Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good Arriving Down Under in March 2010 the majorly updated and facelifted Volkswagen Multivan features all new body panels forward of the B pillar. We’re big fans of the new headlights, bonnet and front bumper styling which give this People Mover a bold, yet familiar Golf like look. Other big news is a DSG dual clutch ‘Automatic’ gearbox, the option of an impressive twin turbo diesel engine, dual electric sliding side doors for the rear passengers and optional 18 inch alloys with wide 255mm tyres = this most definitely isn’t a run of the mill people carrier.
Not so good The Multivan shares its shape with the commercial based Transporter van so whilst this equates to an amazingly roomy cabin, not everyone will wish to drive a big box on wheels. The entry level 103kW Comfortline grade rides on slightly undersized looking 16 inch wheels.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Whilst the Multivan shares its platform and styling with the commercial Transporter van, the materials and overall ambience inside is far more premium and luxurious. The March 2010 facelift see’s a redesigned dash, steering wheel, and instrument cluster – the white backlighting and the chrome finishing’s contributing to the classy ambience. The two front row seats feature height and lumbar adjustment and come with adjustable armrests and the steering wheel adjusts for both rake (up and down) and reach (in and out) = a comfortable position behind the wheel. Both grades (Comfortline and Highline) feature a lovely to hold three spoke leather trimmed steering wheel, three zone climate air-conditioning and an eight speaker sound system. The Highline grade adds a multifunction display, satellite navigation (and VW's sat nav is great to look at), an amazing sound system with a 30GB hard drive and leather seats (and even leather door linings). The seven seat layout offers amazing amounts of passenger space – the second row features a pair of individual seats which are removable, are mounted on rails to allow for longitudinal adjustment and also swivel to face the third-row seats (perfect for a business conference or meeting on the move), whilst the third row three seat bench is also removable, mounted on rails for ease of adjustment and the bench can be reclined. The rear roof lighting with ventilation, reading lights and climate control makes you feel as if you’re travelling business class on an aeroplane and the Highline grade adds a useful multifunction table for second and third row passengers.
Not so good Up front the seating position is more upright than in lower riding and non van based People Movers, i.e. a Mercedes-Benz R-Class or a Honda Odyssey (however, they’ve offer nowhere near as much interior space). The sliding second side windows look a little ‘old-school’ (once again due to the commercial origins of the vehicle’s platform).
Performance

Performance

Good Two quality four cylinder 2.0L turbo diesel engines on offer – a single turbo grade with 103kW of power and 340Nm of torque or a twin turbo option with 132kW and 400Nm. The twin turbo engine Multivan is impressively powerful considering the small two litre capacity and the large brick like size of the vehicle – thanks in part to the 400Nm being on tap from a low 1,500rpm and a high tech DSG seven speed dual clutch ‘auto’ which offers super quick gear changes. Fuel economy is excellent - ranging from 7.8L per 100km to 8.1L per 100km (official combined figures) depending on grade (the Multivan is available in 2WD or AWD).
Not so good Can’t match a big petrol V6 for oomph (however kills one for fuel economy).
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good Drives more car-like than other van based competitors thanks to the well-damped suspension, steering with good feel and accuracy, and commendable body control. Against its direct competitors it is also quieter inside.
Not so good Optional sports suspension might be taking things a little too far – remember this is a van based people mover; not as fun to drive as a Honda Odyssey (but again, the Odssey is much smaller inside so not a direct competitor anyway).
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Excellent fuel economy; value for money the Multivan is now significantly better than the pre March 2010 model; equally a good buy for a large family or as a business purchase; ticks the safety box with standard anti lock brakes, electronic stability control and dual front, dual side and full-length curtain airbags. Also features hill start assist - where the handbrake is helpfully held on steep inclines as the driver’s shifts his or her foot from the brake to the accelerator. Other useful little standard features include 12V sockets in the front, middle and rear and a high cup holder and bottle holder count. As well as a auto-dimming rear view mirror and remote central locking, the Highline grade adds to the Comfortline's already generous standard spec list - heated front seats, power operated rear sliding doors, rain-sensing wipers and dusk-sensing headlamps.
Not so good Gets pricey at the top – the Highline DSG 4Motion grade with a couple of tasty options added tops $80k.