You’d be hard-pressed to find a family who hasn’t had some experience with the loveable Volkswagen Kombi or Caravelle along the way. It’s an MPV which has been bringing smiles to both the face of those who drive and those who are part of the journey for generations. To find out more, I embarked on a journey in very premium, yet retro-styled Caravelle 2.0BiTDI Highline 4Motion.

Quick Specs:

  • Engine: 0-litre 4-cylinder bi-turbodiesel
  • Gearbox: 7-speed dual-clutch
  • Fuel economy: 8 L/100 km (claimed)
  • Power/Torque: 132 kW/400 Nm
  • Performance:0-100 kph in 12.1 sec (claimed)

CaraCara

This catchy phrase sums-up the celebrated history of a vehicle which is simply incredibly versatile. It is about much more than simply versatility though, the Caravelle has an image which simply makes you smile, and that’s before you’ve even climbed inside and started your journey.

With its subtle chrome applications, striking 17-inch “Cascavel” alloy wheels and, of course, the optional “Heritage” dual-tone paint scheme, the Caravelle looks simply the business from its exterior design, while its interior is a optioned with everything which you can imagine.

The Luxury

Well, where do I begin? For starters, my impression of a great large vehicle is formed, when it is able to allow you to forget its size. Job done! The Caravelle may have more than comfortable seating for eight adults and a picnic table to boot, however, when you drive it, it allows you to feel as if you are driving a well-specced Volkswagen Golf.

From an electronic tailgate to its optional refrigeration box. Electronic side doors and blinds on the windows, to a full media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto abilities, to a built-in driver microphone so that those in the back never miss what the driver is saying, the Caravelle takes luxury MPV commuting to new heights.

The Drive

All powered by Volkswagen’s tried and tested 2.0 TDI motor which develops 132 kW (at 4 000 rpm) and 400 Nm of torque from a low 1500 rpm to 2000 rpm, the Caravelle makes a solid case for itself as a people mover which has the oomph on-demand and impressive fuel economy all at the same time.

Volkswagen claims combined-cycle fuel consumption of 8.8 L/100 km for the 2.0BiTDI Highline 4Motion, which is can be achieved. Very impressive for its size and overall abilities.

The all-terrain 4Motion system adds to the weight of the vehicle, and while weight is never a good thing, it does allow for power to be evenly distributed to the wheels in which its required, this makes for a more planted sure-footed driving experience.

The Caravelle delivers a sufficiently comfortable ride with impressive NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) suppression in the cabin. The overall experience is one of total ease to drive and relaxation for all passengers. I absolutely love its ability to seat rear occupants in a “face each other” boardroom style while on the go.

Verdict 

It would really be difficult not to fall in love with one of these. From its look at me “Swinging 70’s” inspired two-tone paint scheme to its total ride comfort and luxury, the Caravelle puts a smile on not only faces of its occupants but that of other road users around.

While a top-spec model is not cheap, it’s very hard to compare to almost anything else and would certainly form part of my own dream garage.

SA Pricing

A Caravelle like this one (2.0BiTDI Highline 4Motion) will set you back upwards of R1-million. Available options include the likes two-tone “Heritage” paint scheme at a cost of R33,289 and the heating/cooling box in the trunk (R5 145).

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