Next-gen VW Caddy to delight small van and mini-campervan lovers
Volkswagen has been teasing the new fifth-generation Caddy for months now, and today it revealed its new small van in Düsseldorf. That location foreshadows the dawn of a new era in Volkswagen mini-campervans, the first examples of which could debut at the 2020 Düsseldorf Caravan Salon. Whether used as a camper, cargo hauler or passenger van, the new Caddy brings more space, more style, and enough digital tech for Volkswagen to think of it as something of a "smartphone on wheels."
Volkswagen promises that every detail of the Caddy has been reworked, from tire contact patches to new panoramic glass roof. Its efforts begin with the adaptation of the Modular Transverse Matrix (MQB) platform to the small van, a move that underpins the van's altered sizing, new looks and suite of 19 driver-assistance systems.
It's still a tiny van, but the Caddy does get stretched a bit by its MQB bones. Its 4,501-mm (177-in) length measures in 93 cm (3.7 in) longer than the outgoing short-wheelbase Caddy, and the new model also gains 63 cm (2.5 in) of width. It stands lower at 1,797 mm (70.7 in), but Volkswagen says that the maximum load height has nevertheless been increased slightly to 1,273 mm (50.1 in). The van stands on a 2,755-mm (108.4 in) wheelbase and can carry a maximum of 3.3 cu m (117 cu ft) of cargo, an extra tenth of a cu m (4 cu ft) versus the outgoing model.
Conversely, the long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi, which will make a proper debut of its own on a future date, compacts in size, measuring 4,853 mm (191 in) in length, down 25 mm (1 in). It offers 4 cu m (141 cu ft) of cargo capacity, down from 4.2 cu m (148 cu ft).
As for what's seen within those altered dimensions, the Caddy takes on a mildly smoother, sleeker form packed with new styling cues. It wears the slight smile of a thin, subtly curved grille capped off by new LED headlight design. The front bumper features a modern body-color mesh design.
Moving right back, the Caddy's roofline slopes slightly toward the rear before falling off sharply into a vertical rear-end dominated by a wide tinted windscreen that flows into the black surrounds of the tall vertical taillights. Like the headlights, the rear lights feature a new LED design.
A keyless entry and ignition system pops the doors, bringing one to a driver's area defined by tech. The available digital cockpit is complemented by an infotainment touchscreen sized between 6.5 and 10 in. Adding to the tech-focused makeover are connected services supported by an eSIM card and an array of digital controls for lighting, audio, menu and more.
Of the 19 available driver-assistance features, six are new to the Caddy, including the latest adaptive cruise control working across the full speed range, trailer assist, and side assist with rear traffic alert. The four-cylinder TDI engine suite has been fully updated to meet 2021 Euro 6 emissions standards, with outputs ranging between 74 and 121 hp (55 and 90 kw). A turbocharged gas engine (TSI) and supercharged natural gas engine (TGI) will also be on offer.
In addition to coming in long- and short-wheelbase variants, the Caddy will continue to be available as a cargo van, five-seat MPV and seven-seater.
That's about all VW had to reveal today, but more details (and some actual interior photos) are sure to be on the way in the near future. We'll be on the lookout for those and hope to see the new Caddy Beach light camper van at the Düsseldorf Caravan Salon later this year. Perhaps it will follow the new California Beach in gaining a slick hideaway stove.