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Future models - Volkswagen - Transporter

New drive for Volkswagen Transporter

Van plan: VW's Transporter gains a suite of new engines and is set for an Australian launch by the year's end.

A cavalcade of Kombis has rolled out as VW launches sixth-gen Transporter

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Volkswagen logo16 Apr 2015

VOLKSWAGEN has revealed the new incarnation of the Transporter light-commercial van and people-mover, ahead of its arrival here towards the end of the year.

The range of vans and people-movers boasts better fuel use from powerplants with idle-stop as standard, the brand’s accident prevention active safety features and a horde of feature additions, with European pricing starting at or below the outgoing models’ asking price.

Should that carry over to the Australian line-up, it would keep the people-mover range between approximately $50,000 and $78,000 and the commercial line-up between $38,000 and $49,000, plus on-road costs.

The people-mover segment has two VW contenders up against the dominant Korean pair from Hyundai (iMax) and Kia (Carnival), as well as a resurgent Honda Odyssey in top spot and the veteran Toyota Tarago all ahead of Volkswagen duo.

Neither the Multivan or Caravelle troubled the scorers greatly last year, with 602 and 87 units shifted respectively.

The Transporter light commercial sold a more respectable 1296 last year, in the shadow of Toyota’s venerable HiAce van which collected 6432 sales (and 40 per cent of the segment), as well as Hyundai’s iLoad that found 4344 buyers and the Renault Trafic with 1643 sales.

The new design maintains a similar look to the outgoing model, with Volkswagen saying it has “modernised cautiously” the styling of its van clan, but it has sharper lines at the front.

The range has been bolstered by the addition of a Caravelle Highline edition, which joins the existing Multivan people-mover and commercial models.

All will be powered by a new range of petrol and turbo-diesel powerplants.

The turbo-diesel is a new-generation EU6 emissions-meeting 'EA288 Nutz,' a transverse 2.0-litre unit producing 62, 75, 110 or 150kW depending on the variant. The petrol option (seemingly unlikely for Australia given our current all-diesel line-up) is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine producing 110kW or 150kW.

Volkswagen said the new engines are all about 15 per cent more frugal than the outgoing models, with the idle-stop fuel saver system as standard and other feature additions for the model (in its home market and as yet unconfirmed for Australia) include an adaptive suspension system, oddly called Dynamic Cruise Control, which offers Comfort, Normal and Sport modes.

The rear tailgate will be offered with powered opening and closing, controlled by buttons in the driver’s side door, on the tailgate or on the key fob, a convenience feature for shorter operators to close the tailgate which, at its highest point sits about two metres above ground level when open.

Also available on both the commercial and people-mover vehicles is the front assist area monitoring system to warn drivers of potential impacts the automatic post-collision braking system is standard on the Transporter.

It can also be teamed with the optional adaptive cruise control, which is able to slow the vehicle to a complete stop the safety system also features the City Emergency Braking function, which provides automatic braking to avoid an impact at speeds under 30km/h.

A feature which parents of squabbling children might enjoy is the optional electronic voice enhancement, which aims to allow drivers to keep their eyes focussed on what is happening on the road but – without turning their head – the driver's voice can be automatically amplified and played back to the passengers over the radio system's loudspeakers.

Vehicles with 4MOTION all-wheel drive will also have the option of Hill Descent Assist, with trailer towing duties also monitored by electronic trailer stabilisation cold-climate users will also welcome a heated windscreen.

Bluetooth hands-free is expected to be standard range-wide and selected variants could also receive the Comfort mobile phone interface, which includes an inductive link to the vehicle's mobile phone antenna, an auxiliary USB port and a storage compartment for the mobile phone.

Models equipped with the 6.3-inch touchscreen will benefit from the proximity-sensing function already seen in selected VW passenger vehicles.

The new Transporter will also be available with the Discover Media and Discover Media Plus satellite-navigation systems with internet information services.

No details of any plans for it here but Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is offering the Generation Six special edition launch model in Germany, based on the Multivan Comfortline but upgraded with LED headlights and tail-lights, fog-lights with cornering function, chrome trim upgrades, retro alloy wheels, as well as the optional choice of four retro two-tone paint finishes.

Volkswagen Australia general manager of communications Karl Gehling said further details on the models bound for Australia would be forthcoming closer the local launch, which is scheduled to be the last quarter of this year for the commercial vans and early 2015 for the people-movers.

The sixth generation of the T-Series, which harks back to the brand’s beginnings as the second model produced after the Beetle was unveiled with a look back at its history.

The T series has – across the model’s 65 year history – sold around 12 million vehicles and the global reveal of the new model revisited the van’s history - 20 examples of the breed were displayed, complete with a musical backdrop from the corresponding era.

The finale vehicle was a 1950 pigeon blue Sofie panel van, the most valuable and oldest Bulli (or Kombi for Australians) from the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles Classic Cars collection.

Mark Knopfler, from Dire Straits, also performed at the launch of the sixth generation T series – both the musician and the VW model are 65 years old.

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