What's the used Volkswagen Transporter van like?
With short and long wheelbases, standard, medium and high roof heights and four trim levels – Startline, Trendline, Highline and Sportline – as just the basic choices, the Volkswagen Transporter T6 is understandably known as a versatile model with hundreds of different configurations and options.
Throw in 4Motion four-wheel-drive variants, as well as single and double-cab chassis, crew vans, minibus and executive shuttle buses, and the possibilities soon become seemingly limitless.
Most Transporters come with a six-speed manual gearbox, except the 83bhp and 102bhp diesels, which get five ratios. However, for those seeking an automatic, the seven-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox is the best in the mid-sized van sector. The drawbacks are that it’s pricey to buy and you run the risk of serious costs should it fail out of warranty.
The 204bhp petrol is definitely the most entertaining of the engine choices, with all the power being delivered through the front wheels. However, our recommendation would be the 148bhp diesel, because its balance of power and 251lb ft of torque, combined with the six-speed gearbox, makes it the best option for both low-speed city driving and motorway miles.
Reducing the vibrations that get inside was a big priority for Volkswagen with the T6, and it has certainly done a good job. However, much of the sensitivity of the steering and its connection to the road have also been numbed by its lightness. The ride is smooth, though, and with a partial load on board, the Transporter feels much more secure on the road.
Volkswagen commercial vehicle interiors have often been a bit dreary, because they tend to prioritise functionality over appearance. The T6 adheres to that principle, although there are touches of refinement across the cab, such as two-tone top and bottom dashboard sections, splashes of chrome trim and many different grades of plastic.
This T6 Transporter maintains the exact same loadspace dimensions as the T5 – this is in order to allow racking and other modular systems to be easily transferred. That means a 1410mm height for the standard vans, 1626mm for medium vans and 1940mm for the high roof versions. Length ranges from 2572mm for the short models to 2975mm for the long-wheelbase vans. The shorter Transporter is 50mm longer than the equivalent Ford Transit Custom, while the longer version is 50mm shorter than the long-wheelbase Transit Custom.
Load volumes range from 5.8m3 to 9.3m3, which for the short-wheelbase Transporter is in-line with its rivals, while the long-wheelbase high-roof option has the largest capacity of any vehicle in this segment. The maximum usable width across the loadspace is 1175mm, while the width between the rear wheel arches is 1244mm. Payload ranges from 685kg to a maximum of 1217kg. A single sliding side door and twin rear doors are fitted as standard.
The Transporter was one of the first vans to bring passenger car safety into vans, adding features such as city automatic emergency braking to prevent low-speed bumps and automatic post-collision braking to reduce follow-on and secondary accidents.
Both are fitted as standard on all Transporters, along with Brake Assist (to increase braking force in an emergency) and a driver tiredness alert system.
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