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Volkswagen Caravelle 2004 Review

Topping out the range is the Caravelle Business model which could be described as a people mover limousine but our focus here is on the penultimate model called the Caravelle Highline which is also jammed with luxury kit.

There is no point in having one of these large and weighty vehicles (2412kg), unless you intend taking full advantage of its design.

This is precisely what we did on test, exploring the Caravelle's capacity to cart a tribe and their gear and barely feel it in performance, ride, handling or fuel economy.

What better way to do this than to cater for a teenage boy's birthday with all his mates at go karts and then home for a sleepover.

We sure needed that dual Climatronic aircon with those young blokes in there after racing each other.

And the Caravelle didn't feel a thing with seven lumps aboard. The 3.2-litre, petrol V6 engine, lifted from the high performance Golf R32, kicks out 173kW and 315Nm which is sufficient to move this big vehicle with plenty of get up and go with the air on and all seats occupied.

That is a real test for a people mover, many of which fail dismally when fully laden.

Drive is to the front wheels via a six speed automatic transmission after being massaged by various controls to prevent wheel slip and other untidy stuff.

And though you could hardly describe it as being a sleek aerodynamic machine, respectable fuel economy is within reach with a little care. But it requires premium 98 octane fuel.

The boys really enjoyed mucking around with the electrically operated sliding side doors (one each side) and the seat rows can be moved forward and back to tailor the passenger space. The Highline scores plenty of useful features including a table between the centre row seats, folding adjustable arm rests, acres of leather upholstery, dust and pollen filter package on the ventilation system, trip computer and heated front seats to name a few. The audio falls short of the mark by having a CD stacker under the driver's seat and not in-dash.

Drivers will enjoy using the auto shift selector which is mounted in-dash like a rally car and offers sequential shifting.

The Caravelle turns on a two bob piece – really handy in tight city driving and parking.

Though boxy, the Caravelle has plenty of style and comfort and is well built. Even the steering wheel is upright like a car and not flat like a bus.

And most important, it fits into the average garage, no problems.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

TDI 2.5L, Diesel, 4 SP AUTO $7,600 – 11,770 2004 Volkswagen Caravelle 2004 TDI Pricing and Specs
V6 2.8L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $9,600 – 14,520 2004 Volkswagen Caravelle 2004 V6 Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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