Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life

The Caddy Maxi Life has all the space you'll ever need, and yet offers great value for money, says David Wilkins

This week's test car, the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life, is a bit of a mouthful, so I'd better start by breaking its name down into its constituent parts and explaining each in turn. The Caddy is a Volkswagen van; like so many other vehicles wearing VW, Audi, Seat or Skoda badges, it is broadly based on the Golf. The Maxi is a new, stretched version of the Caddy, which provides more interior space. The interesting bit is the word "Life", which signifies that this is the windowed passenger-carrying variant of the Caddy Maxi.

Specifications

Model: Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life 2.0 TDI
Price: £17,995
Engine: 2.0 litre, four-cylinder diesel
Performance: 116mph, 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds, 44.1mpg
CO2: 169g/km
Worth considering: Ford Tourneo Connect 8-seat LX, Peugeot Expert Tepee

A Life version of the standard Caddy has been available for some time, but has never been officially imported into the UK, partly, I suspect, because it might divert demand from VW's similarly-sized Touran people carrier. This concern doesn't apply to the Maxi variant, which only threatens sales of the decade-old Sharan. Nevertheless, you'll have to hunt around for information on the Caddy Maxi Life because it's hidden away in the "Commercial Vehicles" section of Volkswagen's UK website.

So, what's the deal? Well, the van-derived body is simply enormous; it provides a decent amount of luggage space, even with the third row of seats in place, which is a combination that is hard to find at any price. Only a few details betray the Caddy Maxi Life's commercial origins: there is no lockable glovebox, while the seat folding mechanisms are simple affairs compared with those on pukka people carriers.

On the other hand, there is none of the untrimmed bare metal that would have been visible in the cabin of a converted van a few years back. The Caddy Maxi Life is also very car-like to drive; its rudimentary leaf-sprung rear suspension, designed for heavy van work, involves little sacrifice in terms of comfort or cornering ability.

Van-based passenger vehicles are more popular in Continental Europe than here, but if the economy continues to worsen, I suspect that increasing numbers of us will be attracted to the excellent value for money they provide.

The verdict

Dave Chalk, 34
Commercial accountant, Liverpool
Usual Cars:
BMW 320 and Peugeot 206

When I first heard about the Caddy Maxi Life, I was intrigued to drive it as I had owned a VW Golf with the same diesel engine. With an enormous interior and lots of storage room, the car is firmly aimed at the sub-MPV market and those families blessed with large numbers of children and their associated luggage. While the engine reminds me of my old Golf (it was responsive), the basic nature of the exterior and interior styling does not. The car had all the necessary options – necessary being the key word. However, rear-parking sensors should be standard; a three-point turn we tried in a country lane nearly hit double figures (and the Earl of Derby's ancient brick wall).

David Barrow, 52
Housing consultant, Blacko
Usual cars:
Audi A4 Avant, Peugeot 806, Peugeot 107

Once you get past the daft name, and the fact that it looks like a van, this is a good people carrier. The cabin is cavernous and well fitted out. There's comfortable space for seven, and a good-sized boot. The sliding side doors give good access. It has typical VW build quality – robust and durable – which means it's going to last. A nice touch was the radio and trip computer controls on the steering wheel. The 2-litre diesel performs competently, and it handles well on all types of road – you forget you are driving a van. The lack of opening windows in the rear and the shortage of rear vents betray its van heritage, though. It's definitely better on the inside than the outside, but I don't think it will be on many families' radars, as it feels to be pitched at the taxi market.

Alan Dupré, 37
IT technician, Cheadle
Usual car/bike:
VW Passat, Honda Fireblade

I have a work-supplied Passat and often have to move equipment, so I was interested how this commercial "hybrid" vehicle would perform. The engine and gearbox were the same as my Passat and give the vehicle good performance, although I am not sure how the engine would perform with a full load. In terms of practicality, the vehicle excels and frustrates in equal measures – access via the sliding side doors is easy, but the rear door is huge, and finding space to open it when parked could be a real pain. Folding down the second and third rows of seats was a frustrating experience. For an active family looking for single "do it all" vehicle it could be ideal, but unless you really need seven seats, there are cheaper five-seat "window" vans available.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
News
peopleAt least it's for a worthwhile cause
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
News
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Life and Style
Sexual health charities have campaigned for the kits to be regulated
healthAmerican woman who did tells parents there is 'nothing to be afraid of'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

    £300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

    High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

    £70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

    Teaching Assistant

    £50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

    Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

    £400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

    Day In a Page

    A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

    Not That Kind of Girl:

    A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

    London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

    In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

    Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

    Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
    Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

    Model mother

    Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
    Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

    Apple still the coolest brand

    Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments