The Transporter hardly needs any introduction, Ford’s rival to the Transit has a long heritage of its own, a cult following of loyal fans, and this new version has even been crowned International Van of the Year for 2016. So, why do so many people love this Volkswagen van? Well, it has a reputation for being classy as well as tough, which obviously appeals to businesses and trades people alike. Not only that, but it’s also renowned for its car-like drive and the fact a myriad of different configurations are available. A big part of the Transporter’s respectable reputation comes from its interior, which is one of the very best in the business. Okay, so even this van doesn’t have any of the soft-touch materials you’d find in a Golf or Passat, but the colour scheme is very tasteful and everything feels like it’s built to take a few knocks.In fact, I somehow hit my head on this grab handle, and it almost knocked me out. You sit high up, and the view out is particularly lofty, so you get an incredible view of what’s happening ahead. It’s comfortable, with steering wheels than look like they’re straight from the car range, well-placed pedals and gear lever and simple controls. But, if you’re particularly tall, the very upright driving position might not suit you, and the two passenger seats aren’t as supportive or well-padded as the driver’s seat. The entry Startline trim gets a five-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth and DAB radio, while this Trendline adds a multifunction display, Comfort pack, cruise control and rear parking sensors.Here we also have the excellent but optional Discover navigation system. There’s also a Highline trim, with automatic everything, a heated windscreen, LED DRLs and a leather steering wheel. First things first, the Transporter is available in short and long wheelbases and with three roof heights. These give load volumes from 5.8m3 to 9.3m3 and a payload up to 1,331kg. The rear doors open 180 degrees as standard, while 250 degree opening doors are optional. The sliding side door is 1,017mm wide and 1,282mm tall, unless you have the high roof, which comes with the option of a 1.7m tall side door for There’s door activated lighting and a standard half-height hardboard lining and steel floor, while the Trendline trim adds a full-height steel bulkhead to separate you from your cargo. You also get six lashing points, or eight in the long wheelbase.The first
thing you notice, especially if you don’t drive vans all the time like me, is just how easy the Transport is to get along with. It’s smooth to get off the line, and although this five-speed has short gearing, so you soon row through them, the gearbox is a pleasure to use. This version probably the pick of the range, because its 2.0-litre TDI with 101bhp is the only Euro6 compliant motor and the most frugal, returning around 47mpg.Now, it might not sound powerful, but thanks to its 250NM of torque coming in barely above idle, it feels surprisingly punchy and refinement is also good. There’s also the option of Euro5 engines with 83, 138 and 178bhp, the last of which will appeal to anyone after the ultimate van, especially with its optional four-wheel drive and DSG gearbox. The steering is light at all speeds, which takes a bit of getting used to, but should reduce fatigue. There’s not much feel through it either, but once your confidence grows, there’s enough grip and very little body roll.The brakes also feel well up to the job of stopping cargo and a heavy trailer. Special mention goes to the suspension too, because unlike many vans, the Transporter doesn’t feel like it wants to hop or skip around over bumps when it’s unladen. The Transporter starts from £18,610 on the road, excluding VAT, while this 101bhp Trendline costs from £22,040, making it a few hundred quid more than a Transit, but cheaper than a Vauxhall Vivaro. While it might be more of a refresh than an all-new model, the T6 Transporter offers some useful improvements over the T5.Most notably, the new Euro6 engine is a cracker, despite its seemingly modest power output. The Transporter’s reputation for being classy is also present and correct, although we’d love to see an even-more comfortable and car-like interior for the T7 when that arrives. But could you see your company name on the side of this Transporter? Let us know in the comments section below and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel. To research your next car and find great deals, visit carkeys.co.uk and, to watch more reviews, click on the links on screen now. .