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Driven: VW Caddy launched with petrol focus
Diesel buyers must wait as Volkswagen launches revamped Caddy with petrol variants
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16 Dec 2015
PETROL-ONLY versions of the revamped Volkswagen Caddy have been launched in Australia ahead of the diesels that, although currently unavailable due to the company’s global emissions cheating issue, are still slated for a second-quarter release.
Kicking off from $28,190 plus on-road costs for the Maxi (long wheelbase) Van TSI220 manual, the redesigned range of Polish-built commercial and people-mover vehicles promises significant improvements to performance, economy, efficiency, refinement, practicality, safety and comfort.
Central to all that is a new 92kW/220Nm 1.4-litre direct-injection four-cylinder turbo engine as per the Golf, bringing with it a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission option in lieu of a standard six-speed manual – the first time buyers can specify a petrol auto in the series.
Previously diesel only, the Caddy gets DSG petrol to primarily to battle the increasingly popular Renault Kangoo in 78kW 1.5-litre naturally aspirated four-speed auto format, although the Caddy starts at $28,990 plus on-roads for the short-wheelbase TSI220 DSG – $5500 more than the French van.
Sometime in the first quarter of 2016, a 62kW/160Nm 1.2-litre four-cylinder TSI160 Caddy Runner manual will arrive as the entry-level van, offered in a single-spec manual for about the same price as the outgoing version that retailed for $22,990 driveaway.
No auto will be made available in this configuration. It will also be followed by a 75kW 1.6-litre and (circa) 110kW 2.0-litre TDI turbo-diesel models (traditionally the bestsellers with well over 80 per cent of all volume), completing the MY16 Caddy rollout.
More information about these will be divulged sometime early in 2016.
Nevertheless, Volkswagen has high hopes for the 1.4 TSI, since it offers sizeable efficiency upgrades, even compared to the old 1.2 TSI manual, as well as cheaper pricing than the TDI DSGs. It averages 6.0 litres per 100km (manual: 6.2), representing a 20 per cent increase in power, 26 per cent increase in torque, and an 11 per cent decrease in fuel consumption.
The new larger petrol drivetrain with DSG availability reflects the Caddy’s adoption of Volkswagen Group’s up-to-date MQB modular transverse platform drivetrain technology, though this new C4 generation is really only a heavily modified version of the Mk3 2KN-series van that surfaced in 2004.
Consequently, it gains a raft of upgrades, including idle stop (that falls under the branded Bluemotion badge), Multi Collision Braking (that applies post-impact braking to mitigate further damage), Fatigue Detection (a coffee cup icon in the instrumentation), and – on the Caddy people-movers – second-row curtain airbags.
Additionally, driver-assist devices such as autonomous braking (City EB in VW-speak) is available, as are adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.
Everything else is as per the previous Caddy, meaning two wheelbase dimensions (2682mm and 3006mm Maxi respectively), with the latter resulting in a 47mm longer body, for a one cubic metre boost in cargo space.
With a 1779mm length, the SWB’s business end is rated at 3200 litres, 1000 litres under the Maxi, which offers 2249mm to play with. The standard van has a single sliding side door (double on Maxi), while barn or tailgate openings are the choices out back.
There is also a Maxi Crewvan with five seats and a configurable capacity of between 3950 and 4130 litres. For the first time, the Crewvan’s side door windows can slide open.
Moving on to the Caddy people-movers, with five seats there’s 730 litres, 200 litres more than the seven-seater Maxi version.
Where applicable, all rear seats can be removed to raise capacity to 3030 litres (Maxi: 3880L), while creating a level floor area of 1781mm (Maxi: 2250mm). Payloads start at 750kg, and can reach 850kg-plus, depending on the model.
The front-drive platform employs the old Golf V’s beefed-up MacPherson strut front end, while a leaf-spring set-up on all variants brings strength as well as flat rear floor section.
Stylistically, the Caddy looks similar to its MY11-15 2KN predecessor, with most body panels shared, save for the redesigned headlights, grille, bumpers, tail-lights and lift-up tailgate sheetmetal.
The people-mover versions also gain smaller mirrors, instead of the obviously van-like items that continue in the commercial variants. There is far greater differentiation inside too, with what Wolfsburg calls a “more closed look” to the now more angular dashboard.
A redesigned and more car-like fascia in all models steps up with fresh instrumentation, the belated inclusion of a glovebox as part of an improved storage set-up, and more contemporary trim.
On the multimedia/infotainment fronts, the people-mover scores a reversing camera (optional on the vans) and rear parking sensors, as well as either a five-inch or 6.3-inch touchscreen (again, as per Golf), that also brings latest Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. An all-round bird’s-eye optical camera can be specified too.
Speaking of options, literally hundreds of configurations are available, along with a number of packages, including the Driver Assist (around $2300) and Interior Comfort (about $850, and includes auto headlights and wipers and additional 12V outlets), depending on variant.
People-movers gain the time-honoured Trendline and Comfortline variant nomenclature, with the latter range-topper arriving in the long-wheelbase version only. It builds on the standard 16-inch steel wheels, daytime running lights, cruise control, leather multi-function steering wheel, rubber floor and driver’s seat height/lumbar adjustments with niceties such as alloys, fog lights, climate control, a larger touchscreen and more luxurious trim.
Navigation, extra windows, heavy-duty suspension, a trailer hitch pack and even third-row seating on SWB Trendline for $990 if the LWB doesn’t suit complete what is a very comprehensive range. Volkswagen says it retained the old body (and much of the chassis) to help make carryover fit-outs from existing models easier.
Launched in 2004, more than 20,400 Caddys have been sold in Australia.
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