COULD the Volkswagen Caravelle be king of MPVs? Well, with the T6 base it certainly has the right ingredients – winning many accolades, including our current Crew Van of the Year award.
- The basic T6 Transporter shape, on which the Caravelle is based, looks more like a re-worked T5 than an all-new model. However, in paying homage to the iconic T1, the Generation Six certainly stands out more than the other members of the range! It is hard to miss the attention-grabbing two-tone paint job and those oh so chrome retro-styled wheels. In fact chrome features a lot on the exterior of this special Volkswagen. At the front, on the upper and lower grilles, at the bottom of the side and on the bottom of the tailgate at the back. If that’s not enough, there are distinctive LED headlights, with another set of LED lights at the back.
- Inside, the Caravelle Generation Six benefits from an even higher-quality version of the T6’s car-like dashboard. Gone is the obvious stowage on the top and middle of the design. Instead, the Generation Six’s dash majors on attractive piano black, Cherry Red (to match the exterior) and high quality Audi-like metal trims. The instruments now get a proper multi-function display between the rev-counter and speedo, leather and suede trim on all seven seats, plus a leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel.
- The latest Caravelle Generation Six feels well-made and durable – a real step up on the standard T6 which is a good thing considering the price uplift.
- Like the Transporter, you have to climb up to get behind the wheel of the new Caravelle, but it’s easy to get comfortable with the tall, commanding driving position when you’re there. The standard seats are supportive and the heating function was well received during the cold weather when we had this vehicle, the switchgear is logically placed and the instruments easy to read at a glance.
- As previously mentioned, the Generation Six is the limited Edition Caravelle range-topper. As such, you’ll want for nothing and it’s fitted with Bluetooth, Climatronic air-conditioning, electric windows, heated and power adjustable wing mirrors, a heated front windscreen, 5-inch touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay for a rather steep £54,547.
- The standard Discovery Navigation system was our first chance to experience Apple CarPlay connectivity and we’re impressed at how well it works.
- On top of all the standard equipment, the Caravelle Generation Six gets the full suite of car-like assistance and safety systems, with Brake Assist System (BAS), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Electronic Differential Lock (EDL) and adaptive cruise control.
- Although fitted with three stage adjustable dampers, which certainly improved the ride on the standard 18-inch ‘Disc’ alloys, the Caravelle still doesn’t drive as well as the Transit-based Tourneo Custom. The Generation Six rides best in ‘Comfort’ mode, but this is sadly the least dynamic driving mode, feeling soft and wallowy in corners. With ‘Normal’ mode selected, this Caravelle reminded us of our T6 Kombi long-termer on its optional 18-inch wheels, as the ride is more busy and unsettled. ‘Sport’ mode doesn’t really inject any more dynamism into the drive, but seemed to harden up the ride even more uncomfortably. Generally a tidy handler, there is some body roll in corners, but plenty of grip. The steering is also light and the seven-speed DSG transmission pleasingly responsive.
- Our Caravelle was powered by the range-topping 201bhp Euro6 2.0-litreTDI, which in everyday use doesn’t feel much different to the lesser 140bhp unit. Hit the motorway and in the mid-range this engine certainly feels more athletic, although torquey is probably the best way to describe it. Acceleration is reasonable, with 62mph coming up in 9.9 seconds.
- Despite the performance, the Caravelle Generation Six can achieve 44.8mpg on the Combined Cycle, with CO2 emissions of 164g/km.
- The new Caravelle’s dashboard design might be more upmarket, looking as sharp as any of Volkswagen’s cars – but it’s a shame the basic structure is still made of hard plastic that looks like it will scratch easily.
- That 201bhp 2.0-litre is torquey, but it sometimes scrabbles for grip meaning the traction control comes on too often.
The addition of seats and windows to the T6 base certainly ups the refinement and luxury. We just wonder if all the Generation Six kit limits the appeal. We’re fans of the retro look, but others might not be so keen, meaning the standard Caravelle might be a better option for everyday use.
|On the road price (ex VAT):||£54,547|
|Towing capacity braked/unbraked:||2,500kg/750kg|
|Engine:||2.0-litre four-cylinder, common rail turbo diesel|
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