The strength of a crew van is in its versatility – its ability to carry both people and goods. For businesses operating in the construction sector, for example, a fleet of crew vans will enable them to transport both teams of workers and their tools and equipment onto building sites at the same time.
When it comes to my T6.1 Kombi, however, particularly under Covid-19 restrictions, the crew has more often than not consisted of members of my family. There are five of us and
five seats in the van, so it’s made to measure.
The cabin is spacious, with a generous amount of floor between the two front seats, which comes in handy as additional storage space. While some customers may prefer a front bench passenger seat to accommodate a third occupant in the front row and six in the van in total, legroom for the middle passenger in this type of layout is inevitably restricted by the transmission casing. This configuration also limits space and comfort for the driver and outboard passenger, due to the presence of an additional body in the middle, which is why I prefer the dual-seat layout.
The three passengers in the rear seats enjoy ample room to stretch their legs, but all have to clamber in and out through the single, nearside sliding door. A door on the offside would be a welcome addition.
The 4.3m3 load bay is supplemented by a decent amount of space for stowing bags or small boxes under the rear seats, and this space can also be used for accommodating longer items such as piping or a step ladder.
I have found the load area to be suited to a range of domestic assignments, including carrying a couple of bikes, bags of garden waste or laundry, clothes and household
goods for charity, and a large and often wet and muddy dog.
The Kombi has also been called upon to transport both technicians and cans of paint, dust sheets and lighting equipment to the site of a (legal) graffiti art promotion. A rubber lining makes the load floor easy to wash out and the walls are ply-lined, but the wheel arches could do with covering to protect them from minor scratches.
Access to the load compartment is via a tailgate that opens smoothly with the aid of two gas struts, and a loop handle on the underside makes it easier to close by reducing the distance needed to reach up. Although heavier than twin rear doors, a tailgate can be a good option in tight city streets or for roadside work as there is no danger it will swing out into traffic.
My Kombi has no bulkhead to divide the cabin from the load area so it is important to ensure that whatever you’re carrying is safely tied down with the help of four floor rings. While the absence of a bulkhead allows the driver to use the rear view mirror – thanks to the glazed rear door – as well as the wing mirrors, it also means the cabin takes a long time to heat up on cold days. Luckily for the driver and front passenger, the seat heaters are excellent.
Report card: Load carrying – 4/5
The T6.1 Kombi is adept at carrying both a substantial load and five people in comfort.
Volkswagen Transporter Kombi T32 SWB Highline 2.0 TDI 150
Official combined fuel economy (WLTP) 34.0mpg
Our average consumption 32.4mpg
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
Load volume 4.3m3
Gross payload 1,143kg
Engine size/power 1,968cc/150hp
Gearbox 7-spd DSG
CO2 (WLTP) 159-176g/km
Options (prices ex VAT)
Discover Media Navigation £1,338
Heated front seats £130
Rear-view camera £235
Metallic paint £610