Motormouth – Gordon Hall
Tea for fourteen: We take the lid off VW’s New Caddy
The facelift was thorough – there are 4200 new components – but other things count for more.
From the front one notices that the roof ridges have gone and wheels are new; so are the headlights, grille, front valance, fog lamps, lower air intake and bonnet. A rear-three-quarter viewpoint reveals different side windows; rear glass that goes all the way across; a new roof spoiler with slimmer high level brake light; a changed back bumper and reshaped tail- and fog lamps.
Interior changes include a reshaped dash with silvered cross strips, new air vent grilles, a new steering wheel and a reshaped instrument cowling.
Also new is more power for the 1600 cc petrol engine found in basic panel vans and crew busses (up from 75 kW to 81), upgraded entertainment and connectivity systems and post-collision braking fitted to all models. Hill hold is included on all Trendline passenger carriers but optional on upper level Crew Busses and Panel Vans. Probably more important to those with ground to cover, quickly, is the reworked rear suspension. It’s more comfortable and makes the vehicle handle better.
The range has been expanded to 14 models: five panel vans, four crew busses, three Trendlines and two Alltracks that replace the old Cross Caddy, while adding a more powerful alternative with six-speed DSG. Alltrack offers neither an increase in ground clearance nor awd.
Engine choices include the revamped 1.6i petrol motor mentioned earlier, the familiar 81-kW spec of VW’s 2.0 diesel and the 103-kW TDi that is teamed only with DSG. Quite correct; to get the one you must take the other.
Naturally, starting off with fourteen models and a fairly comprehensive options sheet, the choices are many. Short wheelbase vans have a sliding door on the left but a second can be added. Similarly with all crew busses and the short wheelbase Trendlines; they seat five but can be optioned up to carry seven. The beauty of it is that one can fold, tumble or remove all but the front seats in order to create almost infinitely variable inner space. Then we get into entertainment systems, air conditioning, comfort- and lighting packages, 360-degree optical parking system and rear-view camera.
Briefly, panel vans come in either short or long wheelbase with LWB adding 470 mm of floor length to bring it up to 2249, a cubic metre of loading volume to create 4.2 m3 and 70 kilograms more payload capacity to make 815. Loading sill height is either 577 or 588 mm, depending on model and ground clearance is between 163 and 166 mm. In true VW fashion, you can fit a DIN-sized pallet through the rear doors.
An 81-kW diesel Sport panel van boasts 16” alloy wheels, electric windows, Composition Audio sound with LCD screen, cruise control, exterior trim items in body colour, front fog lamps with static cornering function and towbar preparation. It also qualifies for further options.
Moving up, Trendline models are sophisticated people carriers offering a greater variety of upmarket items like electric windows, Climatic air conditioning, cellphone connectivity, music interfaces and multifunction displays. Five seats are standard on swb versions with seven chairs optional, while the long wheelbase derivatives all seat seven.
In between are the crew busses. The price differential between similarly speced vans and busses is only around R14 000 but there is a reason. Interiors are rather Spartan so if you hoped to one-up your neighbour and his or her Trendline, it would be wise to forget it. Crew Bus is strictly for moving crew – not the CEO.
(Information gathered at a manufacturer-sponsored press event.)
Retail Prices (VAT Included and emissions tax on passenger models)
Panel Vans: R234 000 to R317 900
Crew Bus: R226 800 to R331 100
Trendline: R351 200 to R399 300
Alltrack: R365 400 to R395 000
Service and Warranty
Caddy Panel Van and Crew Bus (except 1.6 with 81kW – service plan optional) come standard with a 2 year/unlimited kilometres warranty and a 3-year/60 000km Automotion Service Plan.
Caddy Trendline (including Alltrack) comes standard with 3 year/120 000 kilometre manufacturer warranty and a 3-year/60 000km Automotion Service Plan.
All models have a 12 year anti-corrosion warranty and 15 000 km service intervals
Pics by Quickpic; Words by Gordon Hall
The Midlands background: Alwyn Viljoen, from that other Midlands paper, and I shared an early drive up to Fourdon,
just outside Nottingham Road, where we met the outgoing rotation of journalists for breakfast.
Edendale-born VW Brand PR manager, Andile Dlamini, then loaded us into a Caravelle for the trip to King Shaka International where we met the incoming contingent from The North.
Because we’re locals, AV and I were let loose in a top-of-range Caddy Trendline with six-speed DSG and left to find our own way back. Obviously, we took the scenic route through the Midlands Meander with side bar via Petrus Stroom and Piggly Wiggly to show him some roads he had not yet met.
Arriving at Fourdoun on the tail end of the group, despite having left first, we relaxed for a while before shuttling to the Nottingham Road Brewing Company for a tour and tasting. Their original range of beers has grown somewhat. Try them sometime.
After freshening up, it was off to Fourdoun’s new Conference Centre to be shown the vehicles in more detail and to get acquainted with the technical stuff. This was followed by fascinating talks by Fourdoun’s MD, Richard Bates, and resident Sangoma and Inyanga, Dr Elliot Ndlovu.
Following a stunning dinner prepared by Master Chef, Lorenzo Giliomee, in the hotel’s Skye Restaurant, it was off to dreamland. After an early meal, chosen from the most comprehensive breakfast menu I have ever encountered, AV and I left before the crowd, at around 7:30 a.m. Deadlines await no scribe, unfortunately.
As we confess quite often; it’s a dreadful job but someone has to do it …