Multifan of the Multivan
Until now, the Multivan was the passenger car version of a van: the Transporter. However, the new version is a standalone model. The Multivan from model year 2022 was designed from the ground up as a family car, which gave the designers more freedom. This allowed the dimensions to be tailored to space for people instead of standard pack sizes.
Instead, standard car park dimensions have been taken into account. By incorporating the pipes for the air supply in the side walls rather than in the ceiling, the cargo space is a fraction smaller, but the height is limited to 190 cm. That lower height, together with the flatter bonnet and windscreen, also improves streamlining. And that in turn reduces fuel consumption and driving noise.
And because the Multivan no longer descends from a van, Volkswagen was able to give the interior the same refinement as that of luxury cars. Thus, the test vehicle is finished in a beautiful beige hue, interspersed with unusual patterns. The design was chosen in such a way that the adventurousness of a van remained, but complemented by the refinement of a modern car.
Space, space and more space!
The difference, of course, is in the space! The driver and co-driver sit high on large seats. Those who choose an SUV for its high seating and powerful feel will therefore fall for the Multivan even in the showroom! A pity though: the seatbelts are not height-adjustable, and depending on the occupants' stature, this can interfere with comfort.
How spacious the Multivan is in the rear depends on the arrangement of the seats. The four seats are on rails and can be placed freely, against the direction of travel if necessary. Compared to a large SUV, the Multivan offers much more space. Six adults sit amply! Good to know: the rails are also used to provide electricity to the seats, which is why these removable and movable seats are still available with seat heating!
On a centre rail is a multifunctional furniture with storage space and fold-out tables. Thus, the Multivan can be equipped for passenger transport, as a workspace, or as the ultimate family car. As the seats are relatively light (12 kg compared to 19 kg for the previous generation), they can also be easily removed and the Multivan can also be used for freight transport.
When all seats are in use for adult transport, the boot is too small for the luggage of six adults. Therefore, the Multivan is also available in an extra-long version. Both have the same wheelbase (312 cm). The extended version has extra overhang behind the rear wheels, providing a welcome amount of extra luggage space even when all seats are in use.
As the Multivan is based on the technology of Volkswagen's passenger cars, this space miracle offers the same equipment. Think modern infotainment system and the latest generation of semi-self-driving features. The optional premium audio system from Harman Kardon has full and detailed sound, but the soundstage is cluttered as it is almost randomly distributed throughout the cabin.
Volkswagen's acclaimed "IQ Light" was significantly less effective than promised and also less effective than similar systems from other brands during a test drive in the dark.
The luxury and safety of a passenger car plus more space than even the largest SUV. So how can the Multivan still be affordable? The secret is in the powertrain! Because the Multivan is available with plug-in hybrid drive, consisting of a 1.5-litre petrol engine and an electric motor. This makes for much lower running costs. Moreover, this powertrain can be found in many other Volkswagens and is therefore relatively easy (read: cheap) to use in an additional model. An additional advantage is that this makes the Multivan Hybrid equipped with an automatic gearbox as standard.
But while the power of 218 hp / 350 Nm is more than adequate in passenger cars and even makes for impressive performance, it is only just enough for this big tall Multivan. The Multivan Hybrid is smooth, but the supremacy this powertrain has in smaller cars is far from it. Compared to the traditional diesel engine, the hybrid is actually an oasis of calm and smoothness. Moreover, the first 50 km (40 km during the test) can be driven entirely electric. Final consumption depends on the ratio of electric to petrol driving. Those who charge frequently can achieve zero consumption. Test consumption came out at 5.6 litres per 100 km on a very demanding route (city traffic, mountains).
The Multivan is not unique with its space. Several other brands also offer very large family cars, however, these are based on company cars. However, the Multivan is the only one of its kind designed as a passenger car, and this is noticeable in its handling. Even with the Multivan, it is noticeable that this is a large, tall and heavy car (despite frequent use of aluminium). Therefore, the Multivan does not allow itself to be driven like a passenger car. Cornering speeds are lower and braking distances are longer. Moreover, the feeling in the brake pedal is poor.
Therefore, the difference with the competition is not in roadholding, but in handling. On bad road surfaces, the Multivan has the same refinement as a passenger car. Together, this makes the Multivan inviting for long journeys. Want to go to Euro Disney after Lego Land? No problem! Gladly even!
The new Volkswagen Multivan is significantly more economical than the previous generation. Therefore, from now on, this extremely large family car costs roughly the same as a large SUV. However, the interior space is significantly better, while the equipment is at the same level. Volkswagen achieved this by equipping the Multivan with a plug-in hybrid engine. With this, the tax for private individuals is much lower and the cost per kilometre has fallen sharply.
But the Multivan offers much more than just a favourable price! From the first sketch, the Multivan was designed as a family car and therefore looks much better than a van. It may sound strange for such a large car, but in real life the Multivan is a huge charmer that invites for long drives. This is thanks to the ambience of the interior, the high seat, the tranquillity of the hybrid drive, the rich equipment, the fine audio system and so on. In short: there is a lot to love and therefore every reason to become a Multivan multifan!
- Extremely spacious
- Favourable price thanks to hybrid drive
- More sophisticated than commercial vehicle-based MPVs
- Little feeling in the brake pedal
- Seat belts not adjustable in height