Volkswagen Transporter van review
Great tech, practicality and road manners made the VW Transporter our 2016 Van of the Year
The Volkswagen Transporter takes on rivals like the Ford Transit Custom, Mercedes Vito and Vauxhall Vivaro in the medium van sector, but it’s the only one with a cult following among private owners thanks to successive generations of the iconic VW Camper and the subsequent popularity of VW Transporter conversions.
The allure of the VW badge may be strong for cultural reasons, but the VW Transporter has a lot more to offer than cool wheels for surfer dudes. It’s an extremely practical and spacious load-carrier, is available in multiple sizes as a van, and comes in a variety of alternate body styles including the Transporter Kombi double cab, the Caravelle MPV and Shuttle minibus models, and of course the ever-popular California Camper.
The latest version is called the T6 Transporter, and it was introduced in 2015 to rave reviews – we named it Van of the Year at the 2016 Auto Express New Car Awards.
The VW Transporter Startline is the entry-level trim, and standard equipment for the model includes electric mirrors and windows, multi-adjustable driver’s seat, dual passenger seat, a 5-inch touchscreen DAB radio with Bluetooth, and a comprehensive list of safety tech including Brake Assist, Post Collision Braking.
The Trendline trim level is next up and adds cruise control, a driver comfort pack with added noise suppression, armrests and vanity mirrors inside, a full steel bulkhead, parking sensors and exterior style upgrades. The range-topping Transporter Highline model gives you alloy wheels, cornering fog lamps, automatic headlamps, climate control, a heated windscreen and leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel – plus a Thatcham Category 1 alarm and immobiliser.
While the T6 styling looks very similar to the last Transporter – in styling terms the van is a bit like the VW Golf, so generations are very evolutionary – it is significantly upgraded under the bonnet. A new range of Euro 6 diesel engines are clean and highly efficient, and you can even specify an optional DSG twin-clutch automated gearbox on higher output models, along with the option of 4MOTION all-wheel drive.