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Volkswagen Caddy 2.0TDi Sportline review (2009 onwards)
Model: VW Caddy 2.0 TDi Sportline
Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed manual
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What is it?
This is the GTi of vans. It is the VW Caddy Sportline, a van designed to cater to our inner boy-racer cravings with its Max Power bodykit and potent 140hp 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. Prices start from £21,648 including VAT.
Where does it fit?
The Caddy is the smallest van in the VW commercial line-up and the most car-like to drive. Following it in the range is the Transporter and the VW Crafter for those who need something huge.
Rivals include the Ford Connect, Vauxhall Combo, Citroen Berlingo and the Fiat Doblo, though none have the sporting credentials of the Vee-Dub.
Is it for you?
It's a question of space. The Caddy isn't massive, so if you're a tradesman you'll probably need a bit more space, but this van would suit couriers or small business that need more room than you get in a car but don't want to compromise on the car-like driving experience.
Its vital statistics are: 1.7m long by 1.5m wide and 1.2m high giving a total volume of 3.2m3 and the ability to carry a payload of 751kg - about the same weight as a malnourished rugby team.
What does it do well?
For a start it's a corker to look at. Vans don't often turn heads in the street, but the Caddy Sportline certainly did. It's also good to drive - the engine is the same as the one you get in a Golf so it pulls well from low revs and will hit 60mph in under 10 seconds.
It's practical, too; there is a sliding side door for ease of access, as well as two large rear doors that open out. The load area is flat and low to the ground so pushing in bulky items is no trouble at all and with a small plastic mesh separating the load bay from the cabin, you can fill it to the rafters without fear of bits and pieces spilling into the cockpit.
What doesn't it do well?
The downside of this set-up is that the cabin is extremely noisy on the road. There is little in the way of sound-deadening and the fact the cabin isn't isolated from the load bay means you'll need to crank up the stereo to avoid the drone of wind and road noise and even the slush of diesel in the tank when you go round corners.
What's it like to live with?
The Caddy's footprint is no bigger than that of a car so driving and parking is no trouble at all. The side mirrors are large enough to make up for the lack of rear-view mirror and, when not carting stuff around, you can actually have some fun throwing it around on country roads.
How green is it?
This 2.0-litre diesel is a well-proven engine and its economy figure is strong, returning 45.6mpg on an average run when half full.
Would we buy it?
Car-like to drive, styled like a hot hatch and with a reasonable amount of space in the rear, this is a van for those who don't have much to move and want to do so with a bit of a smile on their face.
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