New-generation people-mover unveiled at last with Golf underpinnings, but it’s not clear whether when or if we’ll see it in Australia.
The 2022 Volkswagen Multivan has been officially unveiled, though an Australian launch is yet to be locked in.
Headlining the new Multivan’s changes is a move to Volkswagen’s ubiquitous MQB platform, shared with the Golf small car, Tiguan mid-size SUV, Caddy small van and people mover, and other passenger cars and SUVs from the German brand.
However, its adoption of the new underpinnings means the next generation Multivan will become the first in the model’s history not to spawn an equivalent Transporter van, which will instead be co-developed with Ford as a twin under the skin to the next Ford Transit Custom, as reported earlier this year.
The current T6.1 Transporter will continue in production alongside the new T7 Multivan, to fill the gap to the Ford-developed van’s unveiling in 2023.
The switch to the MQB architecture has opened the door to an eco-friendly ‘eHybrid’ plug-in hybrid option for the first time, combining a 110kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor to develop a combined 160kW.
Drive is sent to the tarmac through a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, with a 13kWh lithium-ion battery providing juice for the electric motor – though a zero-emissions range figure hasn’t been confirmed.
Both 100kW 1.5-litre and 150kW 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engines will also be offered (without plug-in assistance), followed by a 110kW turbo-diesel due in 2022. All non-hybrid engines will drive the front wheels through seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions, with a manual gearbox no longer on offer.
Measuring 4973mm long, 1941mm wide and up to 1903mm high in standard guise, with a 3124mm wheelbase, the new Multivan is 69mm longer overall, 37mm wider, 67mm lower and 121mm longer in wheelbase than the short-wheelbase version its predecessor.
A long-wheelbase model returns for another generation, this time measuring 5173mm overall. Alloy wheels up to 19 inches in diameter are available, with three variants on offer in Europe: the base ‘Multivan’ (no badge), mid-spec Life and higher-grade Style.
On the outside, the new Multivan adopts Volkswagen’s latest design themes seen on the new Golf hatch and smaller Caddy van, with standard-fit LED headlights up front – connected by a full-width daytime-running light bar across the nose – able to be upgraded to IQ.Light matrix LED units as an option.
The lower front bumper adopts a body-coloured mesh look inspired by the new Caddy, while at the rear there’s a prominent roof spoiler, slim LED tail-lights and ‘MULTIVAN’ badging below the licence plate.
A panoramic glass roof can be optioned – with LowE laminated glass claimed to reduce incoming thermal radiation by 44 per cent – as can an electric tailgate and power-sliding doors with gesture control.
Inside, 469 litres of space can be found behind all three rows in the short-wheelbase 2022 Multivan, increasing to 1850 litres with the third row folded (and the panoramic roof optioned), and 3672 litres with the second row removed. The lattermost figure increases to 4053 litres in the 5173mm long-wheelbase variant.
Up to seven seats can be specified, with the second row claimed to be capable of rotating 180 degrees for a “conference-style seating configuration”. Both second and third rows are claimed to be 25 per cent lighter than before, and can be removed entirely.
These can be paired with a new multi-function table, which can double as a work table for rear passengers, or a centre console for front-row occupants. Fully removable, the table’s height can be adjusted, and features three cup holders and a storage compartment.
Making the sliding table possible is the introduction of a flat floor and deletion of a traditional front centre console, enabled by the switch to an electric parking brake and a ‘shift-by-wire’ automatic gear selector mounted on the dashboard.
Greeting front passengers is a pair of displays – a 10.0-inch infotainment touchscreen with satellite navigation, and a 10.25-inch ‘Digital Cockpit’ instrument cluster – integrated into one flowing gloss black panel, featuring a similar array of capacitive touch buttons as the latest Golf and Caddy.
The multi-function steering wheel adopts Volkswagen’s latest design with touch-based buttons, while a head-up display in front of the driver is available – claimed to be a first for a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles model.
Other available interior features include wireless smartphone charging, heated seats, two USB-C ports up front, a 14-speaker, 840-watt Harman Kardon premium sound system with amplifier, an integrated eSIM for connected features, and support for a smartphone app allowing the vehicle to be locked/unlocked remotely, or have its climate control pre-set.
A total of 34 driver-assistance systems are said to be on offer, including Volkswagen’s Travel Assist function, which combines adaptive cruise control and lane-centring assist to accelerate, brake and steer the Multivan within its lane on freeways at up to 210km/h.
There’s also autonomous emergency braking with intersection support, safe exit warning, traffic-sign recognition, cross-wind assist, a 360-degree camera, and Car2X functionality, which allows vehicles equipped with the system to communicate upcoming hazards to one another and European highway infrastructure.
The 2022 Volkswagen Multivan will go on sale in Europe later this year.
It will form part of a renewed Volkswagen mid-size van and people mover range, comprising the existing Transporter T6.1, new Multivan T7 and, in 2022, production versions of the ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo concepts.
As for an Australian launch, a company spokesperson told CarAdvice: “It’s currently under investigation for Australia, but naturally we’d love to offer it. [The] T6.1 continues to set sales records this year, so we definitely see an appetite for a new T-model.”
2022 Volkswagen Multivan unveiled, Australian launch under consideration