Volkswagen Transporter T28 2.0 TDI Highline Panel Van:
Like the Caddy before it, Volkswagen Commercial has appeared to have gone with the theory that ‘if it isn’t broke don’t fix it’ – looks deceive with the new Transporter T6, for apart from new bumpers, lights and mirrors it could be the outgoing T5, but under the skin it’s more refined.
It’s inside and under the metal where the biggest changes have occurred.
We got to drive the latest T28 Euro 6-compliant panel van in range-topping Highline trim to see if it has the measure of its rivals.
- The basic Transporter shape looks no different from the outgoing T5, but Volkswagen has added styling lines that mirror their passenger car designs. You won’t miss the bigger new Highlights at the front, the wider front grille with chrome trim on our Highline model and the all-new front bumper, with its wide air intake. At the side, there’s a sharper belt line and slick looking repeaters. At the back, there are more modern-looking light clusters and a new rear bumper.
- If you’re disappointed with the evolutionary exterior looks, you’ll be pleased to hear that the changes are more obvious in the T6’s interior. Like the Caddy, we reckon the dashboard redesign has been influenced by the latest Volkswagen passenger cars. The more horizontal design looks more modern, there’s an impressive amount of stowage and all the switchgear is logically located.
- The latest Volkswagen Transporter feels well-made and durable – a cut above rivals
- You have to climb up to get behind the wheel of the new Transporter, but it’s easy to get comfortable with the tall driving position when you’re there. The standard seats are supportive, the switchgear is logically placed and the instruments easy to read at a glance.
- Highline is the range-topper and is well-equipped with Bluetooth, Climatic air-conditioning, electric windows, heated and power adjustable wing mirrors, a heated front windscreen, 5-inch touchscreen DAB radio and CD player for a considerable £27,282.
- On top of all the standard equipment, Transporter drivers also get car-like assistance and safety systems, with adaptive cruise control, automatic city braking and post-collision braking. A driver monitoring system is also fitted as standard, with audio and visual signals triggered when the driver’s behaviour indicates fatigue.
- Although not as sharp and car-like as the Transit, the new Transporter impresses with its calm and refined drive. The ride on the 16-inch wheels is refined and isn’t easily upset on pot-holed roads and although there is some body roll in corners, the Caddy handles tidily and there’s plenty of grip. The steering is also light and the gearchange pleasingly slick
- We’ve got the latest Euro6 2.0-litre with 101bhp here, that’s the same engine we tried in the smaller new Caddy. Torquey is the best way to describe it in the new Transporter. Acceleration is reasonable, with 62mph coming up in 15.4 seconds.
- The engine is all about efficiency and this Transporter can achieve 47.9mpg on the Combined Cycle, with CO2 emissions of 153g/km. This is good to know if the government moves to emissions-based taxation for vans.
- The latest Transporter offers the largest range of body styles offered by any single van manufacturer, so says Volkswagen. These comprise of a choice of wheelbases, three roof heights, four gross vehicle weights, and panel van, Kombi, Shuttle, Caravelle and California versions. Ours is the standard T28 panel version with the 4.3 m3 load area and kg payload. Further Transporter practicality comes in the form of a sliding side door and twin rear doors.
- The new dashboard design looks as sharp as any of Volkswagen’s cars, but it’s a shame it’s still made of hard plastic that looks like it will scratch easily.
- Taller drivers will bemoan the lack of legroom – driving with your knees touching the dashboard isn’t comfortable!
- The new Euro 6 2.0-litre might be economical, but it gets noisy when worked hard and we think refinement at speed could be further improved by fitting a six-speed gearbox.
- Our Highline might be the range-topper, but option prices soon mount up and with just a couple of them, our test van totalled an eye-watering £29,992!
Verdict on Transporter T28 2.0 TDI Highline Panel Van:
The outgoing T5 Transporter was one of our favourites; after all it’s our current Crew Van of the Year. Will this be a winner in 2016? Having driven this T28 panel higline panel version, we think there’s going to be a real fight for the prize!
Why? Well, despite the styling being all about evolution than revolution, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles have worked on polishing further the parts that matter and have come up with one of the most refined and efficient vans available.
|On the road price (ex VAT):||£22,735|
|Load length:||2,572 mm|
|Load width (max):||1,700 mm|
|Load height:||1,410 mm|
|Towing capacity braked/unbraked:||2,200kg/750kg|
|Engine:||2.0-litre four-cylinder, common rail turbo diesel|
Note subtle changes to the rear of the new Volkswagen Transporter T28