Aston Martin celebrates its 100th anniversary with a radical one-off concept car
Volkswagen Caddy 1.6 TDI DSG: month three
Model: Volkswagen Caddy 1.6 TDI DSG
On fleet since: June 2011
Total mileage: 3,331
Official combined mpg: 48.7
Actual mpg: 42.5
Costs: iPod charger (£17.50)
Engine: 1.6-litre turbodiesel
Trim: C20 1.6 TDI 102PS DSG
Performance: 0-62mph in 12.3 seconds, 104mph top speed
Power/torque: 102hp/184lb ft@1,500rpm
Insurance group: 5 E
List price: £17,989 OTR inc. VAT
Options fitted: Electric windows/mirrors (£280), alloy wheels (£470), radio upgrade inc. aux-in (£125), DAB radio (£135), rear doors with opaque glass (£0), bulkhead deleted (£0), alarm (£140), trip computer with multi-function display (£190), passenger airbag, driver and passenger side airbag (£345), rubber load floor covering (£80)
Price as tested: £19,745
Pros: It's more practical and cheaper to run than a Mercedes SLS AMG, brilliant for holidays on the continent, keeps getting smoother and more frugal
Cons: Cursing myself for not spotting air-con was an option, grabby brakes, no hill-hold function
Where have I been?
It's been a busy old month for the Caddy, racking up over 1,000 miles in one trip to France alone. This was, in fact, for my honeymoon but before that could take place there was the small matter of the wedding itself.
Now, I'd managed to source some A8 limos from Audi. And a fancy Mercedes SLS AMG to whisk my bride away from the ceremony in suitable style. But the Caddy had an equally important role to play.
With various family members and friends added to the insurance the Caddy was a true workhorse, visiting Tring Brewery (sponsors of my cycling club) for essential supplies for the reception and hauling all sorts of food, drink and decorations to the evening venue.
And much as I'd have loved to have taken the SLS off on the honeymoon I'm not sure we'd have been able to afford to go very far. Nor would we have been able to sling bikes, camping gear and other kit in the back.
What do I like?
It's obvious to keep coming back to the practicality but this is, of course, one of the main reasons for running a van. And on the trip to France this really came into its own.
With bikes stowed to provide transport after sampling, ah, local delicacies in the vineyards, chateaus and restaurants we spent rather a lot of time in there was plenty of space left for camping gear and other kit too.
The French love their small diesel commercials too and no Gallic country road would be complete without a battered Citroen or Renault van making leisurely progress between villages, sunburnt arm inevitably draped out of the driver's window.
A bright orange Volkswagen does stand out in France somewhat but the Caddy was brilliant on both the motorways and back roads and plenty comfortable for racking up big mileages.
What don't I like?
I knew in France I was going to be paying the price for getting so excited about speccing the digital radio that I failed to spot air con was an option. It's nobody's fault but my own and even more annoying for it.
Other niggles involve the drivetrain, the grabby brakes a constant irritation, especially from the passenger seat, and the lack of a hill-hold function and the DSG's inconsistent engagement making for some scary moments on hill starts.
What next for the Caddy?
Economy is still a bit of a fixation so I was a bit disappointed to see the motorway miles eating into my average and hovering into the low 40s. It's better now that I'm back on the regular commute and, I have to admit, when left in auto.
I've also been chatting with Orange Mountain Bikes, of whom I'm a loyal and enthusiastic patron, about getting the van stickered up for further coordination with my bike. A rough mock-up of my vision has been emailed over and I await the call.
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