Juliet reviews…The New Caravelle

There is nothing quite like the nostalgia one feels when looking at a Volkswagen Kombi. You can just picture David Kramer, can’t you? Well it has been around for the past six decades and is now in its sixth generation. The Caravelle sits just above the Kombi and has recently, along the with Volkswagen’s entire T6 people-mover range, received an update.

The refreshed Caravelle 2.0 BiTDI Highline 4Motion auto looks nothing like the one I grew up in. You know the one I am talking about, right? With the two long rear benches we used to fight over as to who could sleep on which when on a roadtrip. You see, the new Caravelle now rivals the likes of the Mercedes-Benz V-Class, so it is all pretty fancy up in here. This Highline model is the only new Caravelle model available and now boasts a revised grille, updated LED head and tail lights and an array of exterior colours on offer. You can even opt for a two-tone vibe which is a nod to its heritage.

The interior, like I mention, is completely different from the one years back and is all kinds of fancy these days. There is a new dashboard with VW’s 10:25-inch Discover Pro infotainment system with integrated navigation. And, of course, it sports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, which you no longer need a cable for. The digital cockpit makes it all that more modern but it is the practicality of the a Caravelle that we so love. It can seat seven adults and the seats slide on a rail system which also sees the second row being able to be swiveled around to face the third row. You could just about have a board meeting in the back of a Caravelle these days.

The need for a Caravelle has changed slightly since the 80s. It certainly still appeals to big families, but it is also now a desirable shuttle for hotels or businesses. Hence the board meeting comment 😉

There is a new 2.0-litre bi-turbocharged diesel engine under the bonnet and it really is a fantastic engine. It gives you 146 kW and 450 Nm, which is great if you need that extra torque for towing a trailer or a boat. Because even though it is super spacious inside, there is little boot space for everyone’s luggage. The engine is mated to a seven-speed dual clutch automatic transmission which is incredibly smooth. There is more than enough power boosting this guy and fuel consumption is also claimed at a reasonable 8.3-litres, but you will more than likely sit just above that. Still it is not bad at all for a vehicle of this size.

Overall it is a very refined drive and one that obviously differs from the one I learnt to drive in back in 1999.

It is not a budget-friendly option, sitting north of a million Rand, but it is certainly a car to consider if it is space, refinement and practically that you are after.

Price: From R 1 166 600

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