Volkswagen’s Transporter received a revamp at the beginning of 2010, although you’d be hard put to spot the difference between the old model and the new one. That’s because the external changes are low-key. The big alterations are under the metal.
It’s bye-bye to the old 1.9- and 2.5-litre diesels and hello to a new, Euro 5, common rail four-cylinder 2.0-litre TDI diesel generating 84hp, 102hp, 140hp or 180hp. Maximum torque output is 220Nm, 250Nm, 340Nm and 400Nm respectively.
The two least-powerful diesel burners are married to a five-speed manual gearbox. Their stable-mates are fitted with a six-speeder but can also be ordered with an optional and to-die-for seven-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG). A semi-automatic twin-clutch transmission, it features an overdrive top gear for use on high-speed long-distance runs.
Grossing at from 2.6 to 3.2 tonnes, the latest version of the legendary Transporter is marketed with two different wheelbases and three different roof heights. Cargo space runs from 5.8m3 to 9.3m3 while payload capacity extends from 729kg to 1,333kg.
ABS is standard as is Electronic Stability Programme (it should of course be fitted to all makes of panel vans) complete with Hill Holder to make it easier for drivers to move away on inclines.
Turning to the cab, it’s good to see that the dials have been upgraded, with white-on-black graphics remarkable for their clarity. The new radio/CD players and satellite navigation systems are to be welcomed too.
Unfortunately the cab’s interior styling, like Transporter’s external appearance, is somewhat dull. It’s a pity that VW’s designers weren’t a bit more courageous.
On the positive side Transporter’s quality is rock solid and the vehicle is a treat to drive. It rides and handles well, the gearchange is smooth and the more powerful derivatives in the range offer exemplary performance.
Service intervals are set at 25,000 miles on most models, with the 180bhp version reduced to 18,000 miles. A three-year/100,000-mile mechanical warranty is provided.
Don’t forget that Transporter is also produced as a chassis cab, a chassis double cab and a window van and in Kombi and Shuttle people-carrier guise. Don’t forget the 4x4 4MOTION variant either.
Click here for a Video Buyers' Guide report of the pre-2010 Transporter.