CASE STUDY: Volkswagen Multivan | International Fleetworld | Catalog-cars

CASE STUDY: Volkswagen Multivan | International Fleetworld

12 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on CASE STUDY: Volkswagen Multivan | International Fleetworld

CASE STUDY: Volkswagen Multivan

Could this #8364;83,000 executive transporter be the first steps towards an office-free remote working environment for the future fleet? Alex Grant investigates.

Priced in line with a luxury saloon, the Caravelle Business joined Volkswagen#8217;s commercial vehicle range last summer designed to transport executives who don#8217;t have time to stop working. The technology on board is niche at the moment, but as it becomes more common, could the office of the future be made of metal and rubber, rather than bricks and mortar?

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Data on the move

A must-have for the mobile office, the Caravelle features on-board WiFi using a small router hidden in the glovebox. This allows several devices to be connected at once, enough for a meeting in the back, but the speeds available depend entirely on the available coverage. The router connects using a SIM card, and with strong 3G coverage can offer speeds equivalent to a home broadband connection.

Volkswagen has also fitted a 12V socket in front of the rear seats. With an inverter, this can keep a laptop battery powered-up without relying on the battery.

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Space for four

Trimmed in supple two-tone Nappa leather, the back of the Caravelle offers comfort most boardrooms can#8217;t match. Four occupants can sit behind the front seats, and the middle row rotates to face the back row for a conference setup around a folding, rotating and sliding central table.

At the back, the traditional three-seat bench is replaced with a two-seat unit which could almost have been lifted from the luxurious Phaeton. Passengers here get heated and fully adjustable seating, operated on a wood burr console on each side, with a small but powerful fridge between them and a pair of glass tumblers stowed in a drawer close to the floor.

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Cars, unlike offices, don#8217;t usually have central heating. The Multivan fills in for colder weather with a built-in space heater operated off the key fob or a panel above the driver (pictured right). This allows scheduled pre-warming of the cabin, and can run with the engine and air conditioning switched off.

Storage space is more of a challenge, though. The boot is tiny with the rear bench reclined, but there are cubby holes throughout the cabin including A4-sized pockets either side of the table base and a hook behind the rear seats for hanging clothes. Tinted windows with privacy blinds mean it#8217;s quite difficult to see what#8217;s inside, and all that#8217;s really lacking is a toilet.

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Keeping in touch

Volkswagen#8217;s familiar touch screen can be found in the front of the cabin, and it#8217;s fitted with a 60GB hard drive for additional music storage #8211; enough for almost a 40-day soundtrack without hearing the same track twice. Bluetooth connectivity and a wired iPhone connection are included as standard, so keeping in touch while on the move is no problem.

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Behind the wheel

Caravelle and Transporter are renowned for driving more like a car than a van, and the Nappa leather front seats are as comfortable for long distances as you#8217;d expect in a Passat. New models feature a choice of petrol and diesel engines, including the same 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel from the Amarok, with 180hp, and the familiar 140hp 2.0 TDI which has the range#8217;s lowest CO2 emissions, at 7.7l/100km and 203g/km.

Adding a seven-speed DSG transmission costs #8364;2,315, while 4MOTION four-wheel drive is #8364;3,291. Both are available on all engines.

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