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Brand New Volkswagen Multivan

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Tony O'Kane | Mar 19, 2010

VOLKSWAGEN HAS LAUNCHED the updated Transporter, Caravelle and Multivan ranges in Australia today, all of which benefit from new engines, improved technology and added safety equipment.

The exterior has also been updated for the MY10 models, with Golf-style headlights sitting astride a redesigned upper grille and resting atop a new front bumper.

The foglight housings have been modified too, and on the Multivan can be used as static cornering lights.

The front bumper and upper grille are finished in matte black plastic on the Transporter and Caravelle, while the Multivan gets a body-coloured bumper and gloss black grille with chrome strips.

The taillights have been slightly modified for the 2010 Transporter, Caravelle and Multivan, but the rest of the body remains unchanged. However the radio, GPS and telephone antennas have now been integrated into the wing mirror housings.

The instrument cluster has been updated, with white backlighting and chrome rings around each gauge.

Backrest and squab padding for the front seats and individual rear seats has been reshaped to improve occupant comfort, with greater support and better ergonomics the result.

Transporters fitted with a double-width front passenger seat also feature a storage cubby and two cupholders integrated into the fold-down centre section of the front seat, which also incorporates a pen holder and a flat writing surface.

The Multivan, as the people-mover of the trio, can carry up to seven people in sprawling comfort, and is equipped with a sliding third-row three-seat bench as standard.

Both Highline and Comfortline variants also feature a pair of individual chairs in the second row, which can also rotate to face the third-row seats.

The Comfortline is also equipped with retractable rear sunblinds and a cargo cover, while the top-spec Highline gets leather upholstery, wood inlays and electrically-actuated rear sliding doors and tailgate.

The Caravelle provides space for eight passengers (plus the driver), and is largely targeted at corporate fleets and the taxi market.

Meanwhile, the Transporter can be ordered in several guises: normal wheelbase, long wheelbase, dual cab and with two different roof heights.

In its largest configuration (long wheelbase with medium-high roof), the Transporter boasts a massive cargo volume of 7800 litres. With a normal wheelbase and regular-height roof, cargo capacity is still a very respectable 5800 litres.

The Multivan Comfortline is equipped with an eight-speaker MP3-compatible RCD310 CD tuner, leather-trimmed steering wheel, three-zone climate control, one-touch front power windows, three 12V power outlets, cruise control, auto-dimming rear view mirror, a trip computer and remote central locking as standard.

The Highline adds the RNS510 sat-nav system, power-operated rear sliding doors, heated front seats, steering wheel audio controls, dusk-sensing headlamps, rain-sensing wipers and a multifunction table for the rear cabin.

By contrast, the Caravelle is a little more Spartan.

Available in Trendline trim only, the Caravelle has a 4-speaker CD/Radio stereo system (the mid-spec RCD310 and RNS510 sat-nav unit are optional), two-zone semi-automatic climate control, ventilation controls for the rear cabin, power front windows, rear cabin sun blinds, a trip computer and two 12V power outlets.

Power-actuated rear sliding doors are optional on the Caravelle, as are cruise control and audio controls for the steering wheel.

As the workhorse of the trio, the Transporter’s equipment list is the shortest of the lot.

Air conditioning, front power windows, heated power wing mirrors, a trip computer and a basic AM/FM CD tuner are the only standard luxuries.

Integrated sat-nav, power sliding side doors, a reversing camera, parking sensors, dusk-sensing headlamps, rain sensing wipers, multifunction buttons on the steering wheel, a blind-spot monitoring system and a sunroof are all optional.

Safety equipment across the range is good, with all models fitted with electronic stability control (ESP in VW parlance).

Traction control, ABS and electronic brakeforce distribution are included as well, and the ESP program has been revised for 2010 to better improve stability and minimize the risk of roll-overs.

A hill-start assist function has been built into the ESP program too, which briefly holds the handbrake on steep gradients as the driver’s foot moves from the brake to the accelerator.

Multivan models get dual front airbags, dual side airbags and full-length curtain airbags, while the Caravelle receives front and side airbags for the first row occupants only.

The Transporter makes do with dual front airbags when equipped with a front bench seat. Opting for two individual front bucket seats adds side airbags to the standard safety equipment list.

Three-point seatbelts are provided for all passengers across all models.

The entire engine range for the Multivan, Caravelle and Transporter has been changed for 2010, with three new turbodiesels now available in varying states of output.

The Transporter range starts with a 77kW, 250Nm 2.0 litre turbodiesel four, which delivers a respectable fuel economy figure of 7.5 l/100km on the combined cycle.

A five-speed manual is mated to the 77kW TDI motor, and no automatic is available.

Next up the range is 103kW turbodiesel, which generates a decent 340Nm of peak torque. In the Transporter, fuel economy is 7.7 l/100km when fitted with a six-speed manual transmission, rising to 8.2 l/100km when equipped with the optional seven-speed DSG automatic.

The 103kW TDI is also available in the Caravelle and Multivan, albeit only with the DSG gearbox.

The most powerful engine offered is a 132kW twin-turbocharged 2.0 litre diesel, which is available in the Transporter and Multivan.

Churning out a stout 400Nm of torque from just 1500rpm, this engine is capable of returning a combined fuel economy figure of 7.8 l/100km with a six-speed manual, or 8.1 l/100km with the optional 7-speed DSG (the Multivan only gets the DSG).

While the rest of the range is front-wheel drive, the 132kW engine is also available in AWD form. Using VW’s 4Motion system, a Haldex clutch takes power to the rear wheels when slip is detected, recovering grip on slippery surfaces.

MacPherson strus comprise the front suspension system, while the rear rides on semi-trailing arms and coil springs.

75kW and 103kW models get 308mm front brake rotors, while the 132kW receives larger 340mm rotors. Rear rotors on all variants measure up at 294mm.

The 2010 Volkswagen Transporter, Caravelle and Multivan range is available now from VW dealers nationwide. For retail pricing, see below.

Transporter Van SWB

  • 75kW TDI 5-speed manual $36,490
  • 103kW TDI 6-speed manual $37,990
  • 103kW TDI 7-speed DSG $40,990
  • 132kW TDI 6-speed manual $41,990
  • 132kW TDI 6-speed manual 4MOTION $45,490
  • 132kW TDI 7-speed DSG $44,990
  • 132kW TDI 7-speed DSG 4MOTION $48,490

Transporter Van LWB

  • 75kW TDI 5-speed manual $38,490
  • 103kW TDI 6-speed manual $39,990
  • 103kW TDI 7-speed DSG $42,990
  • 132kW TDI 6-speed manual $43,990
  • 132kW TDI 6-speed manual 4MOTION $47,490
  • 132kW TDI 7-speed DSG $46,990
  • 132kW TDI 7-speed DSG 4MOTION $50,490

Transporter Dual Cab Chasis LWB

  • 132kW 6-speed manual $44,990
  • 132kW 6-speed manual 4MOTION $48,490
  • 132kW 7-speed DSG $47,990

Caravelle

  • Trendline103kW 7-speed DSG $49,990

Multivan

  • Comfortline 103kW 7-speed DSG $49,990
  • Comfortline 132kW 7-speed DSG $56,990
  • Comfortline 132kW 7-speed DSG 4MOTION $60,990
  • Highline 132kW 7-speed DSG $73,990
  • Highline 132kW 7-speed DSG 4MOTION $77,990
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