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Carrying people and goods in style is the job of the Sportline Kombi, says Dan Gilkes People carrier

Carrying people and goods in style is the job of the Sportline Kombi, says Dan Gilkes

Just when you thought you had reached peak Transporter, with the Sportline van that we tested in March, Volkswagen has taken things a step further with a Kombi version of that same van. Raising the bar even higher, the test van is a Black Edition of the Sportline trim, with matt black wheels and side bars. 

Powertrain

The Kombi uses the same bi-turbo 2.0-litre diesel, with its 204hp and 450Nm of torque. The seven-speed, dual-clutch DSG automated transmission is standard too, making for a refined and rapid driveline.

It really is a smooth engine and a pleasure to drive, though you have to keep an eye on the dash on dual carriageways and motorways, as it is easy to push the boundaries.

Load carrying capacity 

Where some manufacturers, like Ford, put a hard bulkhead in behind the second row of seats in a Kombi, Volkswagen chooses not to. That means that, with folding and removable rear seating, it is possible to turn the Kombi into a full-size van if desired. It also results in a 1,039kg payload, so VAT registered businesses will be able to claim the tax back on the purchase.

The downside of this move is that, despite a fitted floor covering, there is no getting away from the road noise coming from the load area. It’s not too bad at lower speeds on smoother surfaces, but on the scarred concrete of the lower end of the M25 around London it was really noticeable and not the sort of intrusive noise level that you might expect of a van with this sort of price tag.

In the cab

As a range-topping model, the Sportline wants for nothing in the cab, with Nappa Leather and Alcantara heated seating, the Discover Media system with 8” touchscreen and Volkswagen’s impressive Digital Dash. Adaptive Cruise Control and a crystal-clear rear-view camera with parking sensors are also part of the standard trim, though for some reason you would have to pay an extra £245 for Road Sign Recognition.

On the road

As with the Sportline van that we tried recently, the Kombi is in an exclusive group of very high trim vans that not only look great, but have the power and driving ability to match those looks. 

You are never left wanting when it comes to acceleration and the adaptive cruise control helps to smooth out those all too regular stop/start journeys on the UK’s crowded motorway network. For such a big vehicle, the handling is also surprisingly sharp, thanks no doubt to the lowered suspension and wider wheels.

Conclusion

If the Sportline van was eye-wateringly expensive, it will come as little surprise to find that adding a second row of seating does little to sweeten that particular bitter pill. However, as a mixed-use vehicle for a company owner or management level driver, the VW Kombi continues to offer an impressive mix of capabilities.

Used market hero status is also assured, which should keep residual values well above its lesser stablemates.

Van User Rating – 4.5