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Road trip: An SA folk rocker and her VW Kombi Caravelle

2016-09-03 09:47

Beatrice Esterhuysen

ROAD TRIPPING MUSIC: Heather Waters with her beloved 1975 VW Kombi, named Sharky, and their new Caravelle road tripper bus. Image: Heather Waters Music

Cape Town - Folk-rock musician, Heather Waters, and her band has been road-tripping the coast of South Africa in her 1975 Volkswagen Kombi for the last decade.  

Known for her honest and witty lyrics and energy reminiscent of the 1960s, this inspirational songwriter has performed in theatres, backpackers, markets and festivals both on and off the beaten track.  

According to Waters, they have “enjoyed a great deal of mileage and created a mountain of memories” road tripping with their beloved Kombi.

In 2016, to coincide with the release of her latest album ‘Castles & Towers’, Volkswagen SA mobilised this rousing musician with its sixth-generation Volkswagen Kombi Caravelle, for a safer, more comfortable, and better equipped, tour bus life.  

Currently on tour, Heather Waters and her crew have already travelled 12 500km across country, with her single ‘Pick Daisies’ topping radio charts as far and fast as Volkswagen drives them.

Crew member Briers Coetzee shares some insights to the bands driving experience, the Caravelle’s performance and innovative efficiency:

At first glance, the latest edition Caravelle can look a bit intimidating but after your first driving experience, you feel relaxed, and totally safe in this intelligent machine. I love driving it.

Every time you get behind the wheel it feels like you are on a treasure hunt, discovering new gems that the Caravelle has to offer.

Sometimes it feels almost too easy. Rain sensor windscreen wipers, auto headlights, cruise control, an automatic 7-speed gearbox, and a smart braking system does not leave much for you to do but direct this beast in whichever direction your map leads you.  

But looking a bit closer, you discover even more treasures that the Caravelle has to offer: the computer screen situated by the speedometer supplies you with all kinds of information, from average fuel consumption to driver alert fatigue messages. The automatic gearbox also features tiptronic gears, for more power on those uphills – not that you need that much either, with a torque of 400Nm at 1500r/min, hills are never a problem to climb.

USB charging points in the front and back of the vehicle means multimedia devices are always charged and ready for use. This has proved very convenient for us when spending a lot of time on the road and we need to keep up to date online with our fans. Connecting multimedia devices with the vehicle via Bluetooth is also very simple and easy.

Petrol consumption is fantastic! With the boot fully loaded, a trailer, a team of 4, and 6000km behind us, we averaged 9.6-litres/100km – that is over 10km/litre, despite the heavy load; and considering that it is only a 2.0- litre front wheel drive, it pushes out an astonishing 132kW at 4000r/min. For the first time in 10 years we actually have to slow down on an uphill, a definite first for me.

Waters herself is just as excited about the new tour bus: “Touring and long distance travelling is second nature for us, and although we love our 1975 Kombi dearly, we have thoroughly enjoyed all the high tech and getting to our shows on time! With VW, comfort is never compromised on – and comfort the Caravelle has!  

"Independently controlled heated seats, climate control, swivel seats which are easily adjustable for multiple layouts in the back (including a comfortable bed), ample, accessible storage underneath all the back seats – all of this makes the Caravelle a travelling hotel room.”

With all these enthusiastic rave reviews, I am most tempted to head to my nearest VW dealer – or maybe hitch a ride on the next Heather Waters tour...

For more, visit the Heather Waters Music website

Read more on:    review  |  road test

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