Essential knowledge: The Volkswagen T6 Transporter

Volkswagen has revealed the new T6 Transporter van, with new engines, improved economy and uprated safety kit. HonestJohn Vans got unrestricted access to the new T6 at its launch in Amsterdam.

Click through the gallery below to get the complete lowdown on the new Transporter van. 

It’s an evolution of the T5 Transporter

Anyone expecting a radically different Volkswagen van will be sorely disappointed. The T6 Transporter is essentially a heavily revised version of the T5 van, using the same platform, load area and body.

This is somewhat understandable as the T5 model was a huge success for Volkswagen, selling 1.7 million vans since 2003 and setting new benchmarks for handling and refinement. However, some of the innovations from the Tristar concept are missing, so there's no sliding tray storage, 20-inch tablet or video conferencing system. 

Payload is unchanged

Because it's based on the T5 chassis, the T6 Transporter will offer roughly the same payload and load areas as the outgoing model. This means a maximum payload of 1340kg and a maximum load volume spanning from 5.8m3 to 9.3m3.

As before, the Transporter is available in two lengths, with the choice of a standard or high roofline. However, unlike some of its rivals, the Transporter doesn't get a huge array of bulkhead options, which means loading long items, like pipes, remains a tricky exercise. 

New range of 2.0-litre diesel engines

The new Transporter gets remapped version of the existing Euro 5 diesel engines and one new Euro 6 powertrain. All of the engines are four-cylinder 2.0-litre units, with improved efficiency and torque delivery.

Four power outputs will be available form launch, with the choice of 84PS, 102PS, 150PS and 204PS. Transmissions will be five-speed or six-speed gearboxes, depending on which output you choose. A seven-speed DSG automatic will available as a paid for option.

BlueMotion technology fitted as standard 

To improve fuel economy, each T6 gets BlueMotion technology. This means cruise control, low rolling resistance tyres and regenerative braking are fitted as standard across the Transporter range.

Engine start/stop will also be included, which will cut emissions and improve economy by cutting out the engine when stationary in traffic.

The cabin is new(ish)

Although it looks the same, Volkswagen assures us the interior of the Transporter has been updated, with a new two-tone dashboard and improved steering wheel. The van also gets new switchgear, soundproofing and more hardwearing materials.

In-cab comfort should also be better on long trips, with new seats and improved back and upper leg support. A new infotainment system is also available, with Bluetooth and the option of a 6.3-inch touchscreen that lets the user swipe and scroll through the menus in the same fashion as a smartphone. 

LED lights and redesigned bumpers

Volkswagen has sharpened the front end of Transporter with a new bonnet, headlights and bumpers. As a result, the engine cover gets two prominent folds, while the headlights are bigger with the option of LED signatures.

The front and rear bumpers are enlarged, with engine air intakes lowered to improve airflow into and around the van's shell. 

Improved door trims

Getting in and out of the Transporter is easier, with improved door trims and mechanisms. The sliding side door has been retained, but benefits from a lighter motion.

Volkswagen claims to have cut road and exterior noise, with the new door trims reducing sound intrusion into the cabin. The options list will also include an electronic tailgate, which will make it easier to load and unload with automated opening and closing. 

New driver assistance and safety systems

The T6 Transporter will be one of the safest vans to ever emerge from Volkswagen, with adaptive cruise control, automatic city braking and post-collision braking. A driver monitoring system will also be fitted as standard, with audio and visual signals triggered when the driver's behaviour indicates tiredness.

The options list will boast a number of car-like items, with automated headlights that will monitor oncoming traffic and automatically switch between main and dipped beams to avoid dazzling drivers. Parking will also be easier, thanks to a new factory-fit reversing camera. 

Upgraded four-wheel drive capability

Like the T5 model, the new Transporter will get the option of 4Motion four-wheel drive. We're told the system has been given a complete overhaul, with improved sensors to detect loss of traction and upgraded torque delivery to each wheel. 

Hill descent control will be fitted and, like the Land Rover system, it will make it easier to descend steep inclines by limiting the vehicle's engine speed and activating braking to ensure a safe and controlled descent.

Better handling, but higher prices

Volkswagen has told us the handling of the new T6 Transporter will be "more car-like than ever before", but we can't confirm this until we get behind the wheel. 

Inevitably, prices are expected to rise, with an estimated starting price of £19,000 for the base level short wheelbase 84PS model.