First drive: VW Caddy Maxi Life

* Van-based MPV * Seven-seater practicality * Is it better than the Touran, though?...

First drive: VW Caddy Maxi Life

Van-based MPVs are sound, sensible cars. Okay, so they arent exactly sexy, but you get bags of practicality for not much cash.

At least thats the theory.

VWs Caddy Maxi Life doesnt quite hit the mark, though.

Its certainly big enough because unlike some seven-seaters theres space for a car-full of adults and their luggage. The sliding rear doors also provide easy access.

Firm ride apart, the driving experience isnt too bad, either.

However, if youre going to use the rear-most seats only occasionally, the Caddys appeal might start to wane. Most large MPVs come with nifty ways to fold the rear seats away, but the Maxi Life has a one-piece bench that you need to lift out. Its not something youll want to do very often, because its bulky, heavy and, once youve got it out, youll need somewhere to put it.

All that palaver might be worth it if the Maxi Life was cheap but, starting at 16k with the gruff 1.9-litre diesel engine, it isnt.

The biggest problem, however, comes from Volkswagen itself: the Touran. Yes, its slightly smaller, but its a lot more desirable, better equipped and doesnt cost much more. The Touran also comes with stability control (285 in the Maxi).

In everything but space, the Touran is the better bet if you must have a Volkswagen for seven.

Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life Price £15,995
On sale Now
Engine size 1.9-litre diesel /2.0-litre diesel
Power 103bhp/138bhp
0-62mph 14.3sec/11.1sec
Top speed 102mph/116mph
CO2 g/km/tax164/21%/169/22%