First Drive – Transporter T6.1
Volkswagen Transporter T28 Highline
BASIC PRICE £26,125
ENGINE 4-cyl 1,968cc POWER 110bhp @ 3,200-3,750 TORQUE 250Nm @ 1,400-3,000
GVW 2,800 KERB WEIGHT 1,914 PAYLOAD 886 MAX TRAILER WEIGHT 2,200
LOAD SPACE LENGTH 2,572 LOAD SPACE WIDTH 1,700 LOAD SPACE HEIGHT 1,410 WIDTH BETWEEN W/ARCHES 1,244 LOAD HEIGHT (UNLADEN) 568 LOAD VOLUME 5.8
Fuel tank capacity 70 AdBlue tank capacity 13 Combined fuel consumption* 37.7mpg Carbon dioxide emissions** 185-167g/km Oil Change Variable or 1 year/10,000 miles WARRANTY 3 years/100,000 miles
* WLTP **NEDC Derived
While a new Transporter with almost 200hp and a seven-speed DSG box is a wonderful thing, the fact is that most drivers are more likely to find themselves behind the wheel of a 110hp T28 with a five-speed manual. That’s not a bad place to find yourself of course, particularly if the fleet manager has ticked the Highline trim box.
Ignoring our test van’s rather odd Copper Bronze Metallic paint scheme, it’s certainly a good-looking vehicle. The designer’s pen has sharpened the lines nicely and the interior is even better. Of course, it helps that VW has added a few choice options to the van, though the 8” Discover Media Navigation system is not the easiest to use, even with voice control.
As mentioned, there is no Trendline mid-range trim any more. However, even Startline models come with a 6.5” touchscreen with DAB radio and various connections for mobile equipment. Be aware though that VW has moved from standard USB to the smaller USB-C connectors, so you’ll probably need an adaptor to plug in a current smartphone. Startline vans also get electric windows and heated door mirrors, Crosswind Assist, stability control and a multi-function steering wheel.
Move up to the Highline model and you add adaptive cruise control, an alarm, auto headlights and wipers, body-coloured mirror housings, door handles and bumpers, air conditioning, electric folding mirrors, front fog lights with a cornering function, a heated front windscreen and parking sensors front and rear. It’s a very comfortable place to spend the day.
All of the vans at the launch were supplied half laden, with a pallet of stone securely tied down in the rear. Despite that, the 110hp engine has more than enough power to keep up with traffic. The five-speed manual gearbox has well-spaced ratios, that allow motorway speeds without too many revs. The van is also considerably quieter and smoother than some that we have tried in the past.
You would probably need to jump from a previous generation van to this one to register any difference in the power steering, which is perhaps a sign that it has been well integrated into the van. The big difference would of course be seen if any of the driver assistance systems were triggered. Certainly, with optional front and rear sensors and a rear camera fitted, manoeuvring and parking required little effort.
Rumour has it that a T7 has already been spotted in testing and that the next generation of VW’s most popular van will take a much bigger step forward. For now, however, few drivers would have cause to complain if they were provided with the T6.1. Plus, with a growing suite of connected services for small and larger fleets, managers and company owners should see financial benefits from this latest update.