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VW will unleash the fourth-generation Caddy and Caddy Maxi light van into the UK this September, although prices and specifications have not yet been confirmed. The new derivative does not look much different from its predecessor, but under the surface there is a raft of new safety and fuel-saving technology.
It will come with a selection of Euro6 and Euro5 diesel engines, although the Euro5 engines will be phased out when the more stringent Euro6 technology becomes mandatory in September 2016.
The four petrol engines that the brand will launch in other European markets will not initially come to the UK but could be introduced later if there is sufficient demand, according to VW.
All Euro6 diesel engines will be 2.0-litre powertrains and will have power outputs ranging from 75hp to 150hp. All will feature Bluemotion Technology with stop/start as standard as a minimum, with the most frugal gaining extra fuel-saving features.
The most powerful will be the 150hp version, which is the only one in the UK scheduled to get the six or seven-speed DSG semi-automatic twin-clutch transmission (the Caddy will also come with five and six-speed manual gearboxes, depending on the model). The Euro5 line-up will still feature the 1.6-litre TDI with outputs of 75hp and 102hp as well as the 140hp 2.0 TDI.
VW claims the Euro6 102hp 2.0-litre Bluemotion unit will achieve more than 67mpg with CO2 of 109g/km. The most efficient Caddy available currently is the 1.6 diesel Bluemotion, which has official fuel consumption of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km.
The load dimensions remain pretty much the same as they are in the current vans. The new Caddy will continue to be offered in two body lengths: the standard van has a wheelbase of 2681mm while the Maxi extends to 3006mm.
Load volumes stay at 3.2m3 and 4.2m3 respectively, but VW claims the top payload for UK derivatives could increase to 832kg, compared with the current maximum of 767kg. The loadspace is accessed by either two rear doors, which can swing through from 90° to 180° or, if preferred, by a windowless tailgate. A nearside sliding door is standard, and one on the offside can be added as an option.
Another option to help accommodate long items is a ladder flap towards the rear of the roof, while a 'Flexi seat' can be specified for the front passenger side. This enables the seat to fold down and partially sink into the floor to facilitate the loading of longer items.
While VW has not yet confirmed which safety features will be standard fit and which ones paid-for extras, the Caddy will be available with side and curtain airbags, Park Pilot reversing sensors, a 'front assist' surround monitoring system to shorten stopping distances,
Emergency Braking to reduce the risk of rear-end shunts at low speeds, and Post-Collision Braking, which reduces the severity of secondary crashes by automatically applying the brakes if the driver is no longer able to do so.
The manufacturer has committed to installing cruise control with a driver-operated speed limiter as a standard fit, but has also confirmed that Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) will be optional. This can be activated at speeds of up to 100mph and automatically slows down the van if it gets too close to the vehicle in front. VW is bringing the optional Park Assist system over from its passenger car range. We drove a 150hp 2.0-litre Caddy Maxi with the seven-speed DSG automatic transmission.
A taut suspension contributes to a reassuringly firm but supportive ride and the handling is impressively sharp. The gear change is extremely slick with no lurching or delays during rapid acceleration, and there is more than enough power on tap to cope with long motorway stretches or overtaking on A- and B-roads. The steering is also precise and responsive. The agility of the Caddy Maxi belies its size and you have to remind yourself that you are behind the wheel of an LCV rather than a hatchback.
The manufacturer claims the 150hp engine has a top speed of 125mph, meaning it can comfortably handle long-haul assignments involving lengthy motorway stretches travelling at the national speed limit, and can accelerate from 0-62mph in little more than nine seconds.
And the van is so refined and well bolted together that the cabin's occupants are hardly ever bothered by the intrusion of wind or road noiseWhile the cockpit is less overtly stylish than others, particularly that of the Ford Transit Connect, and a little staid by comparison, everything is where you want it to be.
We also tried out the Bluemotion Caddy that gets the Euro6 102hp 2.0-litre engine linked to the five-speed manual transmission with a modified spread of gears to reduce consumption.
Other fuel-saving aids are low rolling-resistance tyres, battery regeneration, more efficient engine control and a ride height lowered by 27mm.
While obviously less suited to long journeys with heavy loads than the 150hp unit, the engine is refined with no noticeable lack of power, and the transmission operates smoothly in all driving conditions.
Volkswagen Caddy Maxi 2.0 150hp DSG
Model price range (excl. VAT) £13,470-£18,380
Insurance group 7E
Service intervals 18,000mls
Load length 2250mm
Load width (min/max) 1172/1340mm
Load bay height 1262mm
Gross payload 747kg
Load volume 4.2m3
Engine size/power 1968cc/150hp
Fuel consumption 54.3mpg
Leads the field in terms of safety, technology and refinemen
The styling inside and out is still rather conservative