What’s it like?
Plumping for a van-shaped MPV as your seven-seat, family-hauling weapon of choice over a more overtly prestigious SUV – in the form of the Volvo XC90, Land Rover Discovery or Audi Q7 – is a choice no doubt driven by a preference for modularity, flexibility and practicality over all else. And while those school run stalwarts claim early victories in the kerb appeal, performance and off-roading stakes, the Multivan’s fitness for purpose really is a force to be reckoned with.
Rails running the length of the cavernous rear cabin mean it can be reconfigured at will, with the option of removing, swivelling or rearranging the five (or optionally four) seats, and sliding the centre console back and folding it out to form a workspace-cum-dining room. Whichever way they end up facing, each Multivan passenger is hosted in comfort with a luxuriously cushioned seat and plenty of leg and head room.
It’s good news for the driver, too, as the wholly expected but still remarkable result of moving onto slicker car-derived mechanicals is that this, a 2850kg family bus with a 3124mm wheelbase, drives pretty categorically like a car, and that could not be further from faint praise here.
There is absolutely minimal mental adjustment required on taking the wheel, save for getting acquainted with the undeniably van-like straight-backed seating position and the cab-forward proportions. The driving position is commanding and visibility all round comprehensive, which means you can see the farthest reaches of the body and confidently judge overtaking and parking manoeuvres. The seats are comfortable, the suspension is nicely tuned to mitigate lurching and roll during cornering (push it and it will tip a bit, obviously), and the steering is quick and smooth, albeit firmly on the lighter and unfeelsome side, which we’ll forgive.