 7.2L/1200km and CO2 emissions are 171g/km.

A five-speed manual transmission is standard for the two TSI engines and the TDI 250, with a seven-speed DSG transmission optional on TSI 175 and TDI 250 (the TSI 160 is five-speed manual only). A six-speed DSG is the only transmission available for the TDI320.

Measurements remain almost identical to the previous models. The Caddy Maxi Life’s new roof-rails add 25mm to overall height and the front is new from the A-pillar forward, while the rear section features only minor styling tweaks.

The side-opening ‘barn’ rear doors are standard on Caddy Van, with the one-piece lifting tailgate a no-cost option.

Steering is now electro-mechanical across the Caddy range, while the suspension continues to comprise a MacPherson strut front-end and a beam axle suspended by leaf springs at the rear.

Inside, the range has new instruments, controls and seat materials, plus, a three-spoke steering wheel. Second-row seats are now removable to increase load capacity in the Caddy Life, which now comes with the option of a third-row bench seat ($690) - standard on Maxi Life.

Standard equipment across the board includes ABS brakes with ESC/ESP, dual front airbags and daytime running lights. New options include adaptive cornering lights (integrated into the front foglights), side airbags and roof-rails to match the 100kg roof load capacity.

In addition, the Caddy Life features central locking with remote control, an RCD 310 CD sound system, air-conditioning, a multi-function display (including on-board computer), cruise control, dusk-sensing headlights with ‘coming home’ function, rain sensing wipers and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

A steering column adjustable for rake and reach and wheel covers for the 15-inch steel wheels are further standard inclusions.

The Caddy Maxi Life has as standard roof-rails, painted bumpers, 16-inch alloy wheels, chrome highlights, H7 headlights, tinted side windows (from the B-pillar), tinted rear window, a height-adjustable front centre armrest, underseat drawers for front seats and a front passenger seat that is also height adjustable, plus a leather steering wheel, leather gearshift knob and handbrake lever.

For the first time on the Caddy Maxi Life, the RNS 510 radio/navigation unit is available as a $3690 option. It features a touch screen, DVD player, voice control, an SD card slot and a 30GB hard drive.

Price reductions include a $1000 discount for the entry-level Caddy Van TSI 160, $750 less for the Caddy Maxi Van and a $340 saving for the Caddy Van TDI 250 over the previous 1.9 TDI.

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