Car camping in VW Caddy – camper conversion review

Car camping - car reviews
caddy maxi 1 1

This is the definitive Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life car camping review for 2021. Continue reading if you want to know:

  • VW Caddy’s size & measurements for car camping
  • It’s comfort & driving rating
  • What are the common criticisms of VW Caddy
  • How VW Caddy compares to other car camping / microcamper cars – our rating & overall cars table

VW Caddy Maxi Life Review summary

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life car camping / microcamper review

Lukas Cech – Nimblecamper.com

caddy
Boot size (length 225cm & height 113cm)
Storage – awesome
Comfort (interior)
Comfort (driving)
Off-road driving
Consumption

Summary

The VW Caddy Maxi Life is the second biggest MPV out there (as of 2021). 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 it’s 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.
VW Caddy Maxi Life is one of the top cars in our 30+ cars for car camping table.

3.8
PROs
  • big above head storage on top of other standard compartments
  • it is very spaciouslong and tall, easy to sit in even when converted to a camping car at the back – it’s the biggest small car you can find out there if you want size, but not a van
  • easy to maintain, no expensive or hard to get parts
  • Volkswagen quality standard & reliability
  • good price on models up to 10 years old (they still drive very well at an affordable price + will last for years to come)
  • sliding middle doors
  • middle seats can be lifted up or removed
  • you can fold the middle row of seats and keep the rear ones up – and put your feet up (or use the middle row as a table)
CONs
  • more van-like – lower interior comfort
  • not a 4×4 – ok for some off-road, but not too much
  • 3rd row rear seats have to be removed, can’t be folded like in a 7 seater Sharan. On the plus side – the car is so long you might not need to remove them as there’s additional storage space behind the 3rd row of seats

Is VW Caddy Maxi Life a good car for car camping?

This section focuses on assessing how does this car perform in car camping setting – space, storage, features useful for camping, extendability (how easy it is to add car camping gear).

Key information

  • Car type: MPV/Minivan
  • Make: Volkswagen
  • Folded seats boot length (cm): 225
  • Boot openning height (cm): 126
  • Boot width (cm): 155 (2nd row doors) / 117 (trunk)
  • avg MPG (US): 31.6
  • avg l/100km consumption: 7.4
Our VW Caddy Maxi Life car camping rating 3.8/5.0

Standard rating (not focused on car camping):

HonestJohn.co.uk rating 3/5 • Autoexpress.co.uk rating: 2/5* • Carbuyer.co.uk rating: 3.8/5

*(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)

The VW Caddy Maxi Life is a very good car for car camping – it’s the second most spacious MPV out there, only beaten in size by Chrysler Grand Voyager (which scores lower on all other fronts). Its level of comfort is lower compared to a VW Sharan (f.e. no armrest for the driver – although the Comfortline version does have it), but the rest is very similar – like mileage and maintenance costs. It’s also well priced – especially 5-10 years old models that were well kept. It’s not an offroad car so don’t expect a thrilling offroad ride, yet still, you can take it down a not too steep/rough dirt track or through a meadow.

Dimensions & Storage

  • Folded seats boot length (cm): 225
  • Boot openning height (cm): 126
  • Overall height (cm): 183
  • Overall length (cm): 487,8
  • Overall width (cm): 179,3

The Caddy Maxi is the longest small car we’ve seen – you won’t realize it until you actually see the 3 rows of seats in front of you and then still plenty of trunk space behind them.

image 16

Good storage in the front – aside from the standard passenger’s side glove compartment, there’s one in the middle/top of the dashboard, two cup holders. One of the biggest winds of VW Caddy is the overhead storage.

In the middle, there are good size side storage compartments you’d expect in the door. Similar two are next to the 3rd row of seats with cup holders + there are 2 side compartments in the trunk too:

image 11
image 5

What will also come in very handy when car camping in the Caddy are the wide and flat surfaces on both sides of the boot – easy to keep things when the car isn’t moving. A great solution considering that all cars could have it, yet for some reason their design is tilted towards the inside (like in a VW Sharan):

image 12

Electric sockets – 12V outlets

There are two 12V outlets:

  • one in the front (the image below is from a 2016 model – older ones probably won’t have a USB port)
  • one in the middle compartment facing middle row of seats

See more in these VW Caddy Maxi detailed specifications on car.info.

Recommended video review (interior & exterior):

Is VW Caddy Maxi Life a good car for driving?

This can get very subjective – you can see more detailed reviews on these websites:

HonestJohn.co.uk rating 3/5 • Autoexpress.co.uk rating: 2/5* • Carbuyer.co.uk rating: 3.8/5

*(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)

The Caddy is a big winner in terms of space and storage – it’s not as comfy as a Sharan (but it’s comfy enough) and you can pack all the camping gear in the world into it. It is very often used for DIY car camping conversions and you will find a lot of third party camping boxes & kits for it too. There’s even a VW made Caddy Beach that’s ready-made for car camping including a car bed and window storage kits – but it will set you back at least 18,000€ (used) + it’s actually shorter, so you’re paying a lot for the car bed and less room. You are better off buying a used Caddy Maxi Life and build your own or buy a cheap car bed solution.

The car is still quite lively considering its size. The consumption for a car this size is pretty good – Fuelly reports a range between 7 and 7.5 across 56 vehicles.

Maintenance costs are about average – it’s not such a fancy car, so no fancy maintenance costs – nothing you wouldn’t expect from a medium-range family car.

Compared to other cars we’ve looked atWV Caddy is in the lead (together with VW Sharan and Seat Alhambra). The only bigger car is the Chrysler Grand Voyager (which scores lower on all other fronts) and then only standard vans (which don’t fit our car camping criteria). Therefore in terms of size – this is as good as it gets for car camping in a standard car. Overall, the Caddy is a good all-rounder if you prefer space when camping over more comfort whilst driving.

VW Caddy Maxi Life car camping & microcamper conversions photo gallery

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