Few sounds are more satisfying in the world of light commercial vehicles than the reassuring clunk of a door shutting on a Volkswagen van.
It’s the sound of good build quality – a characteristic the Transporter Kombi Edition exhibits in abundance.
The manufacturer introduced the Kombi Edition to its T6 (sixth-generation Transporter) line-up in June as an enhanced version of the existing flagship trim level – Highline with knobs on, if you like.
Opinion on the design language of VW’s commercial vehicles tends to range from ‘conservative to ‘classic’. In this case we’d go for the latter – the vehicle tested here is a handsome beast in ‘cherry’ red with black Edition trimmings.
The interior may not be the most exciting – there’s a good deal of orange peel-textured dashboard plastic – but, as with all models in the Transporter range, the switchgear is robust, well laid out and easy to use whether via the dashboard or multi-functional steering wheel.
In addition to the already well-upholstered Highline (climatic aircon was particularly welcome in the hot weather), the Edition gets kit including 17in alloy wheels clad in low rolling-resistance tyres, power latching for the passenger sliding door (located on the nearside) to ensure it stays in place when passengers are getting in and out, power folding wing mirrors, LED headlights and daytime running lights, front and rear parking sensors with a rear-view camera, a heated headlight washer system, dark-tinted LED rear lights, a tinted-glass roof, and a glazed tailgate with heated window and wash-wipe. You also get satnav bundled in with the infotainment system, which can be controlled via a 6.3in touchscreen.
The options list on our van included adaptive cruise control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking for £317 (all prices exclude VAT), which is worth the extra investment above the standard cruise control that comes with Highline for improving comfort and safety in both urban and out-of-town environments.
Pricey at £466 but again useful as a safety aid for motorway assignments was side scan with cruise control, which warns the driver of traffic approaching in their blind spot when changing lanes. We also got Volkswagen Media Control with App Connect for £120 and leatherette seat covers for £48.
Both the driver’s and middle front passenger seats come with armrests, while height, lumbar, reach and rake adjustment on the driver’s side make it easy to find the best driving position.
Rear seat passengers have to make do with a single sliding door – on the nearside – to enter and exit the vehicle, but, once on board, there is plenty of leg-, head- and shoulder room for three adults to travel in comfort.
Power for the front-wheel drive Kombi Edition driven here came from VW’s 150hp 2.0-litre TDI diesel. The engine is responsive across the rev range, combining well with the slick six-speed manual gearbox, and delivered easily enough grunt to hold its own on motorway journeys, feeling at home in the outside lane when you need to get a shift on.
The steering is light and easy when driving in the city but could do with a little more weight and feedback when on faster, winding roads, but noise levels in the cab are well suppressed in all conditions.
It being a Kombi, rather than a crew van, there is no bulkhead to separate the load bay from the back-seat passengers so operators need to be wary about carrying heavy items that are not securely tied down. That said, a generous 1,052kg payload and 5.8m3 load volume is available, and a rubber floor covering and ply-lining protects the box from scratches and scrapes.
VW Transporter Kombi Edition
T30 SWB 2.0 TDI 150hp
Price (ex VAT) £31,455
Price range (ex VAT) £20,010-£42,875
Service intervals 21,000mls
Load length 1,600mm
Load width (min/max) 1,244/1,627mm
Load bay height 1,397mm
Load volume 5.8m3
Gross payload 1,052kg
Engine size/power 1,968cc/150hp
Combined fuel economy 45.6mpg
The Kombi Edition is a worthwhile addition to the high-quality Transporter range and will appeal to operators needing load-carrying capacity to complement its primary function as a passenger vehicle.