New hybrid VW Transporter van and VW Multivan minibus: pictures and specs

The new Multivan minibus replaces the Caravelle in Volkswagen's UK line-up and will be available with the eHybrid plug-in powertrain

Volkswagen has unveiled its new Multivan minibus, which replaces the Caravelle in the brand’s existing line-up, and will be available with an eHybrid plug-in hybrid powertrain. The Multivan has space for up to seven seats and will be available in three trim levels (Multivan, Life and Style), although exact specifications and prices have yet to be announced.

In the Multivan, the eHybrid powertrain has a total power output of 215bhp, and combines a 148bhp engine with a 112bhp electric motor drawing power from a 13kWh battery. There'll be an electric mode for zero-emissions driving, although Volkswagen has stated this is intended only for short urban trips, implying the pure-electric range will be quite short or the top speed too low for extra-urban or motorway use.

Unlike the Caravelle it replaces, the Multivan is built on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, which underpins the latest Volkswagen Golf. The regular Multivan is 1,941mm wide, 4,973mm long, has a 3,124mm wheelbase and is 1,903mm tall. A stretched version is available, with a length of 5,173mm.

With all three rows of seats in the place, there's 469 litres of storage space, which can be expanded to 1,844 litres if you remove the third row and increases again to 3,672 with just the front two seats in place. The longer version of the Multivan with the optional panoramic glass roof tops out at 4,053 litres of storage. Not only are the individual rear five seats removable, but the middle two can also be rotated 180 degrees for a conference-style layout. There’s also a multifunction table on tracks that can be moved to any row of seats in the cabin.

The Mutlivan comes as standard with LED headlights, but you can upgrade to the interactive IQ.LIGHT, Matrix LED headlights found on higher-spec versions of the electric ID.3 hatchback and ID.4 SUV. This system offers a permanent full beam that doesn’t dazzle oncoming drivers and features ‘dynamic cornering’ to better illuminate twisty roads at night.

The Mutlivan’s interior has also been redesigned and now includes a 10.25-inch ‘digital cockpit’ driver’s display and 10-inch central infotainment touchscreen. As with many of Volkswagen’s latest models, touch-sensitive panels rather than physical buttons are used to control the air-conditioning, volume and seat-heating settings. All Multivans also come with a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system designed specifically for this model.

Volkswagen is also using the new Multivan to debut its ‘IQ.Drive Travel Assist’ system, which combines predictive adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance for semi-autonomous driving, making longer journeys safer and easier. A 360-degree camera is also available, designed to make parking and manoeuvring easier. Other safety features like city emergency braking and dynamic road-sign display come as standard.

The Multivan also gives us our first glimpse at what the next-generation Volkswagen Transporter van will look like. This is expected to be available with the same eHybrid plug-in hybrid powertrain as the minibus. A fully electric version of either model is unlikely, however; instead, Volkswagen is developing an all-new electric van and minibus using the MEB platform that underpins its ID electric passenger cars.

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