Volkswagen has taken a fairly conservative approach to the styling of its fifth generation front-wheel drive Transporter (introduced in Autumn 2003), but there is virtually no carry-over from its predecessor. Highlights include a dashmounted gearstick and anti-lock brakes are fitted as standard.
No petrol engines are offered in the UK, but diesel fans are well catered for with a choice of four powerplants. All are unit injection and turbocharged, and there are two cubic capacities to choose from; four-cylinder 1.9-litre and five-cylinder 2.5-litre. The former is available with either 86hp (199Nm) or 104hp (250Nm) on tap and the latter offers either 130hp (340Nm) or 174hp (400Nm).
All of these engines provide smooth power delivery and a good spread of torque. The 1.9s come with a five-speed manual gearbox, but the 2.5s benefit from a six-speeder for added flexibility. Suspension is independent with ventilated disc brakes all-round. Transporter’s handling is safe and responsive, and the ride quality is well up to standard.
The cab has been completely redesigned, but remains fairly slab-like in appearance. It does, however, provide an array of storage areas apart from the deep glovebox and the large door bins. The driving position is excellent thanks to a multi-adjustable seat and an adjustable steering column.
Two wheelbases are available in the UK; short and long. Gross vehicle weights range from 2.8t to 3.2t and there is a choice of three roof heights. Load volumes range from 5.9m3 to 8.4m3 and payloads from 795kg to 1,245kg.
Service intervals are set at 9,000 miles to 18,000 miles dependent on the type of usage.
This Transporter is arguably the best built van we have ever driven and there’s a solid range of TDI engines.