New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology

There's a sharp look and new name for Volkswagen's biggest van-based MPV, because the VW T7 Multivan has been revealed as the replacement for the T6 Caravelle. While the Caravelle was the people-carrying derivative of VW's medium-sized Transporter van, the new model is being pitched as an all-new model which will also replace VW's Touran and Sharan MPVs, while the T6 will continue to be built as a commercial vehicle. Both models will be complemented by the all-electric ID. Buzz, which is due in 2022. This change means that the Multivan has been brought bang up to date, with a tech-packed interior and new running gear, including plug-in hybrid drive.

On the outside, the new Multivan has styling that falls somewhere between the Golf and VW's range of ID electric models, with a slender grille and standard LED headlights, a relatively smooth nose, clean body panels and a new horizontal tail-light design. Narrow A-pillars are intended to improve forward visibility, while the large glass area will make for a spacious feeling interior.

Inside, VW has updated the seven-seat interior layout. There are now five individual chairs - so the Caravelle's big, heavy three-seat bench is no more - and the chairs themselves are up to 25 per cent lighter than its predecessor's. As in the Caravelle, the seats are able to slide back and forth thanks to floor rails, the two middle row seats can be rotated through 180 degrees, and there's a multi-position table located between them.

The Multivan's completely flat floor means that the table can now be moved all the way forward to between the front seats. An optional panoramic glass roof is available for the first time, too.

Tech on board includes VW's 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit dials, touchscreen controls and USB-C connectivity, while an optional head-up display is a first for a VW commercial vehicle. An integrated eSIM means that the Multivan is always connected, while sat-nav and connected services - as seen elsewhere in VW's range - are available.

Elsewhere inside, the Multivan has an electric parking brake as standard, while all models are DSG auto-only, and eliminating the gear shifter and handbrake lever has created even more space. There's 469 litres of boot space in seven-seat mode and 1,844 litres with the rearmost row removed. The Multivan comes in two lengths, measuring 4,973mm and 5,173mm, and these models have maximum carrying capacities of 3,672 litres and up to 4,053 litres, when fitted with panoramic glass.

While the T7 Multivan offers improved passenger carrying ability, it's not currently slated to form the basis for a new range of California campers - these will continue to be based on the T6.1 Transporter van.

Leading the powertrains is a plug-in hybrid system similar to that found in the Golf and Passat GTE models. The eHybrid set-up uses a 1.4 TSI turbo petrol engine and an electric motor to make a combined 215bhp, while the 13kWh lithium-ion battery will deliver electric-only running for around 30 miles. The eHybrid is available at launch alongside two petrol engines, a 134bhp 1.5 TSI and 201bhp 2.0 TSI. Interestingly, the 148bhp 2.0 TDI diesel - what was once a ubiquitous engine in the world of VW commercial vehicles - won't be available at launch, arriving in 2022 instead.

Safety kit follows that of other MQB-based models, with City Emergency Braking, road sign and lane assist offered, while the Multivan also features Car2X, a system that allows local communication with other vehicles and highway infrastructure to warn of possible hold-ups and delays. 360-degree cameras and IQ.DRive Travel Assist semi-autonomous driving are also available.

Click here to read about Volkswagen's new Caddy-based MPV...

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