Given the MPV market has pretty much evaporated to zero thanks to the rise and rise of the SUV, it’s been a smart move for VW to retain a presence within it with a model that replaces not only the VW Volkswagen Touran and VW Sharan (2010-2021), but the VW Caravelle at the same time. After all, nobody really wants to be seen in an MPV these days, but many of us will pine for that beach lifestyle the VW Volkswagen Caravelle (and VW vans before it) seemed to come with as a no cost option.
Despite trying to cover off such a broad brief for what are admittedly niche market segments, we’ve been impressed by our experiences so far with the VW Volkswagen Multivan, which is very much an MPV wrapped in the body of a VW van you’ll find in many a Cornish gift shop.
It’s one of those more than the sum of its parts models that comes along when you least suspect it. The Multivan looks like a van (albeit the coolest one you’ve ever seen), has the interior space of a van, has van in its name even, but it very much drives like a car thanks to its MQB underpinnings, which are of course used on so many VW Group models, including the VW Volkswagen Golf.
Such underpinnings also open it up to the full range of MQB-compatible powertrains, of which this plug-in hybrid variant is one. It mixes a 148bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine with a 114bhp electric motor (the combined output is 215bhp), driving the front wheels through a six-speed DSG gearbox. The range from the 10.4kWh battery is quoted at 31 miles.
We recently sampled the 200mm-longer ‘Long’ version in the highest of the two trim levels, Style with a non-hybridised 2.0-litre petrol-engine. This time, we’re sampling the standard 4973mm-long version in the entry-level Life trim, with that intriguing hybrid option.
There’s little difference between the standard and Long versions. You get a bit more ‘boot’ space (it’s more like a large storage area behind the third row of seats in the latter, which you can lay a flimsy parcel shelf on top of to keep things out of view below the back window) as the extra length comes after the rear overhang.