A NEW seven-seat people mover is on the way from Volkswagen with the arrival of the Multivan to replace the Caravelle.
To be offered with a plug-in hybrid powertrain option, the Multivan will be available in two lengths of 4.97 metres and 5.17 metres.
The Multivan has been given a new name in the UK to reflect the overhaul of its predecessor while still providing the same versatility to the Caravelle's loyal fan base.
It is no longer built on the Transporter platform but is based on the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform also used for its car line up.
With a modular seating system the Multivan can be configured in a variety of ways with the layout ranging from seven seats in a three row system to a conference-style layout with the middle row capable of being turned through 180 degrees.
The full-width bench seat for the third row has been replaced by individual seats to allow single seats to be removed.
A new multi-function table has been designed for the vehicle which can be moved between any of the seating rows, and for the first time can be used as a centre console between the front seats.
The table, which is completely removable, features adjustable height, three cup holders, and a storage bin.
The new Multivan is offered only with an automatic DSG gearbox controlled via shift-by-wire technology which has seen the gearstick being removed to further increase occupant space, with controls ergonomically integrated into the instrument panel.
Three powertrain options will be available initially with the plug-in option featuring a 1.4 TSI engine linked to an electric motor to deliver 218ps. It will have a zero emission range of around 30 miles.
Two conventional petrol engines will be included in the line up - a 1.5-litre developing 136ps and a 2.0-litre with 204ps on tap while a four-cylinder turbo diesel, with a power output of 150ps, will arrive next year.
In base version the Multivan offers 469 litres of luggage space behind the third row of seats, extending to 1,844 litres behind the second row.
The full cargo capacity up to the front seats is 3,672, extending to a maximum 4,053 litres in the longer version fitted with a panoramic glass roof.
A new car-like display system makes up the instrument panel and the vehicle comes with full connectivity as well as a host of driver aids including semi-autonomous adaptive cruise control.
Prices are still to be announced but can be expected to show a slight premium over the Caravelle which is currently costs around £50,000.