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Volkswagen Transporter T6 unveiled in Germany

Update (July 2015): Read 2015 Volkswagen Transporter T6 review

The sixth generation of the Volkswagen Transporter was unveiled this week in Germany. Dubbed the T6, it replaces the aging T5, which was introduced in 2003, and will hit UK dealerships in autumn 2015 – shortly after the Volkswagen Caddy.

Over 12 million examples have been produced since the first Transporter, or Type 2 as it was known, rolled off the production in 1950. Today, the Transporter is one of the UK’s best-selling medium vans, and is renowned for its build quality and residual values.

Overview

However, the previous generation was beginning to show its age and suffered from poor fuel economy and a lack of modern comfort features. Volkswagen has responded to this by increasing the fuel economy by 15 percent on average and introducing a new infotainment system and a whole host of driver aids.

Engines and driveline

Volkswagen’s well received 2-litre TDi unit will continue as the main engine choice on the Transporter. Torque values are yet to be announced, but there are now four increased power ratings of 83bhp, 101bhp, 148bhp and 202bhp.

All power ratings will be Euro 5 from launch, although there is the option of Euro 6 on the 101bhp variant. The rest of the Euro 6 engines will arrive in 2016.

Comfort

A new 6.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system has been installed, which uses proximity sensors to switch between ‘display’ and ‘input’ modes. This basically means that when you move your hand close to the screen, options come up for you to touch. If your hand isn't close-by, a larger map is displayed as the options aren't required.

It also doubles as a mobile phone interface, allowing access to the vehicle’s antenna and USB ports. The Transporter’s navigation systems are equipped with Car-Net's Guide & Inform services to provide rapid data access, so it should be one of the quicker systems out there.

Safety

Safety has dramatically been upgraded on the T6. 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.

There is also Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which applies the brakes after a collision if the driver is no longer able to do so, Light Assist, which automatically adjusts the level of headlights subject to driving conditions, and Driver Alert System, which detects abnormal driving patterns caused by fatigue and recommends breaks to the driver.

Hill Descent Assist cuts engine speed and applies braking down hills and is available as an option on 4Motion versions. Other safety systems include Electronic Trailer Stabilisation and a heated windscreen.

Loading

Payload is expected to stay relatively the same as before at 740kg to 1,340kg, as is the broad gross vehicle weight range of 2.6t, 2.8t, 3t and 3.2t.

The two roof height/two load length format is likely to remain, providing load volumes of between 5.8 and 9.3 cubic metres.

Summary

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.

The sixth-generation Transporter will arrive in UK dealerships around autumn this year. Exact specifications and pricing will be confirmed in the near future.