22 April 2016

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Volkswagen is continuing its product offensive, this time in the segment of compact MPVs. The new Sportsvan is equipped with an interior that is as sophisticated as it is versatile (rear bench seat has 180 mm longitudinal adjustment), it offers a maximum cargo capacity of 1,520 litres and it impresses with its sporty charisma.

Technically, the Sportsvan follows the layout of the modular transverse matrix (MQB) from Volkswagen. And so it inherits significant advantages from this technologically advanced toolkit – the Sportsvan is very dynamic, with a short front overhang and a long wheelbase. Innovative lightweight design has kept vehicle weight extremely low, while the interior packaging also benefits from the MQB, with optimised utility.

The driver and front passenger enjoy an elevated seating position in the Sportsvan, yet the feeling is more of sitting in an elegant and sporty SUV than in an MPV. Special attention has been paid to the cockpit’s ergonomics, with a clean layout and sophisticated look being the result. In this Volkswagen, the worlds of compacts and MPVs meld together into a new type of car that offers more space for active recreation, family and the job.

Styling with extraordinary precision

With a bumper-to-bumper length of 4,338 mm, the Sportsvan is 83 mm longer than the Golf. It is also 126 mm taller, and marginally (8 mm) wider. These dimensions show that the Sportsvan has a clear positioning within the Volkswagen range – it is lower (-56 mm) and shorter (-59 mm) than the Touran, which follows a classic MPV concept with its three rows of seats.

The exterior dimensions of the Sportsvan, together with its completely new and sharply contoured styling, give it an independent and sophisticated look. With its taut body shapes and precisely drawn lines, the Sportsvan transfers the Volkswagen design DNA to the class of compact MPVs. The Sportsvan also expresses dynamic proportions in its long wheelbase, and its extremely prominent character line unites functionalism and elegance.

“For us, the Sportsvan is an ambassador of a new design idiom. Its quality and precision form the foundation for a dynamic yet smart expression,” says Klaus Bischoff, Head of Design for the Volkswagen brand.

The silhouette of the Sportsvan emphasises an extended look to make it appear lower and in general sportier. Defining design traits of the Sportsvan include its very long side window look with two additional windows (in the area of A and D pillars), the sharply drawn character line that integrates the door handles, and the exterior mirrors that are mounted on the door shoulder.

The front end looks especially dynamic, being based on a new type of shaping and an independent layout of radiator grille, headlights and bumper. The three horizontal struts of the radiator grille together with the headlights – and the U-shaped LED daytime running lights on the Highline model – create a modern and passionate interpretation of the horizontally aligned front styling.

Great variability in the cabin

Interior designers of the Sportsvan created a cabin that is as high-end and stylistically sophisticated as it is clean and fresh. While some of the instruments and controls may be familiar to drivers of other Volkswagen models, the design of the dashboard, in which all of these elements are embedded, was redesigned down to the last millimetre specifically for the Sportsvan.

The centre console between the seats ascends forwards near the gear knob just as in a high-class sports car, and this creates an ergonomic environment that makes the driver and front passenger forget that they are sitting in a compact MPV. Overall, the interior is marked by sophisticated plastics and accents. This creates a very charismatic ambience which overcomes traditional boundaries of the compact class and clearly bridges over to higher-end cars.

The Sportsvan is a car which focuses on maximum on-board comfort. The vehicle is already very comfortable to enter, thanks to the wide-opening doors and the elevated seats. What is known as the H-point (hip point) of the front seats is 59 to 85 mm above the H-point of the Golf, depending on the seat height setting.

There is also very generous space for rear seat passengers, thanks to the extended wheelbase. Even people measuring 1.90 metres can sit comfortably, one in front of the other. Storage pockets and folding tables integrated in the backs of the front seats give practicality a further boost, and there are also three additional cupholders (two for standard size cups and one for narrower cups) in the rear centre armrest that folds up.

Another key feature is the 60:40 split rear bench seat that features individual longitudinal adjustment of its sections. The entire three-seat bench can be adjusted up to 180 mm in a fore-aft direction; as an alternative, the seat on the right side of the vehicle (40 per cent) and the double-seat on the left side (60 per cent) can be individually adjusted

over a range of 180 mm. In addition, rear passengers can adjust the angle of their backrests. The backrest elements are split 40:20:40, giving even greater loading versatility.

Cargo capacity is a very generous 500 litres with the rear bench seat in its standard position. When the two separately adjustable sections of the rear bench seat are moved to their front-most positions, up to 590 litres of cargo fit into the luggage compartment of the Sportsvan. With the rear folded down, a maximum storage capacity of 1,520 litres is available.

Technologically advanced features

All Sportsvan models include features like LED licence plate lights, an electronic parking brake with Auto Hold, a touchscreen in-car entertainment system and a variable cargo floor. In addition, the car is of course also equipped with safety features that include seven airbags, ESP electronic stabilisation programme and safety-optimised head restraints in front (protects against whiplash injury).

Proactive occupant protection system.

If the system detects a potential accident situation – such as by the initiation of hard braking via an activated brake assistant – the seatbelts of the driver and front passenger are automatically pre-tensioned to ensure the best possible protection by the airbag and belt system. When a highly critical and unstable driving situation is detected – such as severe oversteer or understeer with ESP intervention – the side windows are closed (except for a small gap) and so is the sunroof. Underlying reason: When the windows and roof are nearly closed, the head and side airbags offer optimal energy absorption and thereby achieve their best possible effectiveness.

Automatic post-collision braking system.

A technological highlight of the Sportsvan is the automatic post-collision braking system. It automatically brakes the vehicle after a collision to significantly reduce any residual kinetic energy. The system is triggered when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors. The automatic post-collision braking system limits the vehicle’s braking deceleration to 0.6 g via the ESP control unit, ensuring that the driver can still handle the car during the automatic braking. The driver can override the automatic post-collision braking system at any time by a detectable press of the accelerator pedal. In principle, the assistance system brakes the vehicle to a residual speed of 10 km/h; this speed is suitable for steering the car to a safe place.

Driving profile selector.

A total of four programmes are available in the driving profile selector. They are: Eco, Sport, Normal and Individual. In the Eco driving mode, engine control, the air conditioning unit and other auxiliary systems are controlled for optimal fuel-efficiency. A coasting function on the DSG can also be used with the Eco mode; when the driver releases the accelerator pedal – such as on route sections with a descent – the transmission decouples, and the engine runs at idle. This optimally utilises the kinetic energy of the Sportsvan. In the Sport mode, on the other hand, engine response and shifting points of the DSG are configured to be more dynamic.

Park Assist park steering assistant.

This parking assistance system facilitates not only assisted parking parallel to the carriageway, but also reverse parking at right angles to the road. The system is also equipped with braking and parking space exit functionalities. It can be activated at speeds of up to 40 km/h by pressing a button on the centre console. If Park Assist finds a sufficiently large parking space (40 cm of manoeuvring room in additional to the length of the car), assisted parking can begin: having put the vehicle into reverse, all the driver has to do is operate the accelerator and brake. The car takes care of the steering. Acoustic signals and visual text messages in the multi-function display assist the driver. Park Assist is standard on the Highline model.

Dynamic and efficient drivetrain

The Sportsvan is fitted as standard with a stop-start system and a range of BlueMotion Technology efficiency improvement measures that lower fuel consumption. Its new 1.4-litre TSI engine with 125 PS produces an impressive 200 Nm of torque from only 1,400 rpm. It enables a top speed of 200 km/h and a sprint from zero to 100 km/h in 9.9 seconds. At the same time, fuel consumption is extremely low at just 5.4 litres/100km in the combined cycle.

Versions and equipment

The Sportsvan is available in two versions – Comfortline and Highline, both powered by the 1.4 TSI engine. The Comfortline is extremely well equipped, with features like Climatronic dual-zone climate control, automatic headlamps and wipers, driving profile selection, cruise control with speed limiter and 17-inch alloy wheels all coming as standard.

The Sportsvan Highline goes even further, with additional equipment including 18-inch alloy wheels, sports suspension, KESSY keyless entry and starting, bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, a panoramic sunroof and a rear view camera. It also has the latest generation Discover Pro navigation system featuring App-Connect, which allows owners to link their Android or iOS smartphones to the car. App-Connect includes three innovative technologies that bring smartphone apps onto the large 8-inch touchscreen: the established MirrorLink apps, the new Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from Google.