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Volkswagen Caddy Cargo: long-term test review

The Volkswagen Caddy Cargo adds a splash of colour to the small van class

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Verdict

Whichever colour you choose, the Caddy Cargo is a great small van that offers excellent long-distance comfort. While an electric van makes sense around town, the Caddy Cargo proves there’s life in diesel yet.

  • Mileage: 10,765
  • Economy: 49mph

According to Wikipedia, white-van man is “typically perceived as a selfish, inconsiderate driver that is often aggressive”. I can’t say it’s a stereotype that I’ve come across that often, though, and it’s certainly not one I’ve tried to live up to. 

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One of the benefits of reviewing vans is that manufacturers often spec up their demonstrators with kit that punters can add when they make their purchase, and one highlight of the Volkswagen Caddy Cargo is the wide variety of colours that are on offer. Okay, so it’s not quite as wide-ranging as the sample brochure in my hands above, but the swatches I’m holding are a pretty fair representation of what’s available.

While Candy White, Cherry Red and Pure Grey are the no-cost options, our van’s Costa Azul blue metallic is one of eight shades available for £518 (ex.VAT). There’s a more subtle Starlight Blue, the usual Reflex Silver plus the slightly more subdued Indium Grey and Mojave Beige, while Fortana Red, Copper Bronze and Golden Green offer hues at the vivid end of the spectrum.

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All this variety got me thinking –how many buyers actually choose to upgrade their vans beyond the standard white? I got in touch with VW, who told me that while fleet buyers will go for the cheapest option, SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) will choose something to help their business to stand out.

White has been the most common shade sold this year, but it only accounts for 40 per cent of Caddy Cargos sold. The rest are usually silver, grey or blue, while our van’s Costa Azul makes up roughly three per cent of sales. So it seems that plenty of other van users are trying to shake that white-van man image, too. Interestingly, that ratio increases to 15 per cent when looking at sales of the MPV variant. 

Unfortunately, our time with the Caddy Cargo has come to an end, but it has proved to be a useful addition to the Auto Express fleet. DrivingElectric and Carbuyer editor Rich Ingram borrowed it before its departure to help empty a garage down in Devon, and the Caddy Cargo swallowed everything with ease. The plyboard floor and lining aren’t the most aesthetically pleasing to look at – some parts are fitted with the type of plastic blocks that are used to keep kitchen cabinets square – but they eliminate the worry of using an estate or SUV to do the same job and damaging its interior.

It was a comfortable and capable cruiser on the trip, too. While the diesel engine only has a modest 120bhp, its 2.0-litre capacity helps it deliver a healthy 320Nm from 1,600rpm, so you don’t need to work it as hard as the older 1.6 TDI that used to power VW’s small vans. Fuel returns nudged 50mpg without even really trying – and that’s more impressive considering our version also had 4MOTION four-wheel drive, an option that has now been discontinued. It took a hit around town (where we can see an electric van being a better fit), but overall the Caddy Cargo was a pleasure to spend time with.

Model:Volkswagen Caddy Cargo 2.0 TDI 4MOTION Commerce Plus SWB
On fleet since:May 2022
Price new:£28,407 (ex. VAT)
Engine:2.0-litre 4cyl turbodiesel, 120bhp
CO2/tax:127g/km/£320
Options:Costa Azul metallic paint (£518)
Insurance group:30
Mileage:10,765
MPG:49.0mpg
Any problems?None
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Senior test editor

Dean has been part of the Auto Express team for more than 20 years, and has worked across nearly all departments, starting on magazine production, then moving to road tests and reviews. He's our resident van expert, but covers everything from scooters and motorbikes to supercars and consumer products.

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