The incredibly flexible interior remains, meaning five or optionally four rear seats over two rows that can be slid for and aft, swivelled 180 degrees in the case of the middle row, or removed entirely. A centre console is also on rails that can slide from beside the driver all the way to the back row. Clever stuff, that’s easy to use and reconfigure, turning the Multivan from minibus to generously-sized West London studio flat in no more than a couple of minutes.

Dynamically, there’s nothing between the pair: predictable but not engaging handling (it’s still a van, after all, and predictably is key here), an acceptable enough ride and light steering, all delivered from a commanding driving position (a very van-like one) that offers an excellent view of the road and fine visibility.

To drive, the hybrid powertrain feels a bit underpowered for such a large, heavy vehicle. It’s brisk enough off the line thanks to the extra torque of the electric motor, but progress is a bit more laboured as speeds rise. And while it’s smooth, quiet and all rather refined when you’re making use of the 20-25 miles of real-world electric range off the battery, the engine cuts in with a more of a grumble when the battery is depleted and can whine and whirr a bit under heavier throttle loads.

But all this is more judging it through car standards, and our experiences of the powertrain in models like the Golf. Judged by typical van standards, it is more than acceptable, and the powertrain revels in more the easy-going progress you’re far more likely to be making given the Multivan’s positioning.

Given how stressed the engine felt and how heavy the Multivan is, I was expecting far worse economy than the indicated 35mpg when the battery ran out. But this is a good figure for a car of this size, and should help keep running costs down, providing you charge regularly to make use of the electric range, and stick to the typically lower mileage such models are likely to do.

Indeed, this version of the Multivan could represent somewhat of a sweetspot of the range. It’s around £4500 more than a non-hybrid petrol version, yet running costs will be lower, and its futureproofed against any future legislation against non-electrified cars should you buy it and decide to keep for a very long time. And if a fleet manager is generous enough to put one on a company car list, or you can pick your own company vehicle, then the 12% BIK is not to be sniffed at.


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