Volkswagen published a pair of Hot Wheels-esque teaser images to preview the next-generation Caddy, a van that has historically been closely related to the Golf. The model will be offered in people- and cargo-hauling variants when it makes its global debut in February 2020.
The Caddy slots at the bottom of Volkswagen's van range, beneath the Transporter — which traces its roots to the original, rear-engined Bus — and the Crafter. The preview sketches show a bold, aggressive design with race car-like styling cues such as a red tow hook poking out from the front bumper, large air vents, and pronounced wheel arches. The production model won't look nearly as aggressive, but its front-end design will draw inspiration from the eighth-generation Golf.
The connection between the two will be more than skin-deep. The current Caddy has evolved considerably since its introduction in 2003, but it remains loosely based on the fifth-generation Golf. Its replacement is widely expected to ride on Volkswagen's modular MQB platform. It will consequently offer a more car-like driving experience, and better in-car technology.
The list of powertrain options will ultimately grow to include gasoline- and diesel-burning four-cylinder engines, dual-clutch automatic and manual transmissions, as well as front-wheel drive and 4Motion all-wheel drive. Switching to the MQB platform will also allow Volkswagen to offer the Caddy as a hybrid for the first time. The gasoline-electric powertrain hasn't been confirmed yet, but we'd be surprised if it doesn't get the green light considering VW's electrification push.
Volkswagen sold (and manufactured) the original Caddy in the United States as the Rabbit pickup, but none of the subsequent models received clearance to turn a wheel on American asphalt. While the next-generation van won't be an exception to this rule, Ford will use its basic platform to build the Transit Connect's replacement, and that model stands a good chance of returning to America.
"For both parties, Ford intends to engineer and build larger commercial vans for European customers, and Volkswagen intends to develop and build a city van," the company explained in early 2019. It didn't refer to the Caddy by name, but it's the most city-friendly member of the range.
Volkswagen will release additional details about the next-generation Caddy in the coming weeks. It will make its debut in February, at about the same time as a completely different kind of Caddy, and it's one of 34 new models and variants the German automaker plans to release in 2020.