Build quality in the Transporter cabin is high with hard plastics that look like they can withstand a lot of punishment. Legroom is a problem in the new models for both passengers and drivers, so it would be prudent to try the van for size and make sure they will be comfortable before making the buying decision. At least those who want the configuration of the 3-seat cabin will find that the middle berth is more spacious than with several rival versions. Electric windows, central locking and electrically adjustable wing mirrors are standard, while the driver’s seat is balanced for height, lumbar, reach and rake. There’s also a 230-volt socket next to the driver’s seat and a lockable compartment on the passenger side, if mentioned, right under the double bench seat. A curious peculiarity is that all versions of T6.1 are only available with USB C ports (up to four). Volkswagen is looking ahead and proving the range for the future, but at the moment, USB A is probably the most common interface because many people cannot hook up their phones.
T6.1 version come with three different infotainment systems to choose from. The selection starts with the simple Composition Color, which is still a drop above those found elsewhere in the mid-size van segment but steps up to Discover Media or top-spec Discover Pro and the cabin is being transformed. Everyone who has spent much time in one of Volkswagen’s new cars would be familiar with the simple graphics and easy to understand gui.
Nevertheless, it is a shame that the 10.25-inch digital cockpit system is not available on the Transporter vans, because it is available on the Caravelle and Shuttle models carrying passengers as well as on the California camper van. Nonetheless, the analogue dials you use use their job well, with the tiny centre screen also showing the extra details you need.18Connectivity is also a huge part of the appeal of the T6.1, as all models now come with a fully integrated SIM card. It opens up a wide range of online functions through VW’s We Connect or We Connect Plus systems such as eCall, online route planning, remote locking and even filling station and parking details.
The range kicks off with an 89bhp model returning in a short-wheelbase, low roof Transporter panel van between 33.6 and 39.8mpg over the WLTP combined period. When you move up to the 108bhp TDI 110 engine range, the performance penalty is small — 32,5 to 37,7mpg combined — and at the top of things the 148bhp TDI 150 engine gets a 6-speed gearbox and exactly the same fuel economy rating as the comparable 5-speed TDI 110 models.18Choose the 7-speed DSG automatic gearbox range or 4Motion all-wheel drive and output will take another hit between 2 and 110 models. A powerful 196bhp twin-turbocharged engine completes the line-up, it is DSG-only and on official testing returns 28.8 to 32.5mpg.
To help meet these emission requirements, each engine features Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology that uses 13-liter onboard AdBlue tank injections to clean up exhaust emissions. Also standard is VW’s BlueMotion Technology (BMT) package which adds start / stop technology, regenerative braking, and low rolling resistance tyres.
With the new grille and LED headlight set-up, the T6.1 may look different at the front but stuff at the working end remain pretty much unchanged. Featuring three roof heights and four gross vehicle weights, VW continues to sell the Transporter in two wheelbases, offering load volumes from 5.8m3 to 9.3m3 featuring overall payloads of between 772 kg and 1.309 kg.