Based on the Transporter van, the Caravelle has plenty of space, an adaptable cabin that's easy to get in and out of, and a flat floor. It’s well built and drives surprisingly well.
The van-like looks and size may put off some buyers, and it's very expensive. The seats are bulky and heavy to lift out.
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Volkswagen Caravelle performance
The Caravelle is powered by a choice of two 2.0-litre common-rail turbodiesel engines, with either 138bhp or (in the twin-turbo unit) 178bhp, mated to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed DSG automatic. Both are more than gutsy enough to haul the huge body around, but the 138bhp unit is the better compromise between power and fuel economy.
Volkswagen Caravelle ride & handling
The Caravelle is VW's Transporter van with seats and windows, so don't expect limo-like ride comfort or the handling of a sports car. You roll round corners and bounce along uneven surfaces, but that's to be expected of a car so close to a commercial vehicle. The steering is light – we'd prefer to have a little more feel.
Volkswagen Caravelle refinement
The engines aren't too gruff, even when pushed. However, wind noise is an issue, albeit hardly surprising given the large door mirrors. As you would expect, gearchanges are smooth with the DSG gearbox, although there is a little delay between pressing the accelerator and the power kicking in.