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Volkswagen Caddy Life review: 2006-2010

The VW Caddy Life boasts efficient and flexible cabins with lots of seating options.
EXPERT RATING
7
When you talk peoplemovers large cumbersome wagons or four-wheel drives automatically spring to mind, but there are heaps of options for families looking to haul a tribe.

When you talk peoplemovers large cumbersome wagons or four-wheel drives automatically spring to mind, but there are heaps of options for families looking to haul a tribe. One of them is the VW Caddy, which is a compact peoplemover that's capable of accommodating up to seven while still a vehicle of relatively modest dimensions.

NEW

The Caddy Life was based on the compact Caddy commercial vans, the result being it had a rather commercial look and feel, which was probably its least appealing aspect. But the Caddy was in turn based on the Golf, with Golf-like looks, at the front at least, which softened the industrial look a little. The Life was based on the regular Caddy van, while the longer wheelbased Maxi Life was based on the longer version of the cargo hauler.

The Life was configured to carry five, two up front and three across the rear, while the Maxi Life would accommodate seven in three rows thanks to its longer wheelbase. Both boasted efficient and flexible cabins with lots of seating options to accommodate whatever combination of people and cargo you might want to carry. The interior is workmanlike with rather plain trim and painted surfaces in the rear.

There was a choice of petrol and diesel power, the petrol engine was a 1.4-litre unit that delivered reasonable, but not breathtaking performance, while the diesel was a turbocharged 1.9-litre four-cylinder unit that gave a nice balance of performance and economy. When you opted for the petrol engine you got a five-speed manual gearbox, but if you chose the diesel you drove away with a six-speed DSG automatic. On the road the Life and its longer sibling drove like the Golf passenger cars they were based on. The ride was comfortable, the handling assured and nimble, and the performance brisk.

NOW

VW hasn't endeared itself to many of its customers with its tough policy on issues reported to it, which is a pity because their cars are generally well built and overall they're quite reliable. The main troubles stem from the DSG gearbox and the issues it had with erratic gear changing, wrong gear selection and losing drive at inappropriate moments. VW recalled the Caddy in 2009 because of problems with the DSG gearbox, which could lead to the loss of power to the front wheels.

When testing a Caddy Life with the DSG it's critical that the gearbox be put through every conceivable driving situation in order to ensure there are no existing problems. The other issues that affect all modern day cars, including VWs, are random electronic gremlins that can be difficult to find and fix. Packed with electronics as they are, today's cars are subject to unexpected and often unexplained meltdowns, and like all brands VWs are affected. Make the usual checks for a valid service record that shows your chosen car has been properly maintained.

VW Caddy Life 2006-2010
Price new: $27,990 to $34,990
Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cyl, 75 kW/148 Nm; 1.9-litre 4-cyl turbo-diesel, 77 kW/250 Nm
Transmission: 5-speed man; 6-speed DSG auto; FWD
Economy: 8.4 L/100 km (1.6), 6.2 L/100 km (1.9TD)
Body: 4-door wagon
Variants: Life, Maxi Life
Safety: 4-star ANCAP

SMITHY SAYS

Commercial looks reduce appeal of an otherwise effective means of transporting a family-sized load.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2010 $6,160 $13,640
2009 $5,170 $11,660
2008 $4,840 $11,220
2007 $4,070 $10,010
2006 $3,960 $9,680

View all Volkswagen Caddy pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$7,145
Based on 8 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$4,850
Highest Price
$9,995

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.6 1.6L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,960 – 5,830 2006 Volkswagen Caddy 2006 1.6 Pricing and Specs
1.9 TDi 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $4,850 – 9,995 2006 Volkswagen Caddy 2006 1.9 TDi Pricing and Specs
Life 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $7,490 – 7,999 2006 Volkswagen Caddy 2006 Life Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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