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Volklswagen Multivan 2012 Review

It's basically a brick on wheels and only Bauhaus fans would find it remotely appealing.

People movers were originally just vans with bench seats like the VW Kombi, introduced in 1950.

But people movers have come a long way since then. The svelte lines of the Honda Odyssey are light years from the brick-shaped Kombi.

But isn't a rectangular van the most practical shape for moving people and their luggage? VW thinks so and still flies the flag of people-moving vans with the Multivan.

It might appear to have the aerodynamics of a shoe box, but it is practical and the new two-litre turbo petrol model overcomes some of the problems associated with big vans such as power, economy and driving dynamics.


People movers start at $25,990 for a Kia Rondo and range up to the Mercedes Viano at $79,490. The Multivan TSI350 is at the top end of the field along with the Benz and the flagship Tarago ($71,990).

It comes in Comfortline spec for $54,990 with chrome accents, Bluetooth, window blinds, climate control and cruise, while the Highline at $71,990 adds powered dual sliding side doors, rain-sensing wipers, fog lights, auto headlights, cabin table, better sound system and 17-inch alloy wheels.

The true value comes in the ability to carry seven big adults in absolute comfort, still with plenty of space for luggage and the ability to configure the cabin in myriad ways. VW also has good resale and warranty for this type of vehicle.


The addition of the two-litre turbo petrol TSI350 engine adds some sporty and responsive dynamics while keeping fuel economy relatively affordable. The engine combines a turbocharger with intercooler and direct fuel injection to produce 150kW and 350Nm of torque. 

It's not as potent a people mover as the V6 Kia Grand Carnival (202kW/336Nm), but married to the seven-speed DSG automatic transmission it's slightly more economical at 10.1L/100km compared with 10.9 for the Kia.


There is no ANCAP safety rating for the Multivan, but it comes with six airbags including curtain airbags that cover the whole cabin.

Side assist and a rearview camera are optional, however since it is a rectangle, the vehicle extends as far as the eye can see at the windows, so parking and manoeuvring in small areas really is little problem. It also comes with stability control, ABS and brake assist, and there are five child seat anchor points.


It's basically a brick on wheels and only Bauhaus fans - the rational and functional art style, not the '70s Brit-punk band - would find it remotely appealing. That's not to say rock bands wouldn't find this appealing. Many a rock band owes their ability to move from gig to gig to a VW Kombi or similar van. 

Exterior design is reflected inside with VW's typically austere and functional instrumentation. While some people movers such as the Kia have eight seats, the VW has acres of cabin room for seven large adults and greater luggage space. 

It also comes with long dual sliding doors and a massive tailgate that makes loading luggage and people effortless. Sliding floor rails allow the two second row seats to be moved separately and rotated 180 degrees and the third row bench seat also moves forward and back for maximum versatility.


It leaps off the line with surprising acceleration and a slight chirp of the front wheels. Drivers will also find it turns into corners with startling agility and very little need to deploy the electronic stability program. The engineers can only go so far in counteracting the laws of physics on a tall van, so rapid swerving to avoid an object at speed can cause massive body wobbles. 

Still, it's responsive and agile for a big van and also very quiet even though the driver is almost sitting over the engine. Doors open and close with a solid clunk and the whole vehicle feels like it could hit a brick wall and come away in better shape.


Forget about the looks. This is a practical van with loads of space, a flexible seating arrangement and now a good balance of power and economy.

Volkswagen Multivan

Price: $54,990-$71,990
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited km
Resale: 51 per cent
Service interval: 15,000km/12 months
Safety rating: N/A
Spare: full-size
Engine: 2-litre 4-cyl turbo, 150kW/350Nm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch automatic; FWD
Body: 4.8m (L); 1.9m (w); 1.9m (h)
Weight: 2180kg
Thirst: 10.1L/100km; 236g/km CO2

Pricing guides

Based on 3 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

Comfortline TDI340 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $17,999 – 26,999 2012 Volkswagen Multivan 2012 Comfortline TDI340 Pricing and Specs
Comfortline TDI400 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $19,470 – 24,640 2012 Volkswagen Multivan 2012 Comfortline TDI400 Pricing and Specs
COMFORTLINE TDI400 4 MOTION 2.0L, Diesel, 7 SP AUTO $20,900 – 26,400 2012 Volkswagen Multivan 2012 COMFORTLINE TDI400 4 MOTION Pricing and Specs
Comfortline TSI350 2.0L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $16,060 – 20,570 2012 Volkswagen Multivan 2012 Comfortline TSI350 Pricing and Specs
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