Van of the Year 2016: Volkswagen Transporter

The Volkswagen Transporter is the 2016 Auto Express Van of the Year, with the Ford Transit and Volkswagen Caddy commended

Even though it looks like a predictable progression from the five incarnations of the mid-size panel van that have gone before it, under the skin the new Volkswagen T6 Transporter is a big step forward in every respect. And that’s enough to secure it the Auto Express Van of the Year award in 2016.

That classily subdued exterior hides an updated engine range that meets Euro 6 emissions rules and delivers a fine blend of performance and economy. On the road, the Transporter sets the class standard in terms of comfort and refinement, while the cab environment delivers genuinely car-like levels of quality.

Best panel vans on sale right now

A raft of advanced safety technology is built into the van, with much of it included as standard, and class-leading residuals contribute to a powerful value proposition, making the Transporter an excellent tool for businesses of all sizes.

The T6 uses an SCR exhaust aftertreatment system and BlueMotion Technology to boost economy and lower emissions. Official fuel returns of up to 47.9mpg with a CO2 output as low as 153g/km are the result, making the Transporter one of the greenest vans of its size.

A broad range of bodystyles, including long-wheelbase and high-roof versions, delivers load volumes of up to 9.3 cubic metres and payloads of up to 1,331kg. These combine with manual and DSG gearboxes and the option of 4Motion all-wheel drive to add great flexibility to the Transporter range. Inside, high-quality plastics and switchgear forge a direct link to the Volkswagen passenger car range, while the brand’s latest infotainment technology puts the van ahead of rivals in the mobile connectivity and ease-of-use stakes.

VW Transporter Highline corner

The premium feel of the T6 is carried over to the driving experience, where a well judged seating position works with excellent ride comfort and smooth, powerful engines to make the Transporter superb over longer distances. Around town, it’s a relaxing drive, particularly when equipped with the smooth DSG gearbox, and when it comes to projecting the right image for your business, the Volkswagen is also ahead of the pack. 

Our choice

Volkswagen Transporter T30 2.0 TDI 102PS Highline (£27,855)

The 101bhp TDI is the best Transporter engine, with strong economy and enough performance to handle heavy loads. Flagship Highline trim offers a spec that van buyers used to dream of: air-con, a five-inch colour touchscreen with DAB and Bluetooth, electric heated mirrors, twin front airbags and post-collision braking. 

Commended

Ford Transit

Ford Transit - front action

Last year’s winner remains the undisputed king of the large panel van class. The Ford Transit offers a vast model range adaptable to the needs of all operators, as well as the best driving experience in a van of its size. With low running costs and a brand name that people trust, it’s an excellent choice.

Volkswagen Caddy

Volkswagen Caddy - side

Much of what helped the Volkswagen Transporter take our overall Van of the Year crown for 2016 applies to its little brother in the line-up, the Caddy. The company has brought the quality of its passenger car range to bear in the commercial vehicle market and produced a small van with a true premium feel.

Auto Express New Car Awards 2016 

For complete, in-depth coverage of the New Car Awards 2016, buy your collector's edition copy of the Auto Express magazine now or click here to subscribe...  

Recommended

New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 spied at the Nurburgring
VW T7 spy
Volkswagen Transporter

New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 spied at the Nurburgring

Upcoming Volkswagen Transporter T7 spotted testing around the Green Hell, ahead of its launch later this year
28 May 2021
Ford Transit van review
2019 Ford Transit driving
Ford Transit

Ford Transit van review

A great drive, impressive efficiency and loads of tech all help to keep the Transit legend alive
12 May 2021
New Volkswagen Caddy California to start from £29,965
VW Caddy California
Vans

New Volkswagen Caddy California to start from £29,965

VW’s latest camper usefully undercuts the Transporter-based California on price when it goes on sale in May
31 Mar 2021
Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 Sportline unveiled for 2021
Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 Sportline
News

Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 Sportline unveiled for 2021

Sporty styling upgrades and lower suspension for Volkswagen Transporter T6.1 Sportline
18 Mar 2021

Most Popular

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle
Volkswagen T7 Multivan - front
Volkswagen Caravelle

New 2021 Volkswagen T7 Multivan replaces Caravelle

The Volkswagen T7 Multivan MPV switches to the MQB platform and adds plug-in hybrid technology
10 Jun 2021
LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini
LEC MINI Electric
MINI

LEC launches affordable EV conversion for classic Mini

The conversion sees the Mini’s A-Series engine replaced with a dinky electric motor and a 20kWh battery for a range of 70 miles in the city
10 Jun 2021
New Toyota Land Cruiser 300 revealed with six-cylinder petrol and diesel power
Toyota Land Cruiser - front
Toyota Land Cruiser

New Toyota Land Cruiser 300 revealed with six-cylinder petrol and diesel power

Six-cylinder engine line-up and clever new suspension tech for the new large Toyota Land Cruiser, but it’s not destined for the UK
9 Jun 2021
New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time
Vauxhall Astra teaser 1
Vauxhall Astra

New 2021 Vauxhall Astra teased for the first time

The new Vauxhall Astra will get electrified powertrains and a more premium image
8 Jun 2021
New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp
Tesla Model S facelift - front
Tesla Model S

New 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid launched with 1,006bhp

Range-topping version of the Tesla Model S officially unveiled, with a sprint time of 0-60mph in less than two seconds
10 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'
Gearknob
Opinion

‘Our switch to electric will soon make driving manual cars a lost art'

Want to drive a manual car? You need to take your test in a manual car. So what happens once all driving-school cars are automatic EVs?
8 Jun 2021
New Genesis G80 2021 review
Genesis G80
Genesis G80

New Genesis G80 2021 review

Is the new Genesis G80 a worthy competitor in the executive saloon segment?
9 Jun 2021
Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features
Audi S5
Audi

Audi updates line-up for 2022 with new tech and trim features

Almost every car in Audi’s line-up has received a tweak, with major updates including Amazon Alexa integration and a Sonos stereo
11 Jun 2021
New Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet 2021 review
Mercedes E 300 Cabriolet - front
Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet

New Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet 2021 review

The soft-top Mercedes E-Class Cabriolet gets the same updates as the saloon and estate variants
10 Jun 2021
'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'
Car manufacturing
Opinion

'Factories are at a standstill because they can’t get the parts to finish cars'

Steve Fowler points out the fresh issues facing global car manufacturing
9 Jun 2021
New 2021 BMW X4 facelift arrives with new look inside and out
BMW X4 - front tracking
BMW X4

New 2021 BMW X4 facelift arrives with new look inside and out

The updated BMW X4 line-up gets a new look and now comes with hot petrol and diesel options
8 Jun 2021
New 2021 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe breaks cover
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe - front
BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe

New 2021 BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe breaks cover

The new second-generation BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe adds four-door coupe style to the 4 Series range
8 Jun 2021
New Vauxhall Grandland SUV unveiled with fresh design and tech boost
Vauxhall Grandland - front action
Vauxhall Grandland X

New Vauxhall Grandland SUV unveiled with fresh design and tech boost

The heavily facelifted Vauxhall Grandland family SUV gets Visor design cues and plug-in hybrid power
8 Jun 2021