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VW MULTIVAN: New flexible plug-in hybrid set up provides new choice for taxi and chauffeur industry

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

Image credit: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has revealed the all-new Multivan, featuring a fresh design, more flexible interior, improved connectivity, and, for the first time, a plug-in hybrid option.

The Multivan is the replacement for the current Volkswagen Caravelle, providing customers with up to seven seats and a combination of practicality, comfort, and safety; whether it being taxi driving, chauffeuring, the daily school runs or holiday adventures.

The Multivan has been given a new name in the UK after a complete overhaul of its predecessor while still providing the same versatility to the Caravelle’s loyal fan base. No longer built on the Transporter platform, the all-new model will be based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform.


The Multivan has an all-new exterior design that pays homage to its predecessors, dating back to the 1985 Transporter T3, with a horizontal design line and full-width grille and headlights, to give it a modern and dynamic look. The A-pillars have been remodelled, while unique front and rear light signatures give it a fresh look.

The Multivan measures 1,941mm wide, 4,973mm long, up to 1,903mm high, and with a wheelbase of 3,124mm. A longer version, measuring 5,173mm is also available. Overall, it means the new generation has a longer wheelbase and wider, lower profile, all designed to improve aerodynamics, lower fuel consumption and increase range. The model is available with wheels up to 19”, and in three specifications: “Multivan”, “Life”, and “Style”.

Optional is a panoramic glass roof, with LowE laminated safety glass to reduce incoming thermal radiation by 44 per cent, as well as an electrically-operated rear hatch and power sliding doors, which can be operated via gesture control for ease of entry.

The Multivan is fitted with LED headlights as standard but can be upgraded to interactive IQ.LIGHT – LED matrix headlights, which offer a permanent full beam, without blinding oncoming drivers and dynamic cornering to provide precise illumination during bends. The IQ.LIGHT system also features an illuminated LED lateral bar in the radiator grille as a further element of the daytime running lights.


Inside, the new Multivan is more flexible and spacious than ever, with a new modular, lightweight seating system and innovative table.

With space for up to seven seats, the rear five seats, which are up to 25 per cent lighter, can be moved and removed to suit, while the second row can be moved 180-degrees to create a conference style seating configuration. The full-width bench seat for the third row has been replaced by individual seats to allow single seats to be removed for complete flexibility.

An innovative multi-function table has been designed for the new Multivan. Using the central track, it can be moved between any of the seating rows, and for the first time can be used as a centre console between the front seats. The table, which is completely removable, features adjustable height, three cup holders, and a storage bin.

Image credit: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

Enabling the flexible seating and table track system is the completely flat floor from front to rear seats with no centre console, made possible by the removal of the traditional handbrake. Instead, the parking brake is activated electronically by button, or automatically. The new Multivan is offered only with an automatic DSG gearbox controlled via shift-by-wire technology, meaning the gearstick has been removed to further increase occupant space, with controls ergonomically integrated into the instrument panel.

In base version the Multivan offers 469 litres of luggage space behind the third row of seats, extending to 1,844 litres (1,850 litres with panoramic glass roof) behind the second row. The full cargo capacity up to the front seats is 3,672, extending to a maximum 4,053 litres in the longer version fitted with the panoramic glass roof.

Connectivity and Technology

The cockpit area has been completely redesigned alongside a new multi-function steering wheel. All key features in the new Multivan are now on one line of sight, with a secondary line for other functions to make operation as intuitive as possible. Touch controls provide direct access to settings such as air-conditioning, seat heating, and audio volume.

On the central line are the 10.25-inch ‘Digital Cockpit’ display and the 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen. Centrally arranged between the two on a high-gloss black surface are the new, minimalist shift-by-wire DSG controls. Integrated next to this are two USB-C sockets as standard, and a tray for optional inductive smartphone charging. For the first time on a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles model, a head-up display is available.

The standard infotainment system is called ‘Ready 2 Discover’, which includes an integrated eSIM to deliver online safety and convenience features. We Connect can be used free of charge for an unlimited period, with services such as breakdown assistance, vehicle status and parked position.

We Connect Plus, available free for three years, provides extra services such as the ability to lock and unlock the vehicle, or control the optional auxiliary heater remotely via smart phone. In combination with the more advanced, optional Discover Media and Discover Pro navigation systems, We Connect Plus includes further navigation-related services, such as online map updating and traffic information. We Connect Plus also provides additional services for the eHybrid, such as allowing owners to pre-set the vehicle inside temperature and to manage the charging process via smartphone.

Image credit: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

All infotainment systems can be combined with a Harmon Kardon sound system developed specifically for the Multivan. In addition to 14 high-end loudspeakers behind precision laser-cut panels, a 16-channel Ethernet amplifier with 840 watts of music output, and four sound settings, the system uses the ‘Fraunhofer Sonamic Panorama Algorithm’, which is able to separate out the individual sources of a stereo recording and distribute them evenly across a U-shaped acoustic stage, to create the optimum sound.


The Multivan features more than 34 driver assist systems enhancing safety, comfort, and convenience. Standard is the Front Assist area monitoring system, which includes City Emergency Braking, Dynamic Road Sign Display, and the Lane Assist system.

Other new systems include Car2X – allowing local communication with other vehicles and the highways infrastructure in order to provide warnings of any danger, side protection, cross wind assist, turn-off assist, which warns of any oncoming traffic when turning across a carriageway, and an exit warning system, which warns when opening a door of any bicycles or vehicles approaching from behind.

The Multivan also debuts IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist, which allows semi-autonomous driving by combining the predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist to make long-distance journeys safer and easier.

Also available on the new Multivan is Area View, a real 360-degree representation of the vehicle using four cameras, visible on the 10-inch infotainment display, to making parking and manoeuvring as safe and easy as possible.


Based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, the new Multivan, which has a towing capacity of up to 2,000kg, is available with three powertrains, including for the first time in a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles model, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) option.

The new Multivan eHybrid combines a 1.4 TSI 150 PS engine with an 85kW electric motor to produce a combined power output of 160kW / 218 PS, providing silent, zero-emission driving when in electric only mode for short, urban trips while giving customers flexibility to enjoy longer journeys. The eHybrid uses a bespoke six-speed DSG gearbox.

The 13kWh lithium-ion battery is housed under the Multivan’s flat floor, saving interior space and lowering the vehicle’s centre of gravity to improve handling. The charging point is located on the right-hand side of the front wing.

The front-wheel drive Multivan is also available with two four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines: a 1.5 TSI 136 PS and a 2.0 TSI 204 PS. A four-cylinder turbo diesel, with a power output of 150 PS, will join next year. All of these are twinned with a seven-speed DSG gearbox as standard.


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