Volkswagen’s Cross Polo panders to those buyers who relish the ownership of a compact crossover, but do not have the resources to stretch to buying the full Monty. According to the company, the model was conceived to attract buyers with a more outdoorsy lifestyle, but in essence it exists due to people looking to stand out from the crowd in the same way the Cross Polo does.
The Cross Caddy takes a similar approach, so the styling has been heightened somewhat compared to the garden variety models. This added visual venom comes in the form of grey wheel arch plastics, a front valance spoiler, 17-inch Canyon alloy wheels, darkened rear windows and Cross Caddy decals on the rear sliding doors. Surprisingly, it all works rather well. Should you require a more extrovert colour scheme, you can opt for Viper green paint. The interior remains standard Caddy fair, save for colour seat and door inserts, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Even so, the ambience is not too dissimilar to that of the Amarok with fairly classy finishes that would not be out of place in a small passenger car.
However, there are some plastic finishes that are a tad on the hard side. Practicality remains part of the game, thanks to the rear side hinged doors and those aforementioned rear sliding doors. While the vehicle has five seats as standard you can, for an additional R5,200, buy the seven seats option, which comes highly recommended. Powering the model is a 2.0l turbodiesel engine making 81kW at 4,200r/min and 250Nm at 1,500r/min with a five-speed manual transmission. While it is not the most powerful rendition of this particular engine dis- placement, it manages to lug the vehicle around with relative ease. Turbo lag is present on pull off, but then it manages to cruise in a fairly convincing manner, all the while displaying good levels of refinement. Claimed fuel consumption stands at 5.7l/100km, but we managed about 7.2l/100km during our test tenure, which included both urban and highway driving.
The transmission in particular is slick shifting, although I would have preferred a sixth gear for the open road, which would lower the engine speed and therefore return even better consumption figures. Ride quality is reasonably comfortable and the front seats offered good scope for adjustment, although I found that steering adjustment could be a whole lot better with a longer rake adjustment. All round visibility is fine if a little obscured by the blind spot in the side mirrors. Ride quality is fairly good even on the slightly bigger wheels and the ride height remains the same as that of the regular model. Storage is one of the model’s fortes with cupholders and various nooks and crannies peppered about. While the model looks the part, it remains more suitable for commercial use such as shuttle services and rental fleet companies. The price of R340,600 seems a lot when you consider it does not come with a service plan as standard. In my book, you would do well to look at something like the Touran 2.0TDI DSG if space and value for money is what you are after. The Touran also comes standard with a five-year/ 90,000km service plan, which adds further peace of mind, and the convenience that comes with the automatic-dual clutch transmission in the Touran further sweetens the deal.
Transmission: Five-speed manual
Power: 81kW at 4,200r/min
Torque: 250Nm at 1,500r/min
Performance: 0-100km/h in 12.4 seconds
Top speed 170km/h