Caddy Maxi Camper (Life)
The VW Caddy Maxi Life is one of the biggest MPVs out there and probably the best small camper van option out there. If boot size is your primary criteria – you can’t go wrong with a Caddy. The car drives good too. Where it lacks a bit is comfort – it takes after its van origins and offers a more basic interior. But it makes up for it in storage – it really has a lot of compartments all over the place. It’s not the best car to take off the road completely – but you can take it down a good enough mud road without any big problems. A very good car camping / microcamping conversion candidate, unless you are planning to drive through forests and very much offroad – or you prefer a higher class interior comfort.
In the UK, the Caddy Maxi Life is registered as a car (not a van), so can go at a higher speed limit than the equivalent van.
NimbleCamper rating: 3.8/5
- Find a suitable car tent for this car
- Browse all car camping essentials
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|Boot length (cm)||
|Boot width [wheel arches] (cm)||
|Consumption MPG (UK)||
|Consumption MPG (US)||
|NimbleCamper rating (out of max 5)|
|Average used price, GBP (2015)||
|Boot door type|
- Boot length note – to achieve 225cm you might need to remove the rear seats, otherwise there’s about 190cm)
- EURO NCAP safety rating (2015) 4/5
- ADAC Rating (lower = better) 2.3/5
TLDR – Conclusion
If I was to buy a car for camping, it would definitely be a VW Caddy Maxi Life. It’s good enough in terms of comfort but it wins big time in terms of boot space it offers. And most camping boxes you can find are made to fit the Caddy.
Standard reviews (not focused on camping):
HonestJohn.co.uk rating 3/5 • Autoexpress.co.uk rating: 2/5* • Carbuyer.co.uk rating: 3.8/5
Average rating: 2.9/5
*(might be a fluke, as it scored above 3 in all areas, yet they gave it 2/5 in total – see and decide for yourself)
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Caddy interior / exterior dimensions
VW Caddy Maxi Life is one of the top cars in our 30+ cars for camping database.
VW Caddy Useful links
- Instructables – DIY VW Caddy Maxi Camper camping box
- another simple DIY Caddy camperbox with instructions
- shi*t load of Caddy images: over 1000 images here and over 600 here – indulge yourself!
- More Caddy Microcamper conversion images
- Facebook groups:
- Caddy Campers (UK)
- Caddy Camper (D/A/CH)
- Microcamper (DE/A/CH)
- Small vehicle campers (UK-EU)
2 reviews for Caddy Maxi Camper (Life)
- Average used price, GBP (2015) – I use Carsite.co.uk‘s price aggregates from 2015 (or the nearest possible year if not available), or, if not found, from autoscout24.com. For new cars, I specify the closest possible match (i.e. if released this year, it’s the new price, if released two years ago, it’s the 2-years old price etc). It’s here to give you a benchmark comparison (- a like for like, an apple with an apple) of the value of each car and for filtering purposes. It’s not meant to be used as an accurate estimate of used car value – it is updated once a year, so make sure you know what the car should cost at the time of purchase if you decide to buy one.
- Boot dimensions – taken from various sources across the web, starting with official, supplemented with other reliable websites (like ridc.org.uk), supplemented by user-generated content – images of measurements from forums or social networks. It’s also used for filtering, comparison and to give you a good idea of the car’s suitability for camping.
- Comfort rating – a benchmark used to simplify the car’s comfort & driving score based on equipment, furnishings, handling, safety, and costs ratings from external sources like whatcar.com, carwow.co.uk, autocar.co.uk etc. It gives you an indication of whether the car will drive and feel like a van (low rating) or offer better interior & handling (higher rating). A simple van-like car, for example, a Renault Kangoo is 0.5, a well equipped and comfortable car like a Ford S-Max is a 2. No hard math behind it, just an indicator, f.e. 0.5= basic car that does the job, 1.5 = hey, that’s nice to have!, 2 = oooh, comfyyyy.
- Consumption – I take the average 2017 consumption or closest match from Fuelly.com, or if none is available, from other sources like honestjohn.co.uk. If there are not enough cars for a single year, an average for several years is calculated.
- NimbleCamper rating – a weighted score of boot length (45% weight), boot height (40%), consumption (10%) and comfort (5%). The logic of weighing length & height higher than consumption and comfort is – headroom is important when you sleep in the back of the car, so is the length. A comfy ride is a factor, but you can sleep in a big car that’s not that comfy, however, it’s much harder to camp/sleep in a comfy car that’s too small. Read more about the NimbleCamper rating and criteria here.
- a note for EVs (electric vehicles) – for consumption, I am using the Fuel Equivalent Consumption estimate by ev-database.org. It is usually much lower than combustion engines, giving EVs an advantage – which I think is fair. They do have a small disadvantage in terms of having to plan your trips around charging stations + longer waiting time, but that will get better over time. More charging stations, faster chargers and better batteries. Therefore I am not adjusting the calculation for EVs in any way.
- In short: a litre of petrol contains about 8.9 kWh of energy. If we divide the energy consumption of an EV by this (f.e. 16 kWh/100 km divided by 8.9 kWh/litre), we get equivalent fuel consumption of 1.8 l/100 km.
- EV stats – taken from ev-database.org
NimbleCamper rating: 3.8/5 – One of the biggest MPVs you can find, with good storage options, average comfort rating and ok consumption. An all-rounder!
With 7ft (2.1m) + from drivers seat to back door, there’s loads of space in the Caddy Maxi, with enough height to keep the 2nd row of seats too, it’s useable in the week, and ready for a weekend away. Being the people carrier version of the caddy maxi van, you’ve also got storage options all over the place. Several cargo nets, cup holders. Pockets in the doors etc that you wouldn’t get in the van version. Mine is a tailgate version, so natural protection while I’m cooking I’m the back. To top it off, in the UK, they’re registered as cars, so can go at a higher speed limit than the equivalent van.
My kit is always in the back, cool drinks or even ice pops in the summer, with added power from the 100w solar on the roof.
Thanks Danno, sounds like the Caddy Maxi is the perfect caper 🙂 I’ll use some of your text in the description as it will be useful for others.
Presumably, the taxi is lower too as it’s not registered as a van?