Volkswagen is giving the Transporter, Caravelle, Multivan and California a new lease on life through some engine tweaks, redesigned exteriors and extra interior comfort equipment.

Utility does not have to look utilitarian. That seems to be Volkswagen's motto as it introduces the new redesigned and repackaged Transporter, Multivan, California and Caravelle utility vehicles. All four will be exhibited at the 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show and go on sale some weeks thereafter.

In keeping with the VW brand's new design DNA the front ends of these vehicles have been reshaped to look like current Polos and Golfs. The ribs on the radiator grille are black, the rear fog lights will now act as static cornering lights. Some models feature black, high gloss ribs, each highlighted with a chrome stripe while the headlights have also been given a facelift.

New four-cylinder turbo diesel engines with common rail technology are fitted. The 2.0 TDI has power figures of 62 kW (84PS), 75kW (102PS), 103kW (140PS) or 132kW (180PS). The 132kW version features a "two-stage charger with bi-turbocharging technology". Maximum torque figures are 220Nm from 1250rpm, 250Nm from 1500rpm, 340Nm from 1750rpm and 400Nm from 1500rpm respectively. All the engines have a particle filter.

VW says the whole range has achieved an improvement of 10% overall in C02 emissions and fuel consumption. When coupled to the new 7-speed dual clutch gearbox the 132kW motor can drop fuel consumption by up to 1.9 litres compared to the previous 6-speed automatic gearbox.

Exterior equipment includes a choice of 16-inch, 17-inch or 18-inch alloy wheels, Side Assist lane change assistant to monitor blind spots and exterior mirrors which now house the antenna system. VW's 4Motion AWD system will be offered with the DSG transmission and safety tools include airbags, ESP, hill-start assistance and hazard lights warning during emergency braking.

The interior can be specified with a Dynaudio sound system, touch-screen satellite navigation, a USB interface, fully automatic air conditioning and the new three-spoke design steering wheel.

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