Automotive

Volkswagen debuts sixth-generation Transporter van

T1 and T6
T1 and T6
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A sketch showing six generations of Transporter design
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A sketch showing six generations of Transporter design
The top-of-range Multivan's floor rails make it particularly versatile
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The top-of-range Multivan's floor rails make it particularly versatile
The new Transporter hits the open road
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The new Transporter hits the open road
The T6 has undergone a modest styling revision, sharpening up its look
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The T6 has undergone a modest styling revision, sharpening up its look
Behind the wheel of the new T6
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Behind the wheel of the new T6
Volkswagen will offer a variety of Transporter models for both commercial and consumer use
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Volkswagen will offer a variety of Transporter models for both commercial and consumer use
The T6 will be built in Hannover
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The T6 will be built in Hannover
Inside the T6
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Inside the T6
Volkswagen says the new T series should offer a 15 percent fuel consumption reduction on average
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Volkswagen says the new T series should offer a 15 percent fuel consumption reduction on average
The Generation SIX special edition can be ordered in one of four available two-tone color options
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The Generation SIX special edition can be ordered in one of four available two-tone color options
T1 and T6
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T1 and T6
Volkswagen debuted the T6 in Amsterdam
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Volkswagen debuted the T6 in Amsterdam
The new Transporter features newly developed diesel engine options
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The new Transporter features newly developed diesel engine options

Volkswagen revealed the all-new Transporter series van this week, and while it's not the Bulli concept-inspired Microbus revival that the world is hungry for, it is notable as an all new generation for VW's highly successful, 65-year-old workhorse. The new T6 will arrive at dealerships and camper van conversion workshops with a host of styling, equipment and technology upgrades.

Volkswagen swears that the new T series van is sculpted to look as if it's a single-piece body, whittled away from a solid block of material. We simply don't see it no matter how hard we squint. VW cripples its own sell job by pasting the above photo in the middle of its press release. The two-tone paint job of the new T6 works against any semblance of single-piece look, as does setting it next to the clean, hoodless body of the classic Splitty.

What we do see is an extremely modest revision of the T5 design that includes some new hood styling and sharper lines and edges throughout. It feels more like a light mid-cycle refresh than an all-new generation, but as Volkswagen explains, the T series is a classic design that it modernizes with caution. Extreme caution, from the looks of the T6. No surprise, though – at the end of the day, the modern Transporter is just a utilitarian van with a strong work ethic, having lost its real personality decades ago. Short of shocking the world with a true-to-concept Bulli (which Autocar recently suggested is still on the table, at least in the form of a camper van), VW is not likely to excite the world too much with a new generation.

The Generation SIX special edition can be ordered in one of four available two-tone color options
The Generation SIX special edition can be ordered in one of four available two-tone color options

VW does have one interesting trick up its sleeve with the T6: the Generation SIX special edition, a market-launch exclusive that includes available two-tone paint job and optional 18-in retro-design "Disc" alloy wheels, plus standard LED front and rear lights, chrome package, tinted windows, and fog lights with cornering light. The interior of the Multivan Comfortline-based SIX features two-tone Alcantara seats, fabric floor mats and contrast stitching on the steering wheel and gear shift leather. The SIX also comes equipped with various drive and cabin technologies, including ParkPilot front and rear, Side Assist with electric folding mirrors, Adaptive Cruise Control, and a Composition Media infotainment system.

The new T6 models are powered by a new-generation TDI family that VW refers to as "EA288 Nutz" internally. Volkswagen says that the engine was developed for long, durable service life and will be offered in EU6-emissions-standard markets. On paper, the transversely-mounted 2.0-liter diesel family is anything but "nutz," offering modest output levels between 83 and 201 horsepower. VW will also offer 2.0-liter four-cylinder petrol options with outputs of 148 and 201 hp. With the help of a standard stop/start feature, the engine lineup could reduce fuel consumption by an estimated 15 percent.

The driver can expect some help when putting the engine to work, starting with a new adaptive chassis system that dials suspension in according to three selectable modes: comfort, normal and sport. Available driver assistance technologies include Adaptive Cruise Control, Light Assistance front controlled headlight management, and Driver Alert System. Hill Descent Assist is available on models equipped with 4MOTION four-wheel drive.

Behind the wheel of the new T6
Behind the wheel of the new T6

The Transporter interior also gets some interesting goodies. The available 6.3-in touchscreen infotainment system features new proximity sensors that change the screen from display to input mode as one's hand approaches. The optional electronic voice enhancement system works like a seamlessly integrated PA system, amplifying the driver's voice over the rear loudspeakers so that he or she can be heard while keeping both eyes on the road. A newly-available electric tailgate system pops the tailgate open or closed at the push of the key fob and driver-door button. A heated windshield is also on offer.

Volkswagen will begin taking orders in the coming days. The basic Transporter work van starts things off at €23,035 (approx. US$24,900), and the consumer-oriented top-of-range Multivan starts at €29,952 (approx. $32,325).

Source: Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles

12 comments
socalboomer
is it just me, or does that look like an Astro-van?
2008rlctx
Bring this manual transmission, 7 passenger, diesel minivan to the USA. I'll be first in line to purchase it.
Daishi
I don't think the van has much appeal to the people who liked the old design. I agree with socalboomer that it looks like an Astro Van but it looks like it's intended as a fleet vehicle so it partly makes sense. I see mods like this one and it makes me think it would be interesting to see a modernized take on an old classic: http://i.imgur.com/DmCrSsM.jpg I'm sure the old VW bus design would perform like crap in frontal crash tests though.
Osama Hammad
very informative article
Tom Benson
Yes, but will it be sold in USA?
Rann Xeroxx
This thing is nothing like the classic VWs of old, they don't even look like them compared to a new Bug or a new Mini looking like their predecessor. I would really like to see a classic bus being build.
Excellency Neckbeard
Let's take one of the most popular vehicles in human history, and then re-release it as a minivan. Gross. There's plenty of room for competition with Tesla, but this pile of junk is never going to be involved. What were they thinking?!?
Jay Finke
Just when the roads were clear of these awful vehicles, they get introduced again, good news is the piss poor engineering will again make them short lived.
Robert Andrews
If they had put a big VW logo on the front and a hood more like the Bulli Concept, people would recognize and accept it as the evolutionary descendant of the earlier van. This looks like everyone else's vanilla product. Very sad.
Mark Desade
I just can't visualize this with a "flower power" paint job.