Volkswagen’s T6 Transporter
The new VW mid-sized contender
The last few weeks have seen VW making plenty of headlines and all for the wrong reasons. It must be some relief to the management at Wolfsburg, Germany to be able to announce some good news. That good news is the impending arrival in the UK of the first examples of their new mid range van/minibus model, the T6, better known by many as the Transporter or Caravelle.
This model started life 65 years ago as the archetypal rear engined VW camper van beloved of hippies. Over the years it has been transformed, particularly with the introduction some years ago of the T45 and subsequently the T5 ranges, into a very successful and popular contender in this sector of the market. Around 12 million vehicles have been produced with more than 300,000 have been sold in the UK since it arrived in right hand drive form in 1954. It has been the number one light commercial vehicle in Germany for decades and the T5 version sold some two million units around the world during its 11 years in production
Many bus and coach operators have a VW Transporter in their fleet for use as a crew bus, shuttle bus, schools/social services vehicle, local authority licensed private hire vehicle or as a taxi. The fact that it is available wheelchair accessible is an added bonus. It is also popular as a conversion base for specialist operations perhaps the most notable being the Mellor (formerly Bluebird) Tucana directly wheelchair accessible 15 seat minibus.
The VW T-series has become a design icon during its six decade evolution. The new T6 Transporter has been carefully updated to retain that iconic look but offering a more modern, sharper appearance. The lines and edges run continuously from the front to the rear of the vehicle but the new Transporter remains immediately recognisable. As with the previous generation, the new Transporter is offered in many different forms. The solid foundation on which all models are based remains the extensive commercial van range and the Shuttle minibus or MPV Transporter models, but there are also the Caravelle and Kombi dual purpose vehicles. Created both for commercial and private use, these spacious multi-purpose vehicles are highly versatile. Designers and engineers have also covered
a broad spectrum inside and developed high-quality, luxury car standard interiors for all of the
The heart of the new VW T6 is a completely new generation of TDI engines offering both Euro5+ or Euro6 conformity depending on requirement. The engines are 2.0 litre four cylinder common rail, direct injection, turbocharged diesels. Emission control on the Euro6 engines is achieved by the use of AdBlue. VW are claiming that they develop more power, are quieter and more fuel efficient than the previous engines.
At this point I must point out that these engines, and indeed their predecessors in the T5 and Crafter ranges, are totally unaffected by the recent debacle over emission control figures because VW did not, and do not, use software for optimising emission control on these engines. The smaller Caddy,
which is widely used as a taxi, if fitted with the Euro5 EA189 series 1.6TDI and 2.0litre TDI engines, could be affected.
The new T6 engines are available with outputs of 84bhp (62kW); 102bhp (75kW); 150bhp (110kW), 180bhp (132kw) and to special order 204bhp (150kW). The engines are transversely mounted and angled forwards by eight degrees. All the new engines have automatic stop/start systems to promote further fuel efficiency. There is no petrol engine alternative initially, although this will become available later in 2016. There are also no plans at the moment for electric or hybrid alternatives
The engines are matched to either five or six speed manual transmission or those with Euro6 engines with power outputs of 140bhp and higher can also be supplied with the seven speed DSG automated transmission. Not all transmissions are available on
The new T6 bristles with features like the new adaptive chassis control, Dynamic Cruise Control (DCC) which provides three interchangeable driving modes: economy, normal and power. In each case, the electrically adjustable shock absorbers adapt to the chosen style via a preselected programme.
The variable seating layouts particularly in the Transporter give maximum operational flexibility.
Even opening and closing the tailgate is made easy. Aside from a purely manual operation, the Transporter is now available with the option of automatic opening/closing which can be activated at the rear of the vehicle or remotely from the vehicle’s key or by a button on the driver’s door.
Safety has always been high on the VW agenda and they have been in the vanguard of introducing new systems like ADSP (Adaptive ESP). New on the T6 is Front Assist, which uses radar to provide a frontal area monitoring system that recognises critical distances to the vehicle in front and helps to shorten the stopping distance. In dangerous situations the system warns the driver visually and audibly, as well as with a slight jolt of the brake. With adaptive cruise control (ACC), a sensor measures the distance to the vehicle in front and the relative speed. In combination with the DSG, the ACC system can also slow the vehicle down, for example in queues or traffic jam situations, to a complete stop. Depending on the situation, ACC then starts up again automatically after a predefined period. An integral component of Front Assist and ACC is the City Emergency Braking function, which provides assistance at low speeds of under 30 km/h (19 mph), significantly improving safety, especially in
dense city traffic. If the driver fails to see an obstacle, the system automatically applies the brakes and ensures that the collision-speed is reduced. In order to minimise the risk related to this scenario, the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System is provided as standard in the Transporter. Another
option is Light Assist that performs automatic, camera-controlled switching on and off of the main headlight beam.
The new Driver Alert System, which is standard in vehicles with a multifunction display, recognises any deviations from normal driving behaviour and recommends the driver takes a break.
Another new option is an electronic voice enhancement system which helps the driver to communicate with rear passengers while keeping their eyes focussed on what is happening on the road in front. Without any turning of the head, the driver’s voice can be automatically amplified and played back to the passengers over the Transporter’s radio system loudspeakers.
As you would expect with a new vehicle in this class it bristles with entertainment and
communication systems. Much of it comes as standard but there is also a vast array of additional optional equipment available.
The T6 Transporter comes in two lengths. The long wheelbase version is 5.292m long whilst the short wheelbase version is 4.892m long. There are three heights: 2m, 2.176m and 2.476m.
The Shuttle versions offer sliding side door entry and provide seating for up to nine people including the driver. The Caravelle version has the ability to slide the rear row of seats forward to create more luggage capacity and the front two seats can be revolved through 360 degrees to allow the passengers to face the rear row of seats and there is also a table!
There is no doubt that the new T6 Transporter is a stunning addition to the VW range and despite their recent problems I think it will prove to be every bit as popular as its predecessors.
For further information contact your local VW Van Centre or dealer or go to their