Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Van Review
Facts At A Glance
BHP:103bhp - 138bhp
GROSS VEHICLEWEIGHT: 2315-2350kg
VolkswagenCaddy Maxi Van - SPACE VAN
Ifyou can’t squeeze all the things you need to into a Caddy van, theCaddy Maxi is Volkswagen’s tailor-made solution.
Byadding a cubic metre of extra load space and 80kg or extra payload, theCaddy Maxi model opens up the Volkswagen Caddy van range to operatorswho may have though it too small. Otherwise it’s the same as a standardCaddy, strong, comfortable - a very agreeable small van.
Ifyou like the look of Volkswagen’s compact Caddy van but feel that youmight need a bit more room, a solution is at hand. The Caddy Maxi is aCaddy with nearly a cubic metre more space to offer. It’s perfect fordelaying the inevitable day when the stuff you need to shift won’t fit.
It’sthe situation every van driver dreads. There’s an important job on thatinvolves a large assortment of items being transported to a certainlocation. You begin loading your van and it rapidly becomes apparentthat all this stuff isn’t going to fit. Suddenly, you’re looking attime consuming and costly alternatives. Two trips, hiring a largervehicle, attaching a trailer, discarding unnecessary items (the sortthat tend to prove absolutely crucial at some later point): none of theavailable solutions are particularly appealing. You find yourselfwishing you’d opted for a van that was a little bit bigger. TodayVolkswagen Caddy buyers can and that van is called the Caddy Maxi.
There’sa diesel only-engine range for Caddy Maxi customers to consider and theoverwhelming majority of UK van operators wouldn’t have it any otherway. The 103bhp 1.9-litre TDI engine opens proceedings and isadequately forceful for moving a Caddy Maxi and its cargo thanks totorque of 250Nm that’s generated at 1,900rpm. The alternative, however,has quite the powerhouse - by van standards at least. Packing 138bhpand 320Nm all the way from 1,750rpm to 2,500rpm, the 2.0-litre TDI canreally move. Its strength low down in the rev range is perfect forgetting weighty loads off the line or up steep inclines. The cut andthrust of motorway travel is also greatly simplified when you’ve gotthis much of the good stuff under your right foot.
"It’sthe extra space that will need to sell the Caddy Maxi becauseotherwise, it’s the same as the standard Caddy van…"
Bothof the Caddy Maxi’s diesel engines use direct injection technologyrather than the common-rail injection set-up that tends to be smootherand more refined. There’s the usual diesel rumble at start-up but onceoperating temperatures are achieved, the Caddy goes about its businessin a reasonably hushed manner. The driving position is nice and highaffording good viability and easy access. The dash-mounted gear shifterhas a nice, positive feel and the braking performance inspiresconfidence. The Caddy isn’t as enjoyable to hustle along as some of theother offerings in this sector but its suspension irons out the bumpswell for an overall driving experience with high levels of comfort.
It’sthe extra space that will need to sell the Caddy Maxi becauseotherwise, it’s the same as the standard Caddy van. Neat butunspectacular styling in the best Volkswagen traditions dominates theoutside while the interior is similarly efficient with build qualitythat’s as good as anything in the small van sector. The Caddy Maxi is470mm longer than a normal Caddy van with 151mm of that accounted forby a longer rear overhang and 319mm squeezed into the wheelbase. It allmakes for a vehicle of 4,875mm in length with a 4.2m3 load volumethat’s up 1m3 on the standard van. The maximum payload is increasedtoo. You can take around 720kg in a Caddy and 800kg in a Caddy Maxi.
TheCaddy is kept in check by disc brakes on all four wheels controlled bythe standard ABS system. There’s traction control too. Not many smallvans can offer that as standard but not many small vans have the optionof 138bhp. The whole package rides on suspension based on that of theMkV Golf at the front but the rear set-up has been beefed-up to copewith the Caddy’s more taxing load-lugging duties. The rigid rear axleis mounted on leaf springs, while there are anti-roll bars fore and aftto keep everything nice and rigid for more composed cornering.
AllCaddy Maxi models have twin sliding side doors and glazing rear doorswith opaque glass. The also have a solid bulkhead which helps keepcabin noise down. Standard equipment includes remote central locking, amust when you’ve got six doors to think about, a driver’s airbag and aCD stereo. There’s also height, rake and reach adjustment for thedriver’s seat and rake and height adjustment on the steering wheel, sogetting comfortable should be simple.
Aswell as the panel van model, the Caddy Maxi can also be ordered inWindow Van and ‘Life’ forms. These bring additional people carryingoptions, with the Window Van taking a basic minibus approach with acarpeted floor and bench seats. The Life model goes further coming overa bit MPV with a more luxurious specification and various additionalstorage solutions.
Hopin behind the steering wheel: you’ll see the cabin is typicalVolkswagen and very similar to the Golf. Neat and unfussy with darkgrey plastics prevailing on every surface. In passenger cars, thistried and tested VW decor occasionally comes in for criticism on thegrounds that it’s lacking in visual flair but it’d be rude to turn yournose up when you get an interior of this quality in a humble van. Thelayout is simple but effective, with the dials and buttons you needfeeling solid and falling easily to hand. The extra weight that theCaddy carries over its competitors might not be obvious in the van’sdriving dynamics but it certainly manifests itself in the cab wherethere’s an air of sturdiness that’s uncommon in small LCVs.
Storageprovision is good too. The glovebox, dash-top trays and door pocketsoffer plenty of space for the tools of your trade but the long shelfabove the windscreen may be less handy. Such arrangements are common insmall vans but the presence of only a small lip along the leading edgealways suggests they’re angling to deposit their contents onto yourhead during sudden inclines or under hard acceleration. Paperwork andclothing won’t be too much of a problem but, just for safety’s sake,keep hammers, tins of paint and drinks flasks in the door pockets.
Volkswagenhas a very effective LCV line-up and the Caddy is a key part of it. InMaxi form, it’s a little bit bigger and that will be exactly what someoperators need. The engines are sound, the styling is attractive enoughand the interior has a real quality about it. You will pay a premiumfor that Volkswagen branding but residual values are strong andmaintenance costs low, so that extra outlay up front might paydividends.
Ifyour load carry requirements are forcing you into a small panel van,the Caddy Maxi could be your saviour. As a compact van with extraspace, it’s affordable, manoeuvrable and a more enjoyable drive thanthe larger vehicle you were thinking about, whether you’re taking tothe back lanes or pounding the motorway. The 138bhp TDI engine gives ita brisk turn of pace too.