VW adds another funky van to its arsenal, and this one’s a hybrid
Barring maybe Ford and its eternal Transit, no other car company is more synonymous with vans than Volkswagen. And, adding yet another chapter to its slab-sided utility history, it revealed a new one overnight.
This is the new T7-generation Type 2 Multivan, an electrified machine that you’re guaranteed to never see doing the courier run. That’s because it’s exclusively available in this minivan format, at least for now.
This is in part because Volkswagen are doing some odd things with their van platforms. The current Transporter is based on the brand’s more old-school T6 architecture, and is likely to hang around for quite a while given it only landed in New Zealand late last year.
The T7 on the other hand is based on VW’s trusty MQB passenger car architecture. They’ll all eventually adopt that same platform, but for the moment the German marque is selling them in parallel.
Anyway, back to the Type 2 at hand. It’s wider and lower than the outgoing model, and adopts a raft of Volkswagen’s current styling quirks both inside and out. The exterior’s squinted headlights, full-width LED day-time running lights, and honey-comb grille all evoke the brand’s new design philosophy.
Inside, looking at the dashboard you’d be forgiven for thinking this was some kind of premium passenger car rather than, effectively, a bus. It gets a version of Veedub’s new angular tech-focused dash layout, complete with an interesting grid pattern printed on certain panels, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and acres of mood lighting.
Yes, mood lighting in a van.
The cabin is fairly clever beyond the fancy dash. The seats are 25 per cent lighter, making them easier to move around, and the second-row of seats can swivel 180 degrees. The modular table in the back can be slid between any of the three rows, which is pretty impressive.
In terms of tech, it gets a ‘Digital Cockpit’ cluster, wireless phone charging, and a heads-up display (the former and latter being optional). Adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist are available, as is a panoramic sunroof (that must be one big slab of glass) and Harmon Kardon audio.
Powertrains. The new Multivan is available with a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol four and a 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol four, producing 100kW and 150kW respectively. There’s also a diesel on the way, too, making 110kW.
But none of them matter. The most interesting powertrain option is a plug-in hybrid model. Called the eHybrid, it combines a 110kW 1.4-litre petrol engine with an 85kW electric motor for a 160kW total output. Electric range hasn’t been confirmed just yet.
Full electric? Nah, don’t expect one of those. Volkswagen’s I.D Buzz will tick that box when it’s unveiled in production form next year.