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Car reviews - Volkswagen - Caddy - Maxi Life people-mover range

Launch Story

Volkswagen logo11 Dec 2008

By LUCIANO PAOLINO

VOLKSWAGEN has responded to the market’s desire for a bigger version of its small people-mover, the Caddy Life, by introducing a stretched replacement model called the Caddy Maxi Life.

The key problems with the Caddy Life as perceived by potential owners, says Volkswagen, was a lack of cargo room with seven seats in situ (the third row can be removed to create luggage space). The exposed painted turret sections inside were also considered to look unsightly and the grey bumpers were also not to their taste.

Volkswagen saw a fix in the Maxi Life’s added cargo space and ensured the cabin was fully lined and the bumpers colour-keyed with the body. Problem solved, hopefully.

The Maxi Life adds 470mm to the length of the Caddy Life. Of the increase, 420mm goes to increased boot area length and 50mm to increased rear leg room.

Outside, the rear overhang has increased by 150mm and the wheelbase has increased by 320mm. Overall length has increased from 4400mm to 4875mm.

The Caddy Life did not cause a stampede of customers at Volkswagen dealers, with 170 sold in its seven months on sale in 2006, peaking at 328 sales for 2007 and this year just 264 sold to the end of November.

Volkswagen Group Australia (VGA) boss Jutta Dierks won’t quote sales expectations for the new model but says she expects that the Caddy Maxi Life will improve on the sales numbers generated by Caddy Life.

At $34,990, the Caddy Maxi Life is $3000 more expensive than the Caddy Life TDI it replaces.

The Caddy Maxi Life's cabin is set up in a two/three/two-seater configuration with the second row split 60/40.

Set in a five-seat configuration, cargo volume is 1650 litres. When the third row is fitted the seven-seater has a 530-litre load capacity. That is up from 750 litres and 190 litres respectively for the Caddy Life.

The entry-level 75kW 1.6-litre engine from the Caddy Life will not continue in the Caddy Maxi Life.

The Caddy Maxi Life provides a number of storage facilities. Door pockets in the front doors will accept a one-litre bottle, two cup-holders are moulded into the front of the centre console and one fold-out single cup-holder is fitted at the rear of the centre console. The centre console box has a lidded armrest.

The rear doors also have deep pockets and there is also storage in the third row side wall, while above the windows there are small cargo nets.

The Caddy Maxi Life is fitted with safety items such as traction control, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and twin front and front-side airbags as standard.

Volkswagen makes the point that safety is important for families, but rear side or side curtain airbags have not been engineered for the Maxi Life so they are not available from the factory.

Furthermore, electronic stability control (ESP) with brake assist (BA) is a $690 option. Volkswagen said it decided not to include ESP as standard because it would push the price beyond what it considered an appropriate price point.

Standard equipment in the Caddy Maxi Life includes electric front windows, sliding side doors on each side, central locking, cruise control, semi-automatic air-conditioning with dust/pollen filter, 16-inch alloy wheels and a six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system.

While air-vents are supplied for second-row passengers, none are fitted for the third row.

Aside from the aforementioned ESP/BA option, Caddy Maxi Life options include the ‘Light and Sight’ package, which consists of auto on/off headlights and front windscreen wipers ($390), rear park distance control (PDC - $790), tinted glass in the passenger area ($490), metallic paint ($790) and pearl effect paint ($890).

Only one engine is offered with the Caddy Maxi Life, the 1.9 litre TDI, which develops 77kW of power at 4000rpm and 250Nm of torque from 1900rpm. The 1.9-litre TDI meets the EU4 emissions standard and fuel consumption is rated at 6.2L/100km with the five-speed manual transmission and 6.9L/100km with the six-speed DSG automated manual.

A 103kW turbo-diesel version is offered overseas, but VGA decided not to take this engine option as it is not available with an automatic transmission.

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