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Hi-tech new Volkswagen Multivan gets PHEV option

All-new VW Multivan people-mover ditches Transporter origins to become more car-like

15 Jun 2021

VOLKSWAGEN has separated its next-generation Multivan people-mover from the Transporter van range as part of the German giant’s global commercial vehicle co-development partnership with Ford.


Promising to deliver a more car-like driving experience due to the adoption of Volkswagen Group’s MQB architecture, which underpins all kinds of models from the Polo light hatch to the Atlas large SUV, the new Multivan will also bring higher levels of technology and electrification.


Unveiled last week in Germany but not yet confirmed for Australia, the new Multivan will be sold alongside the Transporter 6.1 – which will continue to form the basis of the California camper van – as well as both passenger and commercial versions of the all-electric ID.Buzz once they debut next year.


The all-new T7 Transporter co-developed with Ford is slated for a 2023 launch, with both brands’ model lines expected to feature several flavours of electrification to future-proof them for typically long commercial vehicle product lifecycles.


Volkswagen Group Australia public relations and brand experience manager Kurt McGuinness told GoAuto the new Multivan was “under investigation” for import but had not yet been given the green light.


He said there was no reason for the Multivan to not come to Australia and that strong sales of the Transporter 6.1 that launched last August meant the company “would love to bring another T-vehicle here”.


If imported, the Multivan would enter a resurgent people-mover segment that has long been dominated by the Kia Carnival – an all-new version of which launched early this year along with a refreshed Honda Odyssey that comes a distant second in the sales charts – and will soon become more competitive with the arrival of Hyundai’s futuristic-looking Staria.


Presented for its global reveal in classic Kombi-echoing two-tone paint, the new Multivan bridges the style gap between Transporter 6.1 and the ID. Buzz EV concept that premiered in 2017, while featuring some design details from the VW passenger car range as well as the Caddy small van that launches here next month.


A maximum of seven seats are individually adjustable and removable via a new sliding track system that also enables a centre console to be moved from the front to the rear, where it can be folded out into a picnic table.


Volkswagen says the Multivan maintains the interior height of its predecessor, which is even slightly increased when the new panoramic glass roof option is selected.


Two lengths of Multivan will be offered, the larger offering up to 4053 litres of cargo space according to Volkswagen, which describes the new model as designed for “families and active sporty people” but also “suitable as a high-class shuttle”.


A plug-in hybrid drivetrain will be available in some markets along with turbo-petrol and turbo-diesel engine options. Outputs will range from 100kW for the base petrol to 160kW for the plug-in hybrid, with dual-clutch automatic transmissions standard on most variants.


Comprehensive safety and driver assistance technologies will also be standard, including a Car2X communication system to provide early warning of hazards, road sign recognition, advanced autonomous emergency braking, lane-keep assist, swerve support and oncoming vehicle detection for junctions plus adaptive cruise control.


Volkswagen’s Digital Cockpit customisable screen-based instrument cluster and connected multimedia system with subscription-based apps such as satellite navigation will be fitted and semi-autonomous driving capability at speeds of up to 210km/h is claimed.


Adaptive matrix LED headlights will be an optional upgrade from the standard LED items.


Volkswagen has notched up 489 Multivan sales in the first five months of this year, up 170.2 per cent to secure a 10.3 per cent share of the sub-$60,000 people mover segment behind the Honda Odyssey (581 units) and dominant Kia Carnival (2871 units).


The company also sold 39 of the nine-seat Caravelles (up 550%) and 10 California campers. 


Transporter van sales of 709 units (up 111.6%) earnt Volkswagen sixth place in the 2.5-3.5-tonne light-commercial segment with a 6.3 per cent share.

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