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Multi-personalities – 2024 VW T7 Multivan review

One of our favourite people movers the VW Multivan has been upgraded and given a new diesel powertrain, the result is more range and greater towing capability, all while keeping the adventurous multi-personality we’ve come to know and love.

@024 VW T7 Diesel Multivan review NZ

There’s something kind of special about the way that German car manufacturer VW approaches their vehicle line up. Not only do they have a range that cater to virtually every kind of need, but there’s also a powertrain to suit virtually every kind of lifestyle too. But if any model summed it all up, to me it would be the Multivan.

The VW Multivan can trace its roots back to the industrial 50s and swinging 60s and the release of the uber-iconic Kombi, a vehicle so versatile that it would put a Swiss knife to shame. Several decades and several more iterations later, and VW released the T7 with an instantly recognisable silhouette, a cabin that would carry the family or the team, and all the gear a van could – what’s more, it even came with a PHEV powertrain to further embrace its tree-hugger image. But the big question is, was the PHEV heart a step too far? And the simple answer to that is maybe.

You see, along with having an electric/hybrid heart, the PHEV Multivan came with a price tag that was closer to $100,000 than many would have liked (actually $108,500 for the Life version), which, if you have a bigger family to feed, is a hefty thing to swallow. And paying for petrol plus new PHEV RUC’s has made this option less attractive than it should have been – Hence the T7 has now gone diesel.

@024 VW T7 Diesel Multivan review NZ

Yes this move is a bit of a shock/horror for those that want zero-low emissions, as diesel is arguably still the devil, but, the FWD 2L powertrain in the new Multivan is EU 6 so as efficient as they come (6L/100km), emits CO2 at a rate of 160g, offers 110kW of power and 360Nm of family moving torque – payload has increased to 779kgs (from 558kgs) and it will now tow 2-tonnes of toys, so arguably better for the planet and the pocket.

@024 VW T7 Diesel Multivan review NZ

The diesel-powered Multivan still sits on the MQB platform making it more passenger than transporter, and in keeping with the brand’s road to sustainability, some of the panels have been lightened with aluminium and the large tailgate is plastic. And while on the subject of plastics, areas such as inner wheel arches, underbody trim and noise insulation are now all created from recycled material, meaning less demand in earth’s raw materials.

As expected, it’s still an incredibly versatile 7-seater, actually moreso as all the seats are individual (so can be moved to suit whatever you’re carrying) and the seats are 25% lighter than before, so even I can lift them. 

From a driver’s perspective, the cabin is both upmarket and functional with a 10-inch Touchscreen that displays more than you need in terms of information along with a sizable digital instrument cluster that can be personalised to your own unique needs. There’s more room up front with the handbrake being removed and the ‘drive-by-wire’ gear stub being moved to the dash, and the leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel comes with shift paddles behind.

On the road the diesel power feels substantial with ample low down torque, but it’s quiet and non-intrusive too. I hate saying car-like in the way it drives, but it is and despite its flat sides, is stoic when travelling over the harbour bridge on a windy day. Steering is positive and its tight turning circle is ideal for inner-city driving, again, despite its overall size.

But the big thing for me was the look on my son’s face when I arrived at home, sheer delight. The opportunity to sit in 6 different seats, with each offering a different view or perspective is nigh-on impossible for a young  teen to not be impressed with, particularly since many of said options come with a table top or useful gadget that’s not seen in a normal car or SUV. Hidden compartments and cup holders, slidable centre consoles, it’s a thing from a Bond movie.

@024 VW T7 Diesel Multivan review NZ

As I said in the intro, the new T7 Multivan is as multifaceted as ever, but putting in a diesel heart simply adds to its versatility. Whether it’s moving people or moving gear, we’re big fans of this one-size-fits-all marvel. 

Great pics Harry de Souza

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