By: Charles Molefe
The year 2020 can be described as the most dismal of experiences for motoring journalists, press fleets have been closed, access to any material worth mentioning was far scarcer. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted economies and has crippled major industries, however, not all is lost as we slowly gather pace into the norm. Level 3 has enabled some industries to open up and that has shone a great light of hope among the motoring industry.
I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of a vehicle from the Volkswagen stable, the Caddy to be exact. I was in two minds, wondering if this is the ideal vehicle to test during the transition of level 4 to level 3. My question was quickly answered as soon as I set eyes on the CADDY, it has its own way of capturing your attention and it somehow manages to be different whist it basks in its forefather’s glory.
The Caddy has had a few iterations, first up was the well sought after mini bakkie that took on the likes of the Ford Bantam, Mazda Rustler and arguably the Nissan 1400. It’s a pity that I am not privy to the previous sales figures, but I have my suspicions that it did well. Fast forward to the second generation that we never had the privilege of having on our shores it was oddly shaped and reminiscent of the loved Polo Classic. I would say the third generation was aimed at the commercial market, but it managed to steal some hearts of diehard Volkswagen fans, some setting records at various SPL competitions, further enhancing its load carrying capabilities.
Aesthetics and Comfort and Technology
When gazing at the CADDY you immediately pick up on the heritage that is quite apparent on a number of the products from the Volkswagen range, namely the popular Caravelle and its signature LED infused front-end lights. Volkswagen has managed to keep a stylish, executive and conservative approach to the looks of the CADDY, they have augmented its appeal to several prospective clients.
Where the CADDY outshines most is in the utility department, it can carry five passengers with the option of a seven-seater and has the added benefit of a boot that can gulp up 530 litres worth of amenities, this is more than sufficient to carry a number of items, the CADDY also comes equipped with a load cover that conceals the boot area, you will never have to worry about the security of any of the items you have stored.
The entertainment sphere is filled by a passive 6 speaker system that is linked to a simple to use infotainment screen. The audio system comes standard with Android Auto, Mirror Link and Apple CarPlay, to top it off, Bluetooth integration is seamless and tends to connect your mobile device with ease. There is a 12-Volt socket within close reach of the front passengers, however, a pair of USB slots would come in handy at the rear.
On the technology front, you get a number of features, Start-stop system with regenerative braking, tire pressure monitoring system, rain sensor, voice control and the voice enhancer system that can be found on the Caravelle and AMAROK, this system augments the driver’s voice by pumping their inputs through the speakers of the car, this will come in handy, especially when you are using the CADDY to shuttle around a couple of noisy passengers.
Economy and performance
The CADDY is powered by a 1.0 TSI engine that produces 75kW and 175Nm of torque, the numbers at first seem to be insufficient, however, you will be pleasantly surprised at how brisk acceleration is. 0-100 km/h is achieved in a claimed 12.1 seconds and has a top speed pegged to be to be 172 km/h. The powertrain is linked to a smooth 5-speed transmission that will see you slicing through the cogs with ease. The highlight of the performances figures are the economy, I managed to achieve a frugal figure of 6.5L/100 km which isn’t far off from the manufacturer claim of 5.6L/100km, on a full tank you will easily achieve a range of at least 650km’s, that figure can be improved depending on the driver’s right foot.
Very often we are privileged to test a number of vehicles from several manufacturers, my tenure with products from Volkswagen has always yielded great experiences, first, the GTI, which is our favourite all-around hatch, the Caravelle, which I consider to be one of the best people carriers on the market, followed up by the Golf R which ranks as the best performance hatch we have tested to date, the Polo beats, and its funky, yet safe approach to your daily commute, the brutal AMAROK V6, the slightly toned down but capable DARK LABEL, the sales darling T-CROSS and lastly the CADDY, Public Relations manager Siyanga Madikizela once mentioned that the Volkswagen brand covers every sphere of one’s life and my experiences can certainly confirm that.
If any of the above-mentioned vehicles are anything to go by, I am certain that the Toureg, Arteon and the upcoming T-ROC are easy choices to make. It makes sense that some families are Volkswagen “addicts” and if there was a reason why they are not, I certainly can’t find one.
Once again, the CADDY has managed to reinforce my thoughts of why my next car should be a Volkswagen, its does everything its claims to do and the greatest facet is its ability to feel like a car, a number of manufacturers fail to attain refinement and utility in a single package and somehow once again Volkswagen has hit the nail on the head.
8.5 / 10
Price as Standard:
• Park Assist (front and rear Park Distance Control with rearview camera)
• Removable towbar
• Lumbar support for the driver and front passenger seats – manually adjustable
• Displacement (cm3) 999cc
• Power 75W@5 000 – 5 500rpm
• Torque 175Nm@1 500 – 3 500rpm
• Transmission 5-speed manual
Warranty & Service
• Warranty 3 years /120 000km
• Genuine AutoMotion Service Plan 3 years / 60 000km
• Service interval 15 000km