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VW Transporter T6 2019 facelift – first spy photos of update for popular mid-size van

  • First pictures of revised T6 Transporter
  • Expected to go on sale in 2019
  • Spy shots show pair of Caravelle variants in testing

Since the current T6 generation of VW Transporter was introduced in 2015, and simple maths tells us it will be four years old in 2019, it’s probably no surprise to learn that a mid-life facelift will soon be on the way.

Well, we say ‘facelift’ – if these spy shots of the revised Caravelle passenger carrier are anything to go by, the update is going to be a very minor one. At least from the outside.

What’s new for the 2019 VW Transporter family?

The only difference between the current Transporter and this new one that we can see in these pictures is the change to the front bumper and grille area.

2019 VW Transporter T6 facelift, silver Caravelle grille details

You can clearly see that the new vans have an extended grille area that links the previously separated top and bottom grille sections (current T6 pictured below).

VW Transporter T6 current version, red, front view - note the difference in the grille

There seems to be a very minor change to the end of section of the lower grille area, too, where it extends round the side over the foglight.

The grille change makes the shape of the headlights look different as well, but we think this is just an optical illusion and the headlights are actually the same as before.

2019 VW Transporter T6 facelift, blue Caravelle driving

Our spy photographers are expecting a slightly more comprehensive change when the updated T6 goes on sale, which should include new lights front and rear, as well as perhaps a slightly better-looking front bumper/grille solution.

Why would VW change the grille on the 2019 Transporter?

This could just be a cosmetic thing, but our insiders believe there’s a bit more to it than that.

In late 2017, Volkswagen halted production of passenger vehicles based on the Transporter – meaning not only the Caravelle but also the California campervan, the Transporter Shuttle and the Transporter window van – when it discovered a problem with nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from their diesel engines.

The main Transporter van range was not effected.

2019 VW Transporter T6 facelift, silver Caravelle side view

Given the spy photos show two different Caravelle passenger variants testing, the extra air vents could be related to longer-term engine solutions to resolve this NOx problem. It certainly looks as if it’s been done to increase engine cooling, which may be involved with this.

Whatever the reasons, we would expect the same changes to be rolled out across the T6 range – including the most basic vans.

When will we see an all-new VW Transporter T7?

The current T6 generation of Transporter is in fact a heavily modified version of the previous T5 generation, so we’re really overdue an all-new Transporter.

The forthcoming T7 model is expected to be just that when it arrives in around 2021.

Initial reports suggest the T7 Transporter will be based on the same flexible MQB platform as a lot of Volkswagen’s passenger cars – but with Ford and VW currently in talks to begin a new partnership for the development of new vans, this could still be subject to change.

We’ve also heard rumours of more exotic engine options – including a hybrid, perhaps similar to the Transit Custom PHEV that’s currently in development – but such details are understandably still a long way off being confirmed.

We’ll bring you more details on the T6 facelift and the all-new T7 as soon as we have them.

Also read:

>> VW Transporter T6 (2015-on) full review on Parkers Vans and Pickups

>> Ford and VW considering strategic alliance to jointly build new vans

>> Ford Transit 2019 facelift – first details and spy shots

>> All-new Citroen Berlingo, Peugeot Partner and Vauxhall Combo full details