Volkswagen Transporter 6.1 – Volkswagen’s first model was, of course, the Beetle. In 1950 Volkswagen released its second major model, the Type 2.
It was a van that became known in various places and adaptations as the Transporter, the Kombi or the Multivan.
It was among the first ‘forward control’ vans in which the driver was placed above the front roadwheels consequently it did not need a bonnet and was basically a block in shape.
Variations followed with an ambulance in 1951 and a work tray ute style in 1952
It has been a very utilitarian vehicle that has also become a cult classic. Since 1950 Volkswagen has sold over 12 million vehicles sold.
The sixth major generation of this model was first released in 2016. Now Volkswagen has just launched a makeover of the sixth generation in Australia that they are designating the T6.1.
It includes vans, utilities, people movers and campervan.
We had a quick drive of most models; enough to get a taste of these vehicles. More complete road tests will follow.
Overall comments for the vehicle range
Given the fast-increasing technologies in motor cars and the increasing requirements to meet a five-star safety rating, the main aspects of this latest version include some significant safety features:
- Front Assist with City Emergency Brake (CEB),
- Crosswind Assist,
- Side Assist including blind spot monitoring and Rear Traffic Alert,
- Multi-collision brake and, in some models, a digital
The different model variants are:
- Transporter Van (front seats and a big load area)
- Transporter Crewvan (two rows of seats and a good cargo area)
- Transporter Cab Chassis (a single or dual cab ute with an aluminum tray)
- Multivan (a people mover although VW would probably prefer an official categorisation of SUV)
- Caravelle (a long wheel-based people mover)
- California (a camper van)
The power plant is a 2 litre diesel and, depending on the model, can have one of three power outputs starting with a single turbo charged configuration producing a moderate 81kw/250Nm, to 110 kW/340Nm and then up to the twin turbo charged 146kW/450Nm.
The Transporter Vans has all three engine options. There is a five-speed manual gearbox for the short wheel base or a six-speed manual for the long wheel base van and an optional 7-speed DSG gearbox.
The Crewvans have the mid spec engine, the Multivans have the mid or the high spec while the Cab Chassis has the highest spec engine. These three come only with the 7-speed DSG gearbox.
The Transporter vans and Multivans come in short and long wheel-based versions but the Cab Chassis is long wheel base only.
Most of the exterior style goes into a nose, which is a little more than the flat van face that was part of the model up to 1990. It is not intrusive and certainly does not have the “get-out-of-my-way” brutal approach of the American pickup and, to an increasing extent, utes sold on the Aussie market.
All new Volkswagens have a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty with a range of purchasing and servicing options.
I had a short drive of three of the vehicles and here are some initial impressions.
Transporter Cab Chassis
The Cab Chassis comes with either a single cab or a dual cab with an aluminum tray on a long wheel based platform.
It can carry a pay load of up to 942 kgs, and tow 2,500kgs with a braked trailer. The tow ball down load is 100kgs. It is rated at 8.3l/100km
Unlike most dual cab utes, there is no flow on design style between the passenger and the tray of the vehicle; they look like two concepts cleverly joined. The Volkswagen cabin sits up high and the whole vehicle looks functional. Volkswagen has made no effort to try and add macho aggression to the front of the vehicle as is the case with many modern dual cab utes.
When I sat in the vehicle, immediately I felt the driving position was good. Van design, where the driver sits well forward, can result in a rather vertical steering column. This was not the case and there was good height and reach adjustment for the steering wheel.
The seating is functional rather than comfortable. Both the front and second row seats are flat. The rear seat is a bench across the width of the vehicle (respendant of the Toyota Troup Carrier) and the seat back is quite vertical. The front space is good but in the back the leg room is average, made worse by the fact that you cannot put your feet under the seats in front of you. The space under the seats is full of wiring. I was told it is a little bit for the side airbags in the seat but also because there is limited room behind the dash and so electrical connections for other functions have to be put under the seat.
It is not made for a family with young children as it does not have tether anchorage or ISOFIX anchorage points in the second row of seats.
We had about 500 kgs of weight in the tray but the vehicle performed comfortably in driving on urban streets.
The turning circle is 13.2 m but there is no reversing camera in this model.
All models come with the 146kW engine and 7 speed DSG gear box and a factory tray.
- Transporter Single Cab $55,490
- Transporter Single Cab 4MOTION $58,490
- Transporter Dual Cab $57,490
- Transporter Dual Cab 4MOTION $60,490
I drove the short wheel base Crewvan with the 110kW engine and a 500kg load.
This vehicle had two rows of seats with side windows while the load area had no side windows. It was front wheel drive.
It had a payload maximum of 1,076kgs and was rated at 8.3l/100km.
The most immediate thing to notice when sitting in the vehicle, is the better seating than the cab chassis model, with more side support and individually contoured.
There was also a clear space between the tow front seats which I like for putting things like a wet umbrella when necessary.
The rear door for loading cargo was large and the space easily accessible.
The vehicle did not feel compromised by having only the mid spec engine.
The short wheel base allows for a tighter turning circle at 11.9m (compared to 13.2m for the long wheel base).
There is a reversing camera although I did not understand the graphic representation of the vehicle in relation to the road and kerb line.
The second row of seats is more child friendly with tether anchorage points and ISOfix anchorage points.
- Transporter Crewvan SWB $51,490
- Transporter Crewvan SWB 4MOTION $54,490
- Transporter Crewvan LWB $54,490
- Transporter Crewvan LWB 4 Motion $57,490
Multivan – Cruise Special Edition
The Cruise special edition is within the range a well-priced, good looking vehicle.
The vehicle has a two-tone paint job of Reflex Silver and Starlight blue which made the vehicle look far less “van-like”.
All of the Cruise Special editions are two-tone with Reflex Silver the common colour and the other choices are Fortana Red and Indium Grey.
The most distinctive feature of the multivans is the adjustability of the second and third row of seats. Both rows of seats are on a rail system that allows adjustment for the whole length of the area behind the front seats. The second row of seats can rotate and face backwards and can be removed. The third row of seats can fold down and form a bed.
The seats are well contoured and comfortable. This is clearly the vehicle for the family and shows the versatility of the overall platform.
The vehicle can carry a payload of 814kgs and can tow 2,500kgs.
The fuel consumption is rated at 6.6l/100km
- Multivan Comfortline Premium SWB $61,990
- Multivan Comfortline Premium SWB 4Motion $64,990
- Multivan Comfortline Premium LWB $64,990
- Multivan Comfortline Premium LWB 4Motion $67,990
- Multivan Highline LWB $84,990
- Multivan Highline LWB 4Motion $87,990
- Multivan Comfortline EXEC $87,990
- Multivan Cruise Special Edition SWB $73,990