The all-new Volkswagen Caddy Cargo, is the first VW van to be based on the MQB platform that underpins most of Volkswagen’s cars. This makes it much more fun to drive than previous Caddy’s & it now features the same interior as the VW car range. Improvements don’t stop there though. The new model also features new engines, new trim, improved suspension & improved tech & safety. There’s also much improved cabin quality & a more modern exterior.
Despite the clamour for electric vans, VW won’t be electrifying the Caddy & will instead be waiting for an electric ID Buzz Cargo which will be built on an all-electric platform. So, you have a choice of three 2.0 TDI turbo diesels, offering 75hp, 102 hp or 122hp plus a 1.5 TSI turbo petrol producing 114hp. All versions use AdBlue, with the Caddy’s system also featuring something called ‘twin dosing’ to reduce emissions even further.
Sizes & payload
The new Caddy Cargo is offered in two sizes: standard short-wheelbase (SWB) & Maxi long-wheelbase (LWB). Both models feature lower loading floors & with wider real wheel arches on both, than were offered on the previous model, it now means that Euro pallets can now be loaded into the cargo area sideways, with two Euro pallets now fitting in side by side.
Most models have a 1,500 kg braked towing capacity, with the 75hp diesel & 114hp petrol version limited to 1,400kg. The un-braked towing limit is 750kg.
Caddy Cargo is now 93mm longer then the previous version, at 4,500mm long. The wheelbase is also up by 73mm to 2,755mm. The van is 62mm wider than before at 1,855mm, excluding the door mirrors & is 5mm lower at 1,818mm, than the previous models height.
Outside dimensions on the new Caddy Maxi has reduced compared to the previous model, so maximum loading length has fallen from 2,249mm to 2,150mm.
All Caddy Cargos come with a fixed bulkhead & six load-lashing points. SWB models come with a single sliding side door on the passenger side while Maxi models come with two on either side of the van. Twin opening rear doors are a given & the Caddy’s doors open extra wide too. In a change from the previous model, the Caddy 5 comes with rear doors that don’t have windows. You can though, still get glazed doors or a tailgate if you want these.
The Caddy Cargo has three completely new trim levels; Commerce, Commerce Plus & Commerce Pro.
Entry level Commerce, costs from £22,458 & features, black bumpers, door mirrors & door handles, Composition Audio infotainment with 6.5″ touchscreen, DAB+ radio, Bluetooth, SD card slot, twin USB-C ports & two speakers, cruise control with speed limiter, electronic parking brake, electric door mirrors & windows, LED interior lighting, height adjustable front seats, a multi function steering wheel with reach & rake, a solid bulkhead & six load lashing rings. Business Pack for the entry-level Caddy Commerce adds air-con, parking sensors & an alarm.
Costing from From £24,228, Commerce Plus adds, body-coloured bumpers, rear parking sensors, air-con, a driver’s armrest, electrically adjusted lumbar support for the driver & load compartment lighting.
Range topping Cargo Commerce Pro increases the goodies as well as the price, £27,588, with front & rear parking sensors, silver sliding door rail, a heated windscreen, LED rear lights, alloy wheels & the Discover Pro Media navigation system with 10″ touchscreen.
It’s inside where things have noticeably changed, with the addition of new technology & a premium feel. Taking it’s cue from the Golf 8 & ID.3, Volkswagen have decided to ‘clean’ the dashboard up, so there’s very few physical buttons, with almost everything controlled by a central infotainment touchscreen display & a digital dial cluster. The Active Info display which sits in front of the driver, allows you to access the vans functions, again very car-like. And, the Discover Media nav system, adds an excellent 10″colour touchscreen & 4 speakers. Connectivity includes Apple CarPlay & Android Auto via twin ‘c’ USB connectors, but only on higher spec versions.
Much has been talked about the new controls & the infotainment within the van, but I found it relatively straightforward to use. Perhaps a week spent in a number of VW models had helped, because the lack of any switches could be a little daunting. To be fair to VW, there are some buttons. On the right of the steering wheel, you’ll find the lights & in the centre dash, located between two air-vents, are short-cut buttons labelled, ASSIST, CLIMA & MENU. This allows you whilst on the move for example, to select CLIMA & access the climate control functions on the touchscreen, which are easily adjusted. Furthermore, there are slim temperature controls neatly located under the touchscreen, so you can bypass the screen altogether, a sensible inclusion.
The floor features a rubber covering & there’s a drivers armrest on Commerce Plus, with Commerce Pro adding a passenger armrest as well. The glove box is a decent size, as are the door pockets & there’s a large bin behind the instrument cluster, an overhead shelf & useful space in the centre console. As with the Transporter 6.1, the Caddy 5 has adopted the USB C socket type, which may require you to purchase an adaptor or two, me included.
The Caddy 5 has a higher level of on-board connectivity than before. VW has named these as We Connect & We Connect Plus. They make use of a built-in eSIM that can provide a constant datalink between your van and the internet. We Connect allows you to lock & unlock your van, open your windows & check fluid levels. We Connect Plus adds Online Traffic Information, media streaming & an additional anti-theft alarm system. Both systems also allow ‘over-the-air’ updates, meaning that the Caddy can receive software updates without the need for the customer visiting a dealer.
Service & warranty
Perhaps the most important offering for SME van customers is the back up VW offer when you purchase one of their vans. Caddy Cargo gets the standard Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles warranty, which covers it for three years / 100,000 miles, whichever is sooner. On the fixed schedule the Caddy Cargo needs an oil service at 9,300 miles or 12 months (whichever is sooner) & an oil service plus a inspection every 18,600 miles or 24 months (whichever is sooner). On the variable service scheme, the same 18,600-mile / 24-month interval for the oil and inspection service remains, but a regular oil service sits between 9,300 18,600 miles.
For the first time, the Caddy is available with VW’s Trailer Assist system. Plus electronic stability control, hill-start assist & driver attention alert systems are also available. Travel Assist combines active lane keeping & came on our test van. Great if you’re driving at night, but truly annoying the rest of the time & turned off by me as soon as the van arrived.
The mid-range Commerce Plus SWB, looked pretty sharp when it arrived, in it’s Starlight Blue Metallic paint, a £612 extra. The cabin layout is the same as you’ll find in the latest VW car range, so no complaints there. Build quality is top-notch & the floor & seat coverings look built to last.
Powered by the 2.0 litre 122hp diesel engine, our teat van literally flew around & it’s really good fun to drive. Top speed is 115mph & maximum power offers you 320Nm’s of torque.
The engine comes with lowish CO2 emissions, of 127g/km & claimed combined fuel economy is 57.6 mpg. Over our usual stomping ground; M56, M53, M6, A556, A56 & Cheshire back lanes, we travelled over 250 miles & averaged 47.8 mpg, so a fair way down on the claimed, but to my mind, a typical figure for a diesel van. The 50 litre full tank means you can travel for 500 miles between fill-up’s.
The smallish stature of the SWB version, means excellent road holding, although the the suspension is a little on the hard side. The new electrically-assisted power steering is light & precise & the six-speed gearbox features a short, smooth shift. Changes to the front suspension have improved the steering response & the Caddy is easier to manoeuvre than the old model.
Brilliant build quality, on trend safety & tech & a car like driving experience, make the Caddy the best small van for creature comforts & drivability. It truly handles like a small family hatchback & is world’s away from vans of even 3 years ago.
The sub 1000kg payload will put some off. Standard equipment is good & way better then the Caddy 4. But, others notably Stellantis, with their small vans, offers more for less, such as Apple CarPlay & Android Auto, even on entry level models. On wet roads, noise entering the cabin is more noticeable than I would have expected. And, it’s not the cheapest van out there.
I loved driving the Caddy 5 & it’s comfortably the best small van I’ve ever driven. The cabin is a lovely place to be a swell. Most of what you want, is offered in entry level spec, but we would suggest you go for mid-range Commerce Plus which offers more goodies. We would also select the lower powered 102hp diesel version, which offers better fuel economy.
If you can handle the 780kg payload & want to drive a van that leaves you feeling like you’ve been driving a car, then the Caddy 5 is your man.
A Division Bell 4.25/5
Volkswagen Caddy Cargo load area dimensions
• Maximum load length: 1,797mm
• Maximum load height: 1,272mm
• Maximum load width: 1,613mm
• Width between the wheel arches: 1,230mm
• Width of rear opening: 1,234mm
• Width of side door opening: 701mm
• Load volume: 3.1 cubic metres
Volkswagen Caddy Cargo Maxi load area dimensions
• Maximum load length: 2,150mm
• Maximum load height: 1,274mm
• Maximum load width: 1,613mm
• Width between the wheelarches: 1,230mm
• Width of rear opening: 1,234mm
• Width of side door opening: 846mm
• Load volume: 3.7 cubic metres