VW adds smaller engine to Caddy range, increasing the value offering a lot

VW has made van-life a lot more attainable for growing families and Instagram #VanLife hipsters, by dramatically lowering the price of its Caddy.

The VW compact van range adds a new 1.0 TSI variant to its South African line-up, at a saving of more than R100 000 to its nearest Caddy sibling. Although the 1-litre engine might sound woefully too small to move a seven-seater van around with any swiftness, it does benefit from a turbocharger feeding its three cylinders. Power peaks at 75kW, supported by 175Nm of torque, and a close-ratio five-speed manual gearbox ensures that you don’t have to always keep out of the far-right lane when journeying on vacation.

Priced at R306 600, this new Caddy 1.0 TSI offers tremendous value. For those less familiar with VW’s product portfolio and how Caddy positions within it, this is a contemporary ‘Kombi’ for families who don’t have huge garages and perhaps only two kids instead of five.

Evolved from the Golf5’s platform, it’s impressively less van-like to drive than most other multi-purpose vehicles and despite easy to navigate exterior dimensions, which are a blessing driving through crowded urban centres, the cabin is massive.

With Caddy’s third-row seating folded away, it can accommodate 750-litres of luggage and if you tumble its second-row seating into the floor, there’s 1.78m of load space available for transporting bulky objects. Equipment levels for the 1.0 TSI are fair, if not exceptional, with a touchscreen media sound system, air-conditioning, electric windows and height adjustable front seats.

Things you might like, and will have to pay extra for, include cruise control, park distance sensors (featuring an integrated reversing camera), Bi-xenon headlights (handy when driving unfamiliar rural roads at night) and a multi-function steering wheel.

Although South Africans have transitioned away from the van as a family vehicle, this new bargain-priced Caddy might convince many potential SUV owners, who hardly gravel travel, that there is a superior solution.

How has VW managed to price the Caddy 1.0 TSI so keenly? It’s a commercial opportunity made possible by the size of its engine. South African vehicle import taxes have a special dispensation for engines of 1000cc in capacity and VW’s expertise in building small and powerful engines has created the business case for this latest Caddy.

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