Let me address firstly that the new Multivan doesn’t necessarily replace the current Transporter generation but only the Caravelle trim which is the top of the range, luxurious spec model. The two-tone paint gave it away at first glance, well at least a hint or idea. This futuristic look is not only promising you the attention you’ll get on the road while driving but also new technological equipment and improved creature comfort features.
It now sits on the MQB platform, matching with all the rest of the modern Volkswagen cars and it departs from the Transporter platform. This comes with the means of lightness, improved structural rigidity and improved safety. The exterior design even adopts the current look of the Caddy but that has been the case before with the previous models as well. The Multivan is the first VW Commercial Vehicle to offer a hybrid powertrain in the line-up with the aim to improve fuel efficiency and power.
A Van is notably known for its boxy shape that is in essence all for function and less for looks but this new design for the Multivan now sits in the middle, balancing the two aspects. It is much sleeker and features a well sculptured surface that improves the aerodynamics. The overall size of the Van is larger with the length improved by 69 millimetres and the width by 37 millimetres but the height has been reduced by 87 millimetres to smoothen out the airflow from the front windshield towards the roofline.
This affects the cabin space whereby the maximum luggage space with second row and third row seats removed provides a maximum of 3672 litres and 469 litres is available with all seats in place. The A-pillar has been designed to be much slimmer to improve visibility and eliminate a huge blindspot for the driver.
The front sports a different look with all the parts reduced to a smaller size that makes it attractive. The grille and the lights are cojoined with an LED lightbar that acts as a daytime-running light and it can also be seen on other various Volkswagen models such as the new Golf and Caddy. Inside the new headlight design are LED lights that come as standard and the IQ Light technology is optional. And speaking about things that are not standard, the optional panoramic glass roof which is made with LowE laminated safety glass, reduces incoming thermal radiation by 44%.
The towing capacity is rated up to 2000 kilograms depending on the engine and trim model between the base model called ‘Multivan’, Life and Style. The top of the range ‘Style’ is clearly suited with ease-of-use features such as an electrically-operated tailgate and power sliding doors that can be opened through gesture controls.
The eHybrid powertrains officially debuts on the Commercial Vehicles line-up starting with the Multivan and it is a 1.4 TSI engine that produces 148 hp (110 kW) alone and gets a power boost from an 85 kW electric motor powered by a 13 kWh battery pack. In total, the output is 215 hp (160 kW) and it demands a special made 6-speed DSG transmission to manage the transition of engine and electric power effectively.
There are still three other engine options to choose from, with the standard one being a 1.5 TSI producing 134 hp (100 kW) and a 2.0 TSI with 201 hp (150 kW). The 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine with 148 hp (110 kW) will follow later on in the year. All engines mentioned will power the front-wheels only via a 7-speed DSG as standard.
The inside receives the modern Volkswagen design with the updated 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit alongside a head-up display and the 10-inch infotainment system with Discover Media interface as standard and Discover Pro Navigation is optional. All the buttons to control the air-condition, seat heating and audio volume are touch sensitive, makes for a daunting experience. WeConnect Plus is available to use on the smartphone to unlock and lock the vehicle, check fuel level and other vital information, and USB-C charging ports come as standard whilst wireless charging is optional.
There is no centre console as now the handbrake is electric and the gear selector is a small knob placed on the dash. The passengers will be glad to occupy a space of comfort with a table that sits on the second row and can move to the third row as well. The table has three cupholders, a storage bin, adjustable height and can be removed all together, the same way the 5 seats can be removed as well. The enjoyment of music will be courtesy of the 14-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system with an 840-watt amp.
Safety equipment that come as standard include Front Assist area monitoring system which includes City Emergency Braking, Dynamic Road Sign Display and Lane Assist. The optional IQ.Drive Travel Assist comes with predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist to help with long distance drives. It is also available with Area View that is a 360-degree camera to help with manoeuvring and parking. Car2X allows communication with other vehicles and infrastructure that have the same system and it provides warnings about accidents ahead, traffic lights and exit warning system.
There is no word on when the Multivan will launch in South Africa.
Source: Volkswagen Multivan