Volkswagen Multivan - long term review - Report No:3 2023 | Top Gear
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Long-term review

Volkswagen Multivan - long term review

£59,545 / £65,521 as tested / £665pcm
Published: 09 Mar 2023

In contravention of ancient UK law: forgetting to wave to a fellow VW van driver

Among the UK’s more obscure pieces of statutory law – like not being able to shake your carpet on the streets of London or being inebriated while in charge of cattle – there is another even more obscure piece of legislation.

It is an offence if you both refuse to acknowledge or fail to respond to a Volkswagen van driver who has sent you a cheery communal wave, if you yourself are driving a Volkswagen van. Failure to do so will incur a centuries-old penalty: expulsion from the community. Of Volkswagen van drivers.

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I must confess I am in contravention of this ancient but universally accepted legal framework, because very recently I was in TG’s long-term T7 Volkswagen Multivan, attempting to pinpoint its various rattles and work out how to turn the bloody ventilation fan on using this new-fangled touchscreen setup VW insists on sprinkling into its range, when I realised a jovial chap in a T4 Multi was waving. By the time I’d figured out the fan speed and spotted him, it was already too late.

I did not wave back. I am deeply ashamed of myself.

But, in my defence, dear T4 driver if you’re listening and can forgive me, TG’s long-termer has developed a number of almighty rattles that are troubling for a van that’s covered just under 16k miles. It sounds like it’s coming from the second-row centre console, itself a proper unit of a storage console and one that can very excellently slide backwards and forwards, much to the delight of the childish driver.

Interesting car, this T7. It’s a hybrid, but the handover from e-motor to engine isn’t the smoothest – certainly not as imperceptible as Honda’s superlative eHEV setup, that’s for sure – and there’s not masses of e-range either. Plus it requires a proper plug to top it up, which is fine if you’ve got a home charger/easy access to a plug, but suffers from the traditional EV problems of finding a decent charger if you haven’t.

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So you fall back on the engine, which in our case is a 1.4-litre petrol unit. Fine in a Polo or Golf, but in a socking great three-row, seven-seat van? It’s a little underwhelming, at least to begin with, and when cold doesn’t sound particularly healthy. There’s also a constant drivetrain vibration running through the accelerator pedal, seat and steering wheel – fine in a stripped out road-rocket like a BAC Mono, f’instance, but in a people mover? Hmm.

Conversely, this T7 can be quite… majestic. It is frankly a huge car and so the sense of space it offers – space being the ultimate luxury – is remarkable. It is softly sprung and supremely comfortable, offering up a commanding and magisterial view of the road. Once you get your head around the silly touchscreen (and it will take some getting used to and much investigation to configure), and power delivery and size and weird vibrations, it threatens to be quite glorious.

Just… remember to wave if another VW van driver waves at you, mmm-kay?

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