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
VW Caddy Maxi
Boot length with seats down (cm)
Boot width (cm)
158 (2nd row doors) / 125 (trunk)
155 (2nd row doors) / 117 (trunk)
Boot height (cm)
93 (7-seater) / 113 (5-seater)
Storage – front
MPG (US): 33.2
MPG (US): 31.6
3 to 5 + 230V
ADAC rating (lower = better)
Our overall camping rating
Read full review
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.
Caddy and Berlingo size comparison
Winner: Caddy Maxi (0.1 cm shorter and 11.6 cm taller)
Comparison image source: carsized.com
How are they rated on other websites?
Winner: VW Sharan
73% average score of below 7 reviews
80% – 4/5 – parkers.co.uk
Better looking than predecessor, frugal and eco-friendly engines, seven seats as standard. Servicing costs higher than rivals
82% – 4.1/5 – carbuyer.co.uk
The Volkswagen Sharan is a sensible, practical and capable seven-seat MPV, but it feels expensive compared to newer rivals
60% – 3/5 – autoexpress.co.uk
The seven-seat VW Sharan is a great all-round family car, with a flexible interior and grown-up driving experience
80% – 4/5 – whatcar.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% – 3.5/5 – autocar.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% – 7/10 – topgear.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% – 7/10 – carwow.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
VW Caddy Maxi Life
70% average score of below 7 reviews
78% – 3.9/5 – parkers.co.uk
The van-based people carrier with VW quality
60% – 3/5 – carbuyer.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.
70% – 3.5/5 – autoexpress.co.uk (Their website gives it a 2/5 rating, but I think this is a mistake as they rate the car around 3-4/5 in all areas, but then give it a 2/5 overall rating. Doesn’t make sense. So I made an average rating from their sub-ratings.)
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% – 4/5 – completecar.ie
If space and versatility are a priority, the Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life will appeal.
60% – 6/10 – theaa.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% – 8/10 – heycar.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% – 3/5 – honestjohn.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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Pressure solar camping shower (pumped) – 10l
This camping shower is easy to transfer and doesn’t need to hang in the air – it has a built-in pump that lets you pressurise the chamber and shower or use it in the sink anywhere. It’s black, so the longer you leave it in the sun, the warmer the water will be (or just leave it in a hot closed car in the summer).
- Lightweight: 870 g including the bag
- 10 litre capacity | On/off button on the handle to prevent waste
Which one do people convert to a small camper van more often?
Winner: VW Caddy Maxi
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 exterior size comparison
VW Sharan vs VW Caddy Maxi – camping conversion gallery
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.
Caddy / Maxi
£19,267 / £22,496
£19,674 / £20,094
£15,065 / £19,444
£12,995 / £15,565
£11,968 / £14,018
£11,157 / £9,577
£9,530 / £10,483
VW Sharan & VW Caddy Maxi – recommended gear
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It’s a mixed bag and both cars are good options. But each car is better suited for a certain type of camper:
For serious campers where camping is the main reason you buy the car, who want more space and more options for a DIY camping conversion or who 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 its 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 camping boxes 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: