the big bus tour
Last Updated : GMT 06:41:18
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Volkswagen Multivan

The big bus tour

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today The big bus tour

There is an almost infinite variety of seating options
London - Arabstoday

There is an almost infinite variety of seating options London - Arabstoday Volkswagen\'s latest offering isn\'t some hot-shot hatchback or its latest SUV, but a bus. A Multivan Highline, to be precise. Slightly more rounded and elegant than its predecessors, this version is a very modern and upmarket vehicle that wouldn\'t be out of place in the executive car park. The question is, how well would it stand up to the school run? Rather well, I think. There is an almost infinite variety of seating options, ranging through benches, individual seats and swivelling captain\'s chairs. All finished in Alcantara or, as it was in our case, very nice leather. This version of the Multivan has an upmarket interior, with four comfortable armchairs arranged around a table, making for a very engaging place to sit and discuss your next corporate takeover. Alternatively, specify the sliding bench, move it forward on the rails and you have enormous cargo space, with the carrying capacity of a decent-sized van. At least the tailgate is electrically operated. Volkswagen is rightly proud of this interior. The table is actually a full-on coffee table, which folds closed to allow easy access to the chairs, then unfurls like the top of a mushroom to provide a games table, with cup-holders, a magazine rack and lots of storage options. On the ceiling is a large fold-down video screen. Each seat comes with its own pair of wireless headphones, so the little ones can catch up with the latest study documentary on the way to school. As you do! There\'s even a small coolbox inside to keep packed lunches and drinks - or your barbecue essentials if you should choose to take the car camping - at the right temperature. Staying cool The standard 3-zone Climatronic Air Conditioning system offers plenty of options to maintain the right temperature for everyone. It is controllable independently of the driver by means of a central operating unit on the ceiling of the passenger cabin, and maintains the selected temperature automatically by optimising the distribution of cooled air in the passenger cabin. Rear passengers can operate adjustable roof-level vents to control air-flow. In addition, the Climatronic is controllable to any setting for the front passenger zone and even cools the glove box. Both the fresh air intake and the recirculated air in the vehicle are continuously filtered. And should you ever need it, a separate heater with its own floor-mounted vents helps to heat up the rear compartment quickly. If your charges in the back want to talk, there\'s another neat bit of technology working in the background called Digital Voice Enhancement (DVE). Six microphones hidden in the headliner and the radio loudspeakers allow conversation at normal volume. You can sit in the driving seat facing the front and need no longer turn round to the rear for your instructions to be heard and understood. Very handy for quelling the odd riot. Lively drive The journey to school will certainly be a swift one. Under the driver\'s right foot is a version of VW\'s punchy and powerful V6 engine, here boasting 3.2 litres capacity and developing a full 235bhp. That\'s more than enough to propel the Multivan to a top speed of over 200kph, making it a very magic bus indeed. Remember, this is the same engine that makes the Golf R32 such fun to drive. Drive goes to the front wheels through a six-speed automatic box, though it is also possible to specify VW\'s 4Motion system for all-wheel drive if you expect to take it off-roading. Handling is surprisingly good as well. Suspension is fully independent all round, with McPherson struts at the front and a multi-link system at the rear, a set-up you\'ll find in most sporting hot hatches. Large diameter anti-roll bars keep body movement in check, and load-dependent dampers keep everything smooth and level. Our Highline-spec Multivan rolls on very smart 17\" alloys wearing 235 profile tyres. It\'s all a bit bouncy with only the driver on board, but fill up with a full load of passengers and it all settles down nicely. Naturally, there\'s a full complement of safety features as standard. You get ABS all round, there\'s a traction-control system and an electronic stability programme as well to keep you on the straight and narrow. In all, the Multivan is extremely easy to drive, despite its daunting size. The driver\'s seat is height adjustable, and the steering wheel offers both reach and rake. You sit commandingly high, with an excellent view through the large windscreen, and equally substantial mirrors give you great visibility down the sides. Parking distance sensors front and rear take care of reversing, and there\'s a rear-view camera so you know exactly what\'s behind you. Even getting in and out has been made easier - the large side doors are electrically powered, and slide back flat along the sides of the Multivan to give very large access portals, particularly handy in confined spaces. In many ways, the Multivan makes for an interesting vehicle to consider. It is comfortable, fast, well equipped and easy to drive. There is oodles of space inside, and depending on the configuration you choose, seating for up to seven passengers. Plenty of gadgets and options in the back will keep passengers entertained on long journeys, and that gutsy engine will do the same for you. It has a great driving position with excellent visibility all round, and offers an interesting alternative to the endless stream of SUVs dropping off the little ones each morning. But at the end of the day, despite all the gadgets and gimmicks, it is still a bit of a bus. The saving grace is, of course, that if you\'re going to drive a bus to school, you might as well make it a nice one. Think outside the box, and you might just find yourself with a very novel solution.

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