Volkswagen Multivan Revealed with PHEV

Volkswagen has published the first official pictures of its new Multivan replacement for the long-running Caravelle and the first to feature PHEV powertrain options.

The new model comes with up to seven seats but is no longer built on the Transporter platform and, instead, is based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform. Claimed towing capacity is up to 2,000kg (4,400lbs), and the model is available with three powertrains.

The Multivan eHybrid combines a 1.4-liter TSI 147bhp gasoline engine with an 85kW electric motor to produce a combined power output of 213bhp, providing all-electric driving for short, urban trips while the ICE takes care of longer journeys. It also features a bespoke six-speed DSG gearbox.

The 13kWh lithium-ion battery is housed under the Multivan’s flat floor, saving interior space and lowering the vehicle’s center of gravity to improve handling. The charging point is located on the right-hand side of the front wing.

The front-wheel drive Multivan is also available with two four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engines, including a 1.5-liter TSI with 133bhp and a 2.0-liter TSI claiming 200bhp. A four-cylinder turbo diesel, with a power output of 147bhp, will join the line-upnext year. All of these are twinned with a seven-speed DSG gearbox as standard.

All models measure 1,941mm (6.36ft wide), 4,973mm (16.31ft) long, up to 1,903mm (6.24ft) high, and with a wheelbase of 3,124mm (10.24ft). A longer wheelbase version, measuring 5,173mm (16.97ft) is also available. Overall, it means the new generation has a longer wheelbase and wider, lower profile, all designed to improve aerodynamics, lower fuel consumption and increase range. The model is available with wheels up to 19”, and in three specifications: “Multivan”, “Life”, and “Style”.

The model features more than 34 driver assist systems enhancing safety, comfort, and convenience. Standard is the Front Assist area monitoring system, which includes City Emergency Braking, Dynamic Road Sign Display, and the Lane Assist system.

Other new systems include Car2X – allowing local communication with other vehicles and the highways infrastructure in order to provide warnings of any danger, side protection, cross wind assist, turn-off assist, which warns of any oncoming traffic when turning across a carriageway, and an exit warning system, which warns when opening a door of any bicycles or vehicles approaching from behind.

The Multivan also debuts IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist, which allows semi-autonomous driving by combining the predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist to make long-distance journeys safer and easier. Also available as an option is Area View, a real 360-degree representation of the vehicle using four cameras, visible on the 10-inch infotainment display, to making parking and maneuvering easier.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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