Buying a Car Vehicle Inspections Car Data Checks Car Reviews RAC… — Volkswagen Caravelle

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Volkswagen Caravelle

Volkswagen Caravelle range to date)


All too often, full-sized MPVs fall a familiar trap. Load with a few people and there’s to put the bags. Some manufacturers as Renault and Chrysler partly the question by introducing long ‘Grand’ versions of their but the true solution was staring customers in the face in the form of the Caravelle. With acres of space and a range of great the Caravelle is a model which has spawned some imitators. The thing remains in a class of its own As a used buy, the rugged makes a lot of sense but demand strong.


Models Full sized MPV Second 1991- 2003 (2.5TDI 2.5, 2.8 petrol [Sedan. Limousine, Multivan] Third 2003 to date (2.5TDI 3.2 petrol [SE, Executive]

How far back do you want to go? It’s to trace the genesis of the Caravelle back through the rear T3 generation of Volkswagen vans, but to things manageable, we’ll off with the first of the ‘modern Caravelles, with roots in 1991. This model was steadily over its lifetime the latter models being by either a 102 or 130bhp 2.5-litre TDI engine if you were practical or or 2.8-litre VR6 petrol engines if you Earlier cars can be found an 88bhp diesel option. A host of different body were available on both and long wheelbase chassis. model was replaced in late by an all-new model which 130 and 174bhp versions of the 2.5-litre TDI engine, the more powerful offered with the option of all-wheel drive. Both engines were also with Tiptronic automatic Volkswagen also reprised the for a rather thirsty petrol in this case a 3.2-litre V6 was fitted as standard with the ‘box but which was curiously not with a 4motion variant.

What You Get

The second generation offers a dizzying amount of but in the passenger area itself, are between seven and eight (depending upon which you choose) and a ninth is an option. The row of seats can be removed at the flick of a of levers to create even luggage room and a few minutes the spanner will have the seats out too. At that you’re back (albeit in form) to the VW Transporter van on which the is based. Even without the seats, you’d probably that once you climbed the wheel. The steering column is upright than a car’s and you sit your knees bent at angles. There are an enormous of derivatives available in seven, or nine-seater format, with the of Sedan or plusher Variant There’s even a luxury trim option complete leather, air conditioning, alloy tinted windows, an electric and front foglights. Sedan can choose between eight-seat wheelbase or nine-seat long bodystyles. Air conditioning (usually essential in a car with this glass area) was a pricey however, so check if the vehicle looking at has it. Variant buyers get an wider choice of five choices of seating configuration and air conditioning, electric front remote central locking and upholstery. The Limousine models only in 7-seat form. If you an even more versatile there’s the home-from-home Multivan. In the of the VW Camper vans that all the rage in the Sixties and Seventies, seven-seater comes with a foldaway table and seats convert into a large bed. There are also a of 12-volt sockets that can be to power anything from a to a TV. To give overnighters some this version comes snap-on curtain blinds, Opt instead for a later shape and there’s less choice but kit. The SE trim level is but if you’re going to buy a Caravelle, worth stretching for the Executive The Climatronic air-conditioning system across three zones in the so the people in the back can enjoy a temperature to those in the middle and the There is also cruise 17 alloy wheels, leather sports suspension and heated jets for the windscreen. Then the crowning glory of the electric side doors and tailgate. can be opened and closed remotely so you can with them from office window and surprise in the car park. Externally, the Caravelle like the van with windows it actually is, the chassis platform forming the basis for Volkswagen’s panel van. On the inside, it’s up there teetering on the of MPV design in terms of innovation and The basis of the rear seating is a rail-mounting system designed so each chair can be individually or removed for greater flexibility. The slide along, and slot in or out

of, rails cut into the cabin So you can create the legroom, luggage and passenger provision that you There are trays, storage and cup-holders in abundance, including beneath each seat and a bucket’ (bin, to you and me) incorporated the rear bench. There’s a freestanding table attachment folds out to various sizes and yet more storage beneath, the bench seat at the back can into a flat sleeping — after a bit of pushing and The cab area up-front is similarly constructed, to the usual Volkswagen It features a dash mounted stick plumbed into the console that frees-up for better walk-through access to the This configuration shaves seconds off the time it takes a in the passenger seat to reach the bench and apprehend a wayward before they can ‘make-over’ brother or sister with a pen. The driving position and wheel are infinitely adjustable. So so that, from Kylie to Jonah Lomu, virtually optimum driving position is — it’s just a of finding it. There are armrests on chair too, along supportive cushioning and fetching fabric.

What You Pay

As you might expect, Caravelle models can be had for very with even a 1996 2.5 GL only costing around Opt for a car with a few less miles on the and you should consider £8,000 a price to pay for a 2003 model 102bhp 2.5TDI version. The VR6 models are still held in regard by Caravelle fans and will still be worth £9,000 for a typical 1998 year example. The post shape Caravelle saw the model further upmarket again and prices reflect this in sophistication. A 2003 Caravelle 130 SE is currently worth around if showing around 20,000 while a 2005 05-plated 174 SE will fetch £23,500.

What to Look For

Volkswagen Caravelle

Check the timing belts on the VR6 engine been changed according to specifications and that coolant are topped up religiously. The diesel virtually look after and higher mileage TDI Caravelles a cost effective entry for cash-strapped used buyers. As developed, they grew in and later models have a range of electronic functions, all of possess the scope to go wrong, so carefully. The all-wheel drive are generally trouble free, but for whining differentials and uneven wear. Finally check the for signs of kiddie damage.


(Based on a 2000 2.8 VR6) For a new clutch, expect to pay £70. A set of front brake will set you back £30 to and a headlight lens should be £20. Some parts will scare you, Try £790 for a full exhaust — the catalytic converter is over £425.

On the Road

The generation Caravelle offered the of four engines (two two diesel). If you’re happy petrol-power, then you can select a 2.8-litre 140bhp VR6 unit and a 2.5-litre unit. The TDI diesels more appealing to the majority of though, for their combination of and performance that beats of the competition. Limousine models only with VR6 petrol or the more potent of the two turbo All Caravelles could be specified the option of permanent Syncro drive. This system is on a viscous coupling which shifts drive away the front wheels to the rear when the onset of slip is Drive is then smoothly and shifted to the wheels with the grip. The Syncro models are prized by dirtbag skiers the over. The highlight of the third Caravelle is probably the 3.2-litre V6 that generates 232bhp at a 6,200rpm. You’ll rarely yourself venturing into the echelons of the rev-range, though, the 315Nm maximum torque is just below 3,000rpm. strong acceleration available low revs but under normal conditions, the V6 never comes as anything but relaxed and unflustered the bulk of the vehicle it’s around. If you do put the hammer down, the Tiptronic gearbox and the engine contrive to get you to 60mph in 10.5s. a 127mph top speed to be explored conditions allow too, the Caravelle V6 out as a vehicle with an turn of pace. What’s predictable is the average fuel figure of 21.9mpg and CO2 emissions measure in at 310g/km. The Caravelle V6 is not a vehicle to run but you must weigh up against the benefits in performance by its petrol engine. The range-topping unit in the Caravelle develops and is a little less than cheaper than the V6. On the road, noticeably less refined a harsher engine

note that will more intrusive for passengers on trips. The diesel is marginally torquey than the petrol at low but the V6 unit’s better top-end it gets to 60mph around 2 quicker. You’ll get approximately from the oil-burner which is but its 216g/km CO2 emissions still it in the top tax bracket. The diesel option most of the petrol’s performance markedly better economy but the of customer who buys this of people carrier may well the smoothness of the V6 enough to tip the balance in its


If space is a key priority and you a people mover that’s reliable and which never to be fashionable, the Caravelle makes a interesting option. The diesel are the most sensible bet, the 130bhp variant offering the best compromise. Buying a is an adventure in itself as no two vehicles to be specified identically. Take time, drive a few and pick a looked after example vaguely approximates what after.

Volkswagen Caravelle
Volkswagen Caravelle
Volkswagen Caravelle
Volkswagen Caravelle
Volkswagen Caravelle
Volkswagen Caravelle

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