Vans that suit you or a family

Buying an affordable workhorse van can mean some compromises — but depending on if you’re willing to take a gamble on an emerging brand, you might not need to sacrifice space for price.

As such, we’ve brought two well-known small vans — the Volkswagen Caddy, Australia’s best-selling model in the segment, and the Citroen Berlingo, a go-to second option — and the much larger, but also cheaper, LDV G10.

The LDV plays in the category of vans the next size up, but with pricing that undercuts most small vans available on the Australian market it is a true segment buster – something the Chinese brand needed in order to gain some market share in the notoriously fickle commercial vehicle segment.

These three vans are pretty close on price, and there’s not too much between them when it comes to standard equipment.

Volkswagen’s Caddy is more complete than it’s ever been, with a great blend of comfort and practicality.

It’s not just a panel van mind, as in common with most of its competitors these days VW offers the Caddy for sale in a range of body styles including a five-seat Combi and a window van. If the straightforward Caddy van version is for you, then there’s a choice of wheelbases, with the longer version known as the Caddy Maxi. There’s also a more upmarket MPV version called the Caddy Life which comes in both standard five-seat and seven-seat ‘Maxi’ guise.

The LDV G10 we have here is the recently added base model manual version – we’ve previously tested the 2.0-litre turbo petrol automatic model and came away pretty impressed. This version, though, drops the turbo engine and six-speed automatic transmission in favour of a lower-tech 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine and a five-speed manual transmission.

The LDV is the only one with alloy wheels, and they’re 16-inchers. The Volkswagen has 16-inch steel wheels, and the Citroen has 15-inch steelies with hubcaps.

The VW Caddy Startline is the entry model, and it comes with a pleasing amount of standard equipment including driver’s seat height adjustment, DAB radio/cd player, elecstric windows and mirrors, a near-side sliding door, remote locking and post-collision braking. The Caddy Trendline adds cruise control, sun visors with vanity mirrors, more cab storage and driver seat adjustment, plus body-colour bumpers, mirrors and door handles to replace the standard black items. The Caddy Highline moves things into the luxury realm, with climate control, leather steering wheel, auto lights and wipers, front fog lamps and the all-important alloy wheels.

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