The Volkswagen Caddy Life is a bit of an unsung hero. You won’t see one parked outside the Casino in Monte Carlo, and it’s not the kind of car that petrol heads rave about. But it’s an honest, intelligent choice for anyone who has a large family or needs to transport up to seven people.
As standard the Caddy Life offers room for five, with the
option of an additional two seats. Headroom is impressive and as you’d expect
from a people-carrier derived from a van, there’s a lot more space inside than
you’ll find in a SUV of similar external dimensions, with loads of stowage
space. It’s a boxy machine, but neatly styled and with the distinctive VW family
grille. Entry to the rear seats is easy thanks to the sliding side door, and
the tailgate offers access to a cavernous 285 litres of load space with the
rear seats folded, one of the advantages of its van parentage. If you regularly
need to carry seven, you might find the Caddy Maxi Life is better suited to
your needs, thanks to a body that’s 470mm longer with an impressive extra 340
litres of load capacity. For passengers, this means even more space for their
legs, luggage and kit.
The Caddy Life is offered with a choice of two 2.0 TDI diesel engines, delivering 102PS and 150PS respectively, while if you prefer petrol there’s a 1.4 TSI that delivers 125PS. All engines feature latest-generation technology, and all conform to the stringent Euro 6 emissions legislation. A six-speed DSG auto is standard on the 150PS diesel and optional on the lower output 102PS. Choose the 1.4 TSI and you can opt for a seven-speed DSG, though a six-speed manual is standard. If you’re looking for maximum economy, the standout choice is the Caddy Life Bluemotion, only available with the 2.0 TDI 102PS.
The Caddy Life comes as standard with 5” touchscreen,
Bluetooth® compatibility and a Composition Colour DAB radio with SD car slot,
MP3-compatible CD player and six speakers. Electric front windows, leather
multifunction steering wheel, heated windscreen and a tailgate with heated
window and wash-wipe are all standard, as is cruise control. Optional upgrades
include the 6.33” Composition Media touchscreen which comes with the option of
Volkswagen’s App-Connect to hook up your smartphone. Upgrade again and you’ll
get the well-reviewed Discover Media satellite navigation system, recently
introduced across the Volkswagen car range. Other options include Park Pilot
sensors, a reversing camera or the full Park Assist steering assistance for
parallel parking and bays.
Although van-derived the Caddy Life and Caddy Maxi Life feature
many of the advanced Volkswagen safety technologies you’ll find in a Golf or
Passat. This includes Front Assist with City Emergency Braking, automatic
hazard warning light activation under emergency braking and the latest
Electronic Stability Programme. Airbags are fitted for front seat occupant
(with deactivation for the passenger side if required) and both the front and
second row also have side and curtain head protection airbags.
Some SUVs offer a third row of seats, but headroom is often restricted by a sloping roofline and they’re not the kind of place anyone adult-sized would want to spend a long journey. In contrast the Caddy Life and its bigger brother the Caddy Maxi Life can transport five or seven people with plenty of headroom, space and stowage, all in a relatively compact footprint. If you value practicality over fashion, and if you have people to carry, this is the people carrier for you.