First Drive: 2020 Volkswagen Caravelle
Back in 1980, Volkswagen introduced us to the Caravelle, a van that would inspire a flood of stories that bring back many nostalgic memories for South Africans. The Volkswagen Caravelle has always maintained its top spot among the Transporter range. At one point even being the shuttle that would transport the contestants on The Apprentice. But it seems that these days families aren’t into a good old minibus anymore, rather choosing a full-size SUV than a van. In 2020, Volkswagen does hope to change that by introducing the new facelifted Caravelle. This will of course fall part of the T6.1 series, which will include other favourites such as the Pick Up (Single and Double Cab), Panel Van, Crew Bus, Kombi, and California. This past month, we got to attend the launch of the new facelifted Caravelle in Port Elizabeth. Upon our arrival, we made our way to the Kuzuko Lodge and we got some hands-on experience with the Caravelle.
When entering the Caravelle, one can still get a feeling of comfort and space. The Caravelle does keep its spacious seven seats. To improve the comfortability of its passenger, the Caravelle comes with new and luxurious Nappa leather seats. The Caravelle does also come with electromechanical power steering which basically means that it has some advanced driver assist systems with it. Other standard features that come with the Caravelle is a multi-functional steering wheel, a 10.25-inch touch screen that has Discover Pro, Wireless App-Connect and USB, Crosswind Assist and Side Assist for blind-spot monitoring, and a rearview reversing camera. Now the inside does boast a fair number of features, but it is perhaps the new digital cockpit that stood out to me. It really represented a pinnacle for VW and how they have come in terms of modernizing the Transporter series. The new digital cockpit is not only easy to navigate journeys with but also delivers a more connected experience.
The Caravelle is only available as a Highline model which means that it comes with a 2.0 Turbo Diesel, that produces a 146kW and a maximum torque of 450 Nm. Now, this may not seem like much but keep in mind that the Caravelle is the quickest from the T6.1 series. The Caravelle does come standard with VW’s 7-speed DSG transmission and is available in 4MOTION (VW’s way of sayings it is a four-wheel-drive). The 4MOTION on the Caravelle was put to the test on a 45km dirt road and despite my doubts, it more than delivered.
In terms of the exterior, there are some nice new features. The first thing that was easy to spot was the new large front grille. It comes with newly redesigned headlights, which in my opinion modernizes the Caravelle tremendously. Across the new grille is two chrome-plated crossbars emphasizing the Highline nameplate. The Caravelle gets around on 17-inch Woodstock black diamond-turned alloy wheels. In terms of the exterior paint, the Caravelle is available in six new colours options, but it’s the two-tone variations that really stand out to me, that too is available in seven different options ranging from Candy White/Copper Bronze, Candy White/Bay Leaf Green, Candy White/Ascot Grey and many more.
When it comes to safety, passengers can rest easy knowing that they are always safe. As the new Caravelle comes with a bunch of new safety features such as ESC stability control, Hill Start Assist, Tyre pressure monitors, automatic emergency braking, auto-dipping main beam headlights, and an auto parking function.
The new Caravelle will come standard with a 5-year/ 60 000km maintenance plan and as well as a 3-year/ 120 000km manufacturer warranty. The entire T6.1 range comes standard with a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty with the service interval being 15 000km.
Volkswagen Caravella Highline 2.0 BiTDI 146kW 4MOTION® DSG R1 149 400