The Caddy lacks lit­tle

Gen­er­a­tion four of VW’s best­selling small van has smart and safe up­grades

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Working Wheels -

Big changes are planned for Volk­swa­gen’s small­est van.

The Caddy is al­ready a clear best­seller in the Aus­tralian baby van seg­ment. The fourth­gen­er­a­tion model with a host of up­grades, in­clud­ing new safety tech­nol­ogy, smart pow­er­trains and fresh styling, should fur­ther in­crease its ap­peal.

The new Caddy will be in­tro­duced in Europe in June but won’t ar­rive here un­til the last quar­ter of this year.

It ap­pears as though the wait will be worth it. Among the head­line fea­tures of the new Caddy is City Emer­gency Brak­ing, which is avail­able on a few pas­sen­ger cars.

Op­er­at­ing at lower speeds, it uses a type of laser to de­tect ob­jects in front. When it de­ter­mines the ob­ject is get­ting closer and a col­li­sion is im­mi­nent, it not only sounds an alert but also ap­plies the ve­hi­cle’s brakes.

This setup has great po­ten­tial to re­duce the amount of driver and pas­sen­ger in­juries and in some cases re­duce their sever­ity.

It is most ef­fec­tive in re­duc­ing lower speed nose-to­tail crashes, which should be ap­pre­ci­ated by van driv­ers or fleet op­er­a­tors, who know how such ac­ci­dents can prove costly thanks to time off the road and the bill for re­pairs.

VW is go­ing fur­ther with the Caddy’s op­tional radar-based adap­tive cruise con­trol, which ad­justs the speed of the van depend­ing on the pace of ve­hi­cles in front (and can also per­form emer­gency brak­ing). This op­er­ates at up to 160km/h, although we’re not sure when a van driver would go so fast.

A re­vers­ing cam­era will also be avail­able on the Caddy, which is re­fresh­ing given the poor vi­sion in vans.

Cap­ping off the tech­nol­ogy suite is the au­to­matic park­ing, which is in­creas­ingly avail­able on pas­sen­ger cars.

VW says the kerb­side and per­pen­dic­u­lar park­ing as­sis­tance will be of great use to couri­ers, although some may sug­gest that couri­ers should be ca­pa­ble of park­ing a van.

The maker has fresh­ened the styling of the Caddy, which takes on the lat­est small pas­sen­ger de­sign cues as seen on the Polo and Golf.

As you might ex­pect from VW, the de­sign is clean and sharp, but not bold or ad­ven­tur­ous. There are front and rear tweaks but the body shape re­mains es­sen­tially the same, which means there is no im­pact on prac­ti­cal­ity.

The de­sign­ers also spent some time updating the in­te­rior. There are changes to the dash­board, with new vents and a new mid-mounted in­fo­tain­ment screen.

Volk­swa­gen’s en­gi­neers also worked hard to com­ply with Euro6 emis­sions re­quire­ments, de­vel­op­ing a 2.0-litre four- cylin­der turbo diesel that will be avail­able in Europe in four dif­fer­ent tun­ings, rang­ing from 55kW to 110kW.

VW is keep­ing the ex­act econ­omy num­bers close to its chest, but says the lean­est ver­sion of the en­gine, fit­ted to the Caddy Blue­Mo­tion model, av­er­ages less than 4.0L/100km, which is re­mark­able. There is a Euro5 ver­sion of this en­gine, which could well be the one cho­sen for Australia.

Out­puts start at 55kW and top out at 103kW. There was no men­tion of the torque fig­ures for ei­ther ver­sion of the en­gine.

There was also no men­tion of a petrol en­gine at the Euro­pean pre­view but it is likely that at least one petrol four­cylin­der en­gine will be made avail­able as is the case cur­rently.

Volk­swa­gen Australia con­firms the Caddy will ar­rive in the fourth quar­ter. It has yet to con­firm the de­tails of the lo­cal range.

To the fore: Laser-guided emer­gency brak­ing is among the Caddy’s tech-tricks

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