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Volkswagen Multivan 2019 review: Black Edition

Nedahl Stelio
Family reviewer

18 Apr 2019 • 10 min read

Whether you need a van for work or because you have a large family, it’s about how driving a van makes you feel, ammiright?

I was stopped on the street by a complete stranger, a mum with three small boys in tow who said, “do you like your van? My husband wants to buy one but I really don’t know.” Because, I mean, it’s a van. Until you have five kids, you don’t absolutely need one, right?

Volkswagen is trying to dispel that theory with its Multivan. It’s cooler, has nicer interiors and draws on VW's old Kombi heritage in the hope you’ll even buy one when it’s not particularly necessary.

I drove the Volkswagen Multivan Black Edition this week. At $63,490, before on-road costs it’s almost $15,000 more than a Hyundai iMax. So how different is it? I drove it for seven days with my family to find out.

How spacious is it?

This is a seven-seat van, not an eight-seater, which is the first difference. So if you have six kids you’ll miss out on the VW Multivan.

This is a seven-seat van, not an eight-seater. This is a seven-seat van, not an eight-seater.

But it is huge inside. It’s wider than a Kia Carnival and stepping in from the road you feel like you’re inside a small room. You can actually step around. So the mid section of the van is enormous.

VW could have fit an extra seat in, but chose to make those seats multi-functional. They swivel around and face the back, plus you can move all the seats back and forth on tracks on the floor of the car. It really is versatile.

The boot is as big as you want it to be. Small if you push the back seats all the way back, but large if you push both rows forward, and you can also flatten the rear seats to get extra storage space on top of them. It will fit anything from a pram to a drum kit, your choice.

  • The Multivan is huge inside. Stepping in from the road you feel like you’re inside a small room. The Multivan is huge inside. Stepping in from the road you feel like you’re inside a small room.
  • VW could have fit an extra seat in, but chose to make those seats multi-functional. VW could have fit an extra seat in, but chose to make those seats multi-functional.
  • You can move all the seats back and forth on tracks on the floor of the car. It really is versatile. You can move all the seats back and forth on tracks on the floor of the car. It really is versatile.

The front is positively roomy. It feels like you are settled in for a very long drive because there is a lot of space around you. The fact that there is no centre console contributes to this and quite often this week I put the car in park and quickly stepped in the back to grab something! I don’t love the way this space looks though.

How easy is it to use every day?

My children absolutely loved this car, they were literally cheering when I got it and were sad to give it up. And all of the following I’m about to detail certainly contributed to that.

Volkswagen really worked on making the van work for you, and has tried to think of different situations that might arise in the lifetime of your driving the van.

As mentioned in the section above, there is no centre console so you can walk down to the back if you need to and I found myself getting out the passenger side a few times, too, even when I was the driver.

There is no centre console so you can walk down to the back if you need to. There is no centre console so you can walk down to the back if you need to.

The side doors open automatically with the press of a button on the key - the kids loved this - as does the boot. So no more swinging heavy side doors open and closed.

The two centre seats can be moved forward and back, and they also swivel 180 degrees so those passengers can face the back row like they’re on a train carriage. Party time!

The back row can also be moved forward and back, depending on how you want to use the space. They’re all very easy to move too, nothing heavy, so you can change it every day if you like.

Storage wise, one of the reasons I didn’t like the lack of a centre console in the Kia Carnival and Hyundai iMax is that there is nowhere for the driver to pop keys/phone/wallet, etc. but the VW Multivan makes up for that with extra storage around the dash.

There are two glove boxes that are easy to reach, a box on top of the dash, a shelf high on the driver’s door and two cupholders which pop out from the centre. Under the seats there are large drawers for storage and there’s also a bottle holder in each of the front doors.

There is only one USB port in the whole van though, which is probably not enough for this many passengers. Rear passengers get another three cupholders in the back cabin.

There are also two rows of air vents in the roof of the car which will help hugely with air flow to rear passengers. The middle windows slide open but the rear windows are fixed - fine because there are those extra air vents.

How does it look?

VW has aimed to make the Multivan Black Edition a cooler looking version of a van. There’s a great black decal along the bottom sides, the front has the stylish VW grille and logo and there are also dark tinted windows along the side, all contributing to the design. The metallic paint job (an extra $1720) is lovely. You can’t hide that boxy shape though, or bus-like proportions.   

Inside is more stylish than your average van, but still doesn’t look as good as an SUV for example.

  • VW has aimed to make the Multivan Black Edition a cooler looking version of a van. VW has aimed to make the Multivan Black Edition a cooler looking version of a van.
  • The metallic paint job (an extra $1720) is lovely. The metallic paint job (an extra $1720) is lovely.
  • There’s a great black decal along the bottom sides. There’s a great black decal along the bottom sides.

There are high gloss accents all over the place, a leather steering wheel that feels good and a leather accented gearshift, plus a leather armrest.

The multimedia screen is small for a car this size and it’s just not as high-end as an SUV would be. Compared to the iMax or Carnival though, it’s much more stylish.

How does it drive?

Even though it’s big and bulky, the Multivan doesn’t feel it while you’re driving. VW's really nailed the steering so the car responds as soon as you turn the wheel and that helps a lot weaving in and out of traffic.

VW's really nailed the steering so the car responds as soon as you turn the wheel. VW's really nailed the steering so the car responds as soon as you turn the wheel.

There’s a 2.0L turbo-diesel engine, which is loud, but it sounds like every other van, and it certainly goes as fast as you need it to. I didn’t get to drive it with a full load this week but it did well getting up hills with my family of four.

Parking wasn’t even a difficulty, which I didn’t expect at all. I actually squeezed into a few tight spots this week, but do note the width of the Multivan because it is wide. There’s a reverse parking camera with parking guidelines to help and front and rear parking sensors.

How safe is it?

There are airbags for driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. You’ll find ISOFIX points on five of the seats, plus five top tether points to safely fit kids’ carseats, no matter which way the seats are facing.

As far as advanced safety features go, there is a driver fatigue detection system, the parking sensors for front and rear, but no auto emergency braking or things like rear cross traffic alert.

AEB is becoming standard across the board these days so it does feel lacking in safety somewhat.

What’s the tech like?

You can plug your phone into the (one) USB port and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto will immediately pop up on the multimedia screen.

You can plug your phone into the USB port and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto will immediately pop up. You can plug your phone into the USB port and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto will immediately pop up.

Through that you can navigate via your maps app or listen to music through your music app, plus make calls and send text message using voice control. 

How much does it cost to own?

The VW Multivan Black Edition comes in at $63,490 before on-road costs, and the one I drove had a metallic paint job which costs an extra $1720.

Fuel consumption is a relatively low 7.7L/100km thanks to the diesel engine.

Volkswagen has upped its warranty and now offers a five year/unlimited km warranty, the Multivan is covered with this.


The Wrap

When you do need a van in your life, the Volkswagen Multivan Black Edition is one of the best around. It has a more stylish interior and exterior compared with other vans, though you are paying for that privilege, has loads of space inside and it really does allow you to configure the seating and space depending on how you use it. While it is lacking slightly on safety, it does have the latest in tech and you just feel better driving it.

I gave it a family rating of 8 out of 10, my kids gave it a 9.5 - this is one of their favourite ever cars.

Would you buy a van for your family? Let us know in the comments below.

Likes

Space
Flexible seating
Easy to steer

Dislikes

It's loud
No AEB
One USB port

Scores

Nedahl:

4

The Kids:

4.8

$63,490

Based on new car retail price

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