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Launch Report: Volkswagen Transporter

Volkswagen has updated its popular Transporter medium van with the launch of T6.1, says Dan Gilkes.

  • LAUNCH_VW-Transporter_main_VFW_Sept19
    Volkswagen Transporter
  • LAUNCH_VW-Transporter_int_VFW_Sept19
    Volkswagen Transporter
  • LAUNCH_VW-Transporter_rear_VFW_Sept19
    Volkswagen Transporter
  • LAUNCH_VW-Transporter_rear1_VFW_Sept19
    Volkswagen Transporter

Volkswagen’s mid-weight Transporter has been given a facelift, both inside and out, while under the bonnet the van adopts the latest Euro 6d Temp emissions standards. As the update is not a full overhaul of the Transporter T6 model, and as it introduces plenty of new technology to the cab, VW is calling the update T6.1, with the move to a full T7 model still some years off.

The updated 2.0-litre diesel engine is offered with 90hp or 110hp, along a five-speed manual gearbox. You can also specify the engine at 150hp, with a choice of six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmissions, while the range-topping bi-turbo 199hp engine comes with the DSG box as standard.

Front-wheel drive is standard, though all-wheel drive 4Motion models are available, with the 150hp engine and manual gearbox, or 199hp with the DSG. Volkswagen will no longer be offering petrol engines in Transporter in the UK, as the level of demand was so low. There will however be a full battery version of the van, built with electric vehicle partner Abt, which should be available in the first half of 2020.

On the road, the van offers new levels of refinement and low noise, even at motorway speeds. The 90hp engine has more than enough power for urban use, while the higher-output models offer very smooth travel, particularly with the DSG automated box.

The van has more chiselled lines around the grille and the lights, with high-intensity H7 twin-halogen headlights and LED rear lights now standard. The front bumper has been redesigned, with a larger support frame to reduce vibrations in the ADAS radar control unit.

Inside the van, the dash has been completely updated, with a similarly angular look. A range of infotainment systems is offered, with a choice of

8 or 9.2-inch touchscreens. Higher trim level versions of the Caravelle people carrier now also come with VW’s Digital Cockpit, which can be reconfigured to suit the driver’s tastes. The vans also come with a built-in SIM card, opening up access to a range of online services such as VW’s WeConnect and eCall.

Cargo area dimensions are unchanged, but Volkswagen has now included a load-through facility in the bulkhead, to allow longer items up to 400mm to go under the passenger seat. This extends the maximum load length to 2.8m on short wheelbase models and 3.3m for the longer wheelbase vans. The longer vans can also be ordered with a high roof if required.

Transporter adopts a new electro-mechanical steering system, which paves the way for up to 20 driver safety and assistance technologies. Crosswind Assist is now standard, along with Front Assist with city emergency braking. Customers can now order Lane Assist, Rear Traffic Alert, Traffic Signal Recognition, Park Assist and a host of other safety offerings.

Volkswagen is simplifying the range, to just Startline, Highline and Sportline models. The Startline trim will be offered on the T26 model in short wheelbase, along with T28, T30 and T32 models in short or long wheelbases. Prices are expected to start at £21,635 for the Startline T26, rising to £36,915 for a T32 Highline with the 199hp engine, DSG and 4Motion. Full pricing and data will be available in November, when the order books open, with customer deliveries expected by March next year.


The Verdict

Volkswagen’s Transporter has an enviable reputation and appeal for a wide range of fleet customers and the T6.1 update will do nothing to dent that popularity.


\SECTOR Medium van  Power 90-199hp  Load length 2,450-3,300mm  Price £21,635-£36,915


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Written by Dan Gilkes

Dan has been a commercial vehicle and construction equipment journalist for almost 30 years. An automotive engineer and former fleet manager, he has driven almost every van, pickup and truck that has been launched in Europe over that time. As editor of VFW, his aim is to keep readers up to date with the latest developments in the light commercial world.

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