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Expert Review

Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid MPV (2022 - ) review

VW hopes Multivan’s blend of MPV practicality and lifestyle cool will win families over from SUVs but reliability concerns spoil party

The Auto Trader expert verdict:

2

Available new from £43,258

Vans are increasingly popular for families and lifestyle users but commercial roots can feel a little rough around the edges. That’s where the Multivan seven-seater steps in, combining the outdoorsy vibe of a Transporter but based on passenger car foundations for a more civilised driving experience. In essence it’s a replacement for the old Sharan MPV dressed up in cool two-tone paint and no worse for that, given the head-turning looks and fantastic practicality. While the ID.Buzz will offer similar in pure electric form the Multivan’s choice of petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid offers greater flexibility. Which all sounds good, though reliability wobbles on our test car mean we’re hesitant to recommend it.

Reasons to buy:

  • tickLooks cool
  • tickConvincing hybrid powertrain
  • tickSpace and flexibility of interior

At a glance:

2022 Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid

Running costs for a Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid MPV

Priced on a par with premium SUVs it’s not cheap, the PHEV costing about 10 per cent more than an equivalent petrol or diesel Multivan
You can have the Multivan with conventional engines but we’re concentrating on the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) , given it bridges the gap between the diesel Transporter or all-electric ID.Buzz you may also be considering. You’ll need a home charging point to make the most of it but, if you can charge it every night, the Multivan is one of the more convincing PHEVs we’ve tested. Priced on a par with premium SUVs it’s not cheap, the PHEV costing about 10 per cent more than an equivalent petrol or diesel Multivan, though company drivers will get that back on Benefit In Kind and, if you’re smart about charging, you should be able to save on fuel costs, too. VW also offers a wide variety of finance and lease packages, giving you the option to offset an end-of-term balloon payment against cheaper monthly rates if that suits your budget better.
Expert rating: 4/5
2022 Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid

Reliability of a Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid MPV

In most instances turning the vehicle off and back on again would clear the alerts but it’s hardly confidence inspiring
The Multivan is actually based on the Golf, and shares many common parts. Unfortunately, Volkswagen seems to be suffering some tech wobbles of late, and our test vehicle would, on occasion, show multiple error messages on start-up. Some were relatively trivial but when you get one saying the electric drive system isn’t working and you need to consult a workshop that’s a bigger worry, ditto that the petrol engine has lapsed into its ‘limp’ mode with restricted power. In most instances turning the vehicle off and back on again would clear the alerts but it’s hardly confidence inspiring for a brand-new vehicle, let alone one you’d want to depend on for the long-term as a family car.
Expert rating: 1/5
2022 Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid

Safety for a Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid MPV

We had several instances on hill starts or at junctions where we’d come to a halt, manually engage P, come off the brake pedal and the vehicle would roll away
There are many sophisticated safety systems on the Multivan, which we know all about on the basis at one point or another the dashboard would bong and say they weren’t available. But that’s not the only issue. While you should always use the parking brake, engaging ‘P’ on most automatic cars secures them from freewheeling away on a slope. But we had several instances at junctions where we’d come to a halt, manually engage P, come off the brake pedal and the vehicle would then roll away. Nor does the electric parking brake automatically engage when you switch the ignition off, as is common practice on most modern cars. That meant on a couple of occasions we returned to the Multivan to find nothing stopping it from moving of its own accord, though thankfully it was on flat ground at the time. There’s an automatic hill hold system you can use to help with pulling away or other manoeuvres on steep gradients but even that didn’t seem to work properly, releasing ‘early’ while reverse parking on an incline and letting the vehicle roll forward rather than backwards as we’d selected. We contacted VW to ask if this was user error on our part or simply a quirk of the system – at the time of writing we haven’t heard back and, on that basis, have real concerns the Multivan could roll away when owners might reasonably expect selecting ‘P’ would prevent it from doing so.
Expert rating: 1/5
2022 Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid

How comfortable is the Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid MPV

The floor has rails into which various seats and accessories fit, meaning endless variations on how you configure the huge interior space
For all the funky trimmings the Multivan is, at heart, a good old-fashioned MPV, and a very attractive one at that. You get two conventional front seats but from there backwards the floor has rails into which various seats and accessories fit, meaning endless variations on how you configure the huge interior space. Essentially you have six full-size seats on the outer fixings, which can slide, fold or be removed as needed. A smaller central seat can form a bench for the middle or back row, or fold down to create an arm rest and table. A neat central binnacle can slide between the front seats and operate as a conventional storage area, or you can slide it between the two middle seats and unfold proper tables from it. Even with all the seats in place you get a decent boot, though it’s tall rather than long. If you need even more space you can get a longer body, with more space behind the third row of seats. The fact you can put the seats in-line also means you can fit people and long items like surf boards or bikes down one side, though ultimately there isn’t the space of a proper van like a Transporter and, frustratingly, in three-seat format the middle row isn’t actually wide enough for three Isofix seats. This seems a major dropped ball, given for families with more than two kids this is a major reason for buying a car like this. On the road the Multivan benefits from its car foundations, and is way more civilised to drive than a van derived vehicle like the Caravelle. it replaces. It’s quiet, comfy and the interior feels both genuinely premium but also usefully functional, which is a neat combination. Saying that, it might be a bit too fancy for some outdoorsy types more accustomed to chucking wet or muddy kit into the back of a conventional van.
Expert rating: 4/5
2022 Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid

Features of the Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid MPV

The fancier one we drove costs a chunk more than the base model but gets a lot of extra kit
Other than the choice of engine, and whether or not you want the standard or longer body, the options on the Multivan are thankfully simple, with just two trim lines. The fancier one we drove costs a chunk more than the base model but gets a lot of extra kit, including fancier two-tone upholstery on the seats, three-zone climate control, power side doors and tailgate (a gimmick the kids will love), automated parking and alerts for unseen vehicles alongside or behind you. Which is handy in a vehicle this big. Tech-wise the more expensive trim also gets a fully digital instrument cluster to complement the big central screen through which you control everything from heating and ventilation to nav and entertainment. It looks slick but we’re not fans of touch controls for basics like volume or temperature, given these are placed exactly where you’d usually put a steadying thumb when operating the touch-screen. Hybrid models at least get Alexa-driven voice control if you’re comfortable talking to your car. Oh, and that natty two-tone paint? It looks great but is a costly extra, so factor that into your budget!
Expert rating: 4/5
2022 Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid

Power for a Volkswagen Multivan Hybrid MPV

It feels like the hybrid is the vehicle’s USP, given it is so in tune with the way most owners would use it
We’d be interested to try the pure petrol or diesel Multivans for curiosity’s sake but it feels like the hybrid is the vehicle’s USP, given it is so in tune with the way most owners would use it. Which is to say purring around on pure electric power for 50 weeks of the year doing the school run and other chores but having the reassurance of the petrol engine for the two weeks of the year you want to go further for the summer holidays. There’s plenty of power, even when fully loaded, and refinement is way better than the diesels powering most van-derived vehicles. While the official battery range is a conservative sounding 30 miles we easily survived a weekend of running round without hearing the petrol engine fire up once, while on a longer run it worked with the electric motor to deliver diesel-beating fuel consumption. That only lasts as long as you’re able to keep the battery charged up but, for all the other concerns, the hybrid system on the Multivan is one of the more impressive ones we’ve tried.
Expert rating: 4/5

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