James Dallas appreciates the user-friendly controls in the Kombi’s cabin but is less impressed with the storage provisions.
In a previous review of my long-term companion the T6.1 Kombi, I wrote approvingly of how VW has added a dash of style to the van’s traditional strengths of functionality and intuitive usability when it comes to the design of its interior.
It is certainly true that all the controls, including buttons dials and touchscreen, are well laid out and within easy reach of the driver’s position.
The steering wheel-mounted buttons are handy, allowing the driver to safely set and adjust the cruise control, use a Bluetooth-enabled iPhone, choose radio stations or downloaded music, or access vehicle data, such as average speed or fuel consumption. This info is displayed between the speedometer and rev counter and is also where an alert flashes up to remind the driver to take a break after a couple of hours on the road.
Comfort for both driver and front passenger is impressive in Highline trim. Both seats are manually adjustable for height, both get manually adjustable lumbar support, both come with armrests, and both are heated too. Driver and passenger alike also benefit from sturdy grab handles on the A-pillars to make getting in and out of the cab easier.
The driver also gets a chunky, leather-trimmed steering wheel that is comfortable to hold and adjustable for reach and rake, making it easy to find a comfortable, well-supported driving position with good visibility.
Parking is made easy by front and rear sensors, and the first-rate rear-view camera my van has as a £235 (ex VAT) option, and if you’re of a forgetful disposition then the We Connect connectivity package includes a parking position reminder that pops up on your mobile phone shortly after you’ve left the vehicle.
Although there are cupholders for the front passenger and driver at either end of the dashboard and another one in the centre by the (well-positioned) auto gear lever, and also shelves and decent-sized bins in the doors for water bottles, I have found the storage provisions in the cab leave a little to be desired.
While there are a pair of trays on top of the dash – the one on the driver’s side houses a 12V socket – they are uncovered, so whatever you put in them is reflected distractingly onto the windscreen. The shelves lower down on the dash are too narrow to be of much use and cannot accommodate a smartphone, for example.
There is no overhead shelf for storing paraphernalia like files and paperwork and although there is a good deal of space between the front sets for a carry bag or set of tools there is no way of securing such items in place. This means that when travelling alone, I have tended to use the passenger seat as an ad hoc tray.
The glovebox is lockable and illuminated but on the small side and, rather like on a Ryan Air flight, no storage nets are provided for rear seat passengers on the seatbacks in front of them and they have to make do without cupholders too. A sliding door on the off side would also be a welcome addition for rear seat passengers.
Report card: Cabin storage – 3/5
The cab is a pleasant environment but lacks practical storage facilities.
Volkswagen Transporter Kombi T32 SWB Highline 2.0 TDI 150
Official combined fuel economy (WLTP) 34.0mpg
Our average consumption 35.1mpg
Price range (ex VAT) £22,115-£39,380
Price (ex VAT) £33,475
Service intervals 21,000mls
Load length 1,600mm
Load width (min/max) 1,244/1,627mm
Load bay height 1,397mm
Gross payload 1,143kg
Load volume 4.3m3
Engine size/power 1,968cc/150hp
Gearbox 7-spd DSG