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The Transporter, Caravelle, Multivan and California – these are the four basic versions of an internationally best-selling vehicle so popular that is has sold in the millions. For its huge fan base, people like service providers, trades people, families, business people and globe trotters, these multi-talented vehicles are an automotive way-of-life, a symbol for endless mobility and variety.

A few weeks after the Multivan and California are premiered at the IAA in Frankfurt in September 2009, a new generation of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle’s successful models will hit the roads. The new perfected version gives out even fewer emissions as well as being more efficient, economical, comfortable, elegant, intelligent and safer than ever before. Advance sales for all four basic versions will start at the IAA.

Refinement and high-tech features fit for a bestseller

The bestseller’s body design is now in line with Volkswagen’s new Design DNA. The new front design shows off the series in an even more elegant light. The series, which is known as the T5 by Volkswagen employees, has also been given a huge technical boost. Take the engines for example: the new Turbo diesel engines (TDI) are more efficient, exceptionally quiet and now fitted with a Common Rail Injection system. Thanks to the new TDI, fuel consumption levels have decreased by up to 1.9 litres and CO2 emissions have dropped by 52 g/km, so that all engines now fulfil the EU5 emission standards. What’s more, the new versions come with an optional 7-gear dual clutch gearbox (DSG) – an international first for this class of vehicle! As another optional extra, you can have the new four-wheel drive function (4Motion with 4th generation Haldex coupling), which allows you to drive off-road. Another revolutionary highlight from the new models is that, from the start of the year, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles will be offering a 4Motion version in conjunction with DSG. Safety features have been further improved thanks to the standard hill-start assistant, refined ESP, a new hazard warning light for the brake lights (emergency brake lights) and new optional driver assist systems. In addition, the interior is fitted with new instruments, steering wheels, radio/navigation systems and textures on top of ergonomic perfection.

Four new Common Rail TDI and dual clutch gearboxes

With the new four-cylinder diesel engines with Common Rail Injection, the best-selling series in both Germany and Europe sets new benchmarks for both its economy and its kindness to the environment. The TDI (1,968 cm³) comes as either 62 kW / 84 PS, 75 kW / 102 PS, 103 kW / 140 PS or 132 kW /180 PS. The 140 PS engine is boosted by a turbocharger with variable turbine geometry, while Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles has fitted a two-stage charger with bi-turbocharger in the top of the range 180 PS. This form of downsizing means that, for the first time in the Volkswagen Group, a compression ignition engine is being used in a vehicle of this performance range.

The greatest feature is the fuel-saving capacity. It is the first time in the world that a transporter, van or touring vehicle has been equipped with a 7-gear dual clutch gearbox (DSG), which allows fuel consumption in the 180 PS version to drop by up to 1.9 litres when compared with the previous 6-gear automatic. In the meantime, the 85 kW / 115 PS petrol engine will be carried over and now complies with EU5 emission standards. Compared to previous generations, Volkswagen were able to decrease CO2 emissions and fuel consumption levels by an average of 10 percent across the whole range. In vehicles with a manual gearbox and front-wheel drive, the CO2 emissions and fuel consumption levels* range from 7.2 litres / 190 g/km CO2 (84 PS and 102 PS) to 7.5 litres / 190 g/km CO2 (180 PS): that’s up to 0.9 litres less than ever before.

All four diesel engines respond extremely quickly and almost as soon as you have left idling speed as well! Even the smallest TDI engine with 84 PS has a maximum torque of 220 Newton metres from just 1,250 rpm. The 102 PS version goes to 250 Newton metres from 1,500 rpm, the 140 PS TDI hits a high of 340 Newton metres from 1,750 rpm while the 180 PS TDI propels into the crankshaft with an impressive 400 Newton metres from 1,500 rpm. And of course all versions are fitted with a particle filter.

The Multivan and Co. on track with the new Volkswagen Design DNA

Alongside other new design features, the new generations really stand out with a completely modified front end. Clear, horizontal lines give the series a timeless, elegant appearance. The ribs on the radiator grille are all black. In the Transporter (panel van, kombi, drop-side), Caravelle Trendline and California Beach the ribs are in matt black. Whereas the Caravelle Comfortline, Multivan (recreational and business van) and the California Comfortline (touring van) all feature black, high gloss ribs, each highlighted with a chrome stripe. The top stripe is visibly extended so that it stretches into the newly designed headlights. Also, for the first time, the newly designed fog lights in the rear bumper will act as static cornering lights as well. The rears of the Caravelle, Multivan and California have changed since the previous versions as they now have new rear lights which are in keeping the current Design DNA.

New driver assist systems and additional standard equipment

Depending on the vehicle’s equipment level, the new models are decked out with new 17″ and 18″ alloy wheels as well as new exterior mirrors, refined for improved aerodynamics. And for the first time, the exterior mirrors house the entire antenna system. As another ground-breaking feature in this class, the best-selling vehicles are now available with the Side Assist lane change assistant. As seen in the Touareg, this system uses LEDs in the exterior mirrors to warn the driver of any vehicles in the blind spot. What else is new: the tyre monitor display (TMD). The TMD constantly analyses how quickly the tyres are rotating. By comparing the different speeds, the system detects when the tyre pressure has dropped.

More new features: the Multivan Comfortline now comes with 16″ alloy wheels. The Multivan Highline is now equipped with new 17″ alloy wheels as well as chrome trims on the sides and rear.

The interior which crosses the bridge to passenger vehicles

The models’ interiors have been completely re-worked. Take the instruments for example: With a new design, they are lit in white from behind and highlighted by a chrome frame. Each of the new generation’s models will come with a gear shift recommendation display. The entire collection of radio and navigation systems has also been updated. The new top of the range device is the RNS 510 with touch screen and hard-drive navigation. The optional Dynaudio sound system delivers magnificent concert-hall acoustics. The USB interface, Media-IN, allows you to connect any devices, such as MP3 players, quickly and easily. New features on board are the controls for the semi- and fully-automatic air conditioning systems and the three-spoke steering wheels. Many of the versions have had some additions to their standard equipment. The Multivan Startline has seen some great improvements: for example, compared to the previous model, the new basic model now has a full trim interior and side and curtain airbags for the driver and front passenger. The finished bumper, which comes as standard, highlights the fact that the Startline is a member of the Multivan family.

Text and Pictures: VW