New Volkswagen Caddy – sharp new looks, lots of tech, full details

  • Brand new version of popular VW small van
  • Bigger load area, extra technology, better fuel ecconomy
  • Available to order October 2020, arriving in dealers early 2021

The all-new Volkswagen Caddy small van has been unveiled in Dusseldorf, Germany. Known within the company as the VW Caddy 5, the new model arrives 42 years after the original, and is longer, lower and wider than the version it replaces – creating more space to carry stuff inside.

Based on the Volkswagen MQB platform, which has previously been reserved for passenger cars only, the new Caddy is also up to 12% more fuel efficient than before, and will be available with a greater number of high-tech features when it finally goes on sale in early 2021.

In fact, it's set to become one of the most sophisticated vans on sale.

Does the new Caddy look very different?

Volkswagen had been talking up a sporty new look for the Caddy since it released the first design sketches of this all-new generation in late 2019, and although the Caddy 5 is unmistakably a member of a familiar family, it does have quite a fresh appearance.

VW Caddy, all-new model for 2020-2021, front side view, panel van, white

Notable design elements include the strong crease line along the sides, which create a slightly more muscular look to the wheelarches. At the front, the lower grille is unusually smoothly integrated into the bumper, which looks curiously futuristic - especially where the bumper is painted the same colour as the body.

There are also new slimline headlights, available with full LED technology for the first time, while the rear lights are narrower and taller, creating a very striking appearance at the back end, especially where a tailgate is fitted as these come with glass window panel that looks almost oversized.

VW Caddy, all-new model for 2020-2021, rear view, Caddy Life

The roof is lower than before, and also features a pronounced curve, which helps with aerodynamics, which in turn makes the new van more fuel efficient, reducing running costs.

More importantly, the new Caddy is also more practical.

How big is the new 2020-2021 VW Caddy?

As with the previous model, the new Caddy comes in two sizes: standard short-wheelbase Caddy and long-wheelbase Caddy Maxi. There is only a single roof height.

The SWB version is now 4,501mm long, 1,855mm wide and 1,797mm high - that’s 93mm longer, 62mm wider and 25mm lower. Its wheelbase grows 73mm to 2,755mm and should provide a more comfortable ride as well greater load space.

The LWB version has the same height and width, and is now 4,853mm long - which is actually 25mm shorter than before. Despite this, the Maxi will now take two Euro pallets loaded sideways, a feat that's helped by the increased size of the sliding side loading door. The Maxi's wheelbase also decreases from 3,006mm to 2,970mm.

VW Caddy, all-new model for 2020-2021, side view, panel van, white

Even though the roof is lower - which helps the aerodynamics and therefore the fuel economy - interior loading height in both models is increased. These are the full 2020-20201 Caddy load space dimensions:

  • Maximum load length: 1,797mm Caddy, 2,150mm Caddy Maxi
  • Maximum load hieght: 1,273mm
  • Maximum load width: 1,606mm
  • Width between the wheel arches: 1,230mm
  • Width of rear door opening: 1,234mm
  • Width of sliding side door: 701mm Caddy, 840mm Caddy Maxi
  • Load volume: 3.3 cubic metres Caddy, 4.0 cubic metres Caddy Maxi

That gives the Caddy an extra 29mm of loading height and makes it a massive 60mm wider between the wheel arches. The regular SWB Caddy also has 0.1 cubic metres of extra load volume, though as you've probably guess from the Maxi's reduced dimensions, this has lost 0.2 cubic metres of space.

VW Caddy Maxi, all-new 2020-2021 model, side view, silver, Dusseldorf

Talking of doors, the rear ‘wing’ doors (also known as barn doors) on the van will now comes unglazed as standard, a change from the Caddy that’s currently on sale and a move that’s intended to improve basic security.

There is no official word on payload at this stage, but we understand this is set to be similarto the current model. This would give the new Caddy a payload max of around 800kg, which may come as a disappointment when the best in the small van sector can now carry over 1,000kg (1.0 tonne).

Does it come in different versions?

As before the new Caddy will be sold as a van – which may come to be known as the Caddy Cargo, this is still to be decided for the UK at the time of writing – and as a passenger vehicle, the Caddy Life.

The van will be available in panel and Kombi versions, with the latter including additional windows and up to seven seats. The Caddy Life will have a much more car-like finish insider, and again up to seven seats.

VW Caddy and Caddy Life, all-new for 2020-2021, Dusseldorf press conference

Both will be available in regular and Maxi variants.

There’s no word on UK trim levels for the van at this stage, but we are expecting VW to stick to the tried and tested, Startline, Trendline and Highline formula, though Trendline has been dropped from the latest Transporter range (the T6.1).

At the reveal event in Dusseldorf, VW announced a number of special versions, including the Style, the Panamericana (pictured below) and the Edition - though it's unclear if any of these will be sold in the UK.

VW Caddy Panamericana, 2020-2021, Dusseldorf press conference

There is also already official talk of Beach and camper variants as well. UK sales of the camper are again unlikely, though Volkswagen is apparently considering introducing 4Motion four-wheel drive as an option.

How new is the 2020 VW Caddy?

Volkswagen says ‘no screw has been left untouched’. This is a completely new van from the ground up, based on a new platform and with a renewed emphasis on targeting lifestyle buyers as well as working businesses and drivers.

That platform is the same MQB structure that underpins an enormous number of Volkswagen Group cars, from the VW Golf hatchback to the Audi TT sports car and the Skoda Kodiaq SUV.

VW Caddy, all-new model for 2020-2021, rear view with doors open, Dusseldorf press conference

MQB is a very capable piece of engineering, and delivering cutting edge tech and safety, plus what should be a fine driving experience. A number of comparisons are being made between the new Caddy and the newly launched eight-generation VW Golf in this respect.

What engines can you get in the new Caddy?

There will be a choice of three diesel and one petrol engine in the new Caddy when it launches into the market.

The diesels are evolutions of the familiar 2.0-litre TDI family, offering 75hp, 102hp and 122h. However they now feature a new state-of-the-art 'twin dosing' (also known as double-dosing) AdBlue system to reduce NOx emissions to 'considerably below statutory requirements'.

VW Caddy, all-new model for 2020-2021, load area, Dusseldorf press conference

The petrol engine is a 1.5-litre TSI turbo that provides 116hp. Like the diesel engines, this is fitted with a particulate filter - which is another cutting edge development in the area of emissions control.

Fuel economy is as much as 12% better than before, though no figures have been given at this stage. Improved aerodynamics play a part here, in addition to the improved engines - and so too does the use of a six-speed manual gearbox as standard across the range (something the latest Transporter still misses out on).

A seven-speed DSG automatic will be offered as an option on the most powerful diesel and the petrol engine.

There is also a compressed natural gas (CNG) Caddy for some markets with 130hp and TGI badging, but this is not planned for sale in the UK.

Volkswagen is already talking of a possible plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) version, but it's unclear if this would be available for the panel van. There has been no mention of an all-electric model at this stage.

What’s the new Caddy like inside?

Modern and functional, as you’d expect. There are lots of storage cubbies, including a large centre console, plus the passenger seat folds flat to create a mobile office environment.

VW Caddy, all-new model for 2020-2021, cab interior

Other design changes include the new lighting control cluster, which is now beside the instrument cluster rather than down by your knee and replaces the old rotary controlled with 'digital' buttons. Keyless entry and start is an option now, too.

New features include the latest VW MIB infotainment system (as already available in the Transporter T6.1) plus the option for digital dials for the first time.

VW Caddy, all-new model for 2020-2021, steering wheel, digital dials, Innovision Cockpit, MIB infotainment

Combine the largest 10.2-inch MIB screen with the 10.0-inch Digital Cockpit instrument cluster, and you get what VW is calling the 'Innovision Cockpit'. UK spec isn’t clear but this is only likely to be available in passenger Caddy Life variants, although the white panel van in the pictures is fitted with digital dials, so you never know.

Every new Caddy does get an electronic handbrake, however, which saves space and makes more room for people inside the cab.

What are the new high-tech features?

Like the latest Transporter, this Caddy comes with a built-in eSIM for mobile Wi-Fi connectivity, and can also be equipped with the full range of Volkswagen connectivity features: We Connect, We Connect Plus and We Connect Fleet.

Sophisticated 'Hey Volkswagen' voice control will be available, too, capable of responding to navigation instructions as well as commands about the heating and even the heated seats. It is also said to recognise whether the driver or passenger is talking to it, allowing it to respond to individual demands.

Taken to its extremes, these connectivity features will offer over-the-air updates and what VW is describing as an in-car app store, where you'll be able to add additional features to the infotainment system, as required. Sounds mad, but this is apparently the future.

VW Caddy, all-new model for 2020-2021, rear view, panel van, white

Other potentially useful features include 230v power sockets and LED interior lighting, which is much brighter than conventional bulbs.

What's more, there is now a huge range of up to 19 driver assistance systems available - six of which are entirely new, including something called Travel Assist, which uses the adaptive cruise control and other sensors to allow the Caddy to virtually drive itself on the motorway.

Supposedly, a new 'capacitive steering wheel' prevents the van from asking you to put your hands back on the wheel when you're already holding it - a problem VW has clearly encountered with the latest Transporter (which does this all the time).

VW Caddy, all-new model for 2020-2021, MIB infotainment display, safety, Travel Assist

Other useful safety features include rear cross traffic alert, which is really genuinely helpful when backing out of spaces as it detects passing people, bicycles and vehicles that you might not be able to actually see.

A Trailer Assist system like that fitted to the latest Crafter is available, too. This makes reversing with a trailer incredibly straightforward.

What are the rivals it has to beat?

The new Caddy will go toe-to-toe with the latest PSA Group small vans – the Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo Cargo – which have been winning awards left, right and centre, including Parkers’ own 2020 Small Van of the Year Award, since they were introduced in late 2018.

These are particularly good when it comes to payload and safety innovations, and they drive well, too – especially in terms of how quiet they are inside, something the current Caddy really struggles with.

The recently facelifted Ford Transit Connect will be a tough challenger as well – being great to drive, affordable, plentiful and packed with impressive connectivity features.

We’re expecting all this and more from the new Caddy. Volkswagen states that it has ‘the aim of becoming the benchmark in its class’ – but there would be hardly any point in launching a new model if it didn’t have that ambition.

When does the new Caddy go on sale and how much will it cost?

Though revealed in February 2020, the new Caddy doesn’t actually go on sale in the UK until early 2021. However, you will be able to order one in October 2020.

There’s no word on pricing at this stage, but we’d expect a modest increase over the current model as it should come equipped with extra standard kit.

We’ll bring you more info as soon as we have it, and should be driving the all-new Caddy for the first time in around about September 2020.

Also read:

>> Further details of the all-new VW Caddy Life

>> New vans coming soon

>> Volkswagen Caddy full review (2015-on model)

>> The best small vans