Volkswagen Caravelle Estate
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Review of the Volkswagen Caravelle Estate
The new eight-seater Volkswagen Caravelle Estate brings all the practicality you could need for your family. It’s spacious and usable, but perhaps the most surprising thing about it these days is that it’s also rather quite upmarket.
Indeed, VW have reinvented the Caravelle somewhat so that it now sits at the higher end of the market. With a price tag north of £40,000 and a premium interior, you’ll hardly be wanting to get it muddy with your kids’ football boots.
That said, you can remove all the rear seats and turn this premium people carrier into a van whenever you need to.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2018 Volkswagen Caravelle Estate review.
Volkswagen has a long and interesting history which we look at in our brief history of Volkswagen.
Overview of the Volkswagen Caravelle Estate
On the Road
All you need to do is take one look at the Caravelle to realise that you’ve got a tall, boxy van-come-estate car on your hands. And as you know, these things don’t always drive so well.
Fortunately, the Caravelle is an exception to the rule. Despite its shape and stature, it’s pleasingly agile and doesn’t feel much like a van on the move. It’s predictable, composed and safe at all speeds.
That said, its steering does lack precision and feels numb at times.[vc_single_image image=”83395″ img_size=”article-image”]In terms of its engines, there’s just one available. This is a 2.0-litre diesel unit that’s available in two separate guises. One is a TDI engine that develops a healthy 148bhp, and which has a 0-62 time of 13.0 seconds. That sounds a bit plodding, but the engine has a good amount of pulling power so that overtaking is easy.
It’s also smooth and economical and is our “sensible” choice.
The bigger of the two diesels is a BiTDI engine that develops 201bhp, and which has a 0-62 time of 10.0 seconds flat. That’s a lot of pace and power, and the engine copes effortlessly with the van on a full load. It moves with relish, comes with turbochargers, and it’s remarkably quiet too, no matter how many people you’ve got on board. It’s the only engine that comes with four-wheel-drive, a system that always proves useful with vehicles like this.
All in all, the bigger diesel will please enthusiasts, but it will seem excessive for a vehicle of this type for the more moderate drivers among us.
Whichever engine you go for, you can choose from a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 7-speed DSG automatic. The manual gearbox sits nice and high for ease of use, while the automatic is smooth if a bit hesitant at times. It also comes with a Sport setting if you want a bit more fun.
Volkswagen Caravelle Estate Interior, Build and Quality
[vc_single_image image=”83396″ img_size=”article-image”]The Caravelle used to be a proper workhorse van, but take one look inside the 2018 incarnation and you wouldn’t know it. It’s evolved into a mature, even premium van-come-estate that’s aimed at buyers who can – and want to – spend more on a luxury people carrier.
Of course, it still sports its trademark boxy looks that you’ll either like or hate. But the fact that VW have treated its cabin to plusher materials, as well as dials and switchgear that are also seen in its other passenger models, means that few are hardly likely to complain about the cabin.Is the Volkswagen Caravelle Estate practical? That’s what it’s here for. Despite its size, it’s fairly easy to park, with Volkswagen fitting it with front and rear parking sensors as standard. Access to the rear via sliding doors is easy, although you’ll have to do a bit more climbing to get into the front seats. Once installed in the back, passengers are treated to plenty of space, and this is the case whether you go for the short or longer wheelbase model.
All the rear seats are comfortable, too, but the layout is different from a traditional MPV. For example, you can swivel the second row 360 degrees so that passengers can face those sat in front or behind them. Both the second and third rows also slide back and forth, and they can all be removed when you want to transform the people carrier into a full-on van.
Storage spaces are in good supply, but VW haven’t released numbers for the boot volume. All we know is that it has a 6.7sqm load volume if you opt for the long wheelbase model – which is massive.
How reliable is VW? We take a look at it in our impartial review of the brand’s reliability.
Equipment and Safety of the Volkswagen Caravelle Estate
Standard kit has to be good for any vehicle that costs £40,000 to start with. Fortunately, VW treat you to lots of it here, with the entry-level SE model coming with heated door mirrors, four ISOFIX fittings, a rail system that allows you to change the position of a rear table and its seats, air conditioning, a digital radio and Bluetooth.
The Executive model rounds things off with tinted glass, electrically operated sliding doors, heated front seats, leather and Alcantara upholstery, cruise control and 3-zone climate control.
Safety-wise, the Caravelle has a 4-star safety rating, just like its predecessor. Electronic stability control is part of its standard safety kit, as is autonomous emergency braking and a driver alert system.
Costs of the Volkswagen Caravelle Estate
Prices for the new car start at £40,531 and rise to £53,080. For more information on our leasing deals, you can check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, there are a few diesel engines to choose from, but they all return around 40mpg economy. If you pick a four-wheel-drive model, the numbers will dip a bit, while specifying the automatic gearbox will make your Caravelle more efficient.
Emissions, meanwhile, hover between 161 and 176g/km of CO2.
Pros and Cons of the Volkswagen Caravelle Estate
It can fit a lot of people, but no matter how many of you there are in here, space is good for all.
Room for 8 people
There’s also room for a table, too.
If you want to ferry lots of people around in style, this is the people carrier to go for.
The high price tag will weigh on lots of buyers minds.
Not cheap to run
The problem is that the Caravelle encourages enthusiastic driving. Expect to average around 35mpg on most days.
Volkswagen Caravelle Estate vs SEAT Alhambra Estate vs Peugeot Traveller Estate
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2018 Volkswagen Caravelle Estate review.
Volkswagen Caravelle Estate vs SEAT Alhambra Estate
The new SEAT Alhambra Estate boasts sliding rear doors, a roomy interior for up to seven people, and an engaging driving experience.
It might be big, and it might be a people carrier at heart, but the Alhambra drives much more like a hatchback. It’s comfortable, fun, and its steering is well-weighted and accurate.
Moreover, it feels right at home on twisting country roads, where it’s safe and grippy.[vc_single_image image=”83394″ img_size=”article-image”]In terms of its engines, a 2.0-litre diesel is available with two different power outputs. The smaller of the two develops 148bhp and should be sufficient for most buyers. Should you need more power, the bigger variant develops 182bhp and copes well with a fully loaded Alhambra.
Also available with the entry-level models is a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine. It offers a good amount of power, returns decent economy figures and will appeal to low mileage drivers.
Running costs? When wedded to the 6-speed manual gearbox, the 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel can return 56.5mpg while emitting 130g/km of CO2. It has a BiK rating of 28%, and it’s the most efficient Alhambra. That said, if you opt for a higher trim, the extra weight will cause a slight dip in the engine’s economy.
The bigger 181bhp diesel is good for returns of 53.3mpg and emits 139g/km. The petrol engine, meanwhile, can scrape 50mpg on a good day.
Inside, the SEAT’s firm suspension setup means that it’s not as comfortable as the VW. It’s never all that uncomfortable, however.
The dashboard is a clear, functional affair that’s easy to live with. Overall cabin quality is good, with SEAT treating you to lots of soft-touch materials and plastics.
Is the SEAT Alhambra practical? It excels on this front with a flexible seating layout, sliding side doors and lots of head and legroom for all.
Shoulder room is also good, thanks to how wide the car is, while all three second row seats come with ISOFIX fittings. Access to all seats is great, no one will feel cramped wherever they’re sat, and there are storage spaces everywhere.
Step up to the higher spec trims and you benefit from the likes of power sliding side doors, while the boot measures 267-litres when all seven seats are up. Turn the car into a five-seater and it measures 658-litres. Fold all the rear seats, and the boots total capacity is 2,297-litres.
VW – £40,531 – £53,080
SEAT – £25,925 +
Volkswagen Caravelle Estate vs Peugeot Traveller Estate
The new Peugeot Traveller Estate is a big, fuss-free people carrier that aims to make life as simple as possible for you on the road.
On the road, a tight turning circle means that life is going to be pretty easy for you in the towns and cities, while even on winding lanes the Traveller is a tidy handler. Its only downsides are vague steering and the fact that you’re always aware of its considerable weight.[vc_single_image image=”83393″ img_size=”article-image”]In terms of its engines, a 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel is available with either 94 or 113bhp. The former will be far too slow for most of you, taking as it does almost 16.0 seconds to complete the 0-62 “dash”. In towns and cities it’s fine, but for more adventurous driving, the faster 113bhp model (0-62 is achieved in 13.6 seconds) will be more rewarding.
Also available is a 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel that’s offered with 148 and 178bhp. Both are relatively quick, but a hesitant 6-speed manual transmission will frustrate.
Running costs? Most buyers will snap up the 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel that can return 53.3mpg on a good day. It’s actually cheaper to run than the much smaller BlueHDi 95, which manages 51.4mpg at best.
Inside, the Traveller is one of the comfiest cars in this sector. Standard kit is good, and Peugeot really look after you. For example, all models get a neat 7” infotainment screen, cruise control and a twin-zone climate control system.
Meanwhile, although the dashboard might not be the sleekest you’ll ever see and the Caravelle offers more luxury overall, the Peugeot’s cabin is smart and easy to live with.
Is the Peugeot Traveller Estate practical? It’s super spacious, no matter which length you choose (there are as many as 3 to pick from). The standard length (which comes after the compact length and before the long length) can easily accommodate seven people, no hassle.
The long length, however, is the one to go for if you’ll regularly be travelling with 8 people in tow.
Fold all the seats in either model and your boot measures a whopping 3,200-litres.
Peugeot – £33,575 – £43,800
Verdict of our Volkswagen Caravelle Estate Review