VW Multivan: Caravelle, Evolved

VW Multivan: Caravelle, Evolved

What’s bigger than a Caddy, smaller than a Crafter, and cooler than a Caravelle?

Okay, the title sort of gives it away: It’s the new VW T7 Multivan Lease

The Multivan is VW’s successor to the Caravelle (a version of the Transporter that was sold in the UK from 2003-2021), and the first VW van to be available as a plug-in hybrid (the Caddy will follow suit; it’s set to go on sale by the end of 2022). 

It is available in 3 engine types (petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid), in 2 lengths (4973 or 5173 mm) and 3 trim levels: Life (standard), Style, and the limited edition Energetic, which is exclusively a PHEV. All of the above have some pretty significant updates from the Caravelle. Dig in below.

Specs and Stats

Some of these of course vary depending on engine type, style/trim and/or seat configuration, and driving conditions. When applicable, ranges are given below.

Storage/Load Area: 469 (all seats intact) – 3672 (all seats removed but 2 front) litres

Payload: 453-704 kg

Towing Capacity: 2000 kg

Transmission: 6-speed DSG (PHEV), 7-speed DSG (all others)

Acceleration: 0-100 kmph in 9-12 seconds

Torque: 220-360 Nm

Battery: 13 kWh lithium-ion (PHEV)

Engine: 1.4TSI eHybrid 218PS (PHEV), 1.5TSI 136PS or 2.0TSI 204PS (petrol), 2.0TDI 150PS (diesel)

Range: 48 km

Standard (Wallbox) Charge Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes (at 3.6 kW)

KmpL/Mpg: , 63.2 – 66.7 kmpL/148.7 – 156.9 mpg (PHEV), 13.05 – 15.01 kmpL/30.7 – 35.3 mpg (petrol), 17.9 – 18.5 kmpL /42.2 – 43.5 mpg (diesel)

Fuel Consumption (L/100 km): 1.9-1.8 (PHEV), 8.2-8.0 (petrol), 6.7-6.5 (diesel)

Changes from the Caravelle

The Caravelle was a Transporter designed with passengers in mind. While its retro-futuristic exterior looks (intentionally) similar, the VW T7 Multivan is not based on the Transporter (or any VW van) but on the MQB (Modular Transverse Matrix) architecture used in many of VW’s cars. 

Features Galore

One benefit of having received the luxury car treatment is that the Multivan is equipped with (or has the option of) an array of safety and assistance features that are lacking in many vans. Some of these include: adaptive cruise control, adaptive suspension, pre-crash preventative occupant protection, lane assist, pedestrian monitoring, automatic emergency braking and emergency assist. Then there’s Car2X, a fancy communication system that can “talk” to other cars on the road to obtain all kinds of useful data. 

The Caravelle’s centre table has been redesigned and has some nifty new features. The height-adjustable table slides up and down a central track all the way up to the very front, where it can be used as a centre console between the two front seats, and has built-in storage and cupholders. The 25% lighter seats are easier to remove and reposition, the middle seats can swivel 180°, and the back bench has been removed in favour of individual seats, allowing for more flexibility in arrangements.

Screens Continue to Take Over the Dashboard

Whether that’s a good thing or not is for you to decide. (Of course, it’s certainly not exclusive to the Multivan…) The “Digital Cockpit” display, situated behind the steering wheel, has been expanded to 10 inches. As in many newer model vehicles, touch controls have almost completely replaced buttons and levers, save for a few essentials on the front of the steering wheel; the “Ready 2 Discover” touchscreen infotainment system connects to your smartphone and can include navigation features, streaming and internet access. Even if you don’t opt for these from the get-go, you can upgrade at any time. 

Physical/Dimensional Changes

The Multivan is a bit shorter than the Caravelle, fitting easily into multi-level car parks. (Caravelle drivers were dismayed that this was not always the case; VW listened, and managed to shave off 43 mm for the Multivan.) It’s also longer, a bit wider (but not so much as to make parking difficult), lighter, and more aerodynamic.

A gorgeous panoramic sunroof is optional in the Multivan; kids (or adults) in the backseats get a pretty sweet view and tons of light.

Of course, the hybrid option is one of the major innovations. In electric only mode, the range is pretty limited (just 48 km), maximum speed is 140 km/h and there’s no rapid charging. But it’s certainly an option for shorter, everyday trips around town.

What Drivers Have to Say

It drives like a dream. It has the light handling and tight turning you expect in a car, while having all the features you want from a van. Of course, it’s a little clunkier than a car, but overall it feels car-like. People who’ve driven both the Caravelle and the Multivan generally prefer the Multivan.

Some people aren’t crazy about the extent of the touchscreen takeover. Even climate control is fully integrated into the touchscreen, which some people have a hard time getting used to. But this isn’t exclusive to the Multivan, and it’s probably something that will be the norm from now on.

The ride is quiet and comfortable — again, as car-like as possible, while still being a ‘real’ van.

Campervan Potential

Like many of VW’s vans, campervan conversion potential for the Multivan is high, and it’s becoming a popular rental for that purpose. For some reason, the rumoured California camper version of the Multivan (which would have featured a pop-top roof) appears to be cancelled. But the Czech company ‘Visu’ already has a campervan conversion kit tailor-made for the existing VW T7 Multivan, featuring a bed, table/dining area, pull-out kitchen, and ample storage. Of course, enthusiasts and DIYers have done their own mods, and some of them are pretty impressive.


You’re in (or going to be in) the UK, and you’re looking to rent a small – midsize people carrier ? The VW Multivan is one you definitely should consider. If you’re specifically interested in a T7 hybrid, even more so.
The new 2023 VW Amarok

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top