Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life (2008 – 2015) Review

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life (2008 – 2015) At A Glance


+Sensibly priced seven-seater with enough space for seven and their luggage, huge loadspace with seats removed.

-Rearmost bench seat does not fold and has to be removed to free up space, noisy on the motorway.

We’ve become used to small vans being turned into affordable people carriers. The likes of Peugeot, Citroen and Fiat have all successfully adapted commercial vehicles into passenger cars that offer great space. They’ve never been particularly sophisticated or refined, with a back to basics image, but that hasn’t prevented them from becoming increasingly popular.

Volkswagen is no stranger to this market either. In the past it has launched Life versions of its Caddy van but the model found few fans. Now there's the larger Caddy Maxi. The big news is that it’s available with seven seats and offers bags of passenger room and stowage.

It's certainly not much of a looker. Despite alloy wheels and colour-coded bumpers there’s no disguising the boxy van shape. On the plus side the Caddy Maxi Life has space. Lots of space. Passengers in the middle row will find plenty of knee room plus there’s bags of headroom thank to a high roof.

The sliding doors make getting and out simple – and they’re useful if you have to fit child seats in tight spaces. The third row is useful but it is a fixed bench and as a result lacks flexibility - the back can be folded down to increase the boot capacity but if you need more space the whole seat has to be removed, and it’s an awkward and cumbersome procedure.

If you can see past the boxy styling you’ll find that the Caddy Maxi has fantastic passenger space and plenty of storage too. Having a third row of seats means it has a clear advantage over competitors but it’s quite expensive for what it is.

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life 2008 Road Test

Ask Honest John

What cars offer removable seats?

"Can you please tell me which cars have completely removable rear seats? This is my chief requirement in picking a car."
The Skoda Karoq has this feature because it was a popular feature of the Yeti. Otherwise, van-based MPVs such as the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Partner (new ones on the way), Renault Kangoo combi, Mercedes-Benz Citan, Fiat Doblo combi, Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life.
Answered by Honest John

I'm buying a small van - what would you recommend?

"What's the best small van that will fit a trials bike (approx 6'2 long)?"
Generally, mid-size panel vans are better for moving motorbikes with the wide and long load area being perfect for carrying one or two. However, if you really don't want something like the Mercedes-Benz Vito or Ford Transit Custom, the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi might suit. It has a load area that measures 2249mm long and 1532mm wide. For our full review of the Volkswagen Caddy, and used buying guide, see:
Answered by Dan Powell

Is there a seven-seater better than the SEAT Alhambra for towing a trailer?

"We have four children aged 17-22, all tall, and a budget of about £30,000. We want a car for travelling long distances with six of us plus luggage (some in a top box and some in the trailer). Is there anything better than the Seat Alhambra? We're after practicality and comfort and don't need off-road capability."
The SEAT Alhambra and Volkswagen Sharan are slightly bigger than the Ford Galaxy. However, rather than a top box and trailer, you could consider a Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life, or, much better still, the excellent new Citroen Space Tourer, Peugeot Traveller or equivalent Toyota HiAce:
Answered by Honest John

What do we do about being mis-sold an ex-hire vehicle?

"We've just bought a used Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life from a Volkswagen garage. We were told the vehicle had one previous owner only. When the car registration documents came through, it turns out the car was owned by a car hire company. We called this company and ascertained that the vehicle had been hired out 47 separate times. The garage manager eventually agreed to give us our money back but I still feel we were deliberately mis-sold this vehicle and wonder what redress if any should be offered?"
Sorry, this is a "so what" complaint based on prejudice. The car has one previous owner that was a rental company and the fact is that a succession of different drivers driving the same vehicle is good for it, not bad for it. Hirers do not carelessly damage rental vehicles these days because of the Draconian penalties for doing so. To prove this point we bought an ex-rental Mondeo in 1999 and ran it for 9 years with no trouble at all apart from a union coming off the PAS reservoir (cheaply fixed).
Answered by Honest John
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