Volkswagen Caddy Life Review 2023 | Top Gear
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Volkswagen Caddy Life review

£24,744 - £33,414
Published: 31 Jan 2022
A massively practical VW that isn’t an SUV. Benefits greatly from its new MQB platform

Good stuff

Drives like a Golf, masses of interior space

Bad stuff

Fixed rear windows might not be ideal for family life


What is it?

This is the latest generation Volkswagen Caddy, although if you’re looking at the images above and seeing far too much glass for your liking, you’ll need to click these blue words to be taken to our commercial Caddy Cargo van review

The current fifth-gen Caddy also comes as a small campervan in this rather natty California spec, but here we’ll focus on the people-carrying Caddy Life.

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What’s that then?

Forget the oversized Touareg and the overpriced ID.4, the Caddy Life is almost certainly the most practical family Volkswagen on sale today. You can even have it in long-wheelbase ‘Maxi’ form in some parts of the world. You will still have to buy it through Volkswagen’s commercial vehicles branch, but prices start at a remarkably reasonable £25,379.

Tell me more about this Caddy…

The new Caddy sits atop the VW Group’s MQB platform, meaning it borrows powertrains, safety equipment and many interior bits from the very-much-a-car Mk8 Golf. Does that mean it no longer drives like a van? Click through to the driving tab of this review to find out.

The aforementioned powertrains include a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel with either 101bhp or 120bhp. The former can only be paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, whereas the latter gets a choice of manual or seven-speed DSG auto. Just one petrol engine is available – a sprightly 112bhp 1.5-litre turbo four-cylinder that comes with a manual only in base-spec Caddy trim or with a DSG only in top-spec Life trim. 

There are no hybrid, PHEV or fully-electric options, and we wouldn’t expect to see any in the very near future – the Caddy is perhaps the epitome of modern-day motoring simplicity.

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It looks good though?

Doesn’t it just. Most of the world might have forgotten about proper MPVs, but Volkswagen clearly felt that enough people would buy a new Caddy to warrant some actual styling. That face is mighty handsome and you can have some fancy metallic paint options including ‘Copper Bronze’, ‘Fortana Red’ and ‘Golden Green’. 

Our choice from the range

What's the verdict?

A massively practical VW that isn’t an SUV. Benefits greatly from its new MQB platform

The Caddy Life has benefitted massively from the move to Volkswagen’s MQB platform, with proper car-like driving dynamics and better equipment than you’d expect from a van-based lump. It even looks good these days. Okay it might not be the most fashionable thing on four wheels, but it’s an immensely spacious family car for the money. Time to forget all about that crossover you were thinking of test driving…

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