Volkswagen T5 Caravelle (2010–2015)

What's good

Impressive interior quality mean the Caravelle is a cut above many other van-based people carriers while there's a car-like feel behind the wheel with a similar steering wheel and switches as Volkswagen passenger cars.

The 2.0 TDI engine is a common rail unit so it's far smoother than previous Volkswagen TDI engines. It adds to the refinement of the Caravelle.

Large sliding doors make getting in and out of the back easy and there's plenty of room with a genuinely upmarket feel.

What's bad

The Caravelle comes with sports suspension as standard which seems very odd and does mean it's not as forgiving on rough roads as you'd expect.

Seems to be a fault with RHD steering that defies any dealer attempt to put it right.

On 2013 2.0 TDI 140 SE, a/c compressor failure, DMF failure, Two crankshaft oil seal leaks - so far it's only done 4000 miles. 

Following worldwide recall of 2.6 million vehicles due to crystalline deposits in the synthetic oil in seven-speed DSGs affecting the Mechatronics units causing the fuses to blow, Volkswagen is recalling 30,000 UK market vans and LCVs fitted with seven-speed DSG to change the oil in them from synthetic to mineral.

29-11-2012: Seems to be a fault with RHD steering that defies any dealer attempt to put it right.

26-8-2014: Repeated clogging of Diesel Particulate Filter on 2012 T5 Caravelle California camper reported.

13-12-2015: Report of driveshaft failure on 2010 Volkswagen T5 Transporter at 48,400 miles.

Report of smoking and excessive oil consumption from 2011 Volkswagen Transporter with 2.0 BiTDI engine at 62,000 miles due to "excessive wear of the cylinder walls". First thought to be an injector problem with injectors dribbling too much diesel down the bores; later found to be an EGR cooler fault. Volkswagen quoted £6,060 to complete the work. Volkswagen Customer Care offered £1,000 off the final price but after paying £560 for the dealer to diagnose the problem so really only £440 off.

18-10-2016: Report of DPF and turbo failure on a 73k mile Caravelle 2.0 BiTDI. Engine then started burning 5-6 litres of oil a week and diagnosis read: "Your heavy oil loss is due to the valve guides and valves in the cylinder head worn along with the piston rings.Also a valve in the oil filer housing is seized which could have been giving a lot of back pressure and contributing to oil loss.For us do to the complete rebuild and fitting with all parts required is £4136.34 + VAT with a 1 year warranty." 

25-11-2016: Catastrophic problem reported with 180PS 2.0 BiTDI engine of T5 Caravelle DSG. Problem relates to "TPI 2039830/5." Appears that the EGR cooler corrodes internally, producing aluminium oxides, and these then pass via the inlet valves into the combustion chamber. They then sit in the piston rings causing cylinder bore wear. VW is aware of the fault and has now issued a new EGR cooler: 03L 115 512 D. Owner has been in contact with other owners who have had the same problem. Some have received 100% back; others only 70%.In 2015 the owner highlighted the problem to Volkswagen at 70k miles. His T5 has now been off the road for over 8 weeks. Aggrieved at a potential bill of £10k because of an inherent defect in the vehicle.

18-10-2016: Report of DPF and turbo failure on a 73k mile Caravelle 2.0 BiTDI. Engine then started burning 5-6 litres of oil a week and diagnosis read: "Your heavy oil loss is due to the valve guides and valves in the cylinder head worn along with the piston rings.Also a valve in the oil filer housing is seized which could have been giving a lot of back pressure and contributing to oil loss.For us do to the complete rebuild and fitting with all parts required is £4136.34 + VAT with a 1 year warranty." 

21-8-2017: Another report of engine failure of a 2.0 BiTDI, this time in a 2011 Caravelle 4motion at 68K miles. Van broke down suddenly (no warning lights) a month ago, local non-franchise Volkswagen garage replaced No.1 injector. Van broke down again on long run last week. Same garage now says low oil pressure/ high temp means oil thinning too much to be injected, hence fail. Diagnosis = new engine (£4k). Volkswagen franchise replaced EGR valve 2 years/15K miles ago.

23-9-2017: Explanation for the high rate of failure of 2.0 180 BiTDI engines in T5 Transporter. "Oil light came on at end of lease. No leaks, so the engine must be burning the oil. Owner had an oil sample tested by Millers Oils and this showed the oil to have critical amounts of Al and Fe. The Al came from the corroding EGR cooler, the Fe is the cylinder bores being worn by the Al particles that have got into the engine. In short a new engine and ancillaries is required at a cost of £8,000. There is a Facebook page with over 1,000 Members devoted to the failings of the 180 BiTDI engine - it is only this engine that suffers. One chap in Norway runs a fleet of 30 ambulances and every one has needed a new engine. The EGR cooler is poorly designed - hot air condenses on unprotected aluminium, causing it to corrode. VW has brought out a revised cooler but it is too early to say if it is successful. And once an engine starts to burn oil through worn cylinder bores, the damage has been done." 

30-11-2017: Another engine failure reported, this time in a 2012 Caravelle Edition 25 at 78,000 miles. Car originally cost £50,000. Bill for replacement engine: £9000. Volkswagen denies any liability.

1-4-2018: Further report of serious engine problems 2011 Caravelle with 180PS BiTDI engine purchased 10 weeks previously. Since purchase, it has been burning oil at an alarming rate - way higher than VW considers acceptable. Fuel consumption has also been terrible at 19mpg vs expected 27-30. Both VW themselves and owner's local independent specialist have recommended full base engine replacement as there is a recognized inherent fault with the engine (corrosion of EGR cooler destroys the bores) which cannot apparently be fixed. Unfortunately, supplying dealer is only offering to repair (and definitely not replace) the engine. Advised to take matter of engine replacement to Small Claims.

3-6-2018: Report of 2015 Volkswagen T5 using oil at 20k miles and "may need a new engine".

What does a Volkswagen T5 Caravelle (2010 – 2015) cost?