Volkswagen Caddy Life (2015–)

Last updated 7 July 2019

Easy to drive, lots of van-like practicality, suitable for wheelchair conversion, available with seven-seats.
A lot more expensive than other van-based MPVs, interior feels a little crude.
Updated 7 July 2019

VW Caddy Life and Maxi Life price list now shows the only petrol engine to be a 102HP 1.0TSI; 2.0TDI is restricted to 102HP but remains available with the old DQ250 6-speed wet clutch DSG.

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When it comes to affordable running costs and raw practicality, few MPVs can match the space and family-friendly nature of the Volkswagen Caddy Life. Based on the fourth-generation van, the Caddy Life is easy to live with thanks to dual sliding doors and car-like handling. It can also be specified with seven seats, although the premium price might put some off. 

Van-based MPVs have come a long way since the era of the rattly and noisy window vans of the early 2000s and few vehicles illustrate this better than the Caddy Life. All models get five seats as standard and have a maximum of 3030 litres of storage, but this can be extended by an additional 340 litres with the longer Caddy Maxi Life.

As well as offering more space, the Maxi gets an extra row of seats, which means it can transform into a minibus of sorts for the school run with seven seats, although the third row can be a little cramped for adults due to the limited leg room.

All models use the same diesel engines as the van, with a Euro 6 compliant 2.0-litre TDI offered with 102PS or 150PS. Volkswagen claims as much as 60.1mpg from the 102PS unit and all engines are linked to a smooth five-speed or six-speed manual gearbox, with a six-speed DSG automatic available as an option. 

On the road the Caddy is good to drive and handles very much like a standard family hatchback, with light steering and lots of visibility from the large windscreen and side mirrors. The quality of the ride is also impressive, with its soft suspension providing lots of protection from potholes and speed bumps.

The interior is a little crude in places and the Caddy does show its van origins with lots of cheap plastics and a basic dashboard. However, there's lots of useful storage, with deep door pockets and useful cubby holes and cup holders. DAB radio and Bluetooth are also fitted as standard. 

Admittedly, some will be put off by the Caddy's boxy looks and no-thrills interior, but the Life range is difficult to fault when it comes to practicality and durability. What's more, with its suitability for wheelchair conversion and its supportive seats, the Caddy has lots of likeable traits for older drivers too.


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