New 2022 Volkswagen Multivan review

Nick Francis

08 Nov 2021

1/8
The 2022 Volkswagen Multivan, formerly known as the Caravelle, is no longer based on a van, it now shares its underpinnings with SUVs like the Tiguan. But is it still the ultimate big family car?

YesAuto Score:

84/ 100

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car.

YesAuto’s exhaustive evaluation criteria considers every aspect of a car in terms of how it stacks up against rival models in the same class only. Below are the areas every car is judged and scored out of 10 on, each contributing to an overall score out of 100:

  • Interior quality and design
  • Interior tech
  • Interior space
  • Boot space
  • Engine performance
  • Engine economy
  • Ride and comfort
  • Handling
  • Driving and safety tech
  • Fit for purpose

Electric cars are scored out of 10 in the following areas instead of performance and economy:

  • Battery and motor
  • Range and charging

PROS:

+ Comfortable seven-seater

+ Versatile interior 

+ Reduced running costs from PHEV 


CONS:

- Expensive 

- Fiddly infotainment 

- PHEV engine gets noisy


Verdict: The Multivan is much more than just a minibus, it feels and drives like a car while still being phenomenally practical. It’s expensive, but if you need a wagon for seven people you’ve probably resigned yourself to the fact life won’t be cheap. 



2022 Volkswagen Multivan: the five-minute read 


The humble MPV was replaced in the mainstream by SUVs a long time ago. Unfashionable people carriers like the Ford S-Max keep the candle burning but these days get most of their sales from taxi drivers rather than ‘soccer moms’.  


The new Volkswagen Multivan is here to change all that, with a highly versatile interior big enough for seven people and some genuinely striking good looks. In its former life it was known as the Caravelle, which was based on the Transporter van, but the Multivan has shifted to the same platform as cars like the VW Tiguan and Seat Tarraco 


That should give it the edge over seven-seat rivals like the Citroen Berlingo and Peugeot Rifter, which still share their underpinnings with workhorse vans. 


The Multivan has a strong flavour of the VW California camper van in terms of design, which adds heaps of kerb appeal. It’s a far cry from the dreary look of its rivals, especially with the new LED light bar at the front and the optional two-tone paintjob. 



The interior looks equally pretty, with the infotainment system integrated into the sweeping dash. Ambient lighting strips help make it feel more car-like than before and everything looks clean and simple. Even in the higher trim levels the materials feel strong and sturdy rather than expensive, but in a car like this that’s a positive.


The 10-inch infotainment system is, unfortunately, the latest VW system which is found in cars like the Golf. It can be confusing to use and slow to react to inputs. It also has those fiddly touch-sensitive buttons for the climate controls and volume: a real pain. 


The Multivan is the most practical seven-seater on sale today, thanks to its clever modular seating system. The five rear seats can move forwards and backward on rails and can be spun 180 degrees to create a conference-style seating arrangement. A central console also slides the length of the car and can be used either as a storage compartment for the front occupants, or fold out into a desk for those in the back. 


If you want space for bikes, skis or, well, just about anything you want, you can simply whip out the seats to create an empty van. This means it could easily double as a work van when not performing family duties. 



The big news when it comes to engines is the availability of a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) option, which uses a 150hp 1.4-litre petrol engine paired with an 85kW electric motor to create 218hp. Considering the Multivan is directly aimed at large families who spend their mornings and afternoons on school runs and other short-range kid-related business, the promised 31 miles of electric range offered by the PHEV could save customers a lot in running costs.


Two petrol engines, followed by a single diesel option coming next year, are on offer as well. 


On the road the Multivan feels much more like a car than its predecessor. All models come with a DSG automatic gearbox which is rarely found on the wrong cog and which, when combined with the Multivan’s light steering, takes the effort out of threading this hulking people mover along tight roads. 


In the MPV class there’s nothing better on sale right now than the Multivan, thanks to its versatile interior, high quality cabin and handsome looks. The only drawback is the fact it is likely to start at around £45,000, while the PHEV will be more like £55,000. 


That’s expensive, but if you need a wagon for seven people you’ve probably already resigned yourself to the fact life won’t be cheap. 


For a great deal on a Volkswagen Caravelle click here 


Extended read…



2022 Volkswagen Multivan interior and infotainment


From the driver and front passenger seat the view looks very car-like: the sweeping dash is broken up by chrome and black gloss trim and houses the infotainment screen, which sits flush and fancy-looking in the middle. 


Below it an ambient lighting strip creates a welcoming glow, although once you get below that line the materials begin to feel cheaper and scratchier. We don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing – the plastics feel strong and robust, well up to the rough and tumble of having a load of kids piling in and out of it on a daily basis. 


An optional panoramic roof lets natural light flood the cabin, it all feels very light and airy, while the seats are firm and supportive. The all-important armrests have survived the redesign too.


Overall the Multivan feels well screwed together and doesn’t have that squeak and rattle that many van-based rivals suffer from. Things like a leather steering wheel and solid metal door handles go a long way to elevate it from the commercial vehicle class. 


The big let-down is the 10-inch infotainment screen. While the graphics are bold and vivid the menus are confusing, and far too many functions are housed within it to not be distracting. It has those horrible touch-sensitive dials for the volume and climate control on the bottom too, which don’t light up so become even more difficult to use once it’s dark outside. 


Thankfully the 10.25-inch digital driver display is clear and can be configured to show exactly what you need, including the navigation. 


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2022 Multivan practicality and boot space


This is where the Multivan really shines. Thanks to a clever modular seating system, the five rear seats can move forward and backward on rails and can be spun 180 degrees to create a conference-style seating arrangement. 


A central console slides the length of the car and can be used either as a storage compartment and cup holder for the front occupants or folds out into a desk for those in the back thanks to trays which pop out in seconds. 


In the right formation four people in the back can sit around the same table and eat a meal or play a game of cards. The back of each of the rear seats have cup holders so they can be folded down to act as a table for the seat behind


Each rear seat is heated too, drawing power from the metal runners rather than using wires which would stop them from moving or being take out, and every row gets two USB-C charging sockets, so the little ones won’t start bickering once their devices have run out of juice. 


If you want to pack bikes, skis or, well, just about anything, you can simply whip out the seats to create space. We say simply, there is a knack to it, but once you’ve done it a few times it will be second nature. One bike fits easily by removing three seats, which still leaves you with enough perches for three passengers. 


The removeable furniture also means the Multivan can easily double as a work van when not performing family duties. For those who regularly carry five passengers or want a workhorse, it’s worth upgrading to the longer L2 version, which adds 200mm to length of the car and makes moving stuff around in the back that much easier. 


With all five back seats fitted the standard Multivan has a 469-litre boot, while the L2 model offers 763 litres. The entire cabin - front and back - is festooned with clever storage areas, which pop out of places like the bottom of the seats or beneath the dash. 



2022 Volkswagen Multivan engines 


From launch, customers will be able to choose from two petrol engines and one plug-in hybrid. A diesel option won’t arrive until next summer.


The PHEV promises up to 31 miles of electric range. On our test we found it to be not far off that, we would say expect around 28 miles in the real world. That’s more than enough for the regular duties of a family car and could save customers quite a few quid, but it’s only worth going for if you can keep the battery charged.


On a home wallbox charger a full charge takes around three and a half hours. 


Using a 150hp 1.4-litre petrol engine paired with an 85kW electric motor the total power is 218hp and the official economy 156.9mpg, but be warned once that battery is depleted you’ll be driving a heavier version of the Multivan.


If your journeys are mainly long and on done on motorways you should probably look at the 205hp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine. A 136hp 1.5-litre turbocharged version is also on sale now, but it struggles to move the Multivan’s heft with much gusto.  


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2022 Volkswagen Multivan driving 


While the Caravelle was refined for the MPV class it was still noticeably a van underneath, with slightly unsophisticated suspension and some creaks and rattles. The Multivan feels more car-like, with well-judged damping and a relatively quiet cabin at high speeds.


The noisiest thing about it is the din made by the 1.4-litre engine of the PHEV model, which certainly lets you know when it’s kicked in to take over from the electric motor.  


The steering is light and accurate and the standard DSG automatic gearbox is incisive, which all makes for effortless driving. The biggest praise we can give the Multivan is the fact it feels much smaller than it is when you’re driving it.


The closest thing to a ‘fun’ engine is the PHEV, which pulls strongly at low speeds, but being so top-heavy you’re never going to be chucking the Multivan into the corners – your passengers certainly wouldn’t thank you for it if you did. 


Visibility is excellent thanks not only to the elevated position the driver occupies, but the acres of glass. And thanks to the Multivan sharing a platform with regular SUVs like the VW Tiguan, it’s fitted with a healthy suite of driving tech such as blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist and braking assist. 


Read more 


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Nick Francis

08 Nov 2021