Please remove duplicate log ins As part of an upgrade to PistonHeads, we need you to go to the Classifieds Preferences page and choose your unique login by 31st of October

Hide Do it now
Tuesday 13th December 2011


Fleet shake-up means bidding farewell to a faithful if not especially PH long-termer

'My' VW Caddy long-termer doesn't even really belong on PH. But I couldn't say goodbye without giving it a bit of a send off. You see, the Caddy was carried over from my last job but the guys at VW kindly let me see out the remaining time on its long-term loan balance sheet while I sorted out more PH-worthy transport.

More on this shortly.

Bike and van colour co-ordinated ... yes, tragic!
Bike and van colour co-ordinated ... yes, tragic!
But it was only ever really an excuse. Because I really didn't want to send the Caddy home.

Getting all misty-eyed about a bright orange van with a beating heart of, er, a 102hp 1.6-litre diesel engine probably isn't the thing the editor of PistonHeads should really admit to. But bear with me.

There's always something rather fun about tooling about in a van and, employing a slightly perverse logic, one with minimal power. I took the Caddy on to explore life as a 'civilian' commercial vehicle user, my love of mountain biking meaning I always have use of a vehicle with decent luggage capacity. And, let's face it, if you're going to drive a van a VW van is a good place to start.

M25 commuting has gotten a bit hardcore
M25 commuting has gotten a bit hardcore
Orange paint matched that of my Orange mountain bike, both being ordered around the same time. Seven-speed DSG and digital radio were among the unexpected creature comforts though, to be honest, I missed the fact air-con wasn't standard. Basic spec on a van means basic. But by the time I'd done on the options this one had hit nearly £18K though.

Moving swiftly on... An unladen van is always a bit of a hoot to drive, even one with only 102hp. And the Caddy was just that, the DSG banging through manual shifts with near PDK crispness and - let me run with this - a bit of a touring car vibe what with the long shifter sprouting from the floor. I've actually driven VW's race Caddy in the past and, ahem, may have reckoned I was still in it on occasion in the orange mean machine, as my contact at VW referred to it.

Dan on a typical drive into PH towers
Dan on a typical drive into PH towers
It was even half decent on my new, somewhat longer commute. 6Music echoing around the interior, little diesel motor humming away I could easily score 50mpg on the mainly motorway run and in the 'who blinks first' lane changes you're always playing a winning hand being in a van, bright orange or not.

So farewell Caddy, it's been a right laugh. Your replacement will probably be quite a bit faster and prestigious. But there'll always be a place in my heart for a faithful little van!



Author: Dan Trent
Want more PH news like this daily - then signup for the PH newsletter here!