Motoring

All-New Volkswagen Multivan

Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has ushered in the all-new Multivan, featuring a fresh design, more flexible interior, improved connectivity, and, for the first time, a plug-in hybrid option.

The Multivan is the replacement for the Volkswagen Caravelle, providing up to seven seats and a combination of practicality, comfort, and safety.

Basically, if you’ve got a large brood, this is the perfect vehicle to take your kids to school in. And away from term time, you’ve got ready-made family holiday transport.

Design

The Multivan has an all-new exterior design that pays homage to the DNA of its predecessors, dating back to the 1985 Transporter T3. It sports a horizontal design line, with a full-width grille and headlights, to give it a modern and dynamic look.

The vehicle measures 1,941mm wide, 4,973mm long, up to 1,903mm high, and has a wheelbase of 3,124mm. A longer version, measuring 5,173mm is also available.

What’s more, the model is offered with wheels up to 19-inches, and in three specifications: “Multivan”, “Life”, and “Style”.

Optional is a panoramic glass roof, as well as an electrically-operated rear hatch and power sliding doors, which can be operated via gesture control for ease of entry.

The Multivan is fitted with LED headlights as standard but can be upgraded to interactive IQ.LIGHT – LED matrix headlights. These offer a permanent full beam, without blinding oncoming drivers, and dynamic cornering to provide precise illumination during bends.

Interior

Inside, the new Multivan is flexible and spacious, with a modular, lightweight seating system and innovative table.

With space for up to seven seats, the rear five chairs can be moved and removed to suit. Meanwhile the second row can be moved 180-degrees to create a conference style seating configuration. The full-width bench seat for the third row has been replaced by individual seats to allow single seats to be removed for complete flexibility.

The above-mentioned table has been designed for the new Multivan. Using a central track, it can be moved between any of the seating rows, and it can be used as a centre console between the front seats. The table, which is completely removable, features adjustable height, three cup holders, and a storage bin.

Enabling the flexible seating and table track system is the completely flat floor from front to rear seats with no centre console. This is made possible by the removal of the traditional handbrake. Instead, the parking brake is activated electronically by button, or automatically.

The new Multivan is only offered with an automatic DSG gearbox controlled via shift-by-wire technology. This means the gearstick has been removed to further increase space, with controls ergonomically integrated into the instrument panel.

In base version, the Multivan offers 469 litres of luggage space behind the third row of seats, extending to 1,844 litres (1,850 litres with panoramic glass roof) behind the second row. The full cargo capacity up to the front seats is 3,672, extending to a maximum 4,053 litres in the longer version fitted with the panoramic glass roof.

Connectivity & Technology

The cockpit area has been completely redesigned alongside a new multi-function steering wheel. All key features in the new Multivan are now on one line of sight, with a secondary line for other functions to make operation as intuitive as possible. Touch controls provide direct access to settings such as air-conditioning, seat heating, and audio volume.

On the central line are the 10.25-inch ‘Digital Cockpit’ display and the 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. Centrally arranged between the two on a high-gloss black surface are the new, minimalist shift-by-wire DSG controls. Integrated next to this are two USB-C sockets as standard, and a tray for optional inductive smartphone charging. For the first time on a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles model, a head-up display is available.

The standard infotainment system is called ‘Ready 2 Discover’, which includes an integrated eSIM to deliver online safety and convenience features. We Connect can be used free of charge for an unlimited period, with services such as breakdown assistance, vehicle status and parked position.

We Connect Plus, available free for three years, provides extra services such as the ability to lock and unlock the vehicle, or control the optional auxiliary heater remotely via smart phone. In combination with the more advanced, optional Discover Media and Discover Pro navigation systems, We Connect Plus includes further navigation-related services, such as online map updating and traffic information. We Connect Plus also provides additional services for the eHybrid, such as allowing you to pre-set the vehicle inside temperature and to manage the charging process via smartphone.

All infotainment systems can be combined with a Harmon Kardon sound system developed specifically for the Multivan.

Safety

The Multivan features more than 34 driver assist systems enhancing safety, comfort, and convenience. Standard is the Front Assist area monitoring system, which includes City Emergency Braking, Dynamic Road Sign Display, and the Lane Assist system.

Other new systems include Car2X – allowing local communication with other vehicles and the highways infrastructure.

The Multivan also debuts IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist, which allows semi-autonomous driving by combining the predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist to make long-distance journeys safer and easier.

Also available on the new Multivan is Area View, a real 360-degree representation of the vehicle using four cameras, visible on the 10-inch infotainment display, making parking and manoeuvring as safe as possible.

Powertrain

Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, the new Multivan, which has a towing capacity of up to 2,000kg, is available with three powertrains, including for the first time in a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles model, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) option.

The new Multivan eHybrid combines a 1.4 TSI 150 PS engine with an 85kW electric motor to produce a combined power output of 160kW / 218 PS. This provides silent, zero-emission driving when in electric only mode for short, urban trips while giving you the flexibility to enjoy longer journeys. The eHybrid uses a bespoke six-speed DSG gearbox.

The 13kWh lithium-ion battery is housed under the Multivan’s flat floor, saving interior space and lowering the vehicle’s centre of gravity to improve handling. The charging point is located on the right-hand side of the front wing.

The front-wheel drive Multivan is also available with two four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines: a 1.5 TSI 136 PS and a 2.0 TSI 204 PS. A four-cylinder turbo diesel, with a power output of 150 PS, will join the line-up next year.

To find out more about the Multivan click here.

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