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New Volkswagen Transporter review

Something for everyone from VW's popular medium van

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

PROS

  • Decent payload
  • Wide range of models
  • High residual values
  • Good reliability
  • Lots of safety systems

CONS

  • Lack of covered storage space in cab
  • Small Adblue tank with limited range
  • Premium pricetag
  • 70-litre fuel tank
  • Noisy inside (especially kombi)

Summary

The VW Transporter T6 (or sixth generation) hit the UK market in September 2015, and while the basic chassis architecture and engine line-up remain similar to the previous VW Transporter T5 generation, signficant gains have been made in the areas of running costs, driver comfort and safety, boosting its appeal.

This is Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle's most popular model, and by a considerable margin. It's typically the second bestselling medium van in the UK, and comes in a huge range of variants. There's even an electric version in the pipeline.

VW Transporter (2015-on) driving front view

The Transporter also routinely scores very highly in the annual FN50 van fleet reliability survey. It continues to have an image and reputation that few rivals in the medium van sector can match, and attracts both business and lifestyle users..

2019 VW Transporter T6.1 facelift

Volkswagen isn't a firm to rest on its laurels, however, and has announced a thorough overhaul of the Transporter for 2019.

Officially labelled the T6.1, and pictured in Multivan (Caravelle) form below, the new model gets a revised front-end look and a load of new technology - including electromechanical steering and brand new multimedia infotainment systems.

2019 VW Transporter T6.1 facelift

The interior gets a huge makeover, too. You can read full details in our news story by clicking here.

This isn't the last of the updates that are coming for VW's bestselling van in the next couple of years either...

>>  2019 VW Transporter T6.1 official pictures and details

2020 VW e-Transporter electric van

Also coming soon is an all-electric version of the Transporter. Called the e-Transporter, it's being built for Volkswagen by German electrification (and racing) specialists ABT, and is set to go on sale in the UK in early 2020, shortly after an e-Caddy also built by ABT becomes the first electric VW van to be sold in UK in 2019.

VW e-Transporter by ABT - on show at the IAA commercial vehicle show 2018

The e-Transporter will be based on the long-wheelbase (LWB) model only, and thanks to twin battery packs promises a claimed driving range of up to 250 miles - which is further than any electric van currently on sale or even coming soon. Alternatively, a single-battery model will offer a payload rating in excess of 1.1-tonnes with a 134-mile range.

>> More details on the VW e-Transporter

The most desirable medium van?

For at least the past two decades, the VW Transporter has been the most desirable van in the medium van class, with the premium pricetag and strong secondhand values to match.

This desirablility continues with the T6, which combines the solid and reputable underpinnings of the previous generation Transporter with some of the latest driver aids and safety systems from the Volkswagen passenger car division.

VW Transporter rivals

The Ford Transit Custom and the Mercedes-Benz Vito - the Ford sells in simply enormous numbers, while the Vito is the only other mid-size van with premium German build quality and image.

Medium van buyers should also consider the Renault Trafic / Vauxhall Vivaro / Fiat Talento and Nissan NV300 family, as well as the Citroen Dispatch / Peugeot Expert / Toyota Proace triplets, which have the newest underpinnings on the market (though not necessarily the best).

Few of these competitors come anywhere close to proividing the wide range of choice the VW Transporter offers, however.

Lots of choice from the VW Transporter

The available array of model combinations is almost dazzling, but with such variety there is almost certainly a T6 Transporter to suit your needs.

At launch, the T6 was available in two bodylengths, three roof heights and four nominal gross vehicle weights (2.6 tonnes to 3.2 tonnes), providing payloads from around 700kg to over 1,300kg.

>> Click here to read about the best medium vans for payload

However, in early 2018, the Medium roof height was dropped from the UK range (due to lack of interest from buyers); this means only Low and High roof Transporters were available to buy new from this point on.

As for trim levels, the T6 initially launched with three: Startline, Trendline and Highline.

The range was expanded further in late 2016 with the introduction of the range-topping Sportline specification (pictured; review in kombi form below).

VW Transporter (2015-on) Sportline

An Edition model was also added to the line-up in 2017, featuring snazzy graphics and extra luxury kit, including sat-nav and LED headlights.

Manual and automatic gearboxes are available, plus both front-wheel drive and 4Motion four-wheel drive. VW is also the only vanmaker to have offered petrol engines in the mid-size sector.

VW Transporter T6 engines

VW's well-respected 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesel engines power the majority of Transporters, offering a wide choice of outputs; there was initially only one Euro 6 variant, but every model became compliant with these latest emissions regulations well ahead of the September 2016 deadline.

In mid-2017, VW added a choice of two new 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engines to the Transporter range. A unique offering in the medium van sector in the UK, these were aimed at buyers concerned about diesel emissions, those who do shorter journeys, or those who simply prefer smooth petrol performance.

VW Transporter (2015-on) TSI driving rear view

We've run a top-spec 204hp TSI turbo petrol as a long-term test van on Parkers Vans, and it left everyone who drove it very impressed. However, the petrol Transporters were shortlived, and were discontinued from the UK pricelist in autumn 2018.

>> 204hp VW Transporter TSI kombi long-term test review


Should you buy a VW Transporter T6?

With an immense blend of image, practicality and choice, the VW Transporter T6 is a van that should always be in the running for your money.

No, it isn't cheap. But if you're planning to use finance this may actually work in your favour - since it also hold its value really well, monthly costs can prove surprisingly affordable. VW claims that total life costs are among the best in the medium marketplace.

The Transporter is a great all-rounder - perhaps only bettered in this respect by the Ford Transit Custom.

Keep reading for the full Volkswagen Transporter T6 review on Parkers Vans and Pickups.


Volkswagen Transporter driving experience

4 out of 5 4.0

Engine power output in the VW Transporter ranges from 84hp to an immense 204hp, depending on year, with the least powerful versions hooked up to a five-speed manual gearbox while the rest enjoy six ratios.

A seven-speed DSG automatic transmission is available as an option on more potent engines, as is 4Motion four-wheel drive. Regular models are front-wheel drive.

VW Transporter (2015-on) driving experience

At launch, all T6 Transporters were powered by 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesel engines, but in mid-2017 VW made 2.0-litre TSI petrol engines available to UK buyers as well. These were only available for a short period, however.

An e-Transporter model powered by a 111hp electric motor is set to go on sale in early 2020.

Entry-level engine very slow

We were disappointed when we drove the 84hp version, which is sluggish off the mark and struggles on even modest ascents. Step up to the 102hp model, though, and there is a world of difference.

You're much better off going for more power if you can afford it, though. Even early 140hp models make light work of cruising on the motorway thanks to the addition of that sixth gear, and the 180hp version is obviously even better.

Most powerful engine in class

With the arrival of Euro 6, these engines were swapped for 150hp and 204hp units, giving greater performance still. The 204hp models are more powerful than any contemporary medium van rival.

VW Transporter (2015-on) Sportline kombi

Transporters with 180hp and 204hp will do 0-62mph in less than 10 seconds, which is very good going for a van.

We've an in-depth review of the Sportline below.

Are the VW Transporter petrol engines any good?

In 2017 VW added a choice ot two 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engines to the Transporter range, offering either 150hp or 204hp.

These are intriguing power units - while they can't match the fuel economy of their diesel equivalents, they are quieter, super-smooth and urgently enjoyable to drive. Even the 150hp model feels very fast for a van, while the 204hp is practically a load-carrying GTI.

VW Transporter (2015-on) TSI front

Both petrol engines suffer from a surprising amount of vibration around 1,500rpm, however - something that the optional DSG transmission available on the more powerful model ably manages to drive around.

Not for eveyone, but if you're - say - a lifestyle buyer who places a greater emphasis on the driving experience than fuel economy, they are worthy additions to the Transporter range.

Sadly, if you do want a petrol-powered T6, you'll now have to search for a secondhand example as they were dropped from the UK pricelist in autumn 2018.

VW Transporter comfort and handling

The previous generation T5 Transporter was starting to show its age, and had become quite utilitarian by rival standards. But this latest model is a smooth performer on the road, if not quite as sharp as the Transit Custom or Renault Trafic family, and not quite matching the assured comfort and luxury of the fanciest Mercedes Vito models.

The steering is light, which makes it feel nimble. But you soon learn that the Transporter isn't overly keen on turning into corners quickly, feeling almost as if it is going to trip over its outside front wheel.

And despite a firm-ish ride, there is quite a bit of bodyroll, too, although the lowered suspension of the Sportline models successfully reduces this rolling around.

VW Transporter (2015-on) driving

Regardless of version, once you're in the corner, clever electronics deliver plenty of grip, and the more powerful engines can propel you away from roundabouts with enough speed to surprise all but the most enthusiastically driven cars.

The Transporter can be quite noisy inside, however - especially on models without a bulkhead such as the kombi, which has a second row of seats. Most major rivals are, perhaps surprisingly, more refined.

Volkswagen Transporter cabin & interior

4 out of 5 4.0

While it may lack the flair and style of some of its contemporaries, the T6 Transporter's cab is cleanly designed and very functional, and a welcome change from the dated and rather drab interior of the previous generation.

VW Transporter (2015-on) cab interior

Even on the Highline, which comes with a lot of gadgets and features, the layout of the buttons and switches is methodical and sensible. This is a boon over some rivals - including the Transit Custom - where secondary controls have been scattered all over the cab.

However, the VW does suffer from a distinct lack of covered storage for wallets, phones and loose change, meaning the driver has to reach over to the glove compartment to stow such items safely out of sight.

In our experience, it can also be tricky to set a comfortable temperature in the cab for some reason, with the Transporter often feeling either hot or cold, with little adjustment in between.

VW Transporter long-distance comfort

On all models, the seats are made from hard-wearing upholstery and are fully adjustable for height, lumbar, reach and rake. We do find the bases rather firm, however, and not a patch on the ergonomic comfort now offered by the 2017-onwards VW Crafter.

That said, we've done day-long, pan-European journeys in a Transporter, and they always seem to pass without causing the driver any aches and pains. VW's seat designers do seem to know what they're doing.

Volkswagen Transporter mpg, costs & value

4.3 out of 5 4.3

The Volkswagen Transporter has never been a cheap van to buy new, and the T6 is no exception.

However, it also commands strong secondhand prices, and these residual values mean that overall ownership costs remain competitive. Which should also help keep lease and other finance rates down, reducing monthly payments. 

Warranty and servicing

You get a three-year, 100,000-mile warranty as standard from new, which isn't as generous as some rivals. But the Transporter is one of the most reliable vans around, according to the FN50 fleet reliability survey, so you shouldn't need to visit the dealer too often - also helping to keep costs down. Plus VW offers a wide range of servicing plans for new and used vans.

>> The most reliable vans in the UK

VW Transporter fuel economy

The previous T5 Transporter was criticised towards the end of its life for its poor fuel economy, but the new T6, despite using similar engines, is a vast improvement and now one of the best in class for mpg.

VW Transporter (2015-on) standard equipment

There's even a fuel-saving BlueMotion version, if you're particularly concerned.

>> Everything you need to know about van mpg on Parkers Vans 

AdBlue and insurance

Euro 6 models feature a 13-litre AdBlue tank, which is not especially large, and delivers a range of between 3,720 and 5,500 miles - very much depending on driving style and use. Be advised there is no ‘limp home mode’ and the engine will refuse to start once the AdBlue has completely run out, although you will have ample warning that it's getting low. Check out mustard.co.uk for a VW Transporter insurance quote.

VW Transporter standard equipment

The T6 Transporter comes in three regular trim levels: Startline, Trendline and Highline, with even the Startline offering plenty of standard kit. On top of this, however, more lifestyle-orientated versions have been added: the Sportline (from late 2016) and the Edition (from 2017).

We've details of the standard equipment for all variants below.

VW Transporter Startline standard equipment highlights:

  • 5.0-inch touchscreeninfotainment system with DAB radio, Bluetooth, SD card and USB connectivity
  • Electric front windows
  • Electric, heated door mirrors
  • Single front passenger seat
  • Two 12v sockets
  • Full-height steel bulkhead (as of June 2018; panel van only)
  • Half-height cargo area side lining
  • Sliding side door on passenger side
  • Black (unpainted) door mirrors, door handles and bumpers
  • 16-inch steel wheels

In 2018, VW added a Business Pack as a great-value option designed to make T6 Startlines more useable for a modest extra fee. This includes:

  • Air-conditioning
  • Fixed, full bulkhead
  • Alarm

The resulting vehicle, sometimes known as the Transporter Business Edition, is intened to appeal to those looking for maximum value.

VW Transporter Trendline standard equipment highlights (in addition to Startline):

  • Driver's armrest (and passenger armrest on kombi models
  • Comfort pack (including extra sound deadening)
  • Cruise control
  • Body-coloured door mirrors and bumpers
  • Rear parking sensors

VW Transporter Highline standard equipment highlights (in addition to Trendline):

  • Air-conditioning
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • Automatic lights and wipers
  • Heated windscreen
  • Leather-trimmed multi-function steering wheel
  • Front foglights with cornering function
  • Alarm

VW Transporter Edition standard equipment highlights (in addition to Highline):

  • 150hp TDI or 204hp BiTDI engine and SWB only
  • Discovery Media sat-nav infotainment system with 6.33-inch touchscreen and App-Connect
  • LED headlights
  • Dark-tinted LED rear lights
  • Front and rear parking sensors plus reversing camera
  • High-gloss black roof and door mirrors
  • Power-folding door mirrors
  • Power-latching side door
  • 17-inch alloy wheels (150hp) or 18-inch alloy wheels (204hp)
  • Edition graphics

VW Transporter Sportline standard equipment highlights (in addition to Edition):

  • 204hp BiTDI engine with DSG transmission only
  • Sportline front bumper
  • Carbonfibre door mirror housings
  • Lowered suspension
  • Sidebars with puddle lights
  • Rear roof spoiler
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Leather quilted seats in black and red
  • Dual front passenger seat

Sportline kombi models also feature:

  • Carpet flooring in cab
  • Comfort dashboard with wide centre console and bottle holder (which removes one of the 12v sockets
  • Single front passenger seat with armrests
  • Two-seater rear bench plus single indivdual seat

Volkswagen Transporter reliability, common problems & faults

4.6 out of 5 4.6

Over the previous generations, the Volkswagen Transporter has built up a reputation as a solid and reliable workhorse. This is one of the reasons the VW Transporter typically has the highest residual values in its class. Backing up that reputation for good build quality, it consistently ranks in the top three vans in the UK for reliability in the annual FN50 fleet reliability survey.

New Transporters come with three years' (unlimited mileage) breakdown assist, which includes 24-hour call-out. On top of this, in May 2018, VW launched a free MOT insurance scheme for qualifying vans and pickups aged up to 10 years old.

>> VW launches free MOT insurance scheme

Volkswagen Transporter safety & security

4 out of 5 4.0

Safety is one area where the Transporter T6 has been significantly upgraded compared to previous models. A whole host of active systems for damage limitation or crash avoidance have been added to this latest version.

VW Transporter (2015-on) rear view

While ABS and electronic stability control are standard features on vans these days, the Transporter T6 goes further with Brake Assist (automatically boosts the brake pressure up to the ABS control threshold for as long as you keep the brake pedal pressed down) and Driver Alert System (which checks to see if you're about to fall asleep at the wheel).

As of June 2017, VW further added autonomous emergency braking (AEB) in the form of Front Assist with City Emergency Braking as a standard feature right across its van range in the UK - including the T6 Transporter.

Also standard are:

  • Driver and passenger airbags
  • Electronic Brake Force Distribution
  • Lane Change Assist
  • Automatic Post-Collision Braking System

Trendline models receive rear parking sensors, while Highlines get front fog lights with cornering function.

Security not so impressive

We are, however, disappointed with the lack of covered storage compartments within the cab area, which means valuable items have to be stowed in the glovebox to avoid exposure. There was also no standard bulkhead between the cab and the cargo area on entry-level models up until around mid-2018, so if someone manages to break in, they have access to all areas. Similarly, an alarm system is only standard from Highline specification and above.

Which Volkswagen Transporter is best for me?

While the VW Transporter may not sell in such high numbers as the Ford Transit Custom, it remains a very popular choice among small and large fleets, and with individual buyers.

>> New VW Transporter vans for sale

>> Used VW Transporter vans for sale

The range is diverse, and you should find there’s plenty of choice, whether you’re buying new or used. In fact, it can be quite tricky to work out what’s best for your needs, so here are a few pointers.

Best VW Transporter for value / standard equipment

Since you have to go all the way up to Highline in order to get air-conditioning and an alarm system as standard, arguably the best-value Transporter as of 2018 is an entry-level Startline with the Business Pack (which adds air-con and an alarm).

However, Trendline is still a key choice, since it includes cruise control and rear parking sensors as standard both useful features in a working van.

Especially since if you're planning to finance or lease your Transporter, you shouldn't assume Startline will be the cheapest. Ditto the least powerful engine. The secondhand value of more desirable versions is so strong that they can quite often have lower monthly payments when buying new, simply because they will be worth that much more at the end of the contract.

It might sound weird, but it’s true.

Don't forget you can check VW Transporter used prices using our free valuations tool.

>> VW Transporter used prices

Best VW Transporter for running costs

Volkswagen builds a Transporter BlueMotion that is specifically optimised for maximum fuel economy. With a 102hp 2.0-litre TDI turbodiesel and only a five-speed manual gearbox, claimed fuel economy is 51.4mpg - placing it near the top of our list of the best medium vans for efficiency.

However, the T6 BlueMotion only comes in short-wheelbase (SWB) guise, with a relatively limited 2,700kg gross vehicle weight (GVW) and payload rating of just over 900kg. So may not be suitable for all uses.

Don’t fret. All of the 2.0-litre TDI Transporters can be efficient if driven with some consideration. The 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrols, on the other hand, are probably best left to those who value the driving experience above all else, as you’ll be lucky to crack 25mpg.

>> Best medium vans for fuel economy

Best VW Transporter for payload

The highest gross vehicle weight Transporters are labelled T32 – meaning 3,200kg – so look for this when buying used.

As GVW is the total allowed weight of the van and everything on board, smaller, lighter T32 vans – so SWB with a low roof and not much standard equipment – will carry the heaviest payloads. But they obviously also offer the least actual room for bulky items.

Check out our dedicated VW Transporter T6 weights and dimensions page for more details.

>> Best medium vans for payload

Best VW Transporter for lifestyle / image

If you’ve got money to burn, the Transporter Sportline is the top choice here – although not everyone will like the way it looks.

The Transporter Edition has loads of standard kit and a slightly more subtle appearance, and isn’t quite as expensive, so could be worth considering.

But don’t rule out the Highline, top of the regular range and comprehensively equipped for the money.

VW Transporter T6 individual model reviews

Looking for more in-depth reviews of specific VW Transporter models? Then check out these following individual reviews of particularly interesting Transporter variants:

VW Transporter SWB 2.0 TSI 150 petrol T30 Highline review

Tested November 2017 by CJ Hubbard

VW Transporter T6 TSI 150 review - front view, red

  • 2.0 turbo petrol power for VW’s medium van
  • 150hp, 280Nm and a great driving experience
  • But can petrol running costs ever make sense?

Volkswagen is the only manufacturer in 2017 to offer a petrol-powered medium van for sale in the UK with its new VW Transporter TSI range.

Here we have a 150hp VW Transporter TSI Highline in for review.

Why on earth would I consider a petrol-powered VW Transporter?

Petrol power makes a certain amount of sense in smaller vans – including VW’s own Caddy – due to a combination of cheaper pricing than the equivalent diesel and modern turbo technology that delivers actually pretty reasonable mpg.

However, in a mid-size van like the Transporter, the difference between the fuel economy of a TDI diesel model and a TSI petrol starts to become less of a minor inconvenience and more of a yawning chasm.

VW Transporter T6 TSI 150 review - side view, sliding door open, red

For example, the TSI we have on test here is a short-wheelbase, low roof T30 model with 150hp and 280Nm of torque, and VW claims it will return 31.0mpg in Highline specification.

The equivalent T30 TDI offers the same 150hp but 340Nm of torque, and claims 45.6mpg. That’s an enormous 47% increase in efficiency, let alone the extra 80Nm of pulling power.

So seriously, why would I consider a Transporter with a petrol engine?

As well as offering a significant reduction in NOx and particulates, which are harmful to the environment and people, the petrol is some £1,600 cheaper than the diesel – excluding VAT – a difference that will pay for plenty of visits to the filling station.

On top of which, petrol tech is lighter than diesel, giving you around 30kg more payload capacity and hinting at a better driving experience. Indeed, VW reckons the Transporter TSI offers a ‘sportier’ driving experience, thanks to this and its revvier performance.

VW Transporter T6 TSI 150 review - T30 badge

As such, it’s best suited to those who mostly do shorter, local journeys where the difference in economy should be less pronounced. In this sense, diesel is absolutely still the best choice if you’re regularly plugging up and down motorways, traveling long distances between jobs.

>> Van and pickup fuel economy – everything you need to know

What is the Transporter TSI like to drive?

Pretty satisfying.

It’s not the best handling van – the Transporter is much less keen to turn into corners than the likes of the Ford Transit Custom, Renault Trafic and Mercedes Vito, for example, though there’s enough bodyroll to contend with that you’re unlikely to want to go too quickly in the bends anyway.

But the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine is great fun. It really does give the Transporter a lively, enthusiastic feel, with genuinely keen acceleration and a surprisingly sporty engine note. Getting between jobs will rarely be so entertaining.

VW Transporter T6 TSI 150 review - cab interior, driving experience

If anything, the engine is bit too enthusiastic, as the torque seems to arrive all at once, creating quite the impression on other drivers and making it a little difficult to drive the van smoothly at lower speeds. And that’s with the standard six-speed manual gearbox, rather than the optional DSG automatic.

Yet this is the entry-level 150hp version – VW also offers a 204hp 2.0-litre TSI petrol to match the range-topping 204hp TDI diesel.

Another bonus of the petrol engine is that it's quieter inside than the diesels, though there is still some strange vibration at low engine revs.

VW Transporter TSI 150 payload

As a short-wheelbase, low-roof Highline, this particular Transporter TSI 150 has an official payload rating of 1,129kg.

That sounds rather low for a modern medium van, but if this is a concern then consider a less fancy trim level – the range-topping Highline is so loaded with kit it weighs 63kg more than the basic Startline.

VW Transporter T6 TSI 150 review - load area, payload

The load area of this example was very nicely finished, including optional rubber floor and full-height side lining, neither of which is terribly expensive.

VW Transporter TSI 150 costs, value and standard equipment

We’ve already mentioned the claimed fuel economy is 31.0mpg – which translated into real-world figures in the mid-20s during our test. So you are going to be filling up on an exceedingly regular basis.

Being a petrol there’s no AdBlue tank. Taxation rates are the same as the diesel, and though NOx and particulate emissions are much lower for this van, its CO2 levels are higher (which is bad for the ozone layer).

You get a three-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the Transporter, while service intervals are every 12 months or 12,000 miles (compare that to the 36,000-mile intervals of the Transit Custom). Be under no illusions, this will not be a cheap van to run.

VW Transporter T6 TSI 150 review - rear view, red

A basic list price of £25,745 (ex-VAT) isn’t exactly bargain basement, either. But you do get a stack load of standard kit for your money (see the Costs and Value section of the main review above).

Should I buy a VW Transporter TSI 150?

In a lot of ways, this van makes no sense.

Yet drive it, and it’s hard not to start dreaming up ways you could manage its increased running costs – there is just something so pleasant about the way it responds, the general (if not total) improvement in refinement over diesel and, yes, even the idea that the stuff coming out of the exhaust pipe is less harmful to people around you.

Realistically, you’ll either need to have no running cost concerns at all, limited annual mileage requirements or be an ardent diesel hater (or petrol fancier) to choose this TSI over the TDI equivalent. But we’re glad it exists, and good on VW for offering buyers the option.


VW Transporter SWB 2.0 BiTDI 204 diesel T32 Sportline kombi

Tested February 2017 by CJ Hubbard

VW Transporter T6 Sportline review - kombi, black, front view

  • THE sportiest van currently on sale tested
  • Kombi version seats six, has 1,106kg payload
  • Unique looks, lots of kit, but costs over £37k

Looking for the ultimate sporty medium van on sale in 2017? Forget all the half-arsed Sport trims that so many manufacturers now offer, and never mind that outrageous £50,000 Ken Block version of the Ford Transit Custom – for even that only musters 170hp at best.

What you really want if speed is of the essence is this van, the Volkswagen Transporter T32 Sportline – which is available, as tested, with up to 204hp.

That’s as much outright poke as you get from some hot hatches, while the accompanying 450Nm of torque makes short work of shifting any cargo – and in the case of this T32 kombi variant that includes up to five additional workmates or, more likely, your family.

At the moment, the closest any medium van rival gets to this level of potency is the top-spec Mercedes Vito, which offers 190hp and 440Nm. And the Merc, we’re afraid to say, does not come with black and red leather seats with white diamond-quilted stitching…

Just make sure you’re sitting down when we get to the price.

Is it a nightmare over speedbumps?

We’ll admit to wincing on approach to the first ones, but the Sportline had no actual trouble clearing the speedbumps we came across – although we didn’t make the attempt with a full payload.

In fact, putting that front bumper to one side, the lowered suspension doesn’t really seem to have any negative impact on the Transporter at all. The ride comfort, while not as good as the likes of the Renault Trafic and Vauxhall Vivaro, remains entirely bearable.

No doubt this is helped by the Transporter’s independent coil-spring rear suspension design, which includes load-sensitive shock absorbers.

How fast is the Transporter Sportline?

When fitted with this 204hp twin-turbo 2.0-litre BiTDI engine? Hilariously fast, for a van. 0-62mph takes a quoted 9.1sec, and with that great lump of torque (pulling power) arriving at just 1,400rpm, it feels even quicker.

VW Transporter T6 Sportline review - kombi, black, rear view driving

Our test van was fitted with the optional seven-speed DSG automatic transmission, which means you can simply plant your right foot and go – although this is occasionally a little slow to respond from a standstill, the Sport mode is very snappy.

Straight-line performance is compounded by that lowered suspension, which keeps the Transporter remarkably flat through the corners, allowing you to take on high-speed roundabout entries and twisty roads with confidence.

It’s hard not to enjoy the looks of surprise on other motorists’ faces. Rarely will they have ever seen a van move so rapidly.

Anything not so good about the driving experience?

As mentioned, it does sometimes seem like you can catch the transmission out. Which rather undermines the premium experience.

VW Transporter T6 Sportline review - dashboard, cab interior, leather

The Transporter kombi is also very noisy inside – not because of the powerful engine, rather because there’s lots and lots of road noise. The large Sportline wheels and the lack of any kind of bulkhead in the kombi are presumably the major contributors to this.

What's the price of the Transporter Sportline?

As tested with the top-dog 204hp engine and kombi, the Sportline's basic ex-VAT price is an eye-watering £37,415 (at the time of writing).

Added to this, the thumping engine means you can expect higher than average running costs – claimed fuel economy is 43.5mpg for the auto (actually slightly better than the manual gearbox), while brakes and tyres will take a harder than usual hammering, too.

Does it feel worth the cost?

Well, it’s certainly got visual impact – which should help your business stand out. And there’s no denying how special it feels when you open the door and see those seats inside. As a lifestyle choice, this and the performance place it well ahead of any rival.

VW Transporter T6 Sportline review - kombi rear seats

Still, the standard equipment level is great (see main review, above), and as with all Transporters, the interior is logically laid out, with loads of useful storage.

Plus there’s enough room for the middle front passenger’s knees, which you can’t say about every medium van on the market.

Should I buy a VW Transporter Sportline?

If you like your vans super-premium, and especially if you’re among the many VW enthusiasts out there (the fellow afflicted will worship you like a god), we can’t think of a better choice on the market right now.

Sure, it is expensive, but the performance, the distinctive looks and the standard equipment make it easier to justify; the Sportline is available with less powerful – and therefore less expensive – engines if the show is more important to you than the go.

Similarly, the Sportline panel van is also a cheaper choice, though one which doesn’t have the quite same lifestyle potential and flexibility.