By: Charles Molefe
2019 has seen Gottagged in the fortunate position to spend a lot of time with products from Volkswagen South Africa, my previous reviews will undoubtedly give you an indication of how immersed and privileged I have been to be in touch with such an iconic brand.
My latest experience was what I tout as one of the most comfortable vehicles I have ever had on test, it is not an extreme hot hatch but rather a vehicle that will effortlessly carve up the road and ask for more, ladies and gentlemen I present to you the distinguished Volkswagen Caravelle.
This is not the first time I have had the opportunity to get my paws on the Caravelle, mid-2019 I was invited by Volkswagen South Africa for an exclusive road trip that saw me and a couple of journalists set the Eastern Cape alight with distinctive daytime running LED lights and the ever-hypnotic presence of the Caravelle.
When acquainting myself with a vehicle it is only fair to start with the interior, and in this case, the Caravelle’s luring interior is by far the most luxurious people-mover I have experienced. As you approach the Caravelle you will be astonished at its sheer size, this is not a vehicle that you will forget about, especially with the automated tailgate and rear doors.
Stocked with a moveable table, rotating seats and ample storage space, it was inevitable that a road trip was on the cards. It’s not often one has the opportunity to transport up to six passengers in comfort and style.
The one glaring feature that I enjoyed is how well illuminated the interior is, the LED lights that glare over the interior are sublime and they feel expensive, I’m sure you are wondering how light can feel expensive, trust me, I am still pondering on how that sentence makes sense, however, I urge you to give them a try.
What fascinated a number of individuals who had the opportunity to take a ride was how the chairs were able to rotate on their own axis and face the opposing passengers, this feature comes in very handy, especially if you want to conduct a business meeting without any hassles.
Now, forget the rotating chairs, the table and automatic sliding doors, the pièce de résistance is the heated and cooled 32-litre cooler box that is in the middle of the trunk. Some will argue that it’s a little cumbersome but we had no challenge in fitting in our luggage and accommodating the moveable cooler.
Back to our road trip, we decided that a trip to Magaliesberg, Rustenburg and the Hartbeespoort Dam would be a good day out, this trip covered stretches of contrasting scenery and arguably one of the smoothest patches of highway I have ever experienced.
The entertainment sphere is also covered very well by the Caravelle, fused into the glossy black dash you have access to the central control unit that provides you with access to satellite navigation, Android Auto, Apple Carplay, Bluetooth connectivity and the option of plugging in your USB drive. The audio system delights, it covers the audio spectrum comprehensively, whether it be the Yanos, old school Jazz or even timeless R&B tracks, you are left satisfied at how immensely capable the audio system is.
Performance and economy.
The Caravelle is powered by a 2.0L BITDI that produces 132kW and a sizeable torque figure of 400Nm, power delivery is smooth across the rev range and you are never short of puff when you need to overtake. The benefit of having a turbo diesel engine is that you are always going to be saving on the consumption front, my week-long test period with the Caravelle yielded a combined cycle of 10.8 litres and for a vehicle that weighs a tab over 2 Tonnes, I am highly impressed at how consumption is extremely reasonable.
Back in my early primary school days, I was always envious of the other children who had the Microbus and Caravelle as their daily source of transport. I unfortunately always found myself in the Toyota Super HiAce, which was really not a bad representation of a people carrier, however, the Caravelle was the ultimate combi to be in, irrespective of your grade everyone wanted to be in a Caravelle. It has this panache about it, a certain je ne sais quoi that one could not understand when growing up but now that I am older and far wiser I find no reason why I would want anything thing else to transport family or friends, the Caravelle is versatile and caters to a number of applications that cater to most South African families.
I have never doubted the Caravelle, it will be etched as the ultimate comfort tool that we have had on test, on both occasions time spent with the Caravelle always yielded a memorable experience, whether it was travelling to and fro from work or even the spur of the moment road trip, the Caravelle never put a foot wrong, it will breeze past dawdling traffic and provide you with ample modern creature comforts that will keep any passenger content.
Recommended retail price from.
- Metallic paint
- ‘Heritage’ dual-colour paint
- Decorative insert in ‘Brushed Dark Silver’ and decorative strip in body colour (lower colour with ‘Heritage’ paint finish)
- Electrically operated sliding doors – left and right
- LED headlamps and tail lights (incl. automatically controlled headlight-range adjustment)
- 3-year / 120,000 km manufacturer warranty
- 5-year / 60,000km Genuine AutoMotion Maintenance Plan
- 15,000 km service intervals
- 12-year anti-corrosion warranty