VW Sharan vs Caddy – which is better for a car camping conversion?

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You’ve narrowed it down to the VW Sharan vs Caddy Maxi for your car camping adventures? They are both great cars to sleep in – both are the top small camper vans out there – but… you can only buy one. This review will help you decide which one.

Read on if you want to find out:

  • which one is better for driving – Sharan or Caddy?
  • which one has more room at the back? Which is longer / taller?
  • which one has more storage space?
  • which one is cheaper to drive (better consumption)?
  • which one do people convert to a car camper more often?

If you’re new here – you might want to check our best cars for car camping list. You might find there that the VW Sharan and Caddy Maxi are both our top cars for car camping / sleeping in (microcamper conversions if you like).

Why are we not including the standard VW Caddy you ask? Because it’s shorter. You could stretch in it if you push the front seats all the way to the front, but that’s not what we’re looking for (as that would remove all the storage space on both front seats when camping). You are much better off with the Caddy Maxi version which is 40cm longer (4.88m total length). You can of course convert the shorter Caddy to a microcamper too – in the same way, you would a Berlingo. But you will get much more room with the Caddy Maxi.

NimbleCamper Sharan vs Caddy Reviews & comparison

FeatureVW SharanVW Caddy Maxi
Boot length with seats down (cm)208225
Boot width (cm)158 (2nd row doors) / 125 (trunk)155 (2nd row doors) / 117 (trunk)
Boot height (cm)93 (7-seater) / 113 (5-seater)126
Storage – front4/55/5
Comfort (interior)4/53.5/5
Comfort (driving)4/53/5
Consumption (avg):l/100km 7.1
MPG (US): 33.2
l/100km 7.4
MPG (US): 31.6
12V outlets3 to 5 + 230V2
ADAC rating (lower = better)2.1/52.3/5
Our overall camping rating3.8/5
Read full review
3.6/5
Read full review

As you can see, overall the cars scored the same. But not for the same reasons – the Sharan is a better option if you prefer a more comfortable drive (better handling, better comfort for the driver in the front). On the other hand, the Caddy is very spacious – longer & taller (the Sharan is a bit wider though). Therefore if boot space is your main criteria, VW Caddy Maxi is your winner.

How are they rated on other websites?

Winner: VW Sharan

sharan dimensions exterior

VW Sharan

73% average score of below 7 reviews

80% – 4/5parkers.co.uk

Better looking than predecessor, frugal and eco-friendly engines, seven seats as standard. Servicing costs higher than rivals

82% – 4.1/5carbuyer.co.uk

The Volkswagen Sharan is a sensible, practical and capable seven-seat MPV, but it feels expensive compared to newer rivals

60% – 3/5autoexpress.co.uk

The seven-seat VW Sharan is a great all-round family car, with a flexible interior and grown-up driving experience

80% – 4/5whatcar.com

The Volkswagen Sharan is a spacious seven-seat MPV that’s well equipped and good to drive. It might quite be as strong an all-rounder as the smaller and cheaper Touran, and neither is it as good to drive as the equally enormous Galaxy, but it’s still certainly worthy of consideration if you need a seriously big people carrier.

70% – 3.5/5autocar.co.uk

The Volkswagen Sharan is a refined, flexible and spacious seven-seat MPV, albeit one that is more expensive than its Seat Alhambra sister car

70% – 7/10topgear.com

It’s big, expensive and not especially clever, but it is really, really good at ferrying lots of people about. Really, really quietly.

70% – 7/10carwow.co.uk

The VW Sharan is one of the best all-round seven-seater MPVs on the market but it isn’t as funky as a Citroen Grand C4 Picasso or as sharp to drive as a Ford Galaxy

caddy dimensions exterior

VW Caddy Maxi Life

65% average score of below 7 reviews

78% – 3.9/5parkers.co.uk

The van-based people carrier with VW quality

60% – 3/5carbuyer.co.uk

A car like this tends to be bought out of necessity rather than desire, and the Volkswagen Maxi Caddy Life is a good option if you need the huge space and practicality that it offers. However, rivals are now better than ever, and the Caddy Life is no longer the best in class. The Citroen Berlingo XL, for instance, is almost as practical but features styling that’s distinctive instead of conservative. Its engines are more economical and slightly quicker, and there are more to choose from. The Volkswagen also suffers from a slightly utilitarian interior and a smaller standard kit list than newer alternatives. If you only test-drove this car you’d probably be very happy with it but we’d recommend testing some of its rivals before you make a decision.

40% – 2/5autoexpress.co.uk

The Caddy Maxi is a perfect example of how far van-based MPVs have come. It’s big, practical and surprisingly good to drive

80% – 4/5completecar.ie

If space and versatility are a priority, the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life will appeal.

60% – 6/10theaa.com

It’s impossible for the Caddy Maxi Life to completely shake off its van attributes, but Volkswagen has done a good job of turning what is essentially a commercial vehicle into a family MPV. The driving experience is enough like that of a car to make the Caddy more than acceptable to drive and decent specification and safety levels mean it can pass muster as a family vehicle. It’s highly practical, too.

80% – 8/10heycar.co.uk

For buyers who rank versatility and affordability over things like style, a van-based people carrier like the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life could be a very sensible purchase. Not only is it cheap to buy, it also has low running costs and will forever surprise you with its load-carrying abilities.

60% – 3/5honestjohn.co.uk

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.


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Which one do people convert to a small camper van more often?

Winner: VW Caddy Maxi

VW Sharan

Google search in March 2021 for “VW Sharan camping conversion” produced:

  • 867,000 total results
  • 4,280 video results

VW Caddy Maxi

Google search in March 2021 for “VW Caddy maxi camping conversion” produced:

  • 1,200,000 total results
  • 38,000 video results

This might be skewed in favour of Caddy as there’s multiple versions (VW Caddy van / panels, Caddy standard length (windows), Caddy Maxi and there’s also a Caddy Camper)

Websites that create campingboxes have usually a Caddy box on offer, not as often a Sharan camping box.

VW Sharan vs VW Caddy Maxi Interior dimensions

VW Sharan vs VW Caddy Maxi – camping conversion gallery

VW Sharan

VW Caddy Maxi

VW Sharan vs VW Caddy Price comparison

The Sharan starts off more expensive but the older the model (especially 4+ years), the more parity between the prices. The Sharan is closer to the Caddy Maxi in size, so consider the Maxi prices for a fair comparison.

YearSharanCaddy / Maxi
2020£26,688£19,267 / £22,496
2019£21,498£19,674 / £20,094
2018£18,103£15,065 / £19,444
2017£15,573£12,995 / £15,565
2016£14,835£11,968 / £14,018
2015£13,389£11,157 / £9,577
2014£9,893£9,530 / £10,483
source: https://www.carsite.co.uk/used-car-price-guide/volkswagen

VW Sharan & VW Caddy Maxi – recommended gear

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Verdict

It’s a mixed bag and both cars are good options. For serious campers, who want more space and more options for DIY camping makeover or plan to shop around for a ready-made camping box, the VW Caddy is a better option. It offers more room and there are more camping boxes to choose from. You will be sacrificing some comfort (interior & drive) and it’s consumption is slightly higher – therefore if you will also use it as a standard car often, it might not be the best option.

Check out our full Caddy Maxi Car Camping review for more details:

If you want a more comfortable car (interior & drive) for everyday driving and some camping, with slightly lower consumption and still plenty of room for a DIY camping conversion, the VW Sharan is a great choice. There aren’t as many ready-made campingboxes for this car, but there’s some too + you should be able to fit many of the Caddy ones too – just ask the creators.

Check out our full Sharan Car Camping review for more details:

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