VW Caddy test van eats up the miles
When a forgotten appointment involving a trip from Greater London to visit the Palletforce hub in Burton-upon-Trent loomed on the calendar, an emergency mode of transportation was needed and I'm pleased to say our Volkswagen Caddy long term test van proved just the ticket on a run that took in the M25 both ways and the M40 there but the M1 back – hey, variety and all that.
As a tall driver (just over six foot) the seat travel is just enough for a comfortable driving position before it his the mesh-wire bulkhead. The van was un-laden and therefore it was refreshing – at least until the salt spray on the journey home enveloped the Caddy – to be able to see out of the back of the van (the driver sits in front of a steel mesh and there’s windows at the back rather than the opaque panels you often find.
With a 400 mile round trip to cover, the engine proved frugal returning solid MPG (albeit without much weight on board) in and around the high forties/low fifties. As with all Volkswagens the display is clear and easy to understand, especially on a grey winter morning, and the interior is a pleasant place to be, feeling solid and good quality if a little workmanlike.
Never one to be disconnected entirely from the office, the Bluetooth paired easily to my phone in case it range, but it was the link to the audio system which provided welcome music streaming from my phone for the longish (for a day trip) drive. The sloshy fuel tank noise – apparently the fuel going into the filler neck when the tank is about 2/3rds full – was something I was aware of having previously borrowed a Caddy, and it’s initially a bit distracting but you soon zone it out to the noise.
Despite being fitted with stop-start technology it was largely underused due to the mainly motorway work involved in this particular trip, and while the ‘advanced cruise control’ sounds great, on this adventure I chose not to make use of it - although in principle it would have been ideal for the late night run back home down the M1.
Our particular model has automatic lights but no air-conditioning, not a problem at this time of year but come the summer months I maybe won't be jumping for the keys. Despite this and the cold weather it heated up the cab soon enough and coped well with keeping the screen clear and “steam free”.
The Caddy felt stable, even in its un-laden state on the motorway, yet nimble and easy to park and manoeuvre in town – and left me thinking it would be a fine companion for multi-drop work. It’s easy to drive, comfortable and a solid all-rounder that made the 300-plus miles covered in the day a stress free experience.