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.

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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 

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