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Birthday Special

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Volkswagen probably didn’t have your average van buyer in mind when they dreamt up the Edition 30

First Drive Impressions

Birthday celebrations are a funny one. When you’re younger notching up another year is usually a raucous celebration focused on getting hopelessly drunk, but as you mature the relentless desire to find yourself face down in a gutter – your best shirt stained with chilli sauce or worse – generally subsides. You might even buy yourself a birthday present. After all, years of fake delight at receiving socks and aftershave will have taught you that such well-intentioned gifts can only partially fulfil your eternal desires.

Gentlemen of a certain age may well do both. For example, a 21 year old celebrating this milestone birthday is perfectly entitled to get mind-alteringly drunk and get a tattoo of the Duchess of York across their back, should they wish. The heady mix of a (hopefully) disposable income and the (expected) fear of youth slipping uncontrollably away, will, or may already have, proved too tempting to resist such celebratory activities.

But, I seriously doubt that while celebrating the Volkswagen Caddy’s 30th birthday, someone at VW got drunk, however, at £19,150 (before the VAT) I’m fairly sure anyone buying this special birthday Caddy Edition 30 model, would have to be fairly inebriated.

Don’t get me wrong, the Caddy is a great van. It has its faults – namely the swimming pool sound effect created by the narrowing fuel filler neck – but to drive and use on a day to day basis, it is as comfortable and economical as a city van gets. This particular version also has VW’s outstanding DSG gearbox, that shifts so seamlessly and with such speed that I would implore anyone considering a Volkswagen to forgo the notchy manual and head straight for the dual-clutch six speeder. The Caddy also looks incredibly smart both inside and out, and has a design that promises to age well.

What this van doesn’t need is the equivalent of a sparkly new part frock. Birthdays can be messy, but your average van’s working life is messier, which is why Alcantara leather seats and 17-inch Budapest black alloy wheels that stick out beyond the bead of the tyre are entirely inappropriate for a van that doesn’t even get a sportier engine.

I’ll concede it does look good, but no better than a regular Caddy. You may well want air conditioning, the Bluetooth connectivity kit and some electric mirrors. They are all sensible options for the modern van man, but chrome radiator grilles? Chrome bits belong on shouty superminis, along with the two-tone roof and snazzy limited edition decals.

The sober folks at Volkswagen probably didn’t have your average van buyer in mind when they dreamt up the Edition 30. Their target buyer is probably a trendy twenty-something with bleached hair and a body board, who in a few years time – maybe on their 30th birthday – will look back and regret spending the extra money on  a supermini lookalike  with scuffed wheels and mucky seats. Instead, they’ll be thinking, ‘I wish I’d bought a proper van, and saved my money to get that tattoo removed.’

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