Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C20 Estate

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Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O review

A couple of years back, this new Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O would have been nothing more than a dream. You just would not have foreseen how far van-based ’s would come. It’s huge, practical, and fairly  good to drive, too. It’s one of the best offerings in this sector yet.

If you’re shopping around for a cheap  and  cheerful van-based , this one makes use of a simple formula very well. Derived from a commercial vehicle (and classed by the brand as a commercial vehicle rather than a car), it aims to be functional and accommodating for families who are operating on a budget. There are seven-seats, a good choice of diesel units, and it houses a smart interior.

It doesn’t hide its commercial origins all that well, though, so there will be misgivings in the styling. OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O  review.

Overview Of The Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O

On The Road

The car feels  surprisingly composed when you get her out on the road. We quite like the 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine. Although it can only develop a rather modest 101bhp output, it’s good enough to allow it to cover the 0-62mph dash in 12.1 seconds. It can’t, however, match its rivals when it comes to refinement.

The 2.0-litre TDI 138bhp diesel engine is a better bet if you want a bit more muscle. It will cost over £2,000 extra, but can get you from a standstill to 62mph  in just  10.3 seconds. For such a big, awkward-looking vehicle, that’s quite the feat.

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O review

On the road, the Volkswagen is very good. It’s tall – 6 feet tall, in fact – but the handling doesn’t throw you any nasty surprises. It’s safe and predictable, which is absolutely on the money for an  like this. Moreover, it drives like a passenger car. The steering is nicely weighted, there is plenty of front-end grip, and it all adds up to a very confident  and  assured drive.

It’s better on a full-load, though. Take it out on the road with just you in it, and you will notice  a lot of bounce. At higher speeds, it remains composed and stable even on poorer road surfaces, while it nips through the town almost like a city car, thanks also to its good visibility  and tight turning circle.

The good news is that you don’t really notice its commercial vehicle origins all that much until you take it out on longer journeys. The driving position is very good, the seats are supportive and offer lots of comfort, while the huge cabin gives you plenty of space.

Interior, Design & Build

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O review

If you are old enough to cast your mind back to the eighties, you might remember that the Caddy actually began its humble life as a pick-up based on the VW Golf. Even today, almost thirty years on, it still shares a number of its elements with the hatch. But it now merges them with the VW Touran people carrier – and to great effect.

Indeed, its most recent facelift betrays its new inspiration. You can’t really tell the Caddy Maxi Life apart from the Touran when you look at it from the front end. The two hefty vehicles are almost indistinguishable. They share the same short bonnet, the same deep windscreen, the same square lights, as well as the same thin pillars. The only noticeable difference between the two is this car’s large wing mirrors. Apart from that, they are near identical.

Viewed from the side, however, there are standout features here, not least the sliding door with  mounted windows. This, of course, is the van-based ’s calling card. The base-level model misses out on steel wheels and painted bumpers, but this Maxi Life variant gets treated to 15” alloys, colour-coded bumpers as well as black roof bars that lift its aesthetics from its otherwise plain van-based origins.

The interior is very much reminiscent of a budget-friendly people carrier. Make no mistake; it’s functional but basic. The gear leaver, central divide and central console all look very similar to the one’s found in the Touran, with VW making little to no effort to stamp some originality on this ’s cabin.

Perhaps somewhat disappointingly, there is only one trim colour available, which is a rather gloomy dark grey.  And to emphasise how basic this interior is, the soft touch materials in the VW Touran have been replaced by hard plastic here. This model is more budget friendly, of course.

The car comes with seven seats, and even if you fill them all there is still heaps of boot space leftover. Unfortunately, there is no official boot volume available because VW class this as a commercial vehicle instead of a car. But what we can say with certainty is that the boot is big and can easily accommodate the luggage of a family of seven. It’s a really usable boot, too, thanks to a low lip and roof rails which come as standard.

Remove the seats, and you get 3,370-litres of space.

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life review

In terms of the seating, adults in the first two rows will have plenty of room for manoeuvre, but adults occupying the third row will probably find that things get a bit cramped after a while. Thanks to the large sliding doors, access to the second row  is easy, but again the third row presents a bit of  a problem, especially for the less nimble and athletically-inclined among us.

Equipment

The Caddy Maxi Life comes with a decent amount of standard equipment, including air conditioning, six load-lashing rings, a DAB digital radio, Bluetooth connectivity, four overhead storage nets, a trio of twelve-volt sockets, and remote locking, immobiliser and alarm.

There are also a number of optional extras that you can snap up. Among our recommendations are the DSG automatic transmission, which makes it much easier to shift gear, heated seats, and satellite navigation.

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O

Costs Of The Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O

Prices for the new car start out from  £22,000  and rise to almost  £26,500.

Running costs are  fairly reasonable, though not spectacular. There are 3 engines to choose from, starting with the entry-level 1.6-litre TDI diesel. We like this engine’s performance, and thanks to the fact that it comes equipped with a number of fuel saving measures it can claim average fuel economy reruns of 54.3mpg.

Those of you who want a bit more power will have to shell out an extra £2,000 for the 2.0-litre TDI unit which comes in either 108bhp or 138bhp guise. The former is hindered in terms of economy by 4MOTION all-wheel drive, and can only achieve returns of 43.5mpg  at best. The more powerful of the two, meanwhile, is good for 46.3mpg.

Pros and Cons Of The Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O

Pros:

Cons:

Massive Interior

This car isn’t short of a bit of space. Head and legroom are awesome in the first two rows – unparalleled.

VW have  used the space well. A number of intelligent storage units have been deftly included to optimise the sizeable interior, including a large tray above yours and your passengers head, and trays hidden underneath the front seats.

Sliding Rear Doors 

You’d be fooled into believing this was a VW Touran if it wasn’t for the sliding doors. These huge doors make access to the car easy, and could be the standout feature that tempts you to part with your cash. Fantastic.

Good Amount Of Standard Kit

All the  basics are covered  in the standard kit. As well as what we’ve already mentioned, you also get traction control, lumbar support, side airbags, folding rear seats, and front fog lights.

Awkward Boxy Styling

VW have made very little effort to hide the Caddy Maxi Life’s commercial origins, and you really notice this when you step back and take a look at it. It’s  not a looker by any means, and thanks to the dark choice of colours you might think it looks a tad too uninspiring – even gloomy.

Expensive

It’s easily  one of the most expensive cars of its type on the market right now. For less cash, you can pick up a rival Peugeot Partner Tepee or a Citroen.

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O vs Peugeot Partner Tepee vs Ford Grand Tourneo Connect

 

The Volkswagen is certainly good, but could you do better. Let’s see how it fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C20  review.

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O vs Peugeot Partner Tepee

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O review

The Peugeot Partner Tepee is a fairy small  but  very capable MPV. It’s functional, versatile  and  durable. It’s also a lot more stylish than the VW.

There are just two engines to choose from, petrol and diesel. Both are 1.6-litre units, and neither are especially impressive. But although covering the 0-62mph dash in around 13.0 seconds is about as good as things get, the engines do feel quicker than the numbers suggest.

Unlike the VW, which drives like a passenger car, the Peugeot drives very much  like a van. Body lean is plentiful in bends, while a clunky gearbox and heavy steering ‘treat’ you to a frustrating experience on twisting roads. However, take this vehicle to its natural habit – motorways and towns – and it will step up the plate. It’s highly capable.

The Peugeot is cheaper to buy than the VW, and it also offers  better running costs. The Blue HDi diesel is offered in two power guises – 100bhp and 120bhp – with the less powerful good for returns of 67.3mpg, and the most powerful good for 64.2mpg.

There are two models available, a base-level Active and a range-topping Allure. The entry-level trim gets LED daytime running lights, air conditioning and cruise control as standard, while the Allure trim adds a DAB radio, a neat touchscreen infotainment system, packing sensors, automatic headlights and dual-zone climate control. As such, it’s almost as  well equipped as the VW.

The cabin is attractively laid out, the seats are comfortable, adjustable, and can be removed easily for extra space. Like the VW, there is a vast amount of interior space, while a 675-litre boot with five seats is respectable. Remove the rear seats, and you can extend the boot to 3,000-litres.

And while the Peugeot doesn’t come with seven seats as standard, you can add an extra two as an optional extra

Price:

Volkswagen – £22,000 – £26,500

Peugeot – £15,500 – £20,000

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O review

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O vs Ford Grand Tourneo Connect

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O review

Like the VW, the new Ford Grand Tourneo Connect is a seven-seater that is focused on offering  value for money. Unlike the VW, it doesn’t take its cues from existing Ford’s but instead tries to offer up an original design.

The Ford Grand Tourneo Connect is available with a choice of four engines – a pair of petrols and a pair of diesels. It makes a lot more sense to fit it with the 1.5-litre diesel engine, which comes in either 98 or 118bhp guise. Both are  mighty slow, though, with the former taking 15.0 seconds to get you from rest to 62mph, and the latter taking  14.0 seconds.

However, you don’t really choose an engine for its speed with a vehicle like this. So while it will feel sluggish out of the traps, the 1.5-litre diesel is perfect for those everyday trips around the town. On the motorway, it’s quiet and relaxed.

Running costs are  compelling, especially when compared to what the Volkswagen can offer. The cheapest diesel averages fuel economy returns of 61.4mpg.

The 1.6-litre petrol engine is decidedly less impressive.

The Ford and the Volkswagen are as awkward-looking as each other, with neither vehicle able to hide their van-based origins. Inside, the Ford looks modern and slick on first sight, but cast your eyes far and wide and you’ll spot a number of hard plastics which aren’t pleasing to see or touch.

The driver’s seat is  very adjustable, and while the rest of the seats look unsupportive, they’re actually more supportive and comfortable  than they look. The Ford finds it hard to keep road noise at a minimum, and the absence of soundproofing is  disappointing.

There is, though, a heap of interior space. The front and second row of passengers have plenty of head and leg room, but if you opt to turn this into a seven seater (it comes with five seats as standard and an extra two as an option), adults will find things a bit too cramped on the third row. The boot, meanwhile, is measured at 1,029-litres.

Price:

Ford – £15,000 – £23,000

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O review

Verdict Of Our Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C2O

The car is not cheap, but it is one of the largest  and most  accommodating of its ilk. It also comes with a host of attractive standard kit, including heated windows and air conditioning, and is as composed on the road as a car of this type can ever wish to be.

There are plenty of pros and very few cons. If you can afford it, the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life C20  is easily as good as van-based ’s come right now.

Want to learn more? Click below to view the review for the competitors in this article…

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