Had the absolute pleasure of driving the all new Volkswagen Caravelle T6.1. in the Karoo recently, and came away mightily impressed indeed.
The facelifted Transporter range consists of the Pick Up (Single and Double cab), Panel Van, Crew Bus, Kombi, Caravelle and California. Not may models in SA have evoked such fun and nostalgia through the years, we grew up in a Kombi, light blue and white, which my father took us on many adventures with.
In South Africa the T-Series, especially the legendary Kombi and Caravelle, have been the best-sellers for the past six decades. Now in its sixth generation, the Transporter range has sold around 12 million units worldwide. In South Africa, 10 097 units of the T6 range have been sold since its launch in 2015. The T6.1 will now continue the heritage and sales success story of the T-Series model range in South Africa.
The Caravelle T6.1 comes with a striking radiator grille, now much larger, and forms a single stylistic unit with the new bumper. All elements below the bonnet, like the headlights, are new. On all versions two chrome-plated cross-bars link the new headlights to the radiator grille. The lines of the two cross-bars are continued as LED daytime running lights, extending all the way into the housing units of the headlights, which depending on the specification can also be LED.
With or without chrome elements, the new front design emphasises the width and increases the charisma of the T6.1. Six newly designed wheels, six new exterior colours and seven newly combined two-tone paintwork finishes round off the new exterior updates to the range. With it’s characeristic two-tone colours, it really looks the bomb.
Of course, the Caravelle would have to have been updated with better digitalistion, it has a large tray for a smart phone, with an inductive interface for charging.
The air vents in the dashboard can now be adjusted in every direction and simultaneously opened or closed using one slider control. Previously a second slider was needed for opening and closing. A new steering wheel has been installed with new multifunction ‘View’ button, which enables the driver to switch between the digital cockpit’s different display configurations with just one click.
Infotainment and digitalised instruments
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has reconfigured the entire range of infotainment systems in order to provide an unprecedented array of web-based functions and services. With the T6.1, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is offering a vehicle that is equipped with fully digital instruments, like the digital cockpit. All T6.1 models are equipped with a Composition Colour radio system as standard, whereas the Caravelle and California are equipped with the Discover Pro Media system with navigation as standard and on the Kombi Trendline Plus, it is available as an optional feature.
The 10.25-inch digital cockpit in the T6.1 sets new standards. It is fitted as standard in the Caravelle Highline and California. The graphics of the high-contrast display have a clear, high-quality look. The driver can choose between different screen configurations which is done via the ‘View’ button on the multifunction steering wheel.
The new electro-mechanical drive.
The Electro-mechanical power steering is being used for the first time in the T6.1.and it reduces fuel consumption, as well as making the Caravelle more pinpoint and planted. The electro-mechanical power steering system transmits steering commands to the wheels more directly than the systems in previous models.
Safety and Driver Assistance systems
The following driver assistance systems are available in the T6.1: Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Automatic Post-Collision Braking (also standard), Hill Start Assist, Hill Descent Assist (for 4MOTION all-wheel drive), the Tyre Pressure Loss Indicator, lane change assistant Lane Assist, the standard cruise control system inclusive of speed limiter and parking assistant Park Assist.
Optional safety systems include Trailer Assist and the advanced main-beam control system Light Assist. The full spectrum of driver assistance systems makes the T6.1 one of the safest and easiest driving commercial vehicles on the market.
TDI engines deliver between 81kW and 146kW
The T6.1 range will launch with three 2.0-litre turbo diesel (TDI) engines with common rail injection that are both economical and sustainable. The four-cylinder engines deliver between 81kW and 146kW of power.
2.0-litre TDI delivering 81kW
The 2.0 TDI develops a power output of 81kW. The maximum torque of 250 Nm is already available at the very low engine speed of
1 250rpm. It is fitted with a 5-speed manual gearbox and has a fuel consumption 7.9 l/100 km in the Pick Up Single Cab and Double Cab, 7.5 l/100 km in the Panel Van and 7.3 l/100 km in the Crew Bus and Kombi.
2.0-litre TDI delivering 110kW
With a power output of 110 kW (as of 3 250 to 3 750 rpm) the front-wheel drive T6.1 with a 7-speed gearbox reaches an impressive top speed of 172 km/h. What is much more decisive, however, is this TDI’s supreme traction, which is down to the high maximum torque of 340 Nm – a level that is consistently available between 1 500 and 3 000 rpm. In the Pick Up Single Cab, Panel Van, Crew Bus and Kombi, the powerful engine consumes between 8.0 – 8.3 l/100 km.
2.0-litre BiTDI delivering 146 kW
The model with the top engine specification is powered by a 146 kW twin turbo engine, which is supplied as standard in combination with 7-speed DSG®. The TDI delivers its highest power output between
3 800 and 4 000 rpm. The engine develops its very high maximum torque of 450 Nm between 1 400 and 2 400 rpm. This powerful drive train accelerates the T6.1 to a speed of up to 191 km/h. The derivatives that are offered with this engine are the Pick Up Double Cab, Crew Bus, Kombi, Caravelle as well as the California Coast.
We only drove the Caravelle Highline, and it has great power, and feels very comfortable. Not top heavy, it cruises along with good visibility.
Highline 2.0 BiTDI 146kW 4MOTION® DSG® R1 149 400
California Coast 2.0 BiTDI 146kW 4MOTION® DSG® R1 196 500
I was very impressed with the looks, drive and comfort of the T6.1, it is a tad expensive, but you have many models to choose from to suit your budget..
The Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Pick Up, Panel Van and Crew Bus range comes standard with a 3-year/60 000 km Easy Drive Service Plan, 2-year/unlimited km manufacturer warranty. The Kombi, Caravelle and California range comes standard with a 5-year/ 60 000km maintenance plan and a 3-year/ 120 000km manufacturer warranty. The entire T6.1 range comes standard with a 12-year anti-corrosion warranty. The service interval is 15 000km.