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Volkswagen turns the Multivan into an adventure rig with the PanAmericana

Volkswagen is expanding the Multivan lineup with a more rugged-looking model named PanAmericana. In many ways, the PanAmericana is to the regular Multivan what the new Alltrack is to the Golf SportWagen.

Roughly the size of a Mercedes-Benz Metris, the Multivan PanAmericana gains a couple of extra inches of ground clearance thanks in part to a beefier suspension and model-specific 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as black plastic cladding on both bumpers and on both sides. Brushed aluminum-look trim adds a premium touch to the look, while echoing the aforementioned Alltrack as well as Audi’s allroad-badged wagons.

The Multivan is designed to haul people, not goods; that’s a task best left to the Transporter model. Volkswagen has consequently masked its utilitarian roots by adding tinted rear windows, smoked LED tail lamps, and PanAmericana-only emblems on both B-pillars. Inside, the van receives leather upholstery on the steering wheel and the on the gear lever, automatic AC, and stainless steel pedals.

Related: Volkswagen’s retro Beetle ups its styling game for 2017

No one likes muddy carpet, so buyers who plan on using the PanAmericana as an adventure rig can order a steel-plated floor in lieu of carpet. Alternatively, motorists seeking a more upscale look can select 18-inch alloy wheels and two-tone leather upholstery.

Volkswagen offers the Multivan with five turbocharged four-cylinder TDI engines whose outputs range from 84 to 201 horsepower. All of them are equipped with a start/stop system in order to keep fuel economy in check. Front-wheel drive comes standard, but Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system is offered at an extra cost.

The Volkswagen Multivan PanAmericana will go on sale in Germany and in a handful of other European markets in the coming weeks. Pricing information hasn’t been announced yet, but it’s of little interest to us because Volkswagen currently has no concrete plans to sell the Multivan — let alone the PanAmericana model — on our side of the pond.