We've grown quite accustomed to rugged, 4WD trucks and SUVs over the years. At the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, Volkswagen was determined to show a few different looks for all-wheel-powered vehicles with off-road intentions. It revealed a utility convertible in the T-ROC concept and also debuted the Multivan Alltrack concept, an AWD van for "all roads and any track."
While the Multivan Alltrack is capable of rambling, hauling and overnighting far from the nearest road, Volkswagen doesn't frame it specifically as an off-road vehicle. Instead, it's a versatile cargo van, ready to do work anywhere and everywhere you need to go. In fact, Volkswagen uses a carefully selected mix of components and design elements to give the van a city-meets-backcountry presence.
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It all starts with the Multivan base, a versatile platform for work, play and general commuting. As in VW's production T5 Multivans, the Alltrack has a rail system integrated into its flat floor, allowing for quick reconfiguration of the seats and interior layout. It can quickly transform from people hauler, to mobile office, to spacious cargo van, and more.
The flexibility of the Multivan Alltrack concept is evidenced by the inclusion of a portable kitchen module, with gas cooker, sink, fresh water tank and cooling box. The module mounts via the Multivan's rail system, transforming the van into a virtual VW camper van or simply keeping drinks cold for a long drive with the family.
Those that intend to use the Multivan Alltrack as a camping platform won't be limited to RV campgrounds thanks to the concept's go-anywhere grit. The 177-hp TDI engine sends its output through a 4Motion all-wheel drive with Haldex rear-traction coupling. The van's underbody is reinforced to protect against the hazards off-road, and 21-degree approach and 15-degree departure angles aid the effort.
While the Multivan Alltrack has the equipment and ruggedness to get into all kinds of adventure, Volkswagen also designed it to be comfortable and elegant enough to park "in front of the opera house" (you may just need to hose it off first). The van is painted in a "Moonstone Mother of Pearl Effect" (read: glossy white) and rides on high-gloss turned 19-inch wheels. The grey trim around the bumpers and lower perimeter is designed to emphasize the truck's duality – a touch of rugged protection for the elegant, white people-hauler.
The Multivan's stylish, understated look continues inside, where a nautically inspired wood floor provides the base for the gray-blue leather seats. Equipment includes an infotainment system with 8-in capacitive touchscreen and a Dynaudio Surround Sound System.
While it doesn't appear like the Multivan Alltrack concept will spawn a production model, it does highlight the versatility and possibilities of the VW commercial vehicle range. One in every five of VW's commercial vehicles is sold with all-wheel-drive in Europe, and it only takes a little creativity and planning to turn a simple van into something more … like a globe-traveling mobile living module.