SOME might describe the 2021 Volkswagen Multivan Comfortline Premium TDI340 as a modern day Kombi, that most legendary of all vans. In its own way, that’s exactly what it is, building on a legacy that’s steeped in history.
The latest generation, now known as the Multivan 6.1, offers a genuine people mover alternative to the SUV crazy world in which we live. Up against the likes of the new Kia Carnival, Hyundai’s iMax and the Honda Odyssey, it presents as a unique competitor.
It comes in four trim levels (five if you count the special edition Cruise offering), including the Comfortline, Comfortline Premium (as tested), Highline and Comfortline Exec. The top two get a multifunction table to sit between the rear seats, among other things.
Those other items include extra safety features, larger wheels, improved audio and LED lighting front and rear. But back to the Comfortline Premium, which can best be described as the sexy version of the base model, especially in Bay Leaf Green.
Looking very much like a 1960s flashback in terms of colour, The Multivan stands out from the crowd, and is certainly easy to spot when you lose it in a car park. For those not down with the retro paint, there’s a multitude of other options.
These include Candy White, Reflex Silver, Indium Grey, Starlight Blue, Cherry Red, Ravenna Blue, Mojave Beige, Copper Bronze, Pure Grey, Fortana Red and Deep Black. Three interiors are offered depending on your model choice.
Likewise, it’s available in both short-wheel and long-wheel base, in front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. The higher end models, as in the ones above this variant, also offer a more powerful bi-turbo diesel engine.
We took the SWB FWD (that’s short-wheel base front-wheel drive) version of the Multivan south of Sydney, all the way to the sleepy town of Crookwell, and the regional hub of Goulburn on a three day family adventure.
The first thing you notice is the immense amount of space this seven seater has. There’s literally room everywhere, and the ability to rotate the two captain’s chair style second row seats in the opposite direction was a real boon for us.
Being able to sit in the second row and face the resident small human was great. To be able to interact with your kids, on a trip (or your other passengers if you’re not loaded with children), offers a really engaging travel experience.
It also means they’re not constantly badgering the driver or front seat passenger. Those middle row seats are surprisingly comfortable too, as is the driver and front passenger seat.
You also get the added bonus of being able to lay the rear seats (row three) flat, and could, if you so desired, sleep back there.
We didn’t so desire, because we didn’t think we’d fit three people on the makeshift bed, but if it was just you, or you needed some extra room for one person to sleep in the back of the car, it would definitely work.
If the interior has a downside, it’s the distinct lack of centre console, which makes it feel significantly like a tradie van, rather than a people mover. That same van feel also means it doesn’t quite have the same aesthetic or premium experience as say an SUV.
There’s plenty of little storage spaces (despite that lack of centre console), and big door storage. The rear side doors are automatic too, or self closing if you prefer, with buttons on the inside as well, to make shutting them a simple process.
A leather steering wheel greets the driver, and can be adjusted in all directions. There’s an 8.0-inch infotainment setup with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as wireless app-connect, and Bluetooth. It has a decent 6-speaker sound system.
There’s a ridiculous amount of optional extras and accessories available for the Comfortline Premium too, including an upgrade to take the touchscreen to 9.0-inches and add some features.
Other goodies include a 12V power socket in the dash, cloth upholstery in easy to clean Titanium Black, two USB-C ports and three zone climate controlled air conditioning. All of the windows have heat insulation and there are sun blinds in the passenger compartment.
The seven seat van has decent luggage space too, with removable seats (the second and third row can both be taken out completely, thanks to the sliding rails they sit on), meaning you can utilise the entire cargo space if you need to.
It also has a 2.5-tonne braked towing capacity, but the tow-ball weight is a little low at just 100kg. Should you need to cart items, there’s an enhanced towing package and roof rail systems available as add-ons.
On the road, it’s well behaved in most any situation, and the 100kW 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel powerplant offers pretty good power. That’s mated to a 7-speed DSG gearbox and delivers 340Nm of torque.
Fuel economy is a claimed 6.6-litres/100km and in real world testing, with plenty of highway driving, we managed 7.1-litres/100km.
It rides on 17-inch alloy wheels, and sports halogen headlights, heated electric folding external mirrors (aren’t they an awesome thing in the middle of winter), daytime running lights, automatic headlights and rain sensing wipers.
There’s an absolute bevvy of safety technology too, as you would expect from Volkswagen, including driver fatigue detection, cross wind assist (didn’t we give that a work out), ESP, brake assist, ABS and traction control.
You’ll also find adaptive cruise control, front assist and city emergency braking. Blind spot monitoring and rear traffic alert also feature, as does lane keep assist, multi-collision braking, front and rear parking sensors and a pretty decent rear view camera.
The 2021 Volkswagen Multivan Comfortline Premium comes with a 5-year unlimited kilometre warranty, 1-year of roadside assist, optional 3-year or 5-year care plans, and assured price servicing. Volkswagen also has a guaranteed future value program.
It’s priced at $62,790 plus on-roads, and before optional upgrades or add-on accessories. Some might perceive that as a little pricey, given it’s a specced up base model, but there’s plenty of standard inclusions to make it worth more than a passing look.
Our test vehicle was provided by Volkswagen Australia. To find out more about the 2021 Volkswagen Multivan Comfortline Premium, contact your local Volkswagen dealer.