Volkswagen Caddy review (1996-2003)

Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5


  • Comfortable, car-like drive


  • Turbodiesel version thirsty
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The rather bulbous Volkswagen Caddy which ended its production run in 2003 was based on the Polo platform, so it offered truly car-like ride and handling.

VW Caddy (1996-2003) rear view

It also had a generous load volume and was available in both petrol and diesel formats, so some used versions may have an LPG conversion fitted.

It was never a hugely popular van in the UK, which is a pity as it offered Volkswagen’s legendary build quality, but was subsequently overshadowed by its successor, which became one of the best vans in the sector.

Volkswagen Caddy (96-03) driving experience

4 out of 5 4.0

This Caddy is based on a car so has car-like ride manners on the roads. Enthusiastic drivers won't be disappointed with its abilities.

VW Caddy (1996-2003) racing van

The 1.4i 16v petrol unit offered a lively 75bhp at 5,000rpm and 93lb-ft of torque, while the 1.9SDI had 64bhp at 4,200rpm and 92lb-ft of torque at 2,400rpm and the 1.9TDI had 90bhp at 4,000rpm and 149lb-ft of torque at 1,900rpm.

The SDI unit is a bit of a slug compared to its turbocharged brother.

Volkswagen Caddy (96-03) cabin & interior

3 out of 5 3.0

With comfortable car-like seats and a tilt-adjustable steering wheel, the cab of the Caddy is a pleasant place to be.

The interior is generally well laid-out and there is a standard overhead storage space.

Power steering is standard, along with a radio/cassette player.

Volkswagen Caddy (96-03) running costs & value

3 out of 5 3.0

The Caddy wasn’t a cheap van to buy new but it held its value well.

The SDI engine offered good fuel consumption but was rather slow, while the TDI engine was fast but gobbled up fuel at a rate of around 30mpg.

Servicing is due every 10,000 miles.

Volkswagen Caddy (96-03) reliability, common problems & faults

4 out of 5 4.0

The words 'Volkswagen' and 'legendary reliability' go hand in hand, so buyers of secondhand Caddys should be assured of many years good service – as long as maintenance schedules have been adhered to.

Volkswagen Caddy (96-03) safety & security

4 out of 5 4.0

For a van of the last century, the Caddy was well-specced in the safety area. A driver’s airbag came as standard and ABS brakes featured on the options list.

On the security front, both an alarm and an engine immobiliser came as standard, meaning both vehicle and its cargo should be kept safe from thieves.

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