VW Transporter SWB T30

  • 2.0-litre 138bhp engine is refined and pulls well
  • Sliding side doors offer excellent practicality
  • Prices start at just over £19k with £3,817 VAT 

Moving home can be a very stressful business. Inevitably, you will tell yourself that you don't have much stuff and that the process will go through seamlessly and smoothly. You might even purge yourself of what you regard as needless items prior to your move.

When the day comes you'll realise how much stuff you have accumulated, even after a clear-out, and for gamblers who think that their MPV is enough to do the job, they may well have to think again. There's nothing worse than a three-journey move to a new home.

The smart move is to get hold of a van and, having taken three trips on a previous move using a Peugeot 5008 - a perfectly acceptable, roomy MPV - a proper van, with a sizeable enough cargo capacity, would only be good enough for this latest domestic challenge.

This time around a short wheelbase T30 Volkswagen Transporter was secured. This version has a load length of 2570mm, a height of 1410mm, a width of 1692mm with the space between wheelarches measuring 1244mm. Load volume is 5.8 cubic metres and the payload is 729kg. There are four tie-down points as standard and more can be specified, plus the rear doors open fully so there is clear access to the rear of the van for easy loading.

Now that's just a lot of figures but in practicality the Transporter was able to house two drumkits, a snowboard bag, a wooden audio cabinet, five oversized clothes bags, stereo, kitchen stuff, a mini stereo, golf clubs and golf trolley, a stupidly large flatscreen television, six pictures and about eight boxloads of pointless frippery.

It wasn't jam-packed in the cargo area, more three-quarters full, and with a sliding door on the passenger side the packing process wasn't that hunchback-inducing trauma that a home-move so often becomes.

So, one trip was enough to transfer everything from Chalfont Giles to Crouch End in London, and as far as the driving experience was concerned, there was nothing to complain about. The Transporter's 2.0-litre diesel engine felt refined and with 138bhp and 340Nm available there's was more than enough power and torque available to maintain unflustered acceleration. The six-speed manual was smooth and the noise of the diesel was fairly well contained in the cabin. It rode well too, without being bouncy, and it wasn't that bad around corners either. With all the home contents stored in the back, however, caution was the order of the day.

If efficiency is a priority then the Transporter is a good option. Official combined fuel consumption with a 50% capacity is around 36mpg but emissions are relatively high 203g/km meaning a fairly onerous tax bill.

Inside it's robust yet functional. Switches feel solid and the radio has neat buttons and a quality feel, plus you get a single CD player. The steering wheel is adjustable for height and rake, while door mirrors need adjusting by hand. The driver's seat is adjustable for height, lumbar, reach and rake and although we didn't have sat nav, it is on the options list as is a leather steering wheel and gearknob, fixed bulkheads, electric windows and air conditioning.

Our van's base price was £19,085 with £3,817 VAT and a delivery charge of £500. With that you get a three-year/100,000-mile warranty or two years with unlimited mileage. 

Also consider:

Ford Transit

The default choice, and although it doesn’t have hi-tech features of its rivals, it’s a competent machine.

Mercedes-Benz Vito

Excellent build quality but you will have to pay a bit more.

Vauxhall Vivaro

Like the Transit, it is a popular choice but not without shortcomings: a lack of refinement is one