Volkswagen Transporter Kombi long-term test: report 4

The Volkswagen Transporter Kombi medium-sized van promises car-like equipment and refinement. Our senior photographer is living with one to see if it delivers...

Volkswagen Transporter at the pub

The car Volkswagen Transporter T32 SWB Highline Kombi 2.0 TDI 150PS 7spd DSG Run by Will Williams, senior photographer

Why it’s here To show that just because you need a lot of space, you don't have to sacrifice luxury or driving enjoyment

Needs to Tackle family and work duties in tandem, make long drives a breeze and function as a mobile office when needed

List price £44,406 Price as tested £50,670 Miles 8400 Official Economy 36.7mpg Test Economy 37.7mpg

3 April 2022 – The popular vote

Now that I’ve lived with my vibrant Volkswagen Transporter for a couple of months, a long overdue catch up with two mates at a rural Wiltshire pub helped me put my finger on what its colour reminds me of.

“Blimey, it looks like a Quality Street green triangle,” was the verdict from my mates. Essentially, they both really rated the Transporter's colour, which, to give it its correct title, is Bay Leaf Green.

Like me, they like their interesting cars, so because we were making a weekend of it, Barney brought his mint-condition original Audi TT Roadster along, while Rob turned up in his recently purchased BMW M2 Competition. 

In light of that glamorous company, the Transporter seemed unlikely to be the main topic of conversation. However, I shouldn't have underestimated its powers. The Quality Street-like Volkswagen charmed them both and prompted plenty of questions about what it was like to drive and how I’d specced it.

Volkswagen Transporter side

Barney was impressed with the classy look of the interior, compared with conventional Volkswagen passenger cars, not to mention the sheer space on offer.

Rob was taken with the fact that you can spec a Transporter with optional LED headlights, heated seats and standard adaptive cruise control, luxuries that feature on his more exotic (and vastly more expensive) M2. 

The drive home was glorious, too, taking in roads that I’d spent much more time on while riding my motorbike. Okay, I might not have been having quite as much fun as Barney or Rob, or as I did on my old Suzuki bike, but it was still very enjoyable, especially on a beautiful spring morning. 

The perfectly weighted and super-accurate steering of the Transporter helped here, as did the fantastic visibility over the Wiltshire hedgerows. And for the first time since I’ve had the Transporter, the early sun's warmth coming through the glass meant that I needed to crank up the air conditioning to keep the temperature comfortable inside.

What has also struck me in recent weeks is the strengths that made the Transporter so enjoyable over that weekend make it just as good in town.

Volkswagen Transporter multi-storey car park

The van's visibility and the tight turning circle made it so capable in a tight multi-storey car park when I was recently shooting another of our long-term test cars, the BMW iX3 belonging to editor Steve Huntingford. 

As I followed him out of the car park, his smaller iX3 had to perform three-point turns at the bottom of every ramp to get around the corners. In the much larger VW, I could make every turn in one without raising a sweat, and without even using full lock. 

After visiting County Durham, Stoke-on-Trent and everywhere in between in recent weeks, the Transporter is edging close to its first 10,000-mile service, and the service indicator light has recently come on to tell me as such. After getting a couple of quotes, the car is booked in, and I’ll report back next time.

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