While the latest emissions regulations have forced the hand of many manufacturers to adopt new engines, Volkswagen’s 2.0-litre diesel has only had to have the exhaust system reworked in order to meet the much tougher standard. Options of either an 89bhp, 108bhp or 148bhp unit remain, while the twin-turbocharged version of the same engine delivers 196bhp.
All of this means there is relatively little difference between the T6 and T6.1 in the way they propel you up the road. Our recommendation would be the 148bhp diesel, because its balance of power and torque makes it the best option for both low-speed city driving and motorway miles.
There is a difference in the way the latest Transporter handles, though, due to its new steering. Where the previous setup felt overly light and floaty, the new one is much more precise and offers excellent straight-line stability. Plus, like its bigger relative, the Crafter, the Transporter T6.1 manages to disguise its size admirably.
All Transporters are fitted with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, but the seven-speed DSG automatic alternative is definitely an option we'd choose, not least because now, thanks to the steering enhancement, it allows the van to bring itself to a complete standstill when using adaptive cruise control – great for traffic jams.
Except for a redesigned front suspension system in the passenger Multivan versions of the T6.1, nothing else has changed with the mechanicals, so the ride remains smooth, even when the van is lightly loaded.