Fresh from its maker and sporting a sparkly blue metallic finish and snazzy alloy wheels, this Volkswagen Transporter T5 is the latest vehicle to join our long-term test fleet.
In truth this van should be called the T five-and-a-half, as just a couple of months ago it was treated to a mid-life wash and brush-up that included a new front end and a fresh set of engines.
We love the new looks and have to admit we all thought the lines of the old T5 a tad on the brutal side. We chose the 102bhp as it’s likely to be the top fleet choice. There are also 84bhp, 140bhp and 180bhp versions on offer.
Rather unusually our van is a long wheelbase model which bumps the load volume up from 5.8 cu m to 6.7cu m and the lads at Volkswagen have kindly added a few extras too such as aircon and extra goodies pack at £1,180 (just right for the barbecue summer we are hopefully going to enjoy soon), metallic paint at £475 and the alloy wheels at £585.
Inside we have complete ply-lining, which should help keep this vehicle spick and span during its life and it has also imbued the interior with a lovely musky, woody smell.
Just two weeks into our appraisal and the van is proving an extremely pleasant vehicle to drive. The new engines are much quieter than the old ones, which in truth were inclined to be a bit rattly, and with a full bulkhead, the mem sahib and I can converse in lowered tones even at motorway speeds.
I’ve noticed that at 70mph, the powerplant is only ticking over at 2,500rpm so when I get round to doing my first proper fuel economy test I’ll be interested to see how it performs as I’m hoping for big things.
In the cab, the driver’s seat is superb, with loads of support at the sides, but I did wonder whether it was a bit too snug. I’m pretty skinny and the seat fits well but I reckon those of a more porcine nature may find themselves spilling over the edges.
The passenger seat, meanwhile, is hard and flat and my partner didn’t find it particularly comfortable on our first long run of 150 miles. She also complained that the seatbelt was cutting into her neck as there is no height adjustment. My seat adjusts all ways so I didn’t have that problem.
My only criticism so far is that the writing on the heating controls is so small that I can’t read it without bending towards the dash and squinting. I must get my eyes tested!
Author: Trevor Gelkin