VW’s new Caravelle and California people movers are due for debut at the Frankfurt motor show next month. We have the initial specs...Although the VW group has been through a tumultuous time of late – acquiring Porsche after the sportscar manufacturer tried to take over VW – the company’s product portfolio is being neatly refreshed. People movers are an important market segment for VW and its Caravelle products are set to benefit from a host of refinements and upgrades, which should be introduced to the public at the Frankfurt motor show next month.Less bulbous stylingExterior changes for the new Caravelle range include an entirely new front end, with geometric shapes and headlights design cues from the latest Golf and Polo ranges. Along the flanks Caravelle sports more aerodynamic door mirrors (reducing wind noise at cruising speed) and around the rear are revised light clusters.Three-spoke multifunction steering wheel replaced quad-spoke trucking item of the current Caravelle range.Cabin upgrades centre on contemporary digitisation of the infotainment functions. Touchscreen functionality for audio and navigation systems migrate (finally) to the Caravelle range, with a USB interface to converge all external digital devices. Stylistically there is a new three-spoke steering wheel and instruments reflecting font and colour arrangements in-line with VW’s latest passenger line products.Mechanically the new Caravelle shores up dynamic driving assistance with VW’s latest generation ESP system, whilst the drivetrain is more user-friendly thanks to hill-start assist. VW’s side assist lane change system, informing the driver of a vehicle in the Caravelle’s blind spot, makes its debut on the Caravelle specification sheet too.It's sure to find favour with airport shuttle operators and busy moms, attempting to navigate traffic with a van full of kids, on the school or shopping mall run.Contemporary VW group identity visible in the two dual-slat grilles. Interior space should be capacious, able of easily accommodating more than the 5'9 twin-fin fish that surfer has his grip on...Smaller (much smaller) enginesEngines have been rationalised in capacity to a single swept volume (2.0l) and configuration (four-cylinders, in-line). The four latest generation common-rail TDI compression ignition engines offer outputs of 61-, 75-, 102- and 132kW. The first two 2.0 TDI states of tune might appear a little weak, yet they produce 220- and 250Nm of rotational force at only 1 500r/min. Higher spec engines, the 102- and 132kW 2.0 TDIs, offer 340- and 400Nm of peak rotational force, at engine speeds of 1 750- and 1 500r/min respectively. Could these two high output 2.0 TDI engines possible be set for duty in VW's forthcoming Amarok bakkie range too? We wonder...As the new Caravelle range is rolled out during 2010, VW’s seven-speed DSG transmission will become available, distributing drive to all-wheels via a fourth generation Haldex coupling system. The revised Caravelle range arrives in South Africa in the first quarter of 2010.