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Why a passenger carrier could be the perfect family vehicle

SUVs may dominate the family car market but, for the discerning driver with big family commitments, a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles passenger carrier offers the perfect blend of seats and space...

Volkswagen Multivan
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From saloons and estates to MPVs and SUVs, the vehicle of choice for astute drivers looking for a versatile and spacious family workhorse has evolved through the years. But, today, the potential new king of big family cars might just be an unsuspecting contender.

Marrying plenty of comfortable seating with bundles of versatile luggage space, a passenger carrier is perfect for hauling all that family life throws at you – whether it’s a carpool school run, busy shopping trips or epic weekend adventures. Plus, with powerful efficient engines, a car-like driving feel, and heaps of clever safety and entertainment technology, a passenger carrier is a no-compromise way to carry big family and lots of friends in style.

Take Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles’ passenger carrier line-up. With up to seven seats and 3105 litres of luggage space, the deceptively capacious all-new Volkswagen Caddy offers estate-like practicality. It also sports What Car? Award-winning levels of safety and infotainment tech to keep you and your passengers safe and entertained. Then there’s the versatile Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle, which offers seating for up to nine, or the stylish Volkswagen Caravelle, with its flexible premium seating that offers executive levels of luxurious comfort.

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Finally, there’s the all-new Volkswagen Multivan – replacing the Caravelle, and on sale in early 2022. It looks set to change the game again for passenger carriers, blending head-turning modern-retro looks and tech with innovative family-friendly seating. So, whether you’re a growing family in need of as many seats as possible, or a smaller clan looking for oodles of comfort mixed with plenty of open space, this is the guide for you.

Learn more about Volkswagen’s range of passenger carriers

Volkswagen Caddy

Volkswagen Caddy: perfect for growing families

Despite their size and commanding high-rise seating, compact SUVs are rarely much more practical than the family hatchbacks on which they’re based. The Volkswagen Caddy tells a different tale. Sharing its DNA with the renowned Volkswagen Golf 8, it maximises seating and luggage space in a way no compact SUV can.

It’s available in two sizes – a standard Caddy, and the longer Caddy Maxi – with a Caddy Life trim that adds an extra dose of tech and style. The Volkswagen Caddy is only slightly longer and wider than the Golf hatchback on which it’s based – making it perfect for tackling suburban streets and narrow multi-storey car parks. But, it offers five comfortable seats as standard with up to seven available on the SWB, and between 1213 and 2556 litres of luggage space.

The longer larger Caddy Maxi offers an additional 352mm of load length, seven seats as standard – with the option to remove two and make it a five-seater – and up to a whopping 3105 litres of luggage space.

The Volkswagen Caddy’s seats are as clever as they are comfortable, with the second and third rows of seats able to be tipped, folded or removed entirely for bulkier items. Getting people and luggage in and out of the Caddy is a breeze, too, thanks to wide sliding doors and an optional soft-shut system that prevents little fingers getting caught, while the choice of a split tailgate or traditional hatchback lets you configure your Caddy to your exacting needs.

Available with an optional panoramic sunroof, the Volkswagen Caddy’s interior is airy and inviting, while overhead storage, plenty of USB ports and fold-away tables help make your passengers as comfortable as possible.

What Car? Award-winning infotainment and safety tech help make your daily driving safer, easier and more relaxing, with the optional Digital Cockpit providing a crisp and clear display for all your essential driving information, while an optional 10-inch infotainment touchscreen allows for class-leading connectivity and entertainment.

Bluetooth comes as standard, too, making calls on the go easy and safe, while We Connect packages[1] let you control vital functions of the new Volkswagen Caddy remotely from a compatible smartphone – including receiving live traffic information and the ability to hotspot Wi-Fi. Voice control lets you answer calls and change the radio without lifting a finger, while door-to-door navigation through your smartphone means you can plan journeys with ease.

The Volkswagen Caddy is also a class leader when it comes to safety, with over 19 driver assistance systems keeping you and your family safe. Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist take the stress out of long-distance drives, while Front Assist with City Emergency braking (fitted as standard to all models), and Rear Cross Traffic Alert lend a second pair of eyes in town.

A range of frugal Euro-6 compliant diesel engines make the Volkswagen Caddy as cheap to run as it is adaptable. And, if you still want that SUV versatility, optional 4MOTION four-wheel drive is perfect for family adventures off the beaten track.

Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle

Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle: perfect for big busy clans

For most families, the Volkswagen Caddy’s seven seats are more than enough for day-to-day tasks, long trips and big adventures. But, there are times when you need even more space – whether it’s carrying more luggage, or when friends or extended family need a ride too. That’s where the Volkswagen Transporter Shuttle 6.1 steps in.

Perhaps Volkswagen’s most capable and versatile people carrier, the Volkswagen Shuttle is available with a choice of five, eight or even nine seats, and comes in two versatile sizes – putting it leagues ahead of any SUV or estate on the market when it comes to practicality.

Clever ‘Easy Entry’ seating allows the rear benches to be folded, double-folded or removed entirely, while the optional electronic tailgate and wide sliding doors mean getting people in and loading luggage is quick and simple. The Volkswagen Shuttle also boasts a generous load space – offering between 5.8m3 and 6.7m3 of load volume, with up to 1967mm of load length if you remove the third row of seats.

Up-front in the cab boasts an upper glovebox and folding ruler tray to keep things clutter-free. High-quality durable materials throughout help keep passengers comfortable, while generous levels of standard equipment and similar safety and infotainment tech to the Volkswagen Caddy make the Volkswagen Shuttle as nice to drive as it is to be driven in.

Volkswagen Caravelle

Volkswagen Caravelle: for stylish families

While the Volkswagen Caddy is perfect for growing families and the Volkswagen Shuttle is ideal for big clans, the Volkswagen Caravelle is more fitting for those looking to marry oodles of space with luxurious executive VIP levels of comfort. With plenty of great Approved Used examples still available from Volkswagen, it’s a great choice for a big family car.

Like the Volkswagen Shuttle, the Volkswagen Caravelle is available with two different wheelbase lengths, offering seven seats as standard in the shorter model, and eight in the long-wheelbase version. Inside, bright LED lights and versatile seats that swivel 360 degrees create a cosy lounge area in the rear, while a clever multi-functional fold-away table can be used by passengers for lunch, laptops or even board games.

USB ports are in abundance in the front and rear, ensuring that all the family can stay topped-up and fully charged, while wide sliding doors and an electric tailgate available on Executive trim makes getting people and luggage in and out hassle-free.

Both the Transporter Shuttle and the Caravelle are also available with 4MOTION four-wheel drive for added confidence on those far-reaching family trips, while a range of strong and efficient Euro-6 diesel engines keep running costs down. In fact, the Transporter 6.1 panel van on which the Volkswagen Shuttle and Caravelle are based, scooped our Best Value for Ownership Costs award at the 2021 What Car? Van Awards.

Volkswagen Multivan

Volkswagen Multivan: for trend-setting families

The Volkswagen Multivan is the all-new replacement for the Volkswage Caravelle, due to hit the UK in early 2022. Combining modern-retro looks with mould-breaking interior design, an innovative passenger space and an advanced hybrid powertrain, the all-new upcoming Volkswagen Multivan brings trend by the bucketload.

The Volkswagen Multivan is more flexible and spacious than any previous Volkswagen passenger carrier thanks to its new modular seating system. With space for up to seven, the rear five seats can be moved and removed to reveal a cavernous luggage area, while the second row of seats can be swivelled to create a comfy family social space.

An innovative multi-function table can be moved between any of the seating rows, and – for the first time – it can be used as a centre console between the front seats. Height adjustable, featuring three cup holders and a storage compartment this new multi-function table is perfect for keeping the kids entertained on longer journeys.

Finally, the Volkswagen Multivan’s innovative plug-in eHybrid powertrain combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor to give you silent, zero-emissions driving on the school run and local trips to the shops, while the petrol engine gives you the flexibility you need for those epic long-distance family adventures.

So, whether you’re after compact dimensions, plenty of seats, oodles of comfort or the future of family transportation, there’s a Volkswagen passenger carrier to suit you.

Learn more about Volkswagen’s range of passenger carriers

[1] To use the WeConnect services, you need a Volkswagen ID user account and to log in to We Connect with your username and password. A separate We Connect or We Connect Plus contract must also be concluded online with Volkswagen AG.