New Volkswagen Transporter T6 makes debut
The wraps have come off Volkswagen's latest generation Transporter, though first UK models won't hits these shores until the final quarter of the year.
Volkswagen’s Transport van, first launched in 1950 and now in its sixth incarnation, is, alongside the Ford Transit one of the big brand icons of the light commercial vehicle sector. Launched 15 years before Transit, the Transporter has carved out a formidable reputation among commercial and leisure users. The latest, Generation Six, has been unveiled and while the external changes are evolutionary, rather than the full regime change makeover, under the skin the product has been extensively revamped – the dash, interior and engineers come in for special attention.
Dealing with the external changes first the Transporter gets a restyled bonnet, front and rear bumpers, wing mirrors, radiator grille and tailgate, though the most striking change is the arrival of the new LED headlights ensuring you’ll be able to spot the new from old out on the road. Inside, the designers have been let loose with a bit more budget and the dashboard has been completely redesigned – in the passenger versions the focus is on sleek design and stylish layout, while commercial users get a more robust solution, in keeping with the likely applications, and less fascia intrusion, allowing more legroom for the centre passenger. There’s a new steering wheel and the doors and trim levels have been improved.
Under the bonnet the Transporter is well prepared for the Euro-6 emissions protocol change, with a new range of 2.0-litre TDI diesel engines powering the line-up. In Euro-5 guise this engine is available at 84, 102, 140 and 180hp, while at Euro-6, mandatory from September 2016, the power options are 84, 102, 150 and 204hp. A choice of five or six-speed manual and seven-speed auto transmission gets the power to the wheels. Initially the UK will limit its Euro-6 offer to the 102hp. “We intend to monitor take up and add further engine options if required,” a spokesman told us. “Obviously we’ll have the full line-up in place for September 2016.” The engine uses SCR to control emissions, which will mean the added complication of AdBlue top-up for van users, though it is expected all van makers will have to adopt this clean-up technology, so we’ll no doubt soon get used to topping up two tanks.
Volkswagen has added plenty of other gizmos to the new generation Transporter all intended to improve safety and comfort. These including adaptive cruise control, city emergency brake and light assist which automatically flips the headlights between dip and main beam. All UK versions of the new T6 will be equipped with BlueMotion Technology giving the promise of a 15% fuel efficiency improvement over the outgoing model – though that doesn’t include the additional cost of the AdBlue. We’ll await some further trials, before pronouncing on the fuel efficiency benefits of the new Transporter.