In my humble opinion, people can buy cars for some of the oddest reasons. Perhaps they buy it because it looks good and stands out in a crowd, because it’s fast, or they’ve always liked the manufacturer, or because they like the colour or quite simply, it fits within their budget.
But I see so often, probably too often that the vehicle they bought just doesn’t suit their life, or lifestyle, or, more probably, the kids. People buy a “people carrier” because as the name suggests, it carries people, large, and small. But these people carriers usually can’t carry much else, such as prams, luggage, get the dog in the back, picnics, chairs and everything else you need for a day out with the family. I see so often neighbours setting off for the weekend with a drive full of stuff to go in the car, but nowhere to put it, and mum & dad arguing over what goes, and what stays. So what is the best thing a parent can buy, for safety, comfort, practicality and space, well Volkswagen have a lot to offer, as do Ford, Peugeot, Citroen, Toyota and others, but let’s look at what VW currently have in the way a practical solution, and to help stop the driveway disagreements.
I recently drove the much anticipated Multivan, the latest people carrier from Volkswagen and many regard this as the T7 Volkswagen started with the ‘T’ Series back in 1949, and based on the Beetle, with a water-cooled rear engine. You will remember it had a flat front and a split windshield, and today they are making a fortune, because they’re very collectible. Through the years VW introduced the T2, T3 and so on, until today we have an updated version of the T6 called the T6.1. It is available as many guises including a standard van, pick-up, crew-van and the ever popular Shuttle with either 8 or 9 seats and short or long wheelbase.
Then the Multivan came along and replaced the Caravelle 7-seater bus. Many thought the Shuttle would be discontinued in favour of the Multivan, but VW in their wisdom, correctly decided to carrying on building the Shuttle.
The Multivan is just so luxurious with seven individual seats with a 2-2-3 configuration, with the two centre seats able to turn around and slide back and forth. It is jam-packed full of technology and it just oozes opulence and quality. It is available with a choice of petrol, diesel or a plug-in Petrol to help save fuel, and reduce emissions, and VW only offer it with a DSG automatic gearbox. The Multivan is offered with either short, or long body, with the wheelbase remaining the same on both versions.
The T6.1 Shuttle is only available with diesel power, but does have the choice of manual or automatic gearboxes.
The Shuttle is available with long or short wheelbase and either 8 or 9 seats, the 8-seater has a double front passenger seat, whereas the 8-seat version has two individual ‘Captains’ front seats, the middle row has three individual seat and the third row a 3-seater bench.
So which is the best, or the one to choose? This all depends on your personal requirements. The Multivan is so luxurious and everything is high quality, full of technology and looks brilliant … but does lack a bit of space, especially in the luggage area, nowhere near as much as the T6.1.
The Shuttle is more like a van with windows, and seats, which is exactly what it is. But VW have been very clever in disguising the fact it is a van with windows, by making the interior look and feel very special, comfortable by using quality materials. The Shuttle is much more practical than the Multivan, you can get more people in it, and in the boot you can get dogs, bikes, trikes, proms, go to the tip, and so on. Whereas the Multivan is so good, and so precious you’d be frightened to put anything in it, it is… just too nice.
It is great though that Volkswagen actually offer you the choice, with these two very competent people carriers.
My choice, if you’re asking, would be the T6.1, just better for my lifestyle, four grandkids, dogs, always going to the tip, and the coast with buckets, spades, folding chairs, cool-box, all the usual rigmarole. So for me, the Shuttle suits me best, but I wouldn’t say no to a more expensive Multivan, but would have to restrict what I put in it.