VW Transporter T5 Camper

Introduction to the VW Transporter T5 Camper

It could easily be argued that Volkswagen invented the whole modern light campervan market with its 1950’s original, complete with Beetle-derived air-cooled engine. The campervan is the latest in this long line of Volkswagen camper vans and, like its illustrious ancestors, it comes in a broad range of body styles to appeal to everyone from tradesmen to surfers.
Volkswagen’s simple panel version of the campervan is the most common model, but it also gives rise to the crew cab, chassis cab, double chassis cab, and Shuttle minibus with a pop top and even the California campervan. The Caravelle is the plush people carrying version but the Kombi has plenty of appeal with a half-way house between a high quality works vehicle and a family day campervan.
On top of this, Volkswagen has also grasped the desire of many van buyers to personalise their campervan so, with a campervan conversion service, it’s a little more than just a work vehicle. There are plenty of extras available, both aftermarket and directly from Volkswagen, for your campervan to be converted.
The Sportline models take care of this custom side of the Transporter T5 offering and they come complete with a 180PS twin-turbo 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that delivers strong acceleration and relaxed cruising. This campervan also gives the buyer the choice of a six-speed manual or seven-speed DSG twin-clutch automatic for seamlessly smooth gear changes.
The 180PS engine can also be ordered for the standard campervan models, but most buyers tend towards the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel in 84PS, 102PS and 140PS forms.
As you would expect of a Volkswagen, build quality is excellent and the campervan enjoys some of the best residual values in its class. It’s also well equipped and every model comes with ESP traction control, hill hold control and passenger airbags

Driving a VW T5

Every T5 model uses a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine, which is offered in 84PS, 102PS, 140PS and 180PS forms. The two less powerful engines come with a five-speed manual gearbox as their only choice, while the 140PS version has a six-speed manual as its only transmission.
The 180PS turbodiesel can be had with the same six-speed manual gearbox or there’s the option of fitting the seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox. All of these engines come with front-wheel drive transmissions as standard, but the 140PS and 180PS engines can also be had with Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel system for added traction in slippery conditions.
Having a five-speed gearbox does not hinder the two less powerful versions of the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine thanks to well chosen gear ratios and the engines’ broad spread of pulling power.
The 84PS unit is at its best in town and can make motorway journeys more of a chore than they should be as it’s just too sluggish. However, the 102PS engine is much more rounded in its abilities and you’ll rarely have to change out of top gear when up to speed on the motorway. However, don’t expect vivid acceleration from either of these engines.
For those wanting to get more of a hurry on, the 140PS 2.0-litre turbodiesel is the best balance between performance and running price. It provides fuel economy that is only marginally behind its 102PS sister engine’s yet it feels far brawnier and lively when you press the throttle pedal further along its travel. With 340Nm of torque on hand, the 140PS turbodiesel has considerably more oomph than the 102PS’s 250Nm and it’s not so far behind the 180PS motor’s 400Nm.
As well as these engines, Volkswagen also offers a 115PS Bluemotion version of the 2.0-litre turbodiesel that gives reasonable acceleration coupled to economy of 44.8mpg and 166g/km carbon dioxide emissions to make it a very clean, green choice. With the non-Bluemotion versions of the Transporter, emissions range from 184g/km to 240g/km, depending on which model you choose, and economy from as low as 31.0mpg to a good 40.4mpg.
All of the engines are quiet in use and the manual gearboxes have easy, light shift actions. For the ultimate in smooth gearchanges, however, you need to try the seven-speed DSG gearbox. It swaps from one gear to the next with almost imperceptible changes and makes the van one of the best vans in its class to drive.
Helping it further its case as a fine camper van for driving is its supple suspension that makes light work of most battle-scarred roads. Even when fully loaded, the VW camper is more than able to deal with speed bumps and ruts with calm efficiency.
There is some lean from the body on the suspension, which allows the Transporter to sway a little more than the Ford Transit, but it’s no worse than most in this class. The Volkswagen makes up for this to a large extent with light, accurate steering and more nimble feel than much of the competition.

Using the T5 Transporter

The Transporter T5 launched in 2010 offers users a choice of two wheelbases, three roof heights and the option of panel van, crew cab, chassis cab and minibus body styles, as well as the Caravelle six-seat people carrier and California campervan as more passenger car-oriented options. On top of this, Volkswagen also produces four gross vehicle weights, ranging from 600kg to 3200kg.
It means the Volkswagen cannot compete with the true heavy hitters in the van market, such as the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Vauxhall Movano, but it’s still a useful load hauler and on a par with the likes of the Mercedes Vivaro and Nissan NV200. With maximum payloads of between 729kg and 1333kg, again the Transporter is good without ruffling the feathers of the best in class. The same is true for maximum payload volumes ranging from 5.8m3 to 9.3m3.
While it may not have the competition too worried when it comes to outright carrying capacity, the vehicle comes as standard with a sliding side rear door. There’s the option of adding a second sliding side door, while at the back there are twin side-hinged doors that open to 90-degrees. Rear doors that open out to 250-degrees to leave the load entrance completely unhindered are an option. The load sill is also low, which helped when lugging weighty items in and out of the full back.
Volkswagen offers three different bulkhead options for the Transporter, covering high bulkhead with no window, or the same bulkhead with fixed window or a sliding window.
With a load bay length of between 2.57m and 2.97m, depending on which wheelbase you prefer, the Transporter also has a wide load bed. There’s the factory option of lining the inside of the panel with hardboard and Volkswagen also offers a variety of load lashing rails and rubber mats to make the Transporter’s cargo area more practical. As standard, there are four load securing rings in the short wheelbase model.
Up in the front cabin of the campervan, it’s business as usual for Volkswagen. While not the most exciting or innovative of cab designs, the Transporter’s is neat and no-nonsense. It features a steering wheel that can be altered for angle and reach, as well as a driver’s seat with height adjustment to help fine tune the driving position.
Forward and side vision is good in thecampervan and the door mirrors offer clear views down the sides. Rear parking sensors are an option, as is Lane-change Assist to help prevent the van wandering over white lines unintentionally.
There’s a single passenger seat as standard or you can order a double passenger seat that also comes with a fold-down tray in the full backrest. Passengers are treated to a front airbag as standard and so is the driver, while side curtain airbags are an option for the Transporter. It also comes with ESP and ABS anti-lock brakes on every model.
Comfort from the seats is good and the campervan is also blessed with clear, easy to read instruments. All of the other controls are also simple to identify at night or at a glance and Volkswagen supplies a stereo with single CD player as standard. Satellite navigation, electric windows and air conditioning can all be added to the Transporter at a larger price.

VW Transporter Model History

August 2009
Volkswagen reveals the new Transporter
It’s offered with a range of new common rail turbodiesel engines and a variety of body types. There’s a new exterior style with more aerodynamic door mirrors and a similar front grille and headlight design that you can find on the latest Volkswagen passenger cars.

The Volkswagen Transporter can find a lineage, if not quite direct descent, from the 1950 VW Type 2 ‘splittie’ that started off the whole Volkswagen van tradition. In reality, the present Transporter owes its existence to the T4 Transporter that arrived in 1990. It set the template for the vans we have this day and age of a front-engined, front-wheel drive model.

Under the bonnet is a new range of four 2.0-litre four-cylinder common rail TDI engines, with power outputs of 84PS and 220Nm of torque, 102PS with 250Nm, 140PS with 340Nm and 180PS with 400Nm from a mere 1,500 rpm. These engines are quieter, more economical, and more efficient with lower emissions that now comply with the latest Euro V standards. To further aid fuel economy, there is also a gear shift recommendation display.

Internal changes make the new Transporter even more comfortable and convenient with many enhancements to quality and equipment. These include many features from the latest Volkswagen passenger cars, such as a three-spoke steering wheels, stylish new instruments and the latest audio and touchscreen navigation systems.
January 2010
The revised Transporter went on sale in the UK.
May 2011
Transporter Sportline model added to the range. It comes in short- and long wheelbase versions with prices from £28,220 + VAT and uses a 180PS 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine.
October 2012
BlueMotion version of Transporter is introduced
It comes with 84PS, 102PS and 114PS 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines that offer 40.4mpg for the two lower power models and 44.8mph for the 114PS version. The lower power models also share 184g/km CO2 emissions, while the 114PS model cuts this to 166g/km.
October 2012
Trendline and Highline models introduced to Transporter line-up. The Trendline has an uprated stereo, ParkPilot display, Bluetooth connection, cruise control, rear parking sensors and Comfort Pack. For the Highline, Volkswagen adds alloy wheels, front fog lights, alarm, leather steering wheel and gear knob.
March 2014
Transport BlueMotion updated
The Transporter BlueMotion model now achieves a combined fuel economy of 48.7mpg and emissions of 153g/km. These figures represent a 3.9mpg improvement in combined fuel economy, and a 13g/km reduction in emissions compared to the previous BlueMotion model.

The efficiency of the Transporter BlueMotion, which is available only as a panel van, is achieved by modifying the engine management system and transmission as well as using low rolling resistance tyres, start/stop and battery regeneration systems and cruise control. At the heart of the Transporter BlueMotion is the familiar 114 PS 2.0-litre TDI engine with common rail direct injection, which delivers a maximum of 250 Newton metres of torque. Prices start at just £19,245 (basic RRP ex. VAT).
July 2014
Transporter Sportline 60 launched
The new model replaces the current Sportline version but gets extra equipment and special Sportline 60 decals.

Available as a standard panel van or a five-seat Kombi in both short and long wheelbase versions, the Sportline 60 gets the same 18-inch five-spoke Anthracite wheels of the Sportine and gloss black mirrors but adds black rather than chrome side bars plus special Sportline 60 graphics including side stripes.

Inside it gets quilted leather seats with a special Sportline 60 edition logo while the Kenwood in-car system has been upgraded with a reversing camera and smartphone mirroring functionality, which replicates the screen of your phone and lets you use it – including certain apps – through the touchscreen.

As before, standard equipment includes front seat armrests, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, electric windows, air conditioning, remote central locking, colour-coded bumpers, a chrome grille and rear spoiler. It’s available in metallic Reflex Silver or Deep Black as standard while Candy White with a Deep Black roof is available as an option.

Power comes from the impressive 2.0 BiTDI engine with 180PS and 400Nm that has a six-speed manual gearbox as standard or a seven-speed DSG as an option. Prices start from £29,940 without VAT for the manual transmission (short wheelbase) and rise to £34,170 without VAT for the DSG model (long wheelbase).
September 2014
Transporter 60 Anniversary Pack introduced
The new accessories package includes LED running lights, chrome accent items such as mirror caps, side indicators and grille, Transporter 60 exterior decals and embroidered waterproof seat covers.

The first 250 customers to order the accessory pack will also receive a copy of a limited edition coffee table book that celebrates the Transporter’s 60 years in the UK. Prices start from £609 up to £1009 (inc. VAT) and include fitting.