VW Caddy Beach Video Review

Volkswagen Caddy Beach: The Kombi for the New Millennium

Why Caddy Beach?

In the 30’s Volkswagen was born. A single model, the Type 1, was carefully nurtured, and it grew. It spawned even more models. And lo, it was good. The much loved people’s car became known as the Käfer, which is German for Beetle.

Many a relationship, however short, was consummated in a Beetle, and that same ethos led to the type 2, more commonly known as the Kombi. Those two models are as adored now as they were back in the days we now need orange-filtered lenses to appreciate them.

That is perhaps why VW considered, however briefly, calling the special edition, a Kombi. Fearing a public lynching, VW erred on the side of caution, and stuck to Caddy. Kombis were loved by those lithe-bodied, beach-bound blondes. But they needed more. What to call this special edition?

Flummoxed, hair was wrenched and clothing torn.

Undeterred, bespectacled execs sat hunched over their Magenbrot (maggenbort). After much musing, “Hoorah”, they said, and Caddy Beach blossomed in to being.

What’s a Caddy Beach Look Like?

Luckily, things have moved along.

Brittle Bakelite is now space-aged plastic, and lights no brighter than a humble candle are now auto-bi-xenon with more lumens than a small sun.

The grille badge conceals a radar for smart cruise control, and the windscreen houses the camera for autonomous emergency braking.

There are seven exterior colours, with fancy names like Candy White, Reflex Silver, Fortana Red, Indium Grey, Viper Green, Sandstorm Yellow. All but the Candy white are metallic, and all are no cost options.

You can shell out several shekels on some lavish options:

  • Roof rails
  • Bicycle carrier
  • Roof box
  • Surfboard carrier
  • Tow bar
  • Weather shields for the front windows
  • Rubber floor mats

There are a smart set of 17”Canyon  alloys which includes a full-size spare, and a BEACH decal to let people know you’re not just in some normal old school-going people mover.

Black roof rails finish off the look I think.

Without the BEACH upgrades, Caddy might look a little ordinary, but I think this looks smashing. Although, best not to say smashing when talking about cars.

How Cosy is the Cabin?

The seating is as flexible as a Cirque Du Soleil summersaulter.

Front seats have tray tables on their rear faces. Rear seats tumble forward or can taken out for picnics. And this is where the Caddy Beach gets really clever.

The rear cargo area has a fold out bed, and a table and chairs are stowed underneath it. If you want to move house, you can take the lot out and leave it at home.

With the tailgate up, a nifty tent adds 2.3m X 2 m of extra space. I don’t think I’d want it up in weather more turbulent than a light shower though, but that’s not what it is meant for.

A rechargeable torch makes lends an intimate evening

Pockets in the side store personal bits and bobs, and blockout shades keep the light, and prying eyes, out.

It is easy to set up. Here’s one we prepared earlier. (see pics top of page)

The driver isn’t forgotten either.

There are a myriad of modern marvels. All Caddys get slew safety gear but this top model is laudably lavished with autonomous braking (Front Assist and City Emergency Brake), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Assist and fog lights with cornering functionality.

VW says Caddy has more stuff in it than some models from other brands used for towing. Speaking of towing, Caddy can tote a tiny tub behind but the engine is best suited to lighter duties.

Plastic is decent quality for a van of such humble origins.

You get decent sound from the speakers, and the standard VW touch screen comes complete with Carplay. Android users get their interface thingie as well, but there are so few of them it hardly matters does it!

The engine:

Its diminutive 1.4-litre 4 cylinder turbo petrol engine has start-stop. Output is a modest, but more than acceptable, 92kW and 220Nm. The  7-speed DSG automatic has super-fast changes and allows the little camper to get a decent 6L/100km.

The Drive:

It is fun. That’s not something you can say about many cars.

Caddy is a commercial vehicle

It’s a camper for sure, but glamping means a bit more than just a few scatter cushions and a gingham blanket.

Ride is firm because springs are set to carry boxes full of stuff. Instead of deliveries, a camper is more likely to be seen moored to a birth near some sand than a parking metre near some shops.

Getting to your camping ground is both easy and economical. Light steering and a nippy engine combine with a thrifty 7 speed DSG automatic in a car any idiot can drive. A reversing camera makes parking simply, and by-standers safe.

In days of old, getting a Kombi into a camping ground was more good fortune than good planning. Caddy Beach has a large hatch to which the tent can quickly be added. It gives an eager couple 2.3X2 metres of extra space to play in.

There are openings either side for a walk-through, but can be zipped up at night. I’d prefer a door with a lock quite frankly.

If you want to do any cooking, you’ll need a portable gas ring or two, and showers will be in the camping ground facilities. Don’t forget to wear your thongs.

I’d prefer a pretty place near a lake with just me, and the birds.

You can carry 5 in relative comfort when not in sleeping mode. There is still loads of room for gear under the bed. A table and 2 chairs are stowed neatly under the bed and behind the rear seats. It’s all surprisingly quick to set up.

There is a rechargeable torch if things go to pot.

While you’re on the road, you can navigate using Carplay/Andriod Auto using phone maps. There is no need to take your hands off the wheel to navigate, handle calls, or to make or receive texts. The system does it all for you with voice control.

Conclusion:

If you’re the kind of person who likes a ginseng tea at A.M. 5 o’clock while looking wistfully at gently breaking waves just across the sand, then this is for you. Personally I don’t much car for showering in a 50’s communal block, and public toilets leave me cold, but there you go.

Camping is not for me unless I’m pressed, but it might be for you.

If you’re the kind of person who likes a ginseng tea at A.M. 5 o’clock while looking wistfully at gently breaking waves just across the sand, then this is for you.

I say this from time to time, but if I wanted to steal myself away for a cheeky weekend by the water, I can’t think of a better, cheaper way to spread my wings. Of course I’d rather a suite at the Hilton, but needs must. As a friend of mine says, “gays get shit done”.

Facts and Figures: VW Caddy Beach

  • Engine: 1.4 L 4Cyl Turbo producing 92kW/220Nm
  • Transmission: FWD, 7 speed DSG Auto
  • Warranty: 5 Yr/ Unlimited km with 1 Yr roadside assist
  • Safety: 5 stars 2015 (short wheelbase models only tested)
  • Origin:
  • Price: from $44,990 MLP*

Rating (against others in its class)

  • Overall look and feel 8
  • Interior look and feel 7
  • comfort 7
  • Practicality 8
  • Engine 7
  • transmission 6
  • Technology – cabin 7
  • Technology – driver assist 7
  • Safety 7
  • Driveability 8

Total 72

Vehicle rated against others in its class

1 – terrible

5 – average

10 perfection