If you’re looking for outright space above all else, the Transporter T6 hasn’t cured the T5’s fundamental space deficit compared to key competition like the Ford Transit Custom and Vauxhall Vivaro.
It’s all exactly as was – there’s been no change in load length, compartment volume or maximum payload. That means space for three Euro pallets, a 2500kg trailer weight, up to 1331kg payload (1274kg in the long wheelbase), a 9.3m3 maximum load compartment volume and a max 2.97 metre load compartment length.
And as before, your choice for the panel van is two wheelbases, three roof heights and two seating combinations, while the Kombi does without the roof options.
The unchanged dimensions, both interior and exterior, mean that existing T5 owners’ fixtures and fittings will be easily transferable. That’s money saved, which especially for small business users will be good news.
The sliding side door remains, and buyers can specify rear barn doors that open to 250 degrees unlatched. They open to reveal a low, wide loading lip with a fully lined floor featuring six anchorage points (or eight in the long wheelbase version), while a pair of dome lights provide interior illumination, plus one for the step.
Both rear barn doors have an inner release handle, as does, of course, the sliding side door, which at just over 40 inches is wide opening – though not quite enough to accommodate a Euro pallet.
Including all the engine and gearbox choices there’s a typically labyrinthine selection of Transporter possibilities, though mercifully there are only two trim levels: Startline and Highline.
The result, including all the engine and gearbox choices, is a typically labyrinthine selection of Transporter possibilities, though mercifully there are only two trim levels: Startline and Highline.
Startline comes packed with standard kit, including Bluetooth phone preparation, a five-inch touchscreen media and infotainment display, a USB connection for playing all your favourite R&B hits, remote central locking and a suite of safety systems including lane change assist with side scanning, a driver alert system, and hill hold assist.
You’ll be able to distinguish a Startline van by its black plastic bumpers and steel wheels, while a Highline makes the former body coloured and the latter alloy. Inside, Highline vans get cold air (climate control, no less), automatic lights and wipers, a heated windscreen, heated mirrors, a leather steering wheel and gear knob, a better alarm, cruise control, parking sensors, and a pair of those handles on the A-pillars whose function appears solely to display one’s bicep to other motorists.
There’s more equipment besides, with the result that a Highline Transporter really feels like a high class, high quality product – and one that Volkswagen itself is keen to stress is highly influenced by its car range.
Interestingly, buyers will also be able to specify one of a few two-tone paint options, with contrasting top and bottom halves. Initially Volkswagen UK was against the idea, until it showed a couple to dealerships and they basically demanded it. It’s a painstaking and partly manual process to complete the job, we’re told, which is why it’s expected to cost in the region of £1500 as an option.
A whole raft of safety system are available, much of it groundbreaking in the van market. These include Emergency City Braking and Active Cruise Control. The latter will prove very useful for those driving big miles on the motorways, especially abroad.
Other than that, it’s as you were for the Transporter. It remains the classy choice. The choice for those who want understated refinement first, outright space second. That said, this is still a capacious and flexible van.