Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Plenty of adjustability in the driving position
  • Clear instruments
  • But sat-nav is mounted too low

With its eight-way adjustable driver’s seat, and a steering wheel that adjusts for rake and reach, it’s reasonably easy to find a comfortable seating position at the controls of the Caddy Maxi Life; aforementioned numb bum excepted. As with most vans, you sit quite high, giving you a good view of the road ahead.

The instrumentation is not to the very latest Volkswagen design, but it is clear and easy to read. Ditto the controls for things like the air-conditioning, which are both easy to understand and to handle. Material finish is hardwearing, and although not up to VW’s best standard, appears good quality and put together with care and attention, and better than you’ll find in most van-based MPVs.

Two higher grades of media system are offered at extra cost on the Caddy Maxi Life, including a full sat-nav system. But whichever you choose we were disappointed at how low down in the dashboard the touchscreen is positioned, which means you have to take your eyes further off the road. Fortunately, the sat-nav is simple and straightforward to use.

  • Old fashioned suspension impedes comfort
  • It is quiet at a cruise though

Vans are not noted for having especially sophisticated underpinnings, particularly at the back. The Caddy Maxi Life is no exception, as it’s lumbered with a rigid rear axle and old fashioned leaf springs instead of modern independent suspension. So while it’s far from being uncomfortable, rear seat passengers are in for a bouncier ride than they would be in something like the VW Touran (which is based on the latest Volkswagen car platform).

You’ll find the harshest bumps are transmitted as shocks through the steering, too. The seats also leave a little something to be desired; despite eight-way adjustment (including lumbar support) in the front row, this driver experienced what’s technically known as numb bum syndrome on longer journeys.

Good refinement from the petrol model

Engine noise – at least in the petrol model tested – is very well isolated at cruising speeds, with the 1.4-litre motor only becoming coarse over 5,000rpm; something you’re unlikely to experience unless you’re really in a hurry.

Wind and road noise are impressively limited for this kind of machine as well, though you may experience some resonance due to the cavernous nature of the interior. This is easily drowned out by the hi-fi, however, which comes with six-speakers as standard and can be clearly heard by all three rows of passengers.