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T5 Caravelle to T6.1 Beach Tour 'upgrade'

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Brodger3

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87
Location
Perthshire, Scotland
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach Tourer 150
T5 Caravelle to T6.1 Beach Tour

With the order book for T6.1 vans closed and the prospect of the California book closing soon I have decided it is time for a change. Goodbye T5 Caravelle; hello T6.1 California Beach Tour.

Back in 2015 when my first child came along I looked at buying a California Beach. I did not need or want the hob or tiny sink. I thought the Beach was a terrible option and ended up with a Caravelle. The rear bench bed plus brandup blinds gave me all that I really needed at that time. Two more kids and the seating is perfect, but sleeping is no longer practical. Get a popup roof for the Caravelle? Well 9 years old 60k on the clock it is a little tired. Plus I have the big six-o birthday coming up so I have gone for a 2023 California Beach Tour as a birthday present to myself.

I may regret it as I love the Caravelle. The family love it too. I have therefore tried to spec the Tour as close as I can get to my Caravelle, within my budget.

Leather Seats × not an option on Tour but I have gone for the art velours micro fleece with leather look.

Dark interior × this was not an option in 2015 and it was the light grey internal colour scheme that put me off. New Tour inside is more to my liking. Titanium black/Palladium.

DSG = ✓ this is what keeps me buying VWs.

Satnav = ✓ not an essential but it does stop the rows and stress in finding the end location.

Xenon Headlights × I have gone with standard halogen lights on the Beach as I avoid night-time driving with the kids.

Three zone climate control = ✓ I have gone for this because of the kids in the back and the extra condenser and capacity that comes with it. Setting the temperature and letting it keep it there is worth it.

Electric sliding doors = ✓ two doors and electric were not a Beach option in 2015. This was a must for me and the kids.

3 seat bench / bed = ✓ a like-for-like option. I will keep my mattress topper and reuse the brandrup thermal window covers.

Multi-flex board = ✓ standard on Beach. I had one made for the Caravelle and may use it instead.

Child booster chairs × not an option on Beach but I will transfer two over from the Caravelle to give the 7 seat setup.

Rear camera and parking sensors = ✓ the camera is essential for getting the van into my garage.

Heated seats = ✓ I have gone for this option as I use it quite frequently on the Caravelle.

Picnic table = ✓ it is different. The Caravelle has the extra rail for the round pop-up table which is excellent and I will miss this. The kids will be sad to see that go as van picnics is a favourite.

Removable tow bar = ✓ I have used this often with a bike rack. I also might use it for luggage too in the future.

Folding mirrors = ✓ very useful feature around for in-town parking.

Mud flaps = ✓ essential for Scottish rural roads.

Front fog lights × don't think I'll miss this.

Rear spoiler × the Caravelle looks great in the sports pack with bumpers and spoiler plus the chrome side rails and other 'exec' features - the Tour will look rather plain in comparison.

Rear carpets × the Tour has rubber floor in the back. I think this will be an improvement with the kids making a mess.

18" wheels × I have gone for standard with the Tour 17" Devonport, but included an alloy spare just in case a wheel gets bashed and a replacement is ceased to be available.

Leather multifunction steering wheel (a £285 option on Caravelle) = ✓ standard on Beach.

Convenience lighting = ✓ standard on the Caravelle and a nice to have when getting kids in and out when I do venture out in the dark.

Tire pressure monitoring = ✓ yes I have taken this option I am lazy and this is a safety feature.

Swivel seats (£270 option on Caravelle) = ✓ standard on Beach.

Privacy glass = ✓ i have matched this option.

Chrome package × this looks nice on Caravelle but not essential and not available on Beach.

Roof prep × the Caravelle has this option with black rails either side to take roof bars.

What do I get that the Caravelle does not have?

✓ A pop-up loft bed. I have added the panorama window. Also went for camper comfort lights for the kids.

✓ Auxiliary heater.

✓ Two folding chairs.

✓ Converter socket.

✓ Adaptive cruise control and front collision detection.

✓ the camping control panel, with the leveling function, lighting control and heating.

✓ metallic grey paint.

✓ manual sliding window in rear.

✓ Car play and we connect.

✓ Euro 6 engine.

✓ the improved dash design and materials from T5 to T6.1

✓ Warranty, 3 years servicing and first MOT. A years 'free' insurance and breakdown cover.

✓ delivery miles as opposed to 60k and major service due and possible other repairs and replacement of worn parts.

What will I miss? What might I regret?

1.Will the Caravelle be more 'refined' than the Beach? The full Nappa leather seats which are excellent and just broken in. I am concerned that the Beach might have more cabin noise and squeeks from the roof. The Caravelle roof in the back, with the controls and vents, is quite special.

2.The Caravelle is tried and tested, it is robust and everything works. I am relaxed about the kids bashing it around. Will I be more precious with a new van? Will they break stuff straight away?

3.The power. 180ps down to 150ps.

4.The Caravelle has sun blinds that we use a lot. The Beach has blackout blinds which will not be practical during the day. The kids will want to look outside but be shaded.

5.Not going for the LED headlights for £1458 or front fog lights £456.

6.Not going for an awning as I can not imagine bothering to use it. £516.

7.Not choosing Dynamic Chassis Control at £1542. It's a van after all not a sports car.

8.Not choosing heated front windscreen £528.

9.Adding 1% to the cost by taking out gap insurance.

10.Even though I can not imagine cooking in the van or washing up in the tiny si
nk - or the kids fiddling with that stuff - will I rue not going camper?
 
Great analysis and looking forward to your feedback once you get the new van! I think the circumstances are slightly different for everyone but I set out to buy a Beach Tour and have ended up ordering an Ocean. The good people of this forum convinced me that having one sliding door isn’t as impractical as you’d imagine and having been in an Ocean myself, I could see what they meant. I think every solution available comes with its own compromises though, I could well end up regretting going for the Ocean. The good news is the residuals are about as good as you could hope for in case you made the wrong pick!
 
T5 Caravelle to T6.1 Beach Tour

With the order book for T6.1 vans closed and the prospect of the California book closing soon I have decided it is time for a change. Goodbye T5 Caravelle; hello T6.1 California Beach Tour.

Back in 2015 when my first child came along I looked at buying a California Beach. I did not need or want the hob or tiny sink. I thought the Beach was a terrible option and ended up with a Caravelle. The rear bench bed plus brandup blinds gave me all that I really needed at that time. Two more kids and the seating is perfect, but sleeping is no longer practical. Get a popup roof for the Caravelle? Well 9 years old 60k on the clock it is a little tired. Plus I have the big six-o birthday coming up so I have gone for a 2023 California Beach Tour as a birthday present to myself.

I may regret it as I love the Caravelle. The family love it too. I have therefore tried to spec the Tour as close as I can get to my Caravelle, within my budget.

Leather Seats × not an option on Tour but I have gone for the art velours micro fleece with leather look.

Dark interior × this was not an option in 2015 and it was the light grey internal colour scheme that put me off. New Tour inside is more to my liking. Titanium black/Palladium.

DSG = ✓ this is what keeps me buying VWs.

Satnav = ✓ not an essential but it does stop the rows and stress in finding the end location.

Xenon Headlights × I have gone with standard halogen lights on the Beach as I avoid night-time driving with the kids.

Three zone climate control = ✓ I have gone for this because of the kids in the back and the extra condenser and capacity that comes with it. Setting the temperature and letting it keep it there is worth it.

Electric sliding doors = ✓ two doors and electric were not a Beach option in 2015. This was a must for me and the kids.

3 seat bench / bed = ✓ a like-for-like option. I will keep my mattress topper and reuse the brandrup thermal window covers.

Multi-flex board = ✓ standard on Beach. I had one made for the Caravelle and may use it instead.

Child booster chairs × not an option on Beach but I will transfer two over from the Caravelle to give the 7 seat setup.

Rear camera and parking sensors = ✓ the camera is essential for getting the van into my garage.

Heated seats = ✓ I have gone for this option as I use it quite frequently on the Caravelle.

Picnic table = ✓ it is different. The Caravelle has the extra rail for the round pop-up table which is excellent and I will miss this. The kids will be sad to see that go as van picnics is a favourite.

Removable tow bar = ✓ I have used this often with a bike rack. I also might use it for luggage too in the future.

Folding mirrors = ✓ very useful feature around for in-town parking.

Mud flaps = ✓ essential for Scottish rural roads.

Front fog lights × don't think I'll miss this.

Rear spoiler × the Caravelle looks great in the sports pack with bumpers and spoiler plus the chrome side rails and other 'exec' features - the Tour will look rather plain in comparison.

Rear carpets × the Tour has rubber floor in the back. I think this will be an improvement with the kids making a mess.

18" wheels × I have gone for standard with the Tour 17" Devonport, but included an alloy spare just in case a wheel gets bashed and a replacement is ceased to be available.

Leather multifunction steering wheel (a £285 option on Caravelle) = ✓ standard on Beach.

Convenience lighting = ✓ standard on the Caravelle and a nice to have when getting kids in and out when I do venture out in the dark.

Tire pressure monitoring = ✓ yes I have taken this option I am lazy and this is a safety feature.

Swivel seats (£270 option on Caravelle) = ✓ standard on Beach.

Privacy glass = ✓ i have matched this option.

Chrome package × this looks nice on Caravelle but not essential and not available on Beach.

Roof prep × the Caravelle has this option with black rails either side to take roof bars.

What do I get that the Caravelle does not have?

✓ A pop-up loft bed. I have added the panorama window. Also went for camper comfort lights for the kids.

✓ Auxiliary heater.

✓ Two folding chairs.

✓ Converter socket.

✓ Adaptive cruise control and front collision detection.

✓ the camping control panel, with the leveling function, lighting control and heating.

✓ metallic grey paint.

✓ manual sliding window in rear.

✓ Car play and we connect.

✓ Euro 6 engine.

✓ the improved dash design and materials from T5 to T6.1

✓ Warranty, 3 years servicing and first MOT. A years 'free' insurance and breakdown cover.

✓ delivery miles as opposed to 60k and major service due and possible other repairs and replacement of worn parts.

What will I miss? What might I regret?

1.Will the Caravelle be more 'refined' than the Beach? The full Nappa leather seats which are excellent and just broken in. I am concerned that the Beach might have more cabin noise and squeeks from the roof. The Caravelle roof in the back, with the controls and vents, is quite special.

2.The Caravelle is tried and tested, it is robust and everything works. I am relaxed about the kids bashing it around. Will I be more precious with a new van? Will they break stuff straight away?

3.The power. 180ps down to 150ps.

4.The Caravelle has sun blinds that we use a lot. The Beach has blackout blinds which will not be practical during the day. The kids will want to look outside but be shaded.

5.Not going for the LED headlights for £1458 or front fog lights £456.

6.Not going for an awning as I can not imagine bothering to use it. £516.

7.Not choosing Dynamic Chassis Control at £1542. It's a van after all not a sports car.

8.Not choosing heated front windscreen £528.

9.Adding 1% to the cost by taking out gap insurance.

10.Even though I can not imagine cooking in the van or washing up in the tiny si
nk - or the kids fiddling with that stuff - will I rue not going camper?

A couple of immediate thoughts.

Warranty - this can be upgraded to 5 years’ original factory warranty at a relatively low cost.

Leather seats. I see you are transferring your two captain’s chairs with integrated child seats from your caravelle (we have these for our T6 beach). Your caravelle seats are unlikely/won’t match your Beach Tour seats. So why not get all seven seats recovered in leather after you buy.

If your children are aged 10+ they can handle the manual sliding door. Save the money to pay for the leather seat retrim. If you do go camping and a child needs the toilet in the night, those electric doors make a hell of a racket at 3am, and you won’t be popular with anyone in a tent!
 
5.Not going for the LED headlights for £1458 or front fog lights £456

The fog lights I can understand, but the LEDs are a huge difference if ever you use them (winter afternoons?) and the brightness of the DRLs you get with the LEDs is far,. far superior even during daylight use as you mention. I'd urge you to look again at the DRL difference between the two. It will also add to resale value, as and when, as most potential Cali buyers are after the LEDs and with good reason.
 
If required, you can get DRL / headlights units with LED bulbs retrofitted for about £600, remap to 170bhp for £350:



We wouldn't pay £1458 extra for LED Headlights as its a huge premuim for something that should now really be fitted as standard on a premium vehicle, but would obviously take them for free if fitted on a 2nd hand van!
 
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A couple of immediate thoughts.

Warranty - this can be upgraded to 5 years’ original factory warranty at a relatively low cost.

Leather seats. I see you are transferring your two captain’s chairs with integrated child seats from your caravelle (we have these for our T6 beach). Your caravelle seats are unlikely/won’t match your Beach Tour seats. So why not get all seven seats recovered in leather after you buy.

If your children are aged 10+ they can handle the manual sliding door. Save the money to pay for the leather seat retrim. If you do go camping and a child needs the toilet in the night, those electric doors make a hell of a racket at 3am, and you won’t be popular with anyone in a tent!

Many thanks for your thoughts. Kids are 7, 4 and 2. They about abracadabra and I press the button to open the doors. Also I like to hit open before getting out the van to get them out of their seats.

I have ordered extra two seats for future proofing. I have 3 extra ones for the caravalle I bought on eBay. I usually have it setup with 4 individual seats in the back. Not really bothered in the kids booster seats don't match.

Never had an issue with the beeping so far. In the caravelle you can switch the doors to manual for night time use. Interesting to see if the beach can do the same.


Warranty, good tip I will give the dealer a call.
 
If required, you can get DRL / headlights units with LED bulbs retrofitted for about £600, remap to 170bhp for £350.

We wouldn't pay £1458 extra for LED Headlights as its a huge premuim for something that should now really be fitted as standard on a premium vehicle, but would obviously take them for free if fitted on a 2nd hand van!

Thanks for that. I will need to asses spending more money based on needs once I get a through a winter driving season. Power might not be an issue as my wife is the audible warning system every time I put my foot down.
 
If required, you can get DRL / headlights units with LED bulbs retrofitted for about £600, remap to 170bhp for £350.

We wouldn't pay £1458 extra for LED Headlights as its a huge premuim for something that should now really be fitted as standard on a premium vehicle, but would obviously take them for free if fitted on a 2nd hand van!

This was my ultimate problem with the Beach Tour proposition, it’s pitched as a passenger vehicle and taxed accordingly but anything that brang it in line with what I’d consider as ‘standard‘ on even a mid-range vehicle was either stupidly expensive to add, or not available at all (eg the digital dash). I know the T7 Multivan replaced the Caravelle in VW’s line-up but for me the Beach Tour spec’s a bit confused (and not too far off the price of an Ocean if you don’t need the extra seats).
 
Never had an issue with the beeping so far. In the caravelle you can switch the doors to manual for night time use. Interesting to see if the beach can do the same.

The beep from the T6.1 door is a very discrete one that can only just be heard outside the van unlike that on earlier vans.
More of a concern is the power use when camping, its pretty easy to flatten the starter battery by keep opening the doors.
 
Nice work, shows you’ve been doing your research and consideration to how you will use the Van & what will be right for you.

I previously has a T5 Velle, the Beach is comparable in nearly every way, (mines fully loaded) with the added benefit of some of the extras like the pop up roof / bed Etc.

IMO extended factory warranty 5 years is a must have and a no brainier on cost, Even if you only claim once in the extended period (year 4 &5)

full nappa leather retrim - not as expensive as you might think - 7 seat beach several years ago under £1800 - the seats still look great.
plenty of threads on the forum

three zone climate will give you the same heat / air con controls in the Beach as was in the Caravelle.

look out for Finance deals when you are due to collect , even if you intend to pay cash, taking VW finance can often land you some pretty good deals / Upgrades / service plans / extended warranty/ cash contribution etc etc. (Pay the finance off immediately and you still get the deal).
 
pretty easy to flatten the starter battery by keep opening the doors.

I have had the electric doors for 8 years on the Caravelle and never run the battery down. I get your point though and I hope the Beach has the same button that turns the electric off.
 
Many thanks for your thoughts. Kids are 7, 4 and 2. They about abracadabra and I press the button to open the doors. Also I like to hit open before getting out the van to get them out of their seats.

I have ordered extra two seats for future proofing. I have 3 extra ones for the caravalle I bought on eBay. I usually have it setup with 4 individual seats in the back. Not really bothered in the kids booster seats don't match.

Never had an issue with the beeping so far. In the caravelle you can switch the doors to manual for night time use. Interesting to see if the beach can do the same.


Warranty, good tip I will give the dealer a call.

162bca5ad169c2734dfebbfd5ab11968.jpg


I thought you meant that you had the Group 2/3 integrated child seats. These were a marvellous Beach/Caravelle option for those of us with children or grandchildren.

When you call the dealer about the extended warranty, make it clear that it is the extended factory warranty that you require, which *must* be purchased with the van or within 90 days of ownership. (In 2017 it cost £329 + VAT). It is not the warranty that you purchase when your original warranty is about to expire, which doesn’t offer the same cover.

Some salesmen don’t know about the extended factory warranty (possibly because there is no commission attached to it for them), so persist if they plead ignorance.
 
162bca5ad169c2734dfebbfd5ab11968.jpg


I thought you meant that you had the Group 2/3 integrated child seats. These were a marvellous Beach/Caravelle option for those of us with children or grandchildren.

When you call the dealer about the extended warranty, make it clear that it is the extended factory warranty that you require, which *must* be purchased with the van or within 90 days of ownership. (In 2017 it cost £329 + VAT). It is not the warranty that you purchase when your original warranty is about to expire, which doesn’t offer the same cover.

Some salesmen don’t know about the extended factory warranty (possibly because there is no commission attached to it for them), so persist if they plead ignorance.

Great picture. I have two of these kids chairs in nappa leather. I will swap them over from the Caravelle to the Beach. I have two other normal chairs to go in the caravelle for sale. I also have two maxi-cost booster chains to go in the isofix points on the rear bench.
 
Great picture. I have two of these kids chairs in nappa leather. I will swap them over from the Caravelle to the Beach. I have two other normal chairs to go in the caravelle for sale. I also have two maxi-cost booster chains to go in the isofix points on the rear bench.

It sounds like you know exactly what you want.

I suppose you could always, at some point in the future, get the bench seat and driver’s and front passenger seats retrimmed in leather to mimic your captain’s seats with integrated boosters.

The Beach is such a wonderfully versatile vehicle. We spent just over a year pootling 25,000 miles around 33 European countries in ours with two children aged 2 & 3 at start, a border collie bitch and one of her pups. We had intended to sleep in Airbnbs ~80% of nights, but so cheap and easy it was to camp in the van that the reverse happened.
 
First impressions on test drive.

A 200 mile round trip to Aberdeen on my motorbike to the VW commercials garage. A friend met me there and we went for a test drive in a Beach Camper.

My first impression was that it was very basic in comparison with my Caravelle both inside and out. The dash appeared more flimsy with thin hard plastics. I did not like the gray scheme. The hard plastics are not too much of a problem with the kids.

The rubber floor in the back is more practical, but looks Industrial. Door steps, boot lip, door handles and other touches on the Caravelle are metal on the Beach they are in an unattractive plastic.

The Speedo does not have a 30 mph marker. I felt the drop in engine power from 180 to 150 on the first straight bit of road. The Beach is a lot quieter under acceleration load.

The steering is much lighter and easy to use. I think the engine was generally quieter. The suspension was firmer and cornering was better than my Caravelle, is it showing its age?

I think I will miss the leather seats of my Caravelle.

With the roof and bed popped up the headroom was impressive and will be great as we do spend a lot of time in the back sorting out the kids. The camping seats will get a lot of use.

Overall I prefer the Caravelle but the Beach will create the lasting childhood memories for the kids long after the Caravelle is forgotten.
 
It’s the small touches that make the beach v caravelle…the table in the door, seats in the tailgate, camping heater, roller awning, pop top. Just stows nicely ready for use without getting in the way.

We looked at converting a Caravelle to a Beach, as ideally wanted double sliding doors, but when you add everything up cost was similar
 
Nice write up again , I agree with your comments regarding refinement on the T6.1 vs older models.

The dash plastic & open cubbies etc instead of covered glove box, (builders van) is a T6.1 thing that VW have opted for a no frills approach & removed the option to upgrade to comfort dash as in T6 and remove the decorative trim inserts etc, which is a shame that VW did not choose to offer an option to have a comfort dash on an expensive vehicle And IMO a step backwards.

T6 Caravelle steps and thresholds can be added fairly easily at a cost. (Get some step carpets to protect the plastics and soften the feel)

Steering on T6.1 is Electric rack unlike previous vans which were hydraulic, having driven a T6.1 a couple of times I think it’s an improvement over the Hydraulic rack.

Floor Carpets / matts can be added to the floor to soften the feel.

Leather seats ; Retrim in the style and colour of your choice is an option, particularly if you intend keeping the van for a period of time. I can recommend DK Schweiser for a full Napa retrim.

Let the memories Begin ! :cheers
 
I think the two sliding doors are a great option, I have the beach stove and while I do use it to boil a kettle, prefer the practical 2 slider approach despite being in the continent.

Would not be without the LED lights, and the awning is a nice to have. Thinking of a last minute refresh and would go for 2 sliders. Can’t comment on the U.K. Beach dash but continental beach has the same as the ocean which is a step back from the T6 in terms of quality.

Good luck!
 
Can’t comment on the U.K. Beach dash but continental beach has the same as the ocean which is a step back from the T6 in terms of quality.
Uk beach has the builders van finish to the dashboard, the Ocean is the same layout but gets the piano black trim & chrome/ aluminium inset strips, which I believe is the same as the T6.1 Caravelles
 
Uk beach has the builders van finish to the dashboard, the Ocean is the same layout but gets the piano black trim & chrome/ aluminium inset strips, which I believe is the same as the T6.1 Caravelles
But it’s still builders Van Dash, open pockets, stuff on show for all to see etc, I remember when comments like “Poverty spec“ etc were used as derogatory terms towards the Beach standard dash by those Ocean Owners who used it as a one upmanship (to have the comfort dash as standard on the ocean). How things change !
 
Still no delivery date for my Beach Tour, in the mean time I have been getting my T5 Caravelle ready to take pictures for the advert. A really good clean inside and out made me a little sad. It has been a great family car for the five of us for the past eight years.

Reading this forum and the troubles people have with their Cali's makes me think am I doing the right thing? The Caravelle has been solid and robust inside and out. It has never let me down and never been to the dealers because something went wrong. Annual services and in-between I have never had to put a drop of oil in it. All it has needed is washer wipe fluid and air in the tyres.

Will I rue the day?
 
Don’t worry about it, there’s a lot more vans about these days so you would expect to read about more problems, especially if you frequent a forum where all the problems are aired.

I’ve gone from T5.1 to T6.1 and they’re a noticeable step up in refinement, and when we got the T5.1 we were impressed with that.
 
Re-instated the Caravelle back into a seven seater. I have a technique to move the three seater bench using a couple of dollies. It is only just do-able on my own but not recommended. I am so impressed with the rear bench as a bit of kit and in Nappa leather it is luxurious. Cleaned the inside of the Caravelle to take pictures for the sale advert and also in preparation for the summer holiday trip to Oban and Mull.

 
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