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Volkswagen Multivan 2021 review: Comfortline Premium TDI340 SWB

The VW Multivan looks born to drive up the Coast.

It’s hard to go past a big green van, isn’t it? It just looks like so much fun! The Volkswagen Multivan is exactly that. It’s a seven-seat people mover and looks like it’s just begging to be driven up the coast with some boards on the roof. 

I’m test driving the Comfortline Premium which is the base model. It costs $61,990, before on road costs and competes with other people movers like the Kia Carnival

My children love a van, it’s their favourite shape car to have in the family for a week, so I knew we were going to be in for a fun seven days in the Multivan. Here’s how it performed. 

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How does it look?

If you really want something that reminds you of an old school van, you’ll want to check out the Multivan. It stays true to its Kombi roots with the very rectangular shape and high wheelarches. 

And this colour! It’s like the Mystery Machine! It’s called 'Bayleaf', in case you’re into it. 

The Multivan reminds you of an old school van. The Multivan reminds you of an old school van.

While the Kia Carnival has inched a lot closer to an SUV, on the exterior and interior, the Multivan is sticking it out with particular features that definitely make it feel like a van

Where this is most apparent is the lack of centre console. There’s a large open space between the passenger and driver’s seat which makes it feel less premium for me, especially when compared to the Carnival which is much more 'car-like.' 

There are a high gloss and brushed metallic accents peppered throughout the cabin. There are a high gloss and brushed metallic accents peppered throughout the cabin.

If we put that aside, the rest of the features are good on their own. There are fabric seats in this base model, they’re comfortable and smooth. 

The steering wheel is big but still has a slight flattish bottom which does make it feel good. There are a high gloss and brushed metallic accents peppered here and there, so it does feel well designed.

What’s the tech like?

There’s an 8.0-inch multimedia screen which is comparatively small and you can upsize to the 9.0-inch screen if you want to. 

The Multivan is available with either an 8.0 or 9.0-inch multimedia screen.  The Multivan is available with either an 8.0 or 9.0-inch multimedia screen. 

All Multivans have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto which give you instant access to your phone’s main apps. Besides that, the interface has decent resolution and a digital radio

How easy is it to use every day?

The most useful bit about the Multivan is the customisable interior seats. The second row 'lounge chairs' can swivel to face the back. 

They can move forward and back, and the third row can also move forward and back so you can give more space to the third row or the boot, depending on where you need it. 

And I know I just told you I didn’t like the look of the empty space between driver and passenger seat, but it is useful. As my daughter said when she walked from the back row to the front row, “Look mummy! It’s got a hallway!” 

Volkswagen's done away with the bench seat on both rows. Volkswagen's done away with the bench seat on both rows.

Yes, small people can wander around upright in the Multivan (when it's stationary, of course) and they love it. 

VW has made clever use of the dash for storage as there is no centre console. You’ll find a cupholder on the passenger side, up on top of the dash, one in the middle and one for the driver on the right. 

There is also generous storage in the front doors with a bottle holder, and a shelf in each door that’s quite handy for keys and a phone. 

VW has made clever use of the dash for storage as there is no centre console. VW has made clever use of the dash for storage as there is no centre console.

The passenger gets two shallow shelves in front on the dash and the driver gets two shallow trays on top of the dash. 

Strangely, there are no cupholders in the back seats at all, and no storage in the doors.

The side doors are power operated, which my kids love, and means you don’t have to do a big swing to shut them as in ye olden days. 

The tailgate though, is heavy in this base model which does not have a power operated tailgate. You’ll also have to leave room behind the car so you can open it, no parking against walls if you want to get the groceries in. 

How spacious is it?

Space is huge in the front. It does feel like you’re driving around in a small room on wheels.

Volkswagen's done away with the bench seat on both rows, and installed two 'lounge seats' for the middle row. It makes it feel very spacious and quite luxurious in the centre row. 

The boot space is customisable, so it can be smaller when the third row is pushed all the way to the back, and larger when the third row is more forward. 

  • The boot space is customisable, so it can be smaller when the third row is pushed all the way to the back. The boot space is customisable, so it can be smaller when the third row is pushed all the way to the back.
  • There’s plenty of space for suitcases and more.  There’s plenty of space for suitcases and more. 

There’s a lot of space so play with it as you see fit. It will fit loads - double prams (yes plural depending on how you use the space), suitcases and more. 

There’s also a long-wheelbase version which makes it even roomier inside for people and things.

How does it drive?

Driving in the Multivan feels like a bouncy, fun old time! It has a loud 2.0-litre diesel engine which makes it feel a bit like a commercial vehicle, but it gets up hills fine and was great to drive around on my week doing the school run and going to after school activities. 

While it’s not what I would call smooth, it does feel much more nimble than you’d expect because it has a short nose. 

The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine produces 103kW/340Nm. The 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine produces 103kW/340Nm.

Because you’re seated right at the front of the vehicle, when you turn, it turns immediately from where you are. That actually makes it easier to drive than you think it’s going to be. 

It’s a FWD and there’s an AWD option for an extra $3000 if that’s what you’re after. 

Our test car was finished in 'Bayleaf' green. Our test car was finished in 'Bayleaf' green.

I would prefer the AWD version. I drove the Multivan on a very rainy week, and on hills from a stationary position, the wheels spun on take-off. 

The steering is easy which also makes parking relatively good. It’s a wide, long car which you need to account for, but it has a decent reverse parking camera to help out. 

How safe is it?

How safe is the Multivan Comfortline Premium compared to an SUV? Well, the Multivan has city auto emergency braking, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert. 

There are airbags, including side curtain airbags that extend to the back row, and all five back seats have ISOFIX points and top tether points so you can travel with kids safely. 

The Volkswagen Multivan has not been ANCAP tested

How much does it cost to own?

The Volkswagen Comfortline Premium costs $61,990, before on road costs. 

The official combined cycle fuel figure is 6.6L/100km and I averaged 7.2L/100km driving mainly around suburbia this week. 

It’s covered by Volkswagen’s five year/unlimited km warranty, with one year of 24-hour roadside assistance included.

Servicing is recommended every 12 month/15,000km (whichever comes first), and VW offers a range of maintenance options including a three- or five-year 'Car Plan', with up-front payment landing a saving compared to pay-as-you-go 'Assured Service Pricing.'

Three years is set at $1450, and five years at $2300, the latter including the first service for free.

'ServiceXpress' is another option offering, "selected services in 60 minutes" at participating dealers.


The Wrap

The Volkswagen Multivan Comfortline Premium was lots of fun to drive around this week. It looks cute, drives well and has a customisable interior with loads of space that is so very practical. 

I do prefer a more stylish, more refined interior, so I’m giving it a family rating of 7.6 out of 10. The kids though, gave it 8.5. Big fans. BIG. 

Likes

Customisable interior
Huge space
Steers nicely

Dislikes

Less premium-feeling than an SUV
No AWD on this model
No front centre console

Scores

Nedahl:

3.8

The Kids:

4.3

$61,990

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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.