That switch paves the way for a raft of technological, stylistic and ergonomic enhancements, while also allowing the MPV to adopt its first-ever plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The Multivan eHybrid pairs a 148bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine with a 114bhp electric motor on the front axle for a combined output of 215bhp, while a 13kWh battery under the floor allows for electric-only running on “short urban trips”. Volkswagen has suggested a maximum EV range of around 31 miles.
Also available are 1.5-litre and 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines. A 201bhp diesel will join the line-up later next year.
While the PHEV gets its own six-speed dual-clutch (DSG) gearbox, the conventional petrol variants use a familiar eight-speed automatic.
Along with the mechanical revisions, the seven-seater has been completely redesigned, with stylistic nods to the 1985 T3-generation Transporter among its defining features.
In typical fashion, it’s available in a horizontally split two-tone livery, but a full-width grille and sharp LED lights set it clearly apart from the outgoing Caravelle.
As standard, the Multivan measures 1941mm wide, 4973mm long and 1903mm tall (a 5173mm-long extended-wheelbase option is also available), making it slightly larger overall than the T6-generation model. Its aerodynamics are claimed to result in improved efficiency, too.