2022 Volkswagen Multivan revealed: price, specs and release date
The Volkswagen Multivan will replace the Caravelle people carrier and combines plug-in hybrid power with a bold new design...
On sale 2022 | Priced from £50,000 (est)
Icon is probably one of the most overused words in the automotive business, but it's entirely appropriate when it comes to describing the Volkswagen Caravelle. With a lineage that stretches back to the original split-screen VW bus launched in 1950, the Caravelle is one of the world's most recognisable MPVs.
Indeed, VW’s approach to developing the Caravelle closely mirrors the approach Porsche has taken with its own icon, the 911. Each new generation looks strikingly similar to the previous one, but under the skin there are guaranteed to be some major changes.
Enter stage right, the Caravelle T7 – or, as VW now wants us to call it, the Multivan T7.
Why the name change? Well, according to VW, the Caravelle has been given a new name in the UK to reflect the complete overhaul of its predecessor. That's understandable but also a little confusing because the all-new Multivan doesn't uses the Transporter van platform. Instead, the all-new model is based on the VW Group’s MQB platform, which underpins the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Skoda Kodiaq and many other vehicles.
The switch to the MQB platform means that the Multivan should be more car-like to drive than ever and will also allow VW to offer a plug-in hybrid variant called the eHybrid.
The eHybrid’s engine set-up is more or less identical to what you get with the Volkswagen Passat GTE, so there's a 148bhp 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine supplemented by a separate 114bhp electric motor. Producing a combined output of 215bhp, the eHybrid should feel pretty punchy from behind the wheel. There's no word yet on the all-electric range, but we’d estimate that the small 13kWh battery should provide around 20 miles of zero-emissions travel.
A choice of 1.5 or 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines will also be available, while a 201bhp diesel will join the line-up next year. These ‘traditional’ internal combustion engines will feature VW’s familiar seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox, while the eHybrid benefits from a bespoke six-speed DSG unit.
Along with the mechanical revisions, the seven-seater also features an all-new exterior design that blends styling highlights from the Mk8 Golf (note the wraparound front LED light bar) with stylistic cues from its predecessors – most notably the 1985 T3-generation Transporter with its distinctive horizontal beltline, and a two-tone paint scheme inspired by the original VW bus.
As standard, the Multivan measures 1941mm wide, 4973mm long and 1903mm high (though a 5173mm-long extended-wheelbase option is also available), which means it's slightly larger overall than the T6-generation Transporter. Improved aerodynamics are claimed to improve efficiency.
There are big changes inside the Multivan, with an all-new modular seating system and multi-function table. VW claims they make the Multivan "more flexible and spacious than ever" – the seats in the second row can be spun around to create a social seating arrangement and the table can be moved between any of the seating rows. The table and the five rear seats can also be removed entirely if you want to turn your Multivan into, well, a van.
VW has also highlighted that by removing the centre console – made possible by the removal of a conventional handbrake and gearstick – the Multibus now features a flat floor throughout the entire interior, giving the base version 469 litres of boot space, extending to 1844 litres with the rearmost seats removed.
The dashboard has had a makeover to bring the Multivan more closely in line with VW’s latest passenger cars. There’s now a new multi-function steering wheel, a 10.25in digital display and a 10.0in central touchscreen as standard, while optional upgrades include a head-up display, wireless phone-charger and Harman Kardon sound system.
When we sampled the same touchscreen system in the Mk8 Golf, we struggled with its confusing menus, lack of physical buttons and technical glitches, so hopefully we'll see some improvements by the time the Multivan hits dealers.
There is a range of advanced safety technology, including road-sign recognition, lane assist and automatic emergency braking (AEB). The Multivan is VW’s first commercial vehicle fitted with the new 'IQ.Drive' system, which uses the adaptive cruise control and lane assist functions to enable what it calls "semi-autonomous driving" on long-distance journeys.
We’re also excited about sampling Car2X – a system to allow the Multivan to communicate with other vehicles to provide warnings of dangers including oncoming traffic and high winds. Clever stuff.
VW has yet to confirm pricing for the new model, but prices for the outgoing Caravelle start at around £50,000 so we would expect a slight price premium, especially for the eHybrid model.
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