Volkswagen has unveiled an all-new Multivan to replace the Caravelle. Team CV looks at the multi-faceted vehicle.

Winning three titles at the 2021 Trade Van Driver Awards for its Transporter 6.1 and Crafter, and the ‘City Emergency Braking’ feature as technical innovation, Volkswagen has unveiled an all-new Multivan to replace the Caravelle. Providing up to seven seats and claimed to achieve a perfect combination of practicality, comfort, and safety, the vehicle flaunts an all-new exterior to suit a multitude of roles – from chauffeuring to the daily school run to holiday adventures. Reflecting a complete overhaul of its predecessor without sacrificing the versatility set by the Caravelle, the Multivan is based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform.

Paying homage to the DNA of its predecessors, dating back to the 1985 Transporter T3, the design of the Multivan has a horizontal design line and full-width grille and headlights to provide it with a modern and dynamic stance. The front air intakes, painted in the same colour as the vehicle, pay tribute to the heritage air-cooled engine models of the yore. Measuring 1941 mm in width, 4973 mm in length (the longer wheelbase version measures 5173 mm) and 1903 mm in height, the vehicle, offered in a hybrid version as well, is quite aerodynamic. Available with wheels up to 19-inch dia., and in three forms – Multivan, Life and Style, the Multivan has panoramic glass roof as optional. Available with an electrically operated rear hatch and power sliding doors, the vehicle can be operated via gesture control for ease of entry.

Fitted with LED headlights as standard (can be upgraded to interactive IQ.LIGHT – LED matrix headlights that offer a permanent full beam without blinding oncoming drivers and dynamic cornering to provide precise illumination during bends and feature an illuminated LED lateral bar in the radiator grille), the Multivan is flexible and spacious inside. Employing a new modular, lightweight seating system and an innovative table, the cabin is designed such that the second row can be moved 180-degree to create a conference style seating configuration. The full-width bench seat for the third row has been replaced by individual seats to allow single seats to be removed for complete flexibility. An innovative multi-function table uses the central track and can be moved between any of the seating rows. It can be used as a centre console between the front seats and is completely removable. Equipped with an electronically activated parking brake, an automatic DSG gearbox controlled via shift-by-wire technology (with controls ergonomically integrated into the instrument panel), the vehicle offers 469 litres of luggage space behind the third row of seats. It can be extended to 1,844 litres behind the second row. The full cargo capacity up to the front seats is 3,672 litres (and 4,053 litres in the longer version).

The cockpit area, replete with a new multi-function steering wheel, is designed to have most controls in one line of sight. The secondary line is for other functions to make the operation as intuitive as possible. Touch controls provide direct access to settings such as air-conditioning, seat heating, and audio volume. The central line consists of 10.25-inch ‘Digital Cockpit’ display and a 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. Centrally arranged between the two are the new, minimalist shift-by-wire DSG controls. Integrated next to this are two USB-C sockets as standard and a tray for optional inductive smartphone charging. A head-up display is available for the first time. In terms of connectivity, bundled with the standard infotainment system – ‘Ready 2 Discover’, is an integrated eSIM. Its ‘we Connect’ feature can be used free of charge for an unlimited period with services such as breakdown assistance, vehicle status and parked position. The ‘We Connect Plus’, available free for three years, provides extra services such as the ability to lock and unlock the vehicle, or control the optional auxiliary heater remotely via smartphone. For the eHybrid, it allows owners to pre-set the vehicle temperature and manage the charging process via the smartphone. The optional Discover Media and Discover Pro navigation systems have online map updating and traffic information.







All infotainment systems can be combined with a Harmon Kardon sound system developed specifically for the Multivan. A 16-channel Ethernet amplifier with 840 watts of music output, and four sound settings uses the ‘Fraunhofer Sonamic Panorama Algorithm’, which can separate the individual sources of a stereo recording and distribute them evenly across a U-shaped acoustic stage, to create the optimum sound. Featuring more than 34 driver assist systems enhancing safety, comfort, and convenience. The Front Assist area monitoring system, which includes City Emergency Braking, Dynamic Road Sign Display and the Lane Assist system is standard.

The Multivan is laced with Car2X, which allows local communication with other vehicles and the highways infrastructure to provide warnings of any danger, side protection, cross wind assist, turn-off assist, which warns of any oncoming traffic when turning across a carriageway, and an exit warning system, which warns when opening a door to any oncoming bicycles or vehicles from the rear. The IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist allows semi-autonomous driving by combining the predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist to make long-distance journeys safer and easier. A 360-degree view through four cameras on the 10-inch infotainment display makes the van easy to park and manoeuvre.

With a towing capacity of up to two-tonne, the Multivan is powered by a 1.4-litre turbo-petrol direct-injection engine that develops 150 PS power in the (plug-in) eHybrid version. It is coupled with an 85 kW electric motor to provide a combined power output of 218 PS. Transmission is a six-speed DSG unit. The 13 kWh lithium-ion battery of the vehicle is housed under the flat floor and aids in lowering the centre of gravity. The conventional powertrain vehicle has a 136 PS, 1.5-litre turbo-petrol direct-injection engine and a seven-speed DSG gearbox. There’s a 204PS two-litre turbo-petrol engine on offer too. A diesel 150PS diesel engine is also a part of the list.

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