New VW Multivan Is the Hybrid Commercial Car We Want But Probably Don’t Deserve

Volkswagen finally replaced the Caravelle MPV, launching a new vehicle with a major facelift and hybrid powertrain as the 2022 Multivan. It’s a complete overhaul from its predecessor, which had nine seats across four rows; the Multivan includes seven seats across three rows.

Highlights of the Multivan include remodeled A-pillars for better visibility, smaller air intakes, and lighter, removable seats. VW says the all-new plug-in hybrid built on its MQB platform, which means it’s no longer perched on the Transporter platform. Now it can tow up to 4,400 pounds and comes with one of three powertrains.

This is the first VW commercial vehicle with a PHEV option, which has a 1.4-liter TSI engine matched to a 85-kW electric motor for 215 horsepower. The other two engine options are gas only–a 1.5-liter TSI 136 PS and a 2.0 T-liter SI 204 PS–or buyers can hold out for the turbo diesel version earmarked for next year.

In the front, it shares visual cues of the 2021 Golf with just a sliver of a grille and integrated LED lights. All of the tech has been brought up to speed as well, comprising 34 driver assist systems, a 6.3-inch touchscreen, available head-up display, and a digital speedometer.

If I were to buy one of these supervans, I’d for sure get the upgraded 14-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system. It includes an 840-watt, 16-channel Ethernet amplifier, four sound settings, and the ability to distribute the audio evenly across a U-shaped acoustic stage inside the vehicle; that’s a rocking van. 

Here in Texas, it would make a heck of a lot of sense to also opt for the panoramic glass roof with laminated safety glass that reduces incoming thermal radiation by 44 percent. The electric, gesture-controlled rear hatch and power sliding doors would be a nice touch, and I could see that being very useful for people with limited mobility and parents of small children.

Unfortunately, the Multivan is only available in Australia, at least for now. If VW opts out of selling it in the U.S., we’ll have to wait until it’s eligible for import in 25 years.

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