How versatile is the Volkswagen Multivan? Find out here
Multivan. Rarely do we get such an appropriate name for a vehicle... ignoring the fact it’s not technically a van, but Volkswagen Multi-Purpose Vehicle doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
Despite being based on the same MQB platform as the Golf, it’s still shaped like a van but now happily doesn’t drive like one. It has a wide range of engine options (including a plug-in hybrid like ours) and all the creature comforts you’d find in a Golf. So, this isn’t really a van-turned-car but the other way around, and that’s what sets the Multivan apart. Forget your SUVs and estates, if you’re looking for practicality, go for the car with seven spacious seats and up to 3,700-litres of cargo space.
Recently the Multivan's been TG magazine’s mobile production hub. It’s been an edit suit, canteen, cargo van, meeting room, camera car… The list goes on. It’s been unfazed by whatever we threw at it.
You may be saying, ‘I can do all that in my Golf, mate’ and you may be right. But I can guarantee you won't do it with as much ease. The Multivan’s new track system makes configuring the interior layout a doddle. The seats are 25 per cent lighter than before and with the pull of a red tag you can slide them backwards and forwards or remove them entirely. Handy when you want maximum cargo space, or have an excuse not to give your mates a lift everywhere.
The Multivan does without a manual gearbox which opens up the centre console area and makes way for the ingenious multi-function table that slides into any position you wish. Although useful to do some work when you’ve got some downtime, it was put to particularly good use for a late night Nando’s after TG’s EV Awards shoot. Cupholders aren’t in short supply either - I’ve counted nine excluding the door bins.
What’s more, power can now be sent down the tracks which allows for heated seats in the rear, but hopefully opens the door to a whole range of accessories. Media units, fridges, power banks, who knows? I’m expecting big things from the recently announced Multivan California being revealed later this year.
Finally on the practicality front, there’s the vast sliding doors and enormous boot-lid. Nothing new, but the large openings and low load-height make shifting clobber super simple. At least they do when I can operate them correctly. There appears to be a sensor under the rear bumper which activates the boot if you walk too closely behind the car - not great if you’re backed up against another car and find yourself doing the limbo to avoid getting incapacitated by the boot lid. The sliding doors also occasionally have a moment where they can’t decide whether to open, close, or do nothing at all. Perhaps that’s down to my impatient button mashing. Either way, these are small gripes that do not diminish the excellent versatility of the Multivan.