Dan knows a thing or two about Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles – having owned multiple Brotherwood WAVs, including a Volkswagen Caddy conversion for over 10 years – and from his Youtube channel Dan’s Wheel Guide, where he tests a variety of accessible vehicles.
“Over the years the Volkswagen Caddy has built up a bit of cult following so the new one has a tough act to follow. Having said that, it does not disappoint. In terms of a base vehicle, and more importantly, as a WAV, it is both modern and up to date but retains the same footprint and form factor as previous models.
The first thing to note is that it has a lowered floor conversion. I was very impressed with the fit and finish – but Brotherwood conversions are always completed to a high standard.
I was in my power wheelchair and the new and improved counterbalanced ramp was better in terms of the angle being slightly more shallow, which makes it easier to enter and exit the vehicle. The chair felt safer and I felt more secure which straight away was a plus point. The restraint system is similar but has had some noticeable improvements; the rear restraints have the STORQ (self-tensioning) system developed by the team at Brotherwood – when the ramp comes up after loading, it automatically tightens the rear restraints. This is beneficial for security of the occupant, and the carer from a physical point of view – for example if they have wrist injuries or struggle with grip.”
“I sat in a central position on the same level as the other passengers, which I find important for a sense of inclusion. The view is excellent both for the wheelchair user and all occupants.”
“Nigel from Brotherwood was my chauffeur after I was loaded. The cockpit has been subtly brought up to date, and boasts modern features – it has a fresh look, with a 6-inch touch screen for the entertainment system, including all phone connectivity and entertainment with DAB radio, Bluetooth, and Apple Car Play / Android Auto.
Features for driver ease include cruise control as standard and an electronic handbrake. The model we were testing was the 1.5 TSi (114HP 7 speed DSG Automatic). There are also two Diesel engines available – both 2.0 Litre TDi units with varying power outputs. The lower (102bhp) unit is only available with a Manual Gearbox, whereas the higher powered (122HP) is available with a choice of a 6 Speed Manual or 7 Speed DSG Gearbox.
Having been used to a diesel myself for the past decade, the 1.5 TSI petrol engine was a pleasant surprise. It was smooth and refined as you would expect from a petrol engine, and also had the pulling power to rival a diesel – whilst having a pleasant turn of speed too.
I think this would be a good choice for those who are concerned about diesel emissions. However, if you need the extra torque and fuel economy then the Diesel may still be the better choice. All engines conform to the latest Euro 6 emissions standards.”
“Being based on the new Golf chassis, it feels very Golf like to drive and is quite nimble – so I have been told. The suspension has been tweaked to provide a nicer ride, and the handling has been notably improved too. Road noise is also less prevalent in this new Caddy which is a huge plus in terms of comfort and a more relaxed travelling experience for the wheelchair user.
Nigel took me on a variety of roads and a Dual carriageway, all of which I felt very secure and comfortable on for the duration of the journey. Because of the reduction in road noise, it is easier to hold a conversation – neither the driver or I needed to raise our voices to compensate for said road noise.
Extras including VW app connect, digital cockpit, SatNav, and upgrades to the entertainment system are available.
Looks wise, there is a minor change from the old model as it shares the futuristic Volkswagen front end used throughout the current Volkswagen family. It remains compact and stylish, but most importantly, it’s still recognisable as a Caddy! There’s are also a range of colours and interior features which bring it up to date.
All in all, it is a great all-round vehicle which doesn’t obviously look like a WAV. Parking is good due to the short wheel base, with reverse and rear parking sensors included as standard.
All these subtle improvements make a big difference. And for that reason, I think it’s on track to once again be hugely successful in the WAV marketplace – just like its predecessors.”