Long Term Test: First Report: VW Transporter - March 2011

Date: Friday, March 18, 2011

Painted the colour of custard – VW refers to the finish as ‘sunny yellow’ – this Transporter is the latest addition to What Van?’s long-term test fleet, writes Steve Banner.

We opted for a T30 with the 102hp/250Nm version of the 2.0-litre four-cylinder common-rail Euro5 diesel. Also on offer with power outputs of 84hp, 140hp and 180hp depending on the Transporter derivative selected, the engine’s introduction was the key change made when a revised model appeared just over a year ago.
Transporter gross weights extend from 2.6 to 3.2 tonnes, with load cubes running up to 9.3cu/m. You can order it as a chassis cab, a chassis double-cab, a dropside and in kombi as well as van guise, and it’s up for grabs as a 4Motion 4x4 too. Do not forget either that it’s also available with the astoundingly- good Direct Shift Gearbox.
Our demonstrator is a short- wheelbase low-roof 3.0-tonner with a 5.8cu/m cargo area and can handle a payload grossing at 1149kg. Access to the load box is by means of twin, opaque, rear doors and a sliding nearside door, with a full-height bulkhead to ensure that unrestrained items do not slide forward and finish up in the three-seater cab.
Any cargo capable of being tied down can be secured to six floor-mounted lashing rings plus one on each side of the load bay close to the wheel boxes. The bulkhead and the side-mounted rings form part of a £1255 SE option pack that includes aircon, electric windows and mirrors and an alarm among other extras. ABS and ESP are standard.
So far, our T30 rides and handles competently and offers ample performance, although we’ve yet to try it fully-laden. A crisp gear change courtesy of the standard five-speed manual box makes it easy to get the best out of the engine, and noise levels are well-suppressed.
A sunny yellow finish and the use of high-quality materials throughout cannot alas disguise what may be Transporter’s key drawback. Its styling both externally and internally is unremittingly dull and it’s a crying shame that its stylists weren’t more adventurous. If that’s the worst thing we can find to say about it, however, then we reckon VW’s got a result. We’ll be keeping you fully informed about our new recruit’s performance over the next few months.

 

Why we’re running it

To see if the latest Transporter is as solid and reliable as its predecessors and if its on-the-road performance matches that of its rivals.

 

 



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