Volkswagen Transporter T5 versus T6

  • What does the extra money get you?
  • Is the new vehicle worth the extra money?
  • Both vans are very structurally similar

Also read: Volkswagen Transporter T5 review

Also read: Volkswagen Transporter T6 review

Earlier this summer, we tested the sixth generation of the Volkswagen Transporter and this month the firm released prices and specifications. With very few differences on the outside, lots of customers will be wondering what differences there are between the models, and if the new model is worth the extra money.


Volkswagen Transporter T6

A brief look at the specifications also reveals very little differences between the two models. Nominal gross vehicle weights (2.6t, 2.8t, 3t, 3.2t), load derivatives (two load lengths and three heights), payload (720kg to 1,330kg), engine outputs (2-litre with 83bhp, 101bhp, 138bhp and 178bhp) remain relatively unchanged, although there is now the option of a Euro-6 engine.

The only main difference to the line-up is the lack of a Sportline trim level for the Transporter T6. The Sportline, which features enhanced styling features, semi-automatic air conditioning, multimedia system including seven-inch colour touch screen with full European satellite navigation and rear parking sensors, is only available on the T5 and expected to be launched on the T6 in the next couple of years.

In the cab

Volkswagen Transporter T6

Volkswagen Transporter T5

One of the aspects of the new Volkswagen Transporter T6 that we were impressed with the most was the interior. Although bulkheads still aren’t a standard feature, all T6s come with a DAB radio with a five-inch touchscreen display and Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

The Volkswagen Transporter T5 still offered quite a number of comfort features though. The T5 had a tyre monitoring system to alert the driver if there is a change in tyre pressure, plus ‘side assist’ which warns the driver if there are any vehicles in the blindspot.

There is also a cornering light incorporated in the front fog light to illuminate the road in the direction in which the vehicle is turning, plus a reversing camera to display the area behind the van, with ‘virtual’ lines showing where it is going.

On top of the T5 models, the T6 also features a stylish new leather multifunction steering wheel, heated windscreen, automatic driving light control and additional noise suppression is also fitted as standard.

Load Area

Volkswagen Transporter T5

Volkswagen Transporter T6

Very little behind the B-pillar has been altered, so the business end of the vehicle has stayed very much the same. The two load lengths (2,570mm and 2,970mm) and three roof heights (1,410mm, 1,626mm and 1,940mm) correspond to give load volumes of between 5.8 and 9.3 cubic metres.

On the road

Alterations to the ride and handling may be modest, but they’re certainly noticeable. As previously mentioned, the engineers at Volkswagen have put a lot of effort into suppressing the road and engine noise, creating a more refined feel. Another slight improvement worth mentioning was the gear changes; they’re a lot less notchy than the previous generation.

Total Life Costs

An obvious advantage to the previous generation is the amount of deals and offers provided by Volkswagen on the outgoing T5. A lot of dealers are also offering preregistered models which also represent huge savings.

On the other hand, when it comes to selling, the T6 will be worth more due to the higher residual values of the new model.

Volkswagen had to reduce the size of the fuel tank by 10 litres (80 litres down to 70 litres) in the T6 to accommodate the new Adblue tank, so the tank range of the T5 is further than its predecessor.

However, it may not go as far as you think as all T6 models benefit from Volkswagen’s Bluemotion Technology modifications, which include low rolling resistance tyres, regenerative braking and Start/Stop systems, to reduce fuel consumption.

For example, the T6 2-litre 101bhp panel van SWB can return 47.9 mpg on the combined cycle (a 10.2 mpg improvement) and emits 153 g/km of CO2 (a reduction of 45 g/km).

Safety systems

Volkswagen Transporter T5

When the Transporter T5 was updated in 2009, a number of new safety systems were introduced for the first time. These include ARP (anti rollover protection), Ready Alert Brake and Rain Brake Support for faster braking, a trailer stabilisation function, and an all-new hill start assistant.

While the T6 features all of these, it also benefits from Volkswagen’s acclaimed Automatic Post Collision Braking system, which automatically applies the brakes after a collision, reducing the risk of a secondary impact.

In addition to appearing on the new Volkswagen Caddy, Front Assist makes its debut on the Transporter. It works in conjunction with new Adaptive Cruise Control and City Emergency Brake, and uses sensors to ‘see’ vehicles around it, applying the brakes in the event the van senses an impending an accident.


Structurally, not much seems to have changed on the Volkswagen Transporter T6 but the advancements in safety and fuel economy will be a welcome to change to a lot of operators. Volkswagen has, wisely, played it safe, as the current product is one of the firm favourites among medium van operators. If you've got the money, go for the new model, but if not you won't be disappointed with the T5 either.