Driven: Volkswagen Caravelle T6.1

Kelly Lodewyks has come away smitten with a bus for us.

For many years now I’ve loved a Volksie bus in any iteration and form. I’ve leaned more towards the older versions, but anytime I get the chance to get behind the wheel of a new version, best believe I’m taking it. So, when the Caravelle landed in our driveway, I quickly grabbed the keys and climbed aboard.

Volksagen’s people-movers in Kombi, Caravelle or California shapes, have always been much-loved vans and these vehicles have made a name for themselves among families and road trippers across South Africa. You actually can’t help but smile when you see a retro Kombi drive by, can you? And even in this new, more technologically advanced version of the Caravelle, I couldn’t help but smile everytime I climbed behind the wheel for many reasons. Here are my top three.

  1. It’s perfect for our family of five

Our kids aren’t exactly babies anymore, so having the space for all of them to kick back and relax in a vehicle is always a great thing for us. With seating for seven adults, there is plenty of room for everyone. The seats slide along a rail system to accommodate our taller boys and if the family is keen on staring into one another’s eyes, the 2nd-row can also be swivelled to face the 3rd row. Fun times for all!

  1. It’s loaded with tech

The Caravelle Highline that we had on test comes with VW’s Discover Pro infotainment system with integrated navigation. If you’re like us and you love a good wireless connection, then you will be happy to know that this system comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The digital cockpit is also impressive and was definitely a party trick when our family kept insisting on seeing the inside. Safety tech and features include Park Assist, Crosswind Assist, Rear-traffic Alert, Side Protection and Trailer Assist, among others.

  1. It is the most practical vehicle 

Need to go to the shops? Take the Caravelle. Need to take the kids to school, grab the keys to the Caravelle. Want to go away for the weekend? The Caravelle was born for that. Going on a bike ride? The Caravelle easily swallows a bicycle if you don’t have a rack for it. Unless you’re going off-road or racing, there is nothing this Caravelle can’t do.

In conclusion, I really love this vehicle. At R1.2 million, it’s way out of my budget, but best believe it’s made me want to look for an older version that’s more in line with what I can afford. If you can afford it, by all means get one. 

2.0-litre bi-turbocharged diesel engine
Power/torque: 146 kW and 450 Nm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic
0-100 km/h: 10.3 seconds
Top speed: 198 km/h

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