Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Car Review – Auto Trader UK

26 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Car Review – Auto Trader UK

Volkswagen Caddy

Maxi car review

First Drive

The Volkswagen Caddy Maxi is an up-market, van-based people carrier which first appeared in Britain during 2008.

It slots between Volkswagen#8217;s Touran and Sharan people carriers, and has few direct rivals, although Fiat#8217;s now rather good Doblo is one less expensive alternative, as is Peugeot#8217;s even bigger Expert Teepee.

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life gallery:

Now the Caddy Maxi has been given a serious revamp, with big changes to the styling, interior decor and a new range of diesel engines.

The Caddy Maxi#8217;s mix of commercial vehicle space and car-like creature comforts remains as before, but in a refined, updated guise.

The vehicle#8217;s premium credentials carry a premium price.

Family face

Externally, Volkswagen has given the Caddy a new front end, with tapering headlamps that bring it visually into line with the Golf, Polo and Scirocco. The end result is less utilitarian than before. Tail lamps have also been mildly revised, there are new alloy wheels and other mild styling revisions.

Otherwise, the uncluttered, big-box-on-wheels look remains.

Inside, changes are subtle and low key. The dashboard, with its rounded vents looks familiar, but has been revised, and the driver is confronted with detail changes, such as a new centre console.

Volkswagen pioneered high quality finishes and plastics with its interiors, and the Caddy is no exception. Some trim materials have been revised, but everything its occupants touch has a quality feel. Hard, cheap plastics are few and far between.

Practical space

The Caddy#8217;s big, well-shaped seats have been redesigned. The third row bench remains slightly higher than the others, so that passengers don#8217;t feel claustrophobic. Behind this is a decent amount of luggage space #8211; something many seven-seat people carriers lack #8211; and any adults forced onto the rear-most seats will be pleasantly surprised at how spacious their bit of the cabin is.

The three middle occupants have even more room, and with two big side doors rear access is excellent.

The systems for folding, sliding or removing the solidly build seats are very simple. In the old Caddy, the middle row could only be folded. Now it#8217;s removable too, but all the rear seat#8217;s weight makes them challenging to haul about.

Do this and the cavernous interior offers 3,880 litres of space -enough for a wardrobe or fridge freezer.

The Caddy is also teeming with cleverly conceived oddments space, including neat roof mounted nets and a large recess above the windscreen.

Quieter, quicker, cleaner

Volkswagen has been quietly retiring its well-liked 1.9-litre diesel engines in favour of seriously upgraded 2-litre units, which feature the turbocharged, common rail fuel injection technology the company has made to work so well.

The latest engines are certainly quieter and smoother than their predecessors. In the Caddy Maxi they#8217;re available with 108 or 138bhp. These are mated to either six-speed manual or DSG, semi-automatic transmissions.

There are also 1.6-litre, 73 and 102bhp diesels, with either manual gearboxes or seven-speed DSGs. The smaller engines punt the Caddy along remarkably well – we drove a higher output 1.6-litre Caddy, and to start with, thought it was a 2-litre. Acceleration isn#8217;t startling, but feels brisk enough, and the power is delivered at low engine speeds, so the motors rarely sound strained.

The 2-litre builds on these strengths, and have strong torque or pulling power characteristics, without having to work especially hard. Maximum torque comes in from under 2,000 revs, making these cars relaxed motorway cruisers that offer easily accessible overtaking power when needed.

Both DSG transmissions were quick fire when changing gear, but the 1.6s in particular seemed a bit slow to kick down to lower gears when the accelerator is shoved into the carpet.

Performance wise the higher output 2-litre gets  to 62 in just under 11 seconds, and will top 116mph. It returns a combined 46-and-a-bit mpg, whilst producing 161g/km of CO2 in manual form. The DSG ads another 5g/km of CO2 and consumes about two mpg more fuel.

For the economically minded, there will be Bluemotion 1.6s with stop/start engine technology and other energy saving tweaks. These produce 136g/CO2 per km and return a claimed 55.4mpg.

On the road

The power steering now has electric assistance -it#8217;s more efficient- and is very light, but perfectly accurate. Cornering is tidy and surprisingly roll-free, the ride firm-but-civillised. In fact, the Caddy Maxi has van-friendly cart spring rear suspension, which is good for load lugging, but can provide basic road manners.

However, the Caddy hides this well.

Everyone sits high and enjoys commanding views, which is good for the driver. Less good is the Caddy#8217;s feeling of broadness, noticable on narrow roads, and a forest of thick pillars create some blind spots, making its reversing sensors very welcome.

Given the Caddy#8217;s shed-sized body, wind noise is surprisingly muted, and a lack of engine and tyre roar also contribute to a civillised drive.

Other changes

All the Caddy#8217;s engines meet Euro 5 emission standards. There#8217;s now a hill hold for the handbrake, a newly developed electronic stability programme system, upgraded climate control, sat nav and hi-fi. Controls for the latter can be found on the car#8217;s redesigned steering wheel.

The end result is an attractive, carefully thought out and quietly classy family vehicle, that exudes a mature quality. This does not make it cheap however, with entry level prices of £19,045 rising to £26,690 for the all-wheel-drive 4Motion.

Key facts:

Model tested: Volkswagen Caddy Maxi 2.0TDI DSG

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