Having fairly recently reviewed (and been impressed by) the VW Multivan, I must say that I was rather keen to hear that VW had now released a 6.1 version. The ‘old’ Multivan was full of surprises, from its all 7-seat seat adaptability (forward and backward facing and even a bed), to a pop-up card table and cubby holes EVERYWHERE. Frankly, I wasn’t sure it could be improved, and yet…
Alright, so the exterior of the 6.1 Cruise looks virtually identical to before, however, my review model came in two-tone ‘white and bay leaf green’ had a smattering of chrome garnish and now boasts LED headlights. Thankfully, the side doors can still be operated remotely from the keyfob or a button on the dash (something both my 10-year old son and I find cool) and the seats, table and extensive array of cubby holes remain as standard – phew.
The first big change, well two in fact, are apparent when you hop inside and check out the dash. Both the instrument cluster and infotainment screens are now big, bold, digital and where necessary, touchscreen. The cluster is now a 10.25” digital cockpit and VW group adaptable. It’s easy to read (not glarey) and easy to navigate around, displaying all the data and information you want and need. Infotainment is 8” and fully ‘menued’ with Apple/Android as standard.
With increased modernisation, VW have increased the Mulitivan’s suite of driver and safety aids. Cross wind assist keeps you going in a straight line in gale force winds (please refrain from trying this out if you can), it’s got side assist, lane keep, forward collision and adaptive cruise control, plus several more acronyms to keep ANCAP happy.
The powertrain is very giving, the 2L turbo-diesel creates 110kW of power and 340Nm of torque which is actually more than ample to get this people mover up to treble figures with ease and the DSG box comes adroitly along for the ride. What’s more, the 6.1 now comes with auto Start/Stop and regen brakes giving a fuel efficiency number of around 7.7L/100km.
The above is all well and good, however, the biggest (and best) upgrade to me is in the steering. The new Multivan now comes with VW’s Advanced Electro-Mechanical Steering and it’s excellent. My Cruise model was FWD only but you wouldn’t know it. The steering feels well-weighted and almost 4Motion confident. I must admit to taking corners with much more vigour than I should have in a minibus.
Visibility throughout is excellent (I guess it should be, it’s a greenhouse on wheels after all), but despite its 4.9m length, you don’t feel nervous moving around the tightest of spots – the beeps and reversing camera certainly help though. Seating position is great and the leather/alcantara style seats are comfy and heated now too.
During my review time I was lucky enough to have my son’s football tournament, two days of sideline fun for me and six games of 9-aside football for him. Regardless of the amount of ‘packing for every single possibility’ that my wife did, the Multivan Cruise still had oodles of room to spare, we could have taken most of the team in fact.
I was a fan of the old VW Multivan and now I’m a bigger fan of the new one. It’s been described as a Swiss Army Knife, essentially all things to everyone and I can quite believe it. It retains its spaciousness and adaptability from before, but now it’s smarter, safer, more luxurious and did I mention how sweetly it rides? It really is a winning Kombination.