I have to say, when the news came that the beloved Skoda was being replaced by a van (even after my sensible suggestion of a Ferrari GTC4 Lusso), I wasn't overwhelmed with excitement... But, even I had to begrudgingly admit that a Ferrari wouldn't have been entirely practical for lugging our gear around. It would be cool though, wouldn't it?
So, two months into van ownership, how is it faring so far? At first, I wasn't enjoying it. The seat doesn't quite go back far enough and so, on a long journey, it was giving me a backache. The 2.0 TDI lump felt breathless after 3,000rpm. Due to the big open, uncarpeted space in the back there was a lot of road (and fuel sloshing) noise. It was wallowy in the bends, obviously.
This and more goes in the back! (Jack goes in the front)
It sounds like it's all gone wrong for the van, no? Well, not really, as I realised I was comparing it, quite harshly, to a normal car. The seat issue is half rectified by raising it up to higher position, thus giving a bit more space for my gangly legs - I'm still trying to figure out the back ache problem. The engine actually pulls really quite well from 2,000-3,000rpm (confirming the rule that all vans should be inexplicably quick), even fully laden, so if you keep it in the sweet spot and drive it like a lazy diesel it's more than adequate. The noisy load space is helped a fair bit by loading it up with our stuff and a good bit of volume from the decent sound system. There's still quite a lot of road noise back there though, so we're wondering if there are any covers to place over the bulkhead - any suggestions?
Maybe my last negative point wasn't really relevant; it's a van after all, and is not designed to be blasted down a B-road at full chat, and for chugging up and down the motorway it does the job pretty damn well. Not to mention the fuel consumption is very good - we're seeing very close to 50mpg on a steady run and we're not even fully run in yet.
Thinking what we're thinking?
Oh, and heated cloth seats are all that's good in the world - frozen behind to roasting in what seems like seconds! Especially handy after being near frostbitten at Silverstone recently.
So, the van is doing it's job very well so far, and with many more tests on the horizon, we'll be sure to keep you updated.
Car: Volkswagen Caddy Highline 2.0 TDI 150ps
On fleet since: January 2018
Mileage: 2,633 (delivered on 120)
List price new: £21,330 (As tested £26,629 comprised of £504 for deep black pearlescent paint with Titanium black upholstery, £600 for Winter pack including headlight washers, heated washer jets, washer fluid level indicator, heated driver's and front passenger seats and electric auxiliary air heater, £252 for rear parking sensors with rear view camera, £78 for lumbar support for driver and front passenger seats, £144 for high beam assist, £114 for electrically foldable and adjustable heated mirrors and £150 for App-connect)
Last month at a glance: Our new Sunday Service steed slots into service superbly!
PH in a van!