2016 Volkswagen Transporter TDI340 SWB van road test and review.
Back in the 1990’s I started my working career as a delivery driver and after stints behind the wheel of a Ford Econovan and Mitsubishi Express I was handed the keys to a brand new Volkswagen Transporter.
So, all these years later, it was nice to get back into a Volkswagen Transporter this week.
Volkswagen gave us a short wheelbase version of its Transporter TDI340 to road test and review, a combo that will cost you from $36,990 for the manual and $39,990 with a seven-speed dual-clutch auto transmission.
I had the manual transmission variant and must say I really enjoyed getting around in it.
The transmission selector in the old Transporter used to be on the floor, now Volkswagen has it up on the dashboard and well within an easy reach.
As with the Volkswagen Amarok I reviewed last week, I found the cabin to be nicely put together with everything in the right place.
It was also good to see that on the T-Series offering you get rear parking sensors as standard – a real ‘must have’ on a van.
That available torque means that the Transporter (albeit without a load on-board) will easily pull up most hills in top gear.
One area, aside from passenger comfort and safety, that the vans of today have a big advantage over those from years gone by is ride and handling.
While once you felt every bump and crack in the road, vans like the VW transporter just soak up the bumps like a car would.
Nicely weighted steering and a very tight turning circle also make the Transporter an easy drive.
The brakes though take a little getting used to and tend to be a little ‘grabby’, especially when cold. Though I did find after a few days that I was quite used to this kind of unusual feel (probably something exacerbated by no load weight).
Visibility from the driver’s seat is quite good and the large front windows and windscreen makes the cabin feel quite open and airy.
As you would expect there’s a mountain of load space in the back with the T-Series SWB van able to haul a load up to 2572mm long and a payload of 1236kg. There’s also a 2.5 tonne (braked) towing capacity.
Optional extras? Yep, there are quite a few and many look very handy. These include a reverse camera ($590), rough road suspension ($790), rear wing doors ($490) and fixed or sliding windows in the rear (from $390 to $790).
Summing it up: safe, solid, versatile and easy to drive, it’s easy to see why the Transporter is constantly finding an increased number of buyers around the world.
Yes, you do pay a bit extra for the Volkswagen, but gee there isn’t much not to like about the latest offering in the long-running T-Series linage.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Volkswagen Transporter TDI340 SWB
Engine: 2.0 litre turbo-diesel producing 103kW and 340Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual or seven-speed automatic
Safety: Not tested
Warranty: Three years
Price: from $36,990