You have to drive one kid to soccer, another to dance lessons and a third to swimming, and they’ve each turned up with a friend in tow AND all their gear. Time to call in a bus? Not if you have VW’s Multivan.
A roomy seven-seater, the Multivan is an effective people mover that doesn’t drive like a bus. Parking the behemoth Multivan next to a group of rowdy tradies was a tad intimidating during our test drive, but after an impressive two point parallel park, the silenced working heroes gave us the nod of approval.
The surprisingly maneuverable Multivan has admirable functionality, flexibility, and comfort – if perhaps less impressive looks.
Price and Equipment
The automatic, Multivan Comfortline TSI350, priced at $54,990, comes with front and rear parking sensors, ESP, ABS, ASR, MSR, EDL, Hill Holder, leather multi-function steering wheel, three-zone climate control air conditioning, alloy wheels, three-year unlimited km warranty, full size alloy spare wheel, retractable sun blinds, sliding side windows, 12-volt sockets, multi-function trip computer, brake pad wear indicator, eight speakers, MP3 and iPhone integration, and cruise control.
The four cylinder, DOHC 16-valve engine develops 150kW of power and a handy 350Nm of torque. The Multivan Comfortline TSI350 has seven-speed DSG, front wheel drive, and a capable turning radius of 11.9 m. The petrol engine’s official combined fuel economy is 10.1/100km though we found 13.4/100km was the result with a fairly full load.
If you’re attracted to sleek, streamlined vehicles, you’ll be punching below your weight on this one. But if you like vans big and chunky, then you’ll fall in love with the Multivan’s full bodied design. Externally the Multivan isn’t impressing anyone, but it’s what’s inside that counts.
The Multivan doesn’t view its passengers as mere lumpen cargo. Dual side sliding doors, sliding side windows in the second row, retractable sun blinds, roof lighting, climate control, and reading lights in back evict the idea of second class seating.
Yes, this people mover is definitely built for people . . . who need to be moved. The seating layout of 2/2/3 keeps a large aisle to access the back, doing away with the need to scramble, crawl, and expose too much backside while trying to clamber into the third row.
The front seats have height and lumbar adjustment. Second row seats can swivel to face the back row, slide forward or back, or be removed, and have storage drawers beneath them. The third row bench seat can fold and slide forward, giving you the flexibility for transporting people, luggage, and any combination inbetween.
The boot is large but so is the door, so you need plenty of room behind you to open it. Unless you’re a family needing an exceptional amount of headroom, the Multivan’s height of 1970mm (and width of 2,283mm including door mirrors) offers plenty of space in both directions.
It doesn’t have an ANCAP rating, but there are driver, front passenger, and curtain airbags, safety cell with front and rear crumple zones, ABS, ESP, BA, ASR, EDL, Hill Holder, child seat anchor points, and three-point seatbelts for all passengers keep everyone inside the vehicle safe, though a rear view camera as standard would help keep people outside the vehicle a bit safer.
Rack and pinion power steering is responsive, and the driver’s seat gives a clear view of the road. The gear lever feels awkward positioned up near the steering wheel, but otherwise the controls are comfortable and easy to use.
Independent McPherson struts on the front axle and semi-trailing independent on the rear give a fairly smooth ride. The cabin is very quiet, even at highway speeds.
The Multivan has surprisingly good pickup and handling for its size – and little body roll considering the height.
Parking is easy using the sensitive front and rear parking sensors and electrical door mirrors (you can opt for the rear camera), though the vehicle’s height will keep you out of lower garages.
The Multivan caters to all passengers rather than just the front row. Everybody rides in comfort and as a people mover it doesn’t disappoint.