by Seán Creedon

I always like to get a big car when my grandchildren visit from Denmark. A few years back it was the VW California which was fitted with a sink and fridge and you could adjust the seats to provide sleeping accommodation.

This time round it was another massive people carrier from VW, the revamped seven-seater Caravelle. The grandchildren were certainly impressed.

Straight away they were making videos of this massive people carrier on their i-phones, and sending pictures of the car to their school friends back home in Odense.

I have driven the Caravelle previously and it has now got a mid-life upgrade. The main changes are at the front where you a more stylish look for the grille and the headlights.

My test car came in Deep Black Pearlescent and it looked really cool. I’m sure some neighbours thought I was thinking of switching to do taxi work for VIP’s.

As usual the latest Caravelle is built on the VW Transporter and it can trace its lineage back to the fifties. The 2.0-litre engine had 204 brake horse power which was adequate for the loads I had to carry. Naturally the more people on board the more comfortable the van was.

This is a seven-seater with a very neat table located between the middle and third row of seats. The table, which could be used for a picnic, a game of cards or to hold a laptop, folds away very easily.

The back of the car would remind you of London’s black taxis where customers sit facing one another.

My wife, who had a bit of trouble climbing on board the Mercedes GLE the previous week, found the Caravelle easier to access, thanks to a step provided.

Inside the dash is typical VW, well laid out and user-friendly. I love the radio controls on VW cars, two knobs, one for volume and one for scrolling through the stations, simple and easy to use.

On the dash you get two boxes in the glove compartment and another box on top of the dash. Overall plenty of ‘secret locations’ to hold drinks and other items.

The middle row of seats can be reversed if necessary plus the middle and third rows are flexible. At the back space is tight, but there is room enough for two or three suitcases depending on their size. The spare wheel is located under the car.

The driving position is high, but I found the Caravelle very easy to handle on the road. You just need to be a little extra careful when reversing.

It’s a big people carrier, but thanks to the electric sliding doors you can allow passengers access and egress in tight spaces. Also plenty of overhead lights for back seat passengers.

I also liked the old-fashioned style handbrake. I do think an old-fashioned handbrake was appropriate for such a large motor.

The Caravelle 6.1 recently won the’ Best Design Innovation award’ from the readers of German motoring magazine Auto Motor Und Sport.

Prices start at €78,515. A few extras brought the price of the car as tested to €85,335. VAT on the Caravelle is over 10k and VRT is 23k. Road tax is €750.

The grandchildren loved it and truth be told so did I.