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Volkswagen Caddy 2.0 TDI DSG Maxi Panel Van Review: A Thoughtful Workhorse

The Caddy is a well-engineered commercial vehicle.
James Wong
James Wong
11 Nov 2023
The Caddy is very obviously a very well-designed commercial vehicle that has maximised functionality in the most thoughtful manner.
What we like:
Well designed
What we dislike:
Diesel engine could be even more efficient

Every once in a while, we’d review something out of the ordinary - and I don’t mean a two door, low slung supercar.

The Caddy is the first commercial vehicle I’ve driven in more than a year. It’s still enjoyable nonetheless, because I get to try a TDI engine again, which is essentially non-existent in the passenger car line-up in Singapore.

Installed into a vehicle for business use, the diesel engine makes perfect sense for its high-torque, fuel efficient characteristics. That diesel is being vilified in favour of electric cars is a shortsighted move, in my opinion.

Now installed with the new twin dosing system of two SCR catalytic converters and a double injection of AdBlue, the TDI’s NOx emissions are converted into water and harmless Nitrogen. There are petrol TSI, PHEV and even turbocharged natural gas options available overseas, but I’d stick with a diesel.

With 120 hp and more importantly 320 Nm, the Caddy is a very willing performer, and not just in the low RPMs, either. For perspective, the Caddy’s torque figure trumps that of the MkV GTI’s!

Speaking of GTIs, the Caddy is based on the modular transverse matrix (MQB) platform that the Mk8 Golf also sits on. It’s been around for a while, but shows nothing that betrays its age and is probably the reason why the Caddy feels very car-like to drive. Noise insulation is understandably pared down and there is a more rudimentary suspension setup, but there is little to complain about overall. The interior switchgear and technology is based on the Golf’s, so it is all laid out very logically. There is a useful reverse camera - especially when there is not much of a view from the center rear view mirror. There’s plenty of storage space, the most obvious one being a large shelf right above one’s head!

The MQB has allowed the Caddy to increase its wheelbase from 2,682 to 2,755 mm, as well as to have a completely redesigned rear axle to allow maximum width between the wheel housings. As a result, there is now a wider sliding door in the Maxi that will allow sideways loading of two Euro pallets. The floor of the loading area is also rubberised, which is a premium touch versus its competitors.

The Caddy is very obviously a very well-designed commercial vehicle that has maximised functionality in the most thoughtful manner. Overseas markets even get the Caddy in the form of a compact MPV and even a camper. If the Caddy Maxi is anything to go by, I’d loved to see those in Singapore one day!

Photos by James Wong


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