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Volkswagen Multivan 2011 Review

The Volkswagen Multivan has lots of torque when it flies up hills.

When you get right down it it's a still a big, square box on wheels with one real purpose in life and that's transporting people.

But it's the technology that sets Volkswagen's Multivan apart from the rank and file. This one boasts VW's 4MOTION all wheel drive system, now available in conjunction with its most powerful twin turbo diesel and, for the first time - its the cutting edge 7-speed DSG double-clutch style gearbox.

The two are a dynamite combination. Multivan is VW's top of the line passenger van derivative of its commercial Transporter range. But it's not cheap.

Our test vehicle, the Multivan Highline 2.0TDI 132kW 7-speed DSG 4MOTION, is priced from a hefty $77,990. That's going to buy a lot of everything else, including one of Benz's Viano vans for around the same price.

The Benz however won't have all wheel drive, but the rear drive van does produce more power and torque and boasts slightly better fuel consumption. 4Motion adds $4000 to the price of hte car.

If you need to get in and out of some tough spots all wheel drive can be a god send. But bear in mind this is no offroader, not by any stretch of the imagination - although you can jack it up and fit all terrain tyres if required.

4MOTION offers better traction in slippery environments like the snowfields and also adds an extra safety dimension to the equation, because a van equip[ed with all-wheel drive will go around corners a lot faster than you might think.

Finished in metallic brown or bronze if you want to get technical and sitting on 17 inch alloys with low profile rubber, our shiny test vehicle certainly exuded a level of class that belies its modest origins.

Inside, the feel is just as classy as Highline models get leather trim and three-zone climate controlled airconditioning. The 2.0-litre twin turbo four cylinder diesel produces 132kW of power at 4000 revs and 400Nm of torque from a low 1500 revs.

Fuel consumption is rated at 8.8 litres/100km for the all-wheel drive model, compared to 8.1 for the front driver, so you pay a penalty for the four-law grip. With an 80-litre fuel tank it has a theoretical range of just over 900km.

There's also a more modestly equipped Comfortline model with the same engine priced from $56,990, or a 103kW diesel priced from $49,990. The choice is yours.

Multivan seats seven people in a 2 + 2 + 3 arrangement, with a second row of seats that can face backward if required and a third row that slides forward to provide more luggage space. There's also a sliding console box.

Access to the rear is via twin sliding doors either side and the doors on our test vehicle were electrically operated and could be opened or closed using the remote control. The Highline model also comes with satellite navigation and an eight speaker sound system as standard.

About the only thing missing is Bluetooth for mobile phone connection. On the road it is necessary to be mindful of the Multivan's size and length when negotiating carparks, especially being careful not to turn too sharply or the rear wheels are likely to collect the gutter.

As a one-time van driver, it soon becomes second nature. At 4892mm in length it's not as long as you might think, but standing at 1970mm in height, some carparks could well be an issue  but for the most part it should be okay.

Our test vehicle had front and rear parking sensor as well as a reversing camera - all of which make parking a vehicle of this size much easier. The rapid fire DSG transmission gets you off the line quickly, with a sport setting as well as the option of changing gears manually.

With lots of lovely torque it flies up hills, but a leisurely approach to driving is recommended and produces a better result. The van scores a five-star safety rating, with six airbags and a raft of electronic aids to keep you on the road including electronic stability control.

Towing capacity is 2000kg and the boot hides a full size spare.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

132 TDI Comfortline 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $13,090 – 17,490 2011 Volkswagen Multivan 2011 132 TDI Comfortline Pricing and Specs
103 TDI Comfortline 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $12,760 – 16,940 2011 Volkswagen Multivan 2011 103 TDI Comfortline Pricing and Specs
132 TDI Comfortline 4 MTN 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $14,190 – 18,700 2011 Volkswagen Multivan 2011 132 TDI Comfortline 4 MTN Pricing and Specs
132 TDI Edition 25 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $15,950 – 20,460 2011 Volkswagen Multivan 2011 132 TDI Edition 25 Pricing and Specs
Chris Riley
Contributing Journalist


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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.