Review: Volkswagen Multivan (2022)
Versatile people carrier. MQB platform means it's easy to drive and loaded with safety tech. Available with plug-in hybrid power.
Unlikely to be particularly cheap.
Recently Added To This Review
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has revealed 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... Read more
Volkswagen Multivan (2022): At A Glance
The Volkswagen Caravelle is dead. Long live the, er, Volkswagen Multivan.
Despite its name, the Volkswagen Multivan is no longer based on the Transporter van. It's actually based on a car platform – the same MQB achitecture that underpins pretty much everything VW Group, from the Skoda Octavia to the Audi TT.
That means – in theory – it's more car-like to drive, and should tempt family buyers away from big, expensive SUVs. And while it still looks like a van with windows, you can jazz it up with two-tone colour schemes and wheels measuring up to 19-inches in diameter.
There are petrol and diesel engines on offer and – in a first for this segment – plug-in hybrid power. While this represents a serious step towards electrification, you'll have to wait for the ID. Buzz if you want a pure-electric people carrier.
It's inside where the Volkswagen Multivan impresses the most. It combines the comfort and technology of a passenger car with the versatility of a van. You'll find a slick 10-inch infotainment system (with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto) as well as a smart 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit display in place of regular dials. If it wasn't for the vast view of the road ahead, you could be fooled into thinking you're sitting in the front of the latest Golf hatchback.
Kids will love to sit in the back of the Multivan, while it feels luxurious enough to act as a VIP shuttle for business use. It's available with up to seven seats but works best as a six-seater, with four individual seats in the back. These can be configured in a variety of ways, or taken out entirely to provide van-like practicality.
We'll hold our full judgement on the Volkswagen Multivan until prices and specifications are confirmed, however it's rumoured that it could come in below the Volkswagen Caravelle's £51,000 start price. That'll still make it considerably pricier than utilitarian van-based rivals like the Peugeot Traveller and Ford Tourneo Custom, but it's a small price to pay for a premium and practical people carrier.
What does a Volkswagen Multivan (2022) cost?
Volkswagen Multivan (2022): What's It Like Inside?
Don't worry Caravelle fans, the shift onto a car platform has done little to knock the Multivan's practicality. There are actually two sizes of Multivan on offer, with the extended model offering an extra 20cm of rear overhang, ultimately providing more space in the back.
Both sizes of Volkswagen Multivan are available with up to seven seats – two in the front and five in the back. Unlike before, they can no longer swivel around, but they can be lifted out entirely and positioned as you like. That means you can have three rows of seating – like in a conventional people carrier – or those in the back can face each other, VIP style.
There are grooves in the floor which act as a track system for slotting the seats into, while a multi-function table can be used in the back (ideal for picnics or maybe even remote working during a pandemic). Alternatively, this doubles up as a centre console for those in the front.
The standard Multivan has a 469-litre boot behind the third row of seats. That's much bigger than you'd get in conventional seven-seat MPVs like the SEAT Alhambra, while taking the third row of seats increases space to 1844 litres. With all the rear seats removed, the Volkswagen Multivan can take a van-like 3672 litres of luggage (or 3710 litres with the optional panoramic sunroof).
With its extra rear overhang, the longer Multivan can accommodate 763 litres of luggage behind the third row of seats, stretching to 4005 litres with all the rear seats removed (4053 litres with the panoramic roof).
At 4973mm long (5173mm for the extended version), 1941mm wide and up to 1903mm height, you might wish to get your tape measure out if you're hoping to fit the Multivan on a tight driveway. It's not quite as tall as the old Caravelle, though – something which has been done deliberately, apparently, meaning it ought to be slightly easier to squeeze into multistorey car parks.
What's the Volkswagen Multivan (2022) like to drive?
By shifting the Volkswagen Multivan onto the brand's MQB platform, it's more car-like to drive than rivals like the Mercedes-Benz V-Class and Ford Tourneo Custom. Sure, it still feels big, but light steering and a tight turning circle take the effort out of negotiating town traffic.
It feels civilised on the open road, although that light steering means it never feels as confident or assured as SUV alternatives like the Volkswagen Tiguan. The Multivan's blocky shape means there's quite a lot of wind noise at higher speeds, although no more so than van-based alternatives.
There's a fairly extensive engine line-up on offer, with the big news being the introduction of a plug-in hybrid model. Badged the Volkswagen Multivan eHybrid, this uses the same setup as other VW Group PHEV models – combining a 1.4-litre petrol engine with a 13kWh battery and 85kW electric motor. Officially, this'll be able to travel up to 31 miles under electric power alone – enough to cover the school run with zero tailpipe emissions.
The weight of the batteries in the Volkswagen Multivan eHybrid mean it feels quite heavy on the road – it doesn't ride as well as other models, while performance isn't as brisk as you'd expect for its combined 218PS. As such, unless electric motoring particularly appeals (or you're a company car driver looking to save cash), we'd stick with one of the straightforward petrol models.
These include a 1.5 TSI with 136PS and a 2.0-litre TSI with 204PS. The smaller engine is punchier than you might think but, if you're planning to drive a fully-loaded Multivan on the motorway for an extended period, the 2.0-litre's probably a better option.
A 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 150PS is set to arrive in 2022. If you're seeking frugal out-of-town motoring (or need to tow a trailer), it's probably worth waiting for this.