We must admit to feeling a tad sorry for the poor old Volkswagen Transporter at present. It’s been the undisputed king of the medium van castle for yonks now, with its legendary Teutonic build quality and sky high residual values.
Transporters seem to go on forever – and when you come to sell them, you’ll have a queue of people outside your office trying to bite your hands off.
No wonder our judges named it the Business Van of the Year 2014
Then along comes the Ford Transit Custom, threatening to knock the Transporter off its throne. And boy, is the Custom a worthy rival! As if that isn’t enough, Renault and Vauxhall launched a brand new Trafic/Vivaro this year – and once again, the Transporter gets knocked down the pecking order.
the Transporter is still a superb driving machine. It’s just that up against these new rivals, it doesn’t feel quite as cutting edge as it once did
Don’t get us wrong – the Transporter is still a superb driving machine. It’s just that up against these new rivals, it doesn’t feel quite as cutting edge as it once did.
What VW has done to try and fight off the challenge from these newer vehicles is to launch a range of new variants offering extra goodies and better fuel economy – and the ploy seems to be working as VW is still sitting firmly at No2 in the van sales charts, tucked in behind Ford.
So we whistled up a Transporter from our friends at VW HQ in Milton Keynes to see just how much it has really suffered – if at all – against this onslaught of new models.
Our test model has the modestly-powered 114bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel powerplant which weighs in at £19,245 ex-VAT, although our van had a fair amount of paid-for extras, including a sat-nav system at £678, Bluetooth connectivity at £282, rubber floor covering in the cargo area at £156 and rear parking sensors at £264.
Standard spec includes the usual array of safety systems such as ESP and ABS, remote central locking with deadlocks, a stop-start system, electric windows and electric heated mirrors and dual airbags.