Testing the new Volkswagen Multivan 2022
The VW Multivan TSI fills a brief for buyers who don’t want a dirty diesel or a plug-in model, but it doesn’t do as well as either of those versions. While 201 hp sounds like punchy performance, the Multivan is heavy, requiring all the power it can muster to go ahead, which improves fuel economy. There’s no arguing about the versatility of the cabin, but the PHEV is the better option around town, while the TDI diesel is the right choice if you’re planning longer trips.
We’ve already tried the Volkswagen Multivan as a plug-in hybrid and were impressed by its comfort, refinement and extremely practical interior. The other thing that appealed was that while its one-box form is quite van-like, there’s no commercial equivalent to the Multivan, and VW’s engineers were able to drive it more car-like than any on-board counterpart van base.
These characteristics are common to the entire Multivan range, with petrol and diesel versions available alongside the PHEV. Here we try the 2.0 TSI petrol version, which comes with 201PS (14PS less than the PHEV) and a saving of around £1,000 over the plug-in model.
Externally, there are no differences between the TSI and the Hybrid, except for the former’s lack of a charging socket on the front wing. Inside, both versions are identical because unlike other PHEVs, where trunk space is sacrificed in favor of the largest possible battery, the Multivan is big enough to accommodate any type of chassis under the floor. However, the TSI has a 60-litre tank, while the PHEV only has a 45-litre tank.
This allows the cabin to create a lot of space, making the Multivan an extremely versatile people carrier. There’s plenty of room for seven in a 2-2-3 layout, or you can specify four captain’s chairs aft as a no-cost option. Either way, there’s still decent space for luggage, including a parcel shelf that can hold loads weighing up to 25kg.
The seats are mounted on floor tracks and can be slid back and forth in a variety of layouts. Removing them is a fairly simple process as well, and while the individual chairs are on the large side, they lift in and out with relative ease. Remove them all and you have 3,672 liters of play space. Our Style model features a power tailgate and sliding doors to make life even easier.
At the front, the cabin shares its layout with VW passenger cars. There are digital dials and VW’s infotainment system with touch-sensitive climate and volume controls. As with other VW models, this setup is difficult to use while driving, but at least the multifunction steering wheel offers easier-to-use controls.
One point where the Multivan differs from its counterparts is the drive selector switch. As all versions come with VW’s DSG car, the drive selector is a toggle switch on the dash next to the touchscreen. Once you get used to it, it’s easy enough to use, while the automatically engaging electronic parking brake frees up more dashboard storage space. And there are no complaints in this department. There is a storage compartment on the dashboard, two fold-out cup holders, a mobile phone charging compartment, two glove compartments and three storage pockets in the front doors; Even the most focused hoarder would have trouble filling them with stuff.
In the rear, there are separate climate controls and vents for the middle and rearmost rows, while USB-C sockets are located in the sliding doors and on the rear window sills. Comfort is top-notch, with armrests for the two individual chairs, while the sliding center compartment has drink holders and large bins; it also elevates so two tray tables can be used. This is in addition to the storage tables, which are also mounted on the back of the front seats.
On the road, the Multivan is quiet and cultivated. The ride can get a little wobbly at lower speeds, which is surprising when you see the high sidewalls of the tires, but the ride becomes smoother the faster you go. What the TSI model lacks is the instant response that the plug-in model enjoys. With no electric motor to fill the powerband, the petrol engine seems to gain more pace than it accelerates, especially when the Multivan is fully loaded. Hitting the throttle results in a big rev increase like a CVT, but not much faster progress, and it’s clear that it takes all of the engine’s 201bhp to get going.
After all, the Multivan is agile in curves. You’re aware of the car’s tall body, but the quick steering means the VW is surprisingly engaging – another benefit of the Multivan giving up its commercial vehicle demands.
During our time with the Multivan TSI we saw its best fuel economy of around 40mpg on a freeway trip, but that dropped to around 30mpg around town. This is where the plug-in model will show its strengths, as most short trips can be easily managed with the combination of battery and electric motor.
Volkswagen Multivan 2.0 TSI DSG Style
|Engine:||2.0 liter 4 cyl|
|Power/Torque:||201 hp/320 Nm|
7-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
|Top speed:||124 km/h|
Read our test report on the Volkswagen Multivan eHybrid now…