Home Editors' Picks The return of a Kombi nation?

The return of a Kombi nation?


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Volkswagen means business (and luxe) with the iconic nameplate

FIRST OFF, while it shares the nameplate, the Multivan Kombi is clearly not the people mover of yore that symbolized love, peace, and the “flower-power” ethos that suffused a generation and its embrace of a culture of freedom.

But I digress. You could probably get those intangible ideals, utilitarian and, well, more spartan qualities in other variants of the Kombi (though unavailable here) — the Transporter (cargo/shuttle), Caravelle (people carrier), and California (camper). However, that’s not what the Multivan Kombi that Volkswagen Philippines is now bringing in is all about.

To be clear, that’s not a knock on the Multivan Kombi. It’s just another animal altogether — espousing different aspirations the local distributor of the Wolfsburg-headquartered brand has for it.

“We are very delighted that we have added another model to our portfolio this year besides the T-Cross. This is already the second model to arrive and we expect more models to arrive in the future… The Volkswagen Multivan Kombi is a brand-new, premium van ready to cater to the premium market,” said VW Philippines President Felipe Estrella during the online presser for the model.

Wait, what? Premium? Isn’t that almost antithetical to that whole “people’s car” ethos of the brand? Well, not really. But let’s shelve that thought for now and look at the wisdom of the VW Philippines decision to choose to play in the luxury van segment, when it could have also pulled the trigger on shipping in more affordable variations of the Kombi.

Mr. Estrella underscored that the Multivan Kombi is a “differently positioned product — premium,” and maintained that it makes sense to target this niche because “volumes are still there.” The customers VW is going after are CEOs and other high-level executives, that are expected to gravitate to this luxe Kombi’s “refinement and flexibility.”

The Multivan Kombi is powered by a 2.0-liter TDI engine, mated to a seven-speed DSG transmission, delivering 150ps and 340Nm of output. This, said VW, “guarantees adequate power, optimum fuel efficiency, and smooth shifts regardless of the load.” The company also points to key features like a Tiptronic function and coasting feature that “lessens driver fatigue on long trips.”

Driver Profile Select with Dynamic Chassis Control allows a more comfortable drive through customization of settings based on optimal drive practices with its option to tailor individual settings “based on steering, engine, cruise control, and air-conditioning parameters as well as offering the choice among drive modes Normal, Sport, Comfort, or Eco, according to the needs of the situation.”

On the outside, the Multivan Kombi is said to be “understated yet elegant,” and gets commensurate equipment such as LED daytime running lights, headlights, and taillights; and 17-inch alloy wheels. There’s no doubt about its intentions once you board the vehicle. VW employs Nappa leather, and gives the van front- and second-row captain seats, electric dual sliding doors, and a powered tailgate for hands-free opening and closing.

The second-row captain seats can swivel around so its privileged passengers can hold a meeting on the road. For that purpose and more, a multifunction folding table is positioned between the second and third rows. Three-zone Climatronic air-conditioning assures comfort, while a rear camera and park distance control make it easy to maneuver or park the vehicle. Tech toys include an eight-inch Discover Media with navigation, Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay Connectivity, and an Active Info Display. There’s even a valuable safety measure called Crosswind Assist which deals with potentially dangerously crosswinds on the road when the vehicle reaches 80kph or more by automatically activating the brakes as needed.

One of the unique value propositions highlighted by Volkswagen is the Multivan Kombi’s relative ease of ownership. Mhar Afable of VW Philippines After-Sales said that owners will get a two-year warranty (with unlimited mileage), 12 years no-through corrosion warranty (unlimited mileage), and two years parts warranty (unlimited mileage). Speaking of which, the vehicle only needs to be serviced once a year — helping to realize savings by an average of 22% compared to competitors.

The Multivan Kombi comes in four standard colors: Black Pearlescent, Reflex Silver; and bi-colors Reflex Silver/Starlight Blue Metallic and Reflex Silver/Fontana Red. An incredible additional 12 color schemes are available on indent order as well: Fontana Red, Ravenna Blue, Starlight Blue, Mojave Beige, Bay Leaf Green, Copper Bronze, Indium Grey, Candy White; and bi-colors Reflex Silver/Indium Grey, Mojave Beige/Black Pearl, Candy White/Bay Leaf Green, and Candy White/Copper Bronze.

“Kombi’s purpose remains the same: To take you to new adventures,” said Mr. Estrella. “We now have a new player in town which is different from the old Kombi we all knew — one that has evolved with the times, but still carries the same traits, ready to take on new experiences and create new memories with you and the ones you love — your family.”

The Multivan Kombi is available at introductory prices — with the mono-color variants going for P3.595 million, while the bi-color models are priced at P3.64 million.