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Volkswagen Transporter

T5 Transporter GP Series

Volkswagen logo1 Mar 2010

VOLKSWAGEN released a comprehensively revamped, TDI diesel-only T5 GP-series commercial vehicle range in March 2010.

But while the previous entry-level Transporter 2.0-litre petrol was dropped (meaning that the cost of entry into the T5 rose by $6000), the volume-selling diesels introduced affordable automatics in the guise of the DSG dual clutch gearbox.

Other changes include improved payload capacities (by up to 19 per cent), standard stability control, and available head and thorax airbags.

More power for the money, less fuel consumption, cleaner engines, improved safety, and better driveability are further plus points.

Volkswagen also went hard in the people mover market with a single-model, sub-$50K Caravelle with nine seats, TDI, DSG, and the LWB (long-wheelbase) body to tempt airport/hotel/patient transfer buyers. A cheaper seven-seater Multivan with more luxury was also added.

But the Transporter van is the volume seller, offered in two wheelbase lengths (3000mm and 3400mm), three roof heights, front-wheel or 4MOTION all-wheel drive, five engine/gearbox combos, bucket or bench seating configurations, single or twin sliding side doors, and lift-up or barn-style tailgates, among other permutations.

On all models, every body panel forward of the B-pillar has been redesigned, giving the T5 GP a Golf/Polo-like face. This means that the front fenders, headlights, bonnet, grille, bumper and exterior mirrors (with an integrated radio antenna) are new. Restyled tail-lights are also included.

Inside sees a redesigned dash, steering wheel, climate controls, audio panel, fabrics, trim and colours, to give the six-year old T5 series a more up-to-date appearance.

On the active safety front, stability control is now standard across the range, complete with hill-start assist, ARP Active Rollover Protection, a brake preparation technology, ‘fading’ brake support, hydraulic brake assist and a brake disc wiper for optimum performance. It works in conjunction with the ABS anti-lock brakes.

Passive safety-wise, the dual front airbags can be complemented with head and thorax airbags.

Just the single 1968cc 2.0-litre twin-cam 16-valve CR common-rail DI direct-injection four-cylinder forced-induction diesel engine is available – albeit in varying states of tune for different performance requirements: 75 TDI, 103 TDI and 132 TDI.

A diesel particulate filter helps make each 2.0 TDI CR DI unit Euro-V emissions compliant, as does the abolishment of a conventional torque-converter automatic gearbox such as the old six-speed Tiptronic transmission for the highly efficient DSG – a new-generation wet-clutch multi plate seven-speed item that makes its world debut in the T5 GP. VW says this DSG is rated to about 600Nm of torque.

Only the entry-level Transporter Van gets the smallest-output (75 TDI) engine, using a VTG Variable Turbine Geometry single turbocharger to achieve 75kW of power at 3500rpm and 250Nm from 1500 to 2500rpm.

Next up is the 103 TDI that also employs a single turbocharger for its 103kW at 3500rpm and 370Nm from 1750 to 2500rpm outputs. Coupled with the DSG, it is expected to be the most popular with buyers.

More money buys the 132 TDI, pumping out 132kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm from 1500 to 2000rpm – thanks to a new twin turbocharger induction system.

The 103 TDI and 132 TDI Multivan – as well as the 132 TDI-only Dual Cab Chassis’ – figures are slightly higher.

Either way, compared to their respective predecessors, fuel consumption falls vary between seven per cent and 16 per cent, while CO2 levels fall even more.

Not much has changed fundamentally beneath the T5 GP, meaning that it retains a MacPherson strut front suspension and semi-trailing independent rear axle with coil springs and an anti-roll bar, while the steering system is a hydraulically powered rack and pinion device. The SWB van’s turning circle is 11.9m (SWB: 13.2m).

All models boast a 2000kg braked towing capacity/750kg unbraked.

The payload for the 75 TDI Van is 1318kg (SWB) and 1267 (LWB) 103 TDI: 1283/1232kg 132 TDI: 1236/1185kg. The Dual Cab Chassis’ payload ranges from 1078kg to 1213kg.

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