By Sala Masindane
Truth be told, South Africa is experiencing tough times in terms of the economy and we are all feeling the pinch. It’s during these times where one might need an extra buck and possibly another avenue for income, either than the conventional 9-5 job. This also means that there’s a growing increase in SMME’s that require vehicles that can perform multiple tasks like the school run in the morning, getting the odd supplies and when required go on a road trip. We think the Volkswagen Caddy might be the solution for the above.
On test, we had the Caddy Alltrack 2.0 TDI DSG which is the sportier version in the range. With its the short wheel base, it is in my view the pimped version of the industrious Caddy range. Which comes with a suburban look that includes black lower plastic mouldings, silver roof rails, silver housing on the electrical adjustable mirrors and chrome finished grille. While at the front there are LED daytime running lights, Dark-coloured tail lights and an Alltrack logo at the back and the Caddy Alltrack rides on 17-inch Quito alloy wheels.
Jump inside and you will notice that the Caddy Alltrack has moved away from its origins of being a panel van and to being more of a family car. The comfortable front fabric heated (standard) seats with the Alltrack logo embroided on them and the airplane style folding tables at the back of the front seats point to this. It must be mentioned that the folding tables are great but are quite unstable when the car is in motion and this might result in spillage. Staying with a passenger car theme in the Caddy is the touchscreen infotainment system that controls Media, Bluetooth, AUX and USB. AppleCar and Android Auto are not compatible with the system and there’s no navigation but has Bluetooth which makes it user friendly. Also, there’s not only one USB port but two 12V ports, one in the front, the one in back will ensure that everyone can charge their devices. The multifunctional steering wheel which can also be used to control the media comes in handy as the screen is a bit too low and might interrupt when driving.
The Caddy Alltrack has what most family/business users need which is space, you can comfortably accommodate three adults at the back. The rear legroom is not class leading but being slightly tall, I could seat comfortably with the front seat in my driving position, before you even fold the back seats, you have decent boot space which can fit items of decent height due to the shape of the Caddy. With the back seats folded down, the space extends which is ideal for business needs. The best part is that the sliding doors on either side of the doors make it easy to load and off-load items you may have stored in the car. This is convenience you would not necessarily have in a bakkie or even some panel vans. Due car will have to be taken as the Caddy Alltrack has been domesticated and surfaces may scratch when it is used for loading certain materials. Storage is not limited to that but there’s a shoving unit in front for additional space and the door bins are decent.
The Caddy is traditionally a commercial vehicle and you would be forgiven for thinking that it may struggle as an everyday commuter. However, the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine that produces 103kW and 320Nm of power is agile. Whether this in peak city traffic of Sandton or on the N3 highway to the Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal. The six-speed DSG (dual-clutch) transmission makes the 103kW all the way better. It shifts smoothly and helps deliver the power well. The power delivery is slow but the DSG still ensures that it is nearly perfectly timed, especially in the city. On the highway, the car did get flustered a bit when we tried to accelerate quickly, the DSG would take some time to figure what gear it is you want to be in but the rest of the time we had no problems. Manoeuvring or parking the Caddy was made easy by the front and rear park distance control that includes a reverse camera. The only problem we had was that if you reserve park close to the wall, you might struggle to open the tailgate as It is long in length. The driving position is high, and you will have a clear view of the front due to the large windscreen. The standard cruise control also assisted in maintaining a constant speeding at times and keeping the fuel consumption low. We managed an average of 6.4l/100km which is not far from the claimed 6.1l/100km.
Overall the Caddy Alltrack is what in cricket is called an “allrounder”, a cricketer that bowls perfectly as much as he bats, and the Caddy does just that if not more. The Caddy Alltrack looks good, the additional space is handy, and the car drive is quite fun and comfortable for daily usage. Its starting price of R446,200 might be a bit steep but its versatility makes a case for it.
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