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Spotlight: Volkswagen Transporter 6.1

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  • Volkswagen-Transporter_int_Feb20

Volkswagen has updated its Transporter van, with a host of driver assistance systems. The T6.1 gets a new radiator grille and front bumper, updated tail lights and an overhauled interior, offering improved comfort and usability. The vans also pioneer a new generation of mobile online services (MOS) under the We Connect and We Connect Fleet banners, says Dan Gilkes.

Driving force

There are four versions of Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre diesel engine on offer. The 90hp and 110hp models come with a five-speed manual gearbox, while the 150hp engine can be had with a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG transmission. The range-topping 199hp engine has the DSG box as standard. Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system can be ordered with the 150hp and 199hp engines. In all other cases the Transporter is front-driven.

The entry-level T26 model is available in short-wheelbase only, while T28, T30 and T32 can be ordered in short or long-wheelbase models. Long-wheelbase vans can also be supplied with an optional high roof. Payloads range from 713-1,309kg.

Driver assistance

As Transporter has adopted electro-hydraulic steering assistance, the vans can be supplied with a broad range of driver safety and assistance systems. Front Assist is standard, along with Manoeuvring Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control and a speed limiter. New options include Tyre Pressure Monitoring, Traffic Sign Recognition, Lane Keeping Assist, Rear Traffic Alert and Park Assist. Transporter can also be ordered with the trailer manoeuvring system first seen on Crafter, that allows the driver to steer the reversing van using the wing mirror adjusting joystick.

Comfort cab

The interior is updated, with new infotainment and a revised layout. Volkswagen has dropped the previous generation’s Trendline specification, so the choice today is Startline or Highline. That said, a Sportline van will be introduced in time. The base infotainment is a 6.5-inch colour screen with App Connect, eCall and USB Type-C connectivity. You also get We Connect for the lifetime of the vehicle and We Connect Plus for the first year.

Opt for the Discover media system and the screen size rises to 8-inches, with wired or wireless App Connect. Passenger versions can also be had with Discover media Pro, with a 9.2-inch screen or VW’s Digital Cockpit.

Connectivity benefit

With all Transporter models equipped with an e-SIM, We Connect is standard. By using a smartphone app or a web-based portal, customers can access a range of features, including remote lock and unlocking of the van, service scheduling, an online anti-theft alarm and an online points of interest search. New services will be added throughout the year.

We Connect Fleet allows fleet managers to access a digital fuel logbook, GPS location and route tracking, maintenance schedules and a fleet driving efficiency application. Later this year VW will add an Amazon Alexa function to the existing voice control system, along with We Park and We Deliver options. The vans will also have a Function on Demand feature, that allows customers to add functionality to the van after purchase, through online connectivity.

In summary

Visually, the move from T6 to T6.1 might look like little more than a sharper suit and some LED lights. But underneath the metalwork, there have been some big changes, to Volkswagen’s mid-weight, with EPS bringing the availability of a host of safety and driver assistance systems.

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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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