For businesses looking to impress clients with a comfortable and versatile environment in which to conduct meetings on the move, the VW Caravelle Executive, which belongs to the Transporter T6 family, could be just what they are looking for.
Minibuses may have a humdrum, functional reputation but the Executive brings a touch of class to the sector and has carved out a deserved name for itself as a high-end private hire vehicle.
Caravelles are a popular choice for firms shuttling business travellers to and from airports, so we decided to see how our test vehicle coped with a return trip from south London to Heathrow.
No executives were on hand so we contented ourselves with picking up three back-packing students on their return from Bali. Having just graduated let’s call them the execs of tomorrow!
While most 2.0-litre engines in the T6 line-up will be upgraded when the T6 1 arrives in the fourth quarter of the year, the TDI 150hp unit driven here will be carried over. It’s easy to see why – it is refined and responsive and works particularly well with the slick seven-speed DSG transmission, which can still bear comparison with some of the newer automatic transmissions coming onto the market.
The Caravelle can seat seven in considerable comfort so there was plenty of space for the five of us, including the driver, to spread out having stowed bulky rucksacks in the boot behind the moveable three-seater bench that features a reclining action.
The second row consists of two swivel seats on a longitudinal rail system that can be turned around to face the rear seats. A table on separate rails in the floor can then be positioned between the rows of seats to create a meeting room, access to which is eased by electric doors on both sides.
In comparison to most vans the cabin is luxurious. The driving position is upright but comfortable, allowing excellent vision, the controls are well laid out, and there’s loads of storage space.
You get a lot of kit for your money (alloys, DAB, leather gear knob plus Dynamic suspension lowered by 20mm to improve handling are all included) but at just under £40K without VAT the Caravelle Executive is a lot of money.
A long list of options on our vehicle included Nappa leather seat covers and multi-function Sports steering wheel for £322 each (all prices here exclude VAT, but beware: as a people carrier if the Caravelle is used for anything other than business it will be liable for VAT), adaptive cruise control (£1,018), Discover Media satnav (£1,186) and front and rear parking sensors, which should really be standard (£398).
Volkswagen Caravelle Executive 2.0 TDI 150hp DSG
Price (ex VAT) £38,735
Price range (ex VAT) £30,880-£45,350
Insurance group 28E
Service intervals 2yrs/30,000mls
Load length n/a
Load width n/a
Load bay height n/a
Gross payload 611kg
Load volume n/a
Engine size/power 1,968cc/150hp
Combined fuel economy 42.8mpg
The Caravelle Executive is comfortable, classy and extremely versatile, but it doesn’t come cheap.