Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
The most sensible engine option for the Volkswagen Multivan is likely to be the 148bhp 2.0 TDI diesel. We’ve yet to try it, but we reckon it’ll be the pick of the range because of its greater pulling power compared with the petrols. The 0-62mph time of 11.6sec isn’t special in the MPVs market, but it is reasonable compared with similar-sized rivals including the Toyota Proace Verso.
With 215bhp on tap, the 1.4 eHybrid plug-in hybrid (PHEV) gets the instant assistance of its electric motor and 13kWh battery pack, helping it to feel every bit as brisk as its 9.0sec acceleration time suggests. It’s just as swift as our preferred 148bhp 1.5 TSI VW Touran – which is pretty good considering the heft of the Multivan.
Being tall and quite long, the Multivan won’t be as manoeuvrable as a family hatchback around town, but it's certainly more wieldy than the Ford Tourneo Custom and the Proace Verso.
If you’re coming at the Multivan from having driven a car, you'll notice that the steering is slower and requires more turns when, for example, reversing into a parking space. Its accuracy means you quickly adapt, though, and there's a reassuring heft to it at higher speeds, so you'll have confidence in holding your lane on a motorway or negotiating a series of bends on a B-road.
There are limits to how quickly you can go in twists and turns because the additional height and weight compared with smaller MPVs such as the Ford Galaxy and the Touran mean it’ll roll more in comparison. The Multivan's grip levels are still respectable for this type of vehicle, but the tyres will squeal in protest far sooner than in smaller rivals.
Ride quality is very decent, and the suspension deals with the initial shock of potholes and expansion joints before it gets to you, although there is a hearty thwack sound, something the Galaxy is better at isolating you from. The Multivan isn’t quite as refined as that MPV at 70mph either, although it is far quieter than the Renault Trafic Passenger, with less wind noise.
Volkswagen gives you the (expensive) option of adaptive suspension that’ll enable you to tailor the ride to match your driving style and the road you're on. We haven't tested it yet, but we'll update this review when we have.
The Multivan eHybrid's brakes are consistent and easy to judge, despite having to incorporate the regeneration system that tops up the battery as the car slows down. Sadly, this version isn’t as refined at motorway speeds because its six-speed gearbox buzzes away more at higher revs than the seven-speed 'box you get with the other engines.