• Thu. Jun 13th, 2024

North East Connected

Hopping Across The North East From Hub To Hub

A car conundrum solved

BySarah French

Apr 13, 2023 #VW Multivan
VW Multivan1 smallVW Multivan Life 1.4-litre TSI eHybrid

Motoring writer Ian Lamming enjoys sleuthing around in a veritable Mystery Machine…

Work is done for the day and I’m waiting for school to turn out the boy – but there’s no rush.

Lounging in the back of the test vehicle, I’m reclined in one of seven single seats with my laptop sitting on a table that has popped up and out of a central storage bin. I’m stealing wi-fi from school and watching Scooby Doo for old times’ sake.

Then it hits me, like a comic strip epiphany complete with a mongrel ‘zoinks’, I’m sitting in the Mystery Machine.

As the week goes by it’s obvious I’m not the only person to think so as people ask me: “Which one are you then, Velma?” Very funny. Isn’t it obvious from the chiselled jaw line and coloured cravat, I’m Fred. “Well you smell more like Scooby.” How rude.

But when you drive VW’s successor to the Caravelle you learn to take everything in good humour.

The new Multivan is a laugh a minute and something that never fails to charm. In two-tone orange and silver and with new contemporary aesthetics it leaps off the road and overwhelms your senses, only bettered really by its EV cousin, the stunning ID.Buzz.

It’s called a Multivan but is much less van-like than its forerunner with an attractive nose and sculpted suage lines. That said it does swallow people and luggage like a van, albeit a very well appointed one.

With its walk-through cabin and three rows of removable seats there is seldom need to leave its capacious interior so it becomes a fabulous office on wheels. When you are small, like me, there’s almost enough headroom to stand and taller folk will only have to duck a little bit to move around inside.

The rear doors slide which is great for modern-day car park places that seldom leave enough room to open conventional doors. Just swivel, head back into the mid-section and use the sliders to exit no matter how tight the car park gap.

Multivan is also blessed with the most commanding of driving seats. That, and the swathes of glass, mean you are afforded the best view ever from which to enjoy the scenery or gain all-round visibility to manoeuvre what is a very large vehicle: almost five metres long, 2.25m wide and two metres tall.

With proportions like that it will seat seven comfortably, with some room left in the boot for luggage and more between the seats. Strip out the lot and you have a van of considerable girth and incredible carrying capacity.

Van-like proportions, yes, but the VW’s dynamics are far from commercial. Multivan drives like a car and a swift one to boot. This particular model boasts a turbo-charged 1.4 litre petrol engine that works with a powerful electric motor making it a plug-in hybrid.

The super-smooth electric gets you under way rapidly and then lurks in the background where needed to take the strain in towns or supplement the combustion engine on the open road. It’s a great combination and seamless as well. Total power is 218PS, which means it will sprint like Scooby being chased by a monster. But it will also cruise economically, tirelessly and comfortably until you have had enough, a point you seldom seem to reach. Ride and handling are great for such a large lump and it never feels heavy or unwieldy.

Excellent infotainment system and specification generally means that the VW wants for nothing and storage abounds; there really is a cubbyhole for every occasion.

Multivan takes the strain out of modern day life with good grace. It cossets driver and passengers, it attracts an audience like a classic cartoon and it brings equal amounts of pleasure with its unique charms. I’d have got away with stealing it too if it hadn’t been for those pesky kids.

Fact File
Model: VW Multivan Life 1.4-litre TSI eHybrid
Engine: 1.4 litre, turbo petrol, plug-in hybrid
Drivetrain: six speed DSG automatic
Power: 218PS
Top speed: 118
0-62mph: 9 secs
Miles per gallon (combined): 156.9
CO2 (g/km): 41
Price: £53,251.00