Why we ran it: To see if the Volkswagen Multivan, the latest ICE VW bus, has all of the charms of its predecessors
Life with a Volkswagen Multivan: Month 4
The T7’s done 9k miles and has the scars to prove it. But do we love it regardless? - 25 May 2023
I can’t remember the last time one of our cars had as eventful a time here as the Volkswagen Multivan. As soon as it arrived with me, it was pilfered for a 2000-mile job around Britain acting as a band’s tour bus. On its return, it was a support vehicle for several far-flung photoshoots. Then it was needed for a full Autocar road test.
At that point, things started to go awry, although mostly through no fault of the Multivan’s own. More on that later. So to the details. The T7 Multivan is the latest in a long line of VW ‘buses’, one of three replacements for the T6 Transporter but the only one with T7 in its name. The others are the electric ID Buzz and a forthcoming Ford-VW commercial vehicle joint venture.
The Multivan isn’t technically based on a commercial vehicle (it’s on VW’s MQB platform, which sits under everything from the Audi A3 to the Skoda Superb), but it’s of van capacities inside and, when it comes to service and repairs, it’s looked after by the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles network.
The variant we tested was a plug-in hybrid, badged eHybrid, which pairs a 148bhp 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine with a 114bhp electric motor for a combined 215bhp. There’s a 13kWh battery beneath the floor that gives an official electric-only range of 29 miles, chargeable at 7kW in a few hours from empty.
On start-up, the Multivan always defaults to EV mode, although you can select Hybrid mode manually to more slowly deplete the battery or opt to hold charge in the battery for later if you need it.
Reviewing PHEVs tends to involve a fair few numbers, so in this case: in mixed driving, we only typically saw 15 miles before the engine kicked in from full charge in EV mode (more in urban traffic); in Hybrid mode it returned 55mpg over 45 miles before the battery was flat; and thereafter it would do between 35mpg and 40mpg.
So whether it’s worth choosing a PHEV over a petrol or diesel very much depends on your use case – and as likely the tax implications.