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Volkswagen Caddy Kombi TDI

With acres of interior space, immense practicality and budget pricing, cars such as the Renault Kangoo, Citroen Berlingo Multispace and Peugeot Partner have been a huge hit with British families.

Volkswagen's first van-based MPV is one of the most refined of its breed, with a quiet, high-quality cabin. The 1.9-litre diesel unit is more than up to the job - which is vital, as it's the only engine that will be offered when the new Caddy Kombi arrives here in the spring.

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With acres of interior space, immense practicality and budget pricing, cars such as the Renault Kangoo, Citroen Berlingo Multispace and Peugeot Partner have been a huge hit with British families.

And now VW is getting in on the act. This is the new Caddy Kombi, which goes on sale here in the spring, based on an extended Touran platform. To see if the newcomer poses a major threat to its popular French rivals, we went to Germany to put it through its paces six months ahead of its UK launch.

The Caddy's biggest advantage is its cabin quality. The solid dash has an ergonomic layout similar to the Touran's, while the plush seat fabrics and high centre console make the MPV feel more like a car than a commercial vehicle.

At the rear, the Kombi has a sliding door on the passenger side and a double tailgate, ensuring easy access. The three individual seats boast excellent leg and headroom, and can be tumbled forward or removed to take big loads.

On the road, the Kombi is light and responsive. The transmission is easy to use, although the high sides and stiff rear suspension mean the car lacks the Touran's roadholding. But the VW isn't supposed to be dynamically excellent. Rather, its aim is to offer acres of space and a quality feel for not a lot of cash - and the Kombi fulfils its brief perfectly.

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