Volkswagen Multivan review
The Volkswagen Multivan has been designed from the ground up to be a minibus.
But this gives the vehicle an advantage. Whereas the standard van-to-people-carrier conversions can’t always offer wholesale changes to the interior, VW has been able to design this from a clean sheet, enabling it to focus on usability and drivability.
Based on the same platform as a Tiguan, the Multivan replaces the outgoing, popular Caravelle, which remains on sale for the moment but will eventually be withdrawn.
It looks modern yet somehow retro, with my test vehicle being silver on top and metallic orange on the bottom – as if donning its cap to the classic bi-coloured Campervan.
Interestingly for a van, there is no diesel on offer yet (although one is expected soon). So, for the moment, there are two petrols – a 1.5-litre producing 136PS and a 2.0-litre producing 207PS. Both are seven-speed automatics. But what’s even more noteworthy is the addition of the eHybrid. This houses an electric motor connected to a 1.4-litre petrol engine and produces a combined 218PS via a six-speed automatic.
The lower-powered petrol engine doesn’t cut the mustard, although the higher-powered 2.0-litre unit has a decent amount of kick to it. You can expect to only get around 30mpg with a full load of passengers though.
The eHybrid is the one to go for. It manages a claimed 31 miles in all-electric mode, can comfortably do 70mph without needing the engine, and VW claims it will achieve 157mpg in hybrid mode. It only takes three-and-a-half hours to charge up from a 3.7kW wall box too.
If you are likely to be driving about around town centres, slow airport roads and through stop-start traffic, then the effortless acceleration of the eHybrid will make things easier. Admittedly, the hybrid’s engine sounds a bit thrashy when pushed, but the fuel savings make up for it.
The shift from the electric motor to the engine is smooth too. Furthermore, VW has made the Multivan as aerodynamically efficient as possible, to help with fuel savings and limit wind noise.
The VW feels relatively effortless to drive as the steering is very light. It does tighten up a bit as you go quicker, but this hardly makes it handle well, and there’s a lot of bus-like lean in the corners, as you’d expect.
Inside there is a premium feel. All the seats are comfortable – and all passengers get USB-C charging points. Furthermore, there are numerous options available to fit a centre console and tables if you can make do with losing one or two seats.
In terms of practicality, you will struggle to do better. Even with the three rows of seats in place, there is 469 litres of room in the standard Multivan (763 litres in the long-wheelbase version). But this figure would extend towards 4,000 litres if you were to take all the seats out.
Words: Tim Barnes-Clay,
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