Review: Volkswagen T6 Transporter (2015)

Rating:

Even more refined and car-like to drive, most economical 11PS 2.0 TDI is also the best, large range of body configurations, lots of standard equipment.

Expensive to buy new or used, not an all-new Transporter rather a revamp of the T5, lacking legroom up front which hampers the driving position.

Recently Added To This Review

2 September 2019 Volkswagen Transporter 6.1 launched

The hydraulic power steering of the T6 has given way to an electromechanical system in the T6.1 which enables active intervention into steering control. This opens up access to new assistance systems,... Read more

11 May 2019

Report of 2016 Volkswagen T6 TDI campervan, 16 plate now 18,000 miles having needed three replacement EGR coolers and now requiring a fourth (happily under a free extended warranty). See: 23-9-2017.... Read more

13 March 2019

Report fom reader who just took delivery of a brand new VW T6 camper van from Bilbos in South Godstone. £73,000, so not cheap. "Drove it home, 39 miles on the clock. Invited friends round to admire... Read more

Volkswagen T6 Transporter (2015): At A Glance

The Volkswagen T6 Transporter is a peach: an extremely fuel efficient, high quality and refined stuff-lugger, with a notable reduction in cabin noise compared to its predecessor, the T5. If you are looking for a comfortable and premium medium size van then look no further.

If you were to place the old Transporter T5 and a T6 side-by-side, you’d see the modernisation. That’s not least because of the T6’s distinctive LED daytime running lights - one bit of technology of many that’s lifted from Volkswagen’s passenger car range.

You do also get the largest range of body styles offered by any single van moniker, says Volkswagen, comprising a couple of wheelbases, three roof heights, four gross vehicle weights, and panel van, Kombi, Shuttle, Caravelle and California configurations. 

The engine range is derived from those found in your everyday Golf with the mainstay a Euro 6 compliant 2.0-litre TDI returning around 40mpg - a big improvement on the old model. In 2017, in response to the wave of anti-diesel sentiment, a 2.0-litre TSI petrol was added to the range for a limited period of time.

The Transporter was updated in 2019 and rebranded T6.1 to give a nod to its upgraded connectivity and safety tech. A new electro-mechanical power steering system was also introduced, improving on-road performance.

The cabin is comfortable and fitted with three seats as standard on all panel van versions. The Transporter is packed with car-like assistance and safety systems too, with adaptive cruise control, automatic city braking and post-collision braking. A driver monitoring system is also fitted as standard, with audio and visual signals triggered when the driver's behaviour indicates fatigue.

However, the T6 doesn’t simply shine because Volkswagen has thrown the entire passenger car stock cupboard at it – it shines because it’s taken a strong base and made it even stronger. One or two obvious giveaways aside, this is as car-like a van experience as you could hope for.

Driven: Volkswagen Transporter 6.1 facelift

Long Term Test - Transporter 2.0 TSI Petrol

Is the Volkswagen 2.0 TSI petrol panel van a realistic alternative to diesel? Honest John Vans tested one for three months to see if it could cut it as a daily driver.

Read the long term test here >>

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What does a Volkswagen T6 Transporter (2015) cost?

Volkswagen T6 Transporter (2015): What's It Like Inside?

If you’re looking for outright space above all else, the Transporter T6 hasn’t cured the T5’s fundamental space deficit compared to key competitors like the Ford Transit Custom and Vauxhall Vivaro.

It’s all exactly as was  - there’s been no change in load length, compartment volume or maximum payload. That means space for three Euro pallets, a 2500kg trailer weight, up to 1270kg payload, a 9.3 cubic metres maximum load compartment volume and a max 2.97 metre load compartment length.

And as before, your choice for the panel van is two wheelbases, two roof heights and two seating combinations, while the Kombi does without the roof options. The panel van is fitted with three seats as standard, while the five-seat Kombi has two seats in the front and three across the second row. 

The unchanged dimensions, both interior and exterior, mean that existing T5 owners’ fixtures and fittings will be easily transferable. That’s money saved, which especially for small business users will be good news.

The sliding side door remains, and buyers can specify rear barn doors that open to 250 degrees unlatched. They open to reveal a low, wide loading lip with a fully lined floor featuring six anchorage points (or eight in the long wheelbase version), while a pair of dome lights provide interior illumination, plus one for the step.

Both rear barn doors have an inner release handle, as does, of course, the sliding side door, which at just over 40 inches is wide opening – though not quite enough to accommodate a Euro pallet.

Including all the engine and gearbox choices there’s a typically labyrinthine selection of Transporter possibilities, though mercifully there are only three trim levels: Startline. Highline and Sportline.

Startline comes packed with standard kit, including Bluetooth phone preparation, a 6.5-inch touchscreen media and infotainment display, a USB connection for playing all your favourite hits, remote central locking and a suite of safety systems including lane change assist with side scanning, a driver alert system, and hill hold assist. Sportline adds a performance bodykit, spoiler and leather seats, along with touchscreen navigation.

What's the Volkswagen T6 Transporter (2015) like to drive?

The T6 is one of the best vans to drive. Its handling characteristic is of calm refinement, with a notable lack of engine, wind and road noise, especially at lower speeds. 

It does, of course, get gruff when any of the diesel engines are pushed, but that's rarely required thanks to plenty of low down torque. The ride quality serves up typical Volkswagen smoothness without ever suffering from that over-soft bounciness that plagues some vans, especially around town.

Taller drivers may find a lack of legroom in the front because the seats don’t go back far enough, which assists in making the driving position quite ‘short-legged’ and perhaps tiring over longer journeys. 

This is not a problem exclusive to the Transporter though and elsewhere the T6 feels as car-like as you could hope for. The steering is wonderfully light and the pedals are set up a charm, making this an extremely easy van to drove smoothly. 

The T6 was launched in 2015 with a range of Euro 5 engines that powered the outgoing T5, though they were phased out in 2016 in favour of cleaner Euro 6 units. The Euro 5 2.0-litre TDI engines feature 84PS, 102PS, 140PS and a twin turbo 180PS, but they’re shown up for both refinement and economy by the Euro 6 units that are offered with 84PS, 102PS, 150PS and 204PS.

The Transporter was given a major update in 2019 and rebranded T6.1, with electro-mechanical power steering added and the 2.0 TDI engine output revised to 90PS, 110PS, 150PS and 204PS. The 110PS will be fine for most drivers, while the 150PS will suit van operators who need to tow or carry heavy loads on a day-to-day basis. 

Much like the old Volkswagen PD diesel engines, the 2.0 TDI maximises its punch in a quite narrow but easily accessible power band. That makes it feel stronger than it actually is. It's a perfect companion for a heavy-laden van bustling about town. 

The T6.1 benefits from touchscreen infotainment as standard, while high spec Sportline models get 8-inch navigation as standard, with the option of a digital instrument display. The Transporter also has lots of active safety tech fitted as standard, which means the van will automatically correct its steering when faced with heavy cross winds, keep the van in its lane on the motorway or apply the brakes if it thinks a front impact is imminent.

Real MPG average for a Volkswagen T6 Transporter (2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their vehicles could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

77%

Real MPG

21–46 mpg

MPGs submitted

97

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What do owners think?

Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.

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