What is the best anti-SUV?  Renault Kangoo Combi or Volkswagen Caddy?

What is the best anti-SUV? Renault Kangoo Combi or Volkswagen Caddy?

In these times, it seems that SUVs are the typical answer to the needs of anyone who wants to buy a car. However, if what you are looking for is a great family vehicle, and you highly value both practicality and space on board… I have to tell you a secret: vans are superior to any other type of car. And today we have with us two of the Best seller in the compact van segment. The Renault Kangoo and the Volkswagen Caddy. In this comparison, and the video that accompanies it, we are going to discover which is the best, and why if you buy a van, you will never think of an SUV again.

The reason why we have chosen these two vans is because Stellantis has stopped selling passenger vans with thermal mechanics – Vans like the Citroën Berlingo passenger can only be purchased in a 100% electric version – leaving that juicy segment on a tray for brands like Ford, Volkswagen or Renault. Both the Renault Kangoo Combi and the Volkswagen Caddy are considered compact vans, with sizes equivalent to a compact SUV. The Renault is 4.49 meters long and the Volkswagen is just one centimeter longer.

There are not too many passenger vans left for sale with thermal mechanics.

Unlike vans in higher segments, its dimensions, and a height of 1.80 meters do not exclude them from any car park, no matter how old or narrow it is. At the moment, the Renault Kangoo Combi is not offered in a long version nor is it offered with more than five seats. However, the Volkswagen Caddy is offered in a seven-seater version, both in its short version of 4.50 meters and in its Maxi version of 4.85 meters and extended wheelbase. At the design level, both have great similarities with other vehicles of their brand, but as is logical, they cannot hide a checkered appearance, especially in their rear parts.

It’s a matter of taste, but personally I prefer the futuristic look of the Volkswagen Caddy to the more traditional design of the Renault Kangoo.

Which is more spacious?

Starting with the Volkswagen Caddy, its front seats stand out for being very open-plan, and with extensive adjustment possibilities. However, they have gaps in terms of ergonomics, especially due to the absence of physical controls for air conditioning or light control. Have a inconspicuous driving position, made entirely of hard plastic, but very well adjusted, very solid and in appearance, very suffered. For its part, in the Renault Kangoo we do not have such a clear feeling, perhaps because it has a very bulky dashboard.

If we know cars like the Volkswagen Golf, the Caddy’s driving position will be very familiar to us.

The driving position is more reminiscent of a van, but it uses more varied and colorful materials than those of the Caddy. I like the imitation wood of the dashboard, the fabric of the doors and the metallic finish of the air conditioning controls or the gear knob. The presence of physical controls and the logic of the controls, as well as the position of the vents and screens is also more sensible in the Renault. However, we do not have such a solid feeling in the dashboard settings and its finishes.

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Access to the rear seats of both vans is via sliding doors. They’re comfortable and leave plenty of room to get in and out – as well as allowing us to easily get in and out of tight spaces – but the gap is a bit wider on the Volkswagen. The rear seats of both vans are identical, but they are not three individual seats, they are three seats of equal size. They’re very wide and there’s plenty of headroom, but fore-end space is limited, especially in the Caddy – the Kangoo, however, has a somewhat short bench seat.

Only the Stellantis vans have triple ISOFIX anchors in the second row, but not these two vans.

In my opinion, the game is won by the Renault not only because of space, but also because it has electric windows, something that Volkswagen cannot say. However, the German takes revenge in the loading zone, whose maximum volume of 1,213 liters It is much higher than the 775 liters of the Renault. The loading mouth of these cars is gigantic, but that of the Caddy is even larger, as well as being closer to the ground. In the Volkswagen, in addition, we can not only fold down the seats, but also fold them forward or even remove them completely from the vehicle.

In the Renault, we can only shoot them down. So if one of your priorities is cargo space, the Caddy is one of the best vehicles in the segment.

Vans can also be technological

The Volkswagen Caddy has standard with 10.25″ digital instrumentation. It is one of the best digital instruments on the market, since it has a lot of information and is completely configurable, both in appearance and in the way it presents data. It also allows us to see the map of the browser, something that is very comfortable. The infotainment system The Caddy has screens up to 9.2″, as is the case with this unit. It has a lot of information and a lot of features, but it does have a bit of a learning curve.

On a technological level, Volkswagen clearly wins the game over Renault.

It has improved its fluidity, but finding some functions for the first time can be challenging and operating functions such as turning up the sound volume or adjusting the temperature of the air conditioning is carried out by means of confusing non-backlit touch sliders. In addition, we have a wireless charger for phones and two USB type C in the center console. For his part, the Renault Kangoo has a conventional instrumentationand a small color multifunction screen as an on-board computer – by the way, with a lot of information.

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For its part, the infotainment system consists of an 8-inch touch screen. It is a relatively basic system, with limited fluidity and somewhat slow reactions. Fortunately, it is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and we also have a wireless charger for mobile phones.

practical component

In the Volkswagen Caddy we have a large storage compartment on the dashboard, which runs from side to side. We also have plenty of space under the center console, with charging sockets and a space to charge your phone, plus two drink holders and a pocket under the adjustable armrest. The glove box, yes, is very modest in size and the doors have a cargo hole without great pretensions. On the driving position we have an additional space in the overhead console. In the rear seats, however, in addition to not being able to open the windows, we only have a small hole in the doors.

Input, in the Renault Kangoo, we discovered one of his aces up the sleeve. After the instrumentation we have a large storage space protected by a lid. Inside we have two USB charging sockets and the anchor of an integrated and universal holder for phones. This support is tremendously practical: it is compatible with any smartphone, it is rotatable and can be placed on both sides of the instrumentation – it also has a hole so that we can remove the charging cable from the device.

Practical details make the difference in favor of the Renault Kangoo.

On the dashboard there is more space for various objects and a glove box as deep as a cavern. There is a space under the center console to store our phone, and under the change, even more space, a place reserved for wireless charging, drink holders and additional space under the armrest. The overhead console is larger than the Caddy’s and has a handy mirror for checking on the kids in the back rows…or our videographer.

The balance ends up leaning clearly towards the Renault Kangoo when we discovered that its front doors open no less than 90 degrees, and that the rear door openings are larger, in addition to having electric windows and opening windows.

Photos of the Volkswagen Caddy

At the wheel of the Kangoo and the Caddy

The Volkswagen Caddy that we are testing mounts a 2.0 TDI 122 hp engine, associated with a seven-speed DSG. Its driving feel is very similar to that of a passenger car, showing how far vans have come in terms of driveability. We only perceive that it is a van when appreciating a certain dryness in the rear end in potholes and bumps, or an insulation somewhat inferior to that of a compact SUV. It does not have a dynamic set-up, but it is a most pleasant vehicle for long trips or trips with the family.

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They do not have hybridization or ECO label.

The TDI engine pushes very hard and is ideal for this type of car, with actual consumption of around 6.0 l/100 km. In the Renault Kangoo Combi there are no surprises either, and much of what is described in the previous paragraph is applicable to the French. However, it has somewhat better insulation and is slightly more comfortable, albeit at the cost of sacrificing cornering stability. The motor of the tested unit is a 1.5 Blue dCi of 95 CV, associated with a manual transmission. In the city it is a sufficient engine, but its benefits are very poor outside of urban environments.

The proof of this is a 0 to 100 km/h in more than 15 seconds. For this reason, from Diariomotor we will always recommend the 1.5 diesel with 115 CV or the 1.3 turbo gasoline with 130 CV. The Kangoo’s range of engines is much more complete than that of the Volkswagen Caddy, by the way. In addition to three diesel options of 75, 95 and 115 hp, there is the aforementioned gasoline engine and a 100% electric version with the DGT ZERO label. The Volkswagen Caddy is only sold with two 2.0 TDI engines, two 102 hp and 122 hp diesels.

In the future, there will be a plug-in version in the Volkswagen Caddy.

conclusions

The winner of the comparison, as you may have also seen in the video, has been the Renault Kangoo. With everything, the victory has been very close and we can say that both are great family vehicles that will allow us to go with the house on our backs wherever we want. However, the Renault prevails thanks to its better ergonomics, wider rear seats and a greater practical component. Even so, the Caddy is very close, and clearly imposes itself on the French in cargo space, dynamism, and technology and infotainment.

Now, you should know that with equal motorization and equipment, the Volkswagen has a tariff price of about 5,000 euros higher than the Renault – something that can tip the balance in favor of the French in many purchasing decisions. Finally, a brief reflection: there are those who are still ashamed of vans, and dismiss them as “worker” vehicles, of “humble” origin. I hope this video has helped you to eliminate some of the existing prejudices, and has shown you that they can be a perfect alternative to an SUV or a crossover.

Photos of the Renault Kangoo Combi

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