The 2016 Volkswagen Multivan and Volkswagen Caravelle people-movers have arrived in Australia this week, alongside their ‘T6’ Transporter van cousins.
The range is available with between seven (Multivan) and nine (Caravelle) seats, and in a multitude of spec levels from humble shuttle bus through to super-luxury Executive valet options.
All versions are based on the new T6 Transporter van and cab chassis range, which you can read about separately here.
The Volkswagen T6 Multivan and Caravelle range will once again fight it out against the cheaper Hyundai iMax, which has more than doubled Volkswagen’s sales this year. Volkswagen will also seek to pinch some sales from the top-selling, car-based Kia Carnival and Honda Odyssey.
Furthermore, the new Executive and Highline versions of the Multivan will tackle the luxurious but conceptually similar $85,500 Mercedes-Benz V-Class at the top end of the market.
Pictured: Multivan Generation Six
Two 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engines are available here. The entry unit is shared with the Transporter, and makes 103kW at 3500rpm/340Nm at 1750-2500rpm.
The TDI450, though, is a step up on the vans’ TDI400 unit. It pumps out a potent 150kW at 4000rpm/450Nm at 1400-2400rpm.
The engines are matched to a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard. The Highline TDI450 has a unique selling point of 4Motion all-wheel drive, while the rest are front-wheel drive.
Fuel consumption varies from 7.7 litre per 100km on the combined cycle for the base TDI340 through to a surprisingly more frugal 6.5L/100km on the TDI450 — obviously there are benefits to it being so under-stressed and torque-rich.
Pictured: Multivan Executive LWB
Chassis and steering
The suspension comprises MacPherson struts up the front and a semi-trailing independent rear axle with coils and an anti-roll bar, promising some modicum of ride comfort. This is the same setup as the T6 van.
The brakes are ventilated discs all-round, with dimensions of 340mm/294mm.
The hydraulically assisted steering gives turning circles of between 11.9m and 13.2m depending on body style. The higher-spec versions get Servotronic speed-sensitive steering too.
The breakdown is this: Caravelle = nine seats across four rows (2+2+2+3). Multivan = seven seats across three rows (2+2+3, with swivelling captain’s chairs in the middle and sliding rails).
The Multivan can be had in two lengths — the SWB in Comfortline, Generation Six and Highline guises has a 3000mm wheelbase and measures 4904mm long. The LWB Comfortline and Executive versions are 400mm longer both between the axles, and overall.
Pictured: Multivan Generation Six
The nine-seat Caravelle is based on the LWB, and shares dimensions. This workhorse has about 300 litres of cargo capacity behind the fourth seat row.
All models get dual front and dual side/head airbags. But only SWB versions get curtain airbags. The LWB Multivan models — even the high-end Executive — and Caravelle don’t get curtain airbags.
This is typical for many van-based people-movers — a key distinction between them and car-like people-movers/large SUVs.
Multivan Comfortline TDI340 SWB and LWB
Generation Six TDI450 SWB extras above the Comfortline
Highline TDI450 SWB extras different to the Generation Six
Executive TDI450 LWB extras different to the Highline
Caravelle Trendline TDI340 LWB
Pricing (plus on-road costs)
Pricing for the Multivan kicks off at $49,990 and climbs to an eye-widening $80,490 in Executive spec.
The opening Multivan price is the same as the base T5 version, so it’s sharp value compared to before. Better still, T5 Comfortline was $7000 pricier than the new T6, albeit it had a bigger TDI400 engine
The Highline versions are now $76,490 (front-drive) and $79,990 (4Motion), which mean $2500 and $2000 hikes respectively. The $80,490 Executive undercuts the high-end Mercedes-Benz V-Class by about $5000.
Meanwhile, the Caravelle’s $49,990 price is $700 cheaper than before. It undercuts a 12-seater HiAce by $6500.