Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The Volkswagen Caddy Cargo is, in effect, a latest-generation Volkswagen Golf (a highly regarded family hatchback) with the passenger car body replaced with a van one. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the Caddy is one of the best-handling small vans on the market.
The steering, for example, responds quickly to your inputs, body lean is always kept in check and there is a surprising amount of grip. The current generation of Caddy gets coil suspension (a more advanced rear suspension design than most vans), so it rides lumps and bumps with real sophistication, regardless of whether the rear is loaded or not.
Another highlight is the integration of the 2.0 TDI diesel engine. There’s a small grumble when it starts up, but on the move it’s so quiet that you’d be hard pressed to say you were driving a van. It’s available with three power options – 74bhp with 184lb ft of torque, 101bhp with 207lb ft or 120bhp and 236lb ft – and because they are all turbocharged, they offer plenty of grunt across a wide spread of revs.
As is often the way, though, we reckon the sweet spot is the middle 101bhp engine, which supplies plenty of grunt for a wide variety of uses. We have yet to test the 1.5-litre petrol engine, but we’ll bring you our verdict when we get behind the wheel later this year.
A six-speed gearbox is standard across all models – a rare and welcome feature for a small van, because many entry-level models are assigned a five-speed by default. The gearbox itself is a great match for the engine and the shift action is slick and purposeful.
However, if your van is destined to spend a lot of time in the city, you might want to look at the optional seven-speed DSG automatic. It delivers super-smooth gearchanges that also happen to be lightning-quick, but it’s a shame it’s only available on the highest-powered diesel model or the petrol option.
In terms of overall refinement, as we mentioned earlier, the 2.0-litre diesel version of the Volkswagen Caddy Cargo is remarkably hushed at a cruise, but that does mean you hear more road noise than you might expect. We’d stop short of calling it properly intrusive, but at motorway speeds you find yourself having to turn up the radio to hear it clearly.
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