Volkswagen Multivan 2023 long-term test

Whatever the case, our Multivan was always pleasing to drive. Maybe it’s thanks to the car underpinnings that it was respectfully refined, because it drove smoothly, rode deftly and, while a vehicle of such height, girth and weight (1.9m tall, 1.9m wide and 2243kg, as well as 5.0m long) will never be fun, it was inoffensive, predictable, linear and endearing.

It proved as much in our road test, which is where our hiccups with it started. Before a visit to Millbrook Proving Ground, I heard a stone hit the windscreen but couldn’t see a chip. Then I drove it over the noise-generating surfaces (rumble strips, basically), which must have stressed it, because a few days later on a cold night, the screen developed a crack. A replacement screen, at £620, was only available through a main dealer, because the car was so new, but my local outlet, Cordwallis of Bicester, couldn’t fit it. So I bought it and used Motascreen of Sunbury to fit it for £120.

That resolved, a colleague noticed a dent in the door. I hadn’t been driving the car, and it’s really rare for nobody at Autocar to confess to damaging something. After some sleuthing, we suspect that when it was with several other VWs in the car park, to help a driver identify which key they needed, various key fob buttons were pushed from afar, opening the Multivan’s remote-operating side doors (which I had thought were useful) into some packing crates stacked next to it.

We needed the Multivan on pretty short order to display at the Autocar Awards, where it was to win the Best Large Car gong, so VW volunteered to take it into its workshop to sort. I guess it would have been a couple of hundred pounds at a bodyshop. At the same time, the good people there gave it a routine service.

Then it picked up a puncture. It was too close to the edge of the tread to be repaired, but – shock – the can of goo in the boot held together over a weekend until I could get another Bridgestone Turanza, at £140 fitted.

None of these was the T7’s fault, though one last final curse was: the infotainment touchscreen went black and stayed that way for two days. The car ran and drove, but with no audio, ventilation or many of the active forward-facing or safety sensors. It sprung back into life just as I braced myself for a dealer visit, then stayed working fine right up until its departure.

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