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Improvements in efficiency, safety and choice spearhead VW’s T5 commercial upgrades

23 Mar 2010

VOLKSWAGEN sure knows how to build workhorses, as the six-year-old T5 range proves. Now, significant upgrades include new high-tech diesel engines, optional DSG dual-clutch gearbox, standard stability control and a raft of fresh safety, comfort, refinement and convenience features designed to keep the Germans at the top of the class. VW is even targeting the big-selling Toyota HiAce and Hyundai’s increasingly more popular iLoad with cheaper versions of some models, even though the abolition of the base petrol van means that the price of Transporter entry rises by about $6000. Still, as all the activity seems to happen in the high-$30K zone, it appears VW is ready for a fight.

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 March 2010 to 1 December 2015

Previous model

T5 Series

Released: August 2004
Ended: March 2010
Family Tree: Transporter

THE second-generation front-engine VW van range built on the success of its 1992 predecessor with a vastly improved interior, safety, refinement and driveability. The van was the volume seller, offered in two wheelbase lengths (3000mm and 3400mm), three roof heights, front-wheel or 4MOTION all-wheel drive, bucket or bench seating configurations, single or twin sliding side doors, and lift-up or barn-style tailgates, among other permutations. There was also a Crewvan with a second row of seats, a Dual Cab Chassis, and the Kombi, Caravelle and Multivan people-mover variations. This time diesels easily outnumbered petrol variants, but the base van still employed the hoary old 85kW/170Nm 2.0L four-cylinder petrol engine/five-speed manual gearbox combination. The two 1.9L TDI diesels were more popular (in 63kW/200Nm and – from 2006 – 77kW/250Nm outputs), but these too were manual-only, so buyers had to fork out for the 96kW/340Nm or even more expensive 128kW/400Nm 2.5-litre five-pot TDI that offered a six-speed auto as well as six-speed manual.

Alternatively an auto-only, 173kW/315Nm 3.2L V6 petrol was also on offer, but few chose this rather thirsty version. All up, some 60 different T5s were imported to Australia, with most coming out from the Hanover plant in Germany.

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