The Volkswagen Group is still recovering after the costly Dieselgate and is channeling most of its resources towards electrification. That doesn't mean it has completely abandoned niche models to save money and redirect the funds to more important products. Take for example the new Caddy PanAmericana, which comes to replace the Alltrack version available during the previous generation.
What is it? A small van with an "off-road touch" available strictly with a short wheelbase in both passenger and cargo configurations. It's all show without any extra off-road go as the changes are limited to visual upgrades. VW Commercial Vehicles has fitted the new Caddy PanAmericana with grained wheel arches and extra underbody protection finished in silver at the front and rear.
Gallery: 2021 VW Caddy PanAmericana
It rides on two-tone 17-inch wheels and comes with a side decal serving as a nod to the route from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. LED lights at the front and rear come as standard equipment, as does the silver roof rack. Customers get to pick from the following exterior colors: Copper Bronze, Starlight Blue, and Reflex Silver, Deep Black Pearl Effect, and Candy White. Regardless of choice, the bar in the radiator grille is color-coded with the body.
Looking under the hood, there's a turbocharged four-cylinder 1.5 TSI engine with 113 horsepower (84 kilowatts) or a 2.0 TDI diesel with either 100 hp (75 kW) or 120 hp (90 kW). Dependent on the engine, the Caddy PanAmericana comes with front-wheel drive with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic and in an all-wheel drive (4Motion) guise with a clutch pedal.
It can carry as much as 679 kilograms (1,497 pounds) in the case of the cargo model and up to 525 kg (1,157 lbs) for the passenger version. Maximum towing capacity for the all-rounder stands at 1.5 metric tons (3,306 lbs) and there are no fewer than 19 driver assistance systems, five of which debuted with the Caddy's latest generation introduced in 2020.