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Volkswagen has split its Transporter van range from the people-carrying Caravelle, which now goes by the name of Multivan People carrier

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has launched the Multivan as a replacement for the current people-carrying Caravelle line-up. Rather confusingly, while the Caravelle was basically a passenger car version of the Transporter van, the Multivan is no longer based on the LCV model at all.

Instead, the new Multivan uses the MQB platform that can be found under a range of Volkswagen car models, most notably the latest Golf. The current Transporter carries on unchanged, with the next generation model expected to be built as part of the firm’s cooperation with Ford.

The Multivan is offered in two body lengths, though they share the same wheelbase. It features a 30mm wider track than the old model, though the body itself is 80mm slimmer. The roofline is lower, creating a wider, lower profile that should prove more aerodynamic. Offered with 19” alloy wheels, it will be offered in Multivan, Life and Style trim levels.

There is a full-width grille at the front, with a lower bumper treatment similar to the latest Caddy. A panoramic glass roof is an option and LED headlights are standard across the range, though you can upgrade to LED matric lights if preferred. Customers can also order electric rear and sliding side doors, both of which can be operated by gesture-control, or waving a foot beneath the door.

There is seating for up to seven and all five individual rear seats can be easily removed or relocated, to offer a wide range of layouts. Should you want to use the Multivan as a load-carrier, removing all five rear seats results in a 3.67m3 load bay on the shorter model, rising to just over 4.0m3 for the longer van.

There are two petrol engines, a 1.5-litre with 136hp and a 2.0-litre with 204hp. A 150hp diesel engine will join the line-up next year. All drive through a seven-speed DSG automated transmission. In addition, Multivan will be offered with an eHybrid driveline. This uses a 1.4-litre petrol engine, delivering 150hp, mated to an 85kW electric motor, to produce a combined 218hp. The eHybrid drives through a six-speed DSG box and provides an electric-only driving mode for shorter, urban trips.

Multivan boasts the availability of no less than 34 driver assistance and safety systems. Standard specification includes Front Assist, City Emergency Braking, Dynamic Road Sign Display and Lane Assist. The vehicle also debuts VW’s IQ.DRIVE Travel Assist, allowing semi-autonomous driving by combining predictive Adaptive Cruise Control with Lane Assist.

The interior is all new, with a 10.25” Digital Cockpit display and a 10” infotainment screen, plus a head-up display for the first time on a Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles model. The vans have an integrated SIM, for VW’s We Connect connectivity package. We Connect Plus is also available free for three years, offering navigation-related services and connection services for the eHybrid model.

The Multivan will go on sale later this year, with pricing and specifications announced nearer the time.