Volkswagen Caravelle review - Interior, design and technology
A classy interior design and durable build quality mean the Caravelle doesn’t feel like a commercial vehicle inside
The Caravelle’s designers have tiptoed expertly along the fine line between commercial vehicle utility and passenger car plushness. The exterior lines are clean and unremarkable with the key details marking out the latest Caravelle 6.1 model being the revised headlights, with their wing-mounted model designation tags, and the reshaped grille.
Inside, the switchgear and technology is that of the latest VW passenger car range and the materials are of a decent quality, but you also get the durable build you’d expect in a van plus the wide range of storage options.
All models get analogue instruments with a colour multifunction display at the centre providing extra driving information, but there’s the option to upgrade to a full 10.25-inch digital display with the Discover Pro infotainment system. Different display modes can be selected by clicking the view button on the multi-function steering wheel so that drivers can choose their preferred combination of trip, navigation and driving information on the display.
The SE models get Adaptive Cruise Control, semi-automatic air-conditioning, electric heated mirrors, sun blinds for the rear side windows and 2 USB sockets. Volkswagen has chosen to go with type C USB connectors so you’ll need an adapter to use devices with a standard USB interface.
On Executive trim cars the standard 16-inch alloy wheels are upgraded to 17-inch items, LED headlights and tail lights are added and so are fog lights with a cornering light function that swivels them to illuminate bends. Inside, there’s a 3-zone climate control system so you can set different temperatures in different rows, a rear parking camera and a center armrest is added to the 3-seat rear bench.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
There are three infotainment systems on the Caravelle. The first, standard on SE models, is the Composition Colour system with its 6.5-inch colour touchscreen display bordered by physical buttons for the major menus. There’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard plus compatibility with the VW We Connect suite of app-based services which let you perform all manner of useful tasks from locking and unlocking the Caravelle remotely via your phone to pre-setting navigation routes.
Move up to the Discover Media system that’s included on Executive models and you get a larger 8-inch screen. You also get built-in satellite navigation at this level and 32GB of media storage space. The final step is the Discover Pro system that comes with the digital instrument cluster and replaces all the physical buttons. In all cases, the VW systems offer clear graphics and well ordered menus, they’re up with the very best infotainment systems on the market and you won’t find better in a van-based MPV.
In this review
- 1Volkswagen Caravelle reviewIf you can afford one, the Volkswagen Caravelle is a fantastic 7-seat utility vehicle for business or private use
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Caravelle is tuned for long distance comfort and it’s better on the motorway than it is through the corners
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Caravelle is a large hefty vehicle and fuel economy returns reflect that but residual values are strong
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingA classy interior design and durable build quality mean the Caravelle doesn’t feel like a commercial vehicle inside
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe Caravelle’s core strength is the sheer amount of space inside it but clever design helps you make the most of all the room too
- 6Reliability and SafetyWe would expect the Caravelle’s tough van underpinnings to stand it in good stead reliability wise and it’s packed with driver aids