PH Fleet: VW Transporter Kombi Sportline

A major reshuffle of the PH Fleet beckons, which you'll be reading about in due course. In the meantime we required a bridging loan if you will, something to carry us through a quiet spell in the diary.

White van man about to turn green with envy
White van man about to turn green with envy
Which doesn't sound the most complimentary way to introduce the newest - and admittedly temporary - member of the PH Fleet. But then, it is a van. And vans are meant to be all about function and fulfilling a role.

This one does a bit more than that though.

The bright orange Caddy van I carried over from my previous home to the PH job seemed to get a fairly enthusiastic response when I bid it farewell on these pages. And off the back of that it seems there's a bit of an underground passion for vans on PH. We love 'em for sure, especially ones that look like this!

Wings, bling and lowered ride height
Wings, bling and lowered ride height
Surf's up, etc
OK, it's a tad blingy. But if you're - and I say this through gritted teeth - a 'lifestyle' user like us this Transporter Kombi has much to ease that transition from regular civilian transport to the world of commercial vehicles. And, to be fair, the white on black alloys, Sportline bodykit and other trimmings are the kind of thing to get the home counties surfer crowd trembling in excitement. Newquay here we come and all that...

Surfer or not, there are plenty of PH-worthy activities a van can play a part in, which we'll be exploring in due course. And though many might baulk at the idea of running a commercial vehicle the realities can stack up compared with 'civilian' SUVs and MPVs, not least the ability to claim back the VAT if you qualify and fixed £215 VED. Size-wise the Transporter Kombi is only 97mm longer than a Touareg and actually narrower too. But it makes a whole lot better use of that similar on-road footprint and, kitted out like this one, makes an honest case as an alternative.

The more useful alternative to an SUV?
The more useful alternative to an SUV?
That case is helped by our Transporter's £210 Cab Comfort Pack, which includes extra sound proofing, carpets and - move along - a two-tone horn! Indeed, the spec on this one is positively decadent and includes heated seats (£225), parking sensors (£150), cruise control (£175) and more besides. This in addition to standard Sportline leather seats - removable in the rear if you want to chop and change twixt family transport and proper van duties - and plenty of gadgets like the Kenwood sourced touchscreen infotainment system.

White goods
Making good on those mean black alloys and 30mm lower ride height our van has not one but two turbos, the 2.0-litre diesel motor dishing out 180hp and 295lb ft of torque - good enough for a brisk (relatively) 10.3-second 0-62mph time and more than the 170hp and 258lb ft you get in the Golf GTD! The engine is actually a different one from the ubiquitous 140hp/170hp 2.0-litre TDI seen across the VW, SEAT, Skoda and Audi passenger car ranges and can also be found under the hood of the burly Amarok pick-up. And if it's good enough for that...

Lairy theme continues inside as well
Lairy theme continues inside as well
So much for the number crunching. What possible place does a van have in the PH world? See that tow hook in the options list? There's a clue. Now I'd best go and check the rules about towing...






2012 VW TRANSPORTER KOMBI Sportline T32 SWB 2.0-litre BiTDI 180 PS
Run by: Dan Trent
On fleet since: July
List price new:
£39,066 (List price of £30,340 plus VAT and delivery, plus Candy White paint/Gloss Black roof - £450, 'cab comfort pack' inc. additional carpets and noise suppression - £210, removable tow bar - £470, 'seat pack C' featuring heated front seats - £225, 'side door pack B' - £440, parking sensors - £150, mud flaps - £95, cruise control - £175; all options prices plus VAT)
Last month at a glance: Just delivered!


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Comments (61) Join the discussion on the forum

  • k60djg 18 Jul 2012

    i picked a Vito 115 - 150 sport LWB tip auto over a company car as it had good tax advantages for me
    with a van as a sole driver its £3000 per year plus £550 for full fuel allowance
    if i had say a new A4 advant it would be about £9,000 against my tax allowance putting me in a K code
    for the company they can also claim the tax back so their quids in as well
    so far ive done 70,000 miles in it & im very pleased, service interval is 25,000 miles as well
    ive added a diesel chip & it gives me about another 50 miles per tank & i gererally fill up every 450 but as a guess i estimate about 500/tank with 9L in reserve. im think im getting about 32-34/gallon.
    its a great all round vehicle with 5 seats giving loads of leg room which ive had done in black soft leather with white stitching.
    my only gripe is: having to reach so far for rear wiper & rubish stereo but an easy trade off for £5500 less againt my tax code for a full expenced company vehicle.
    for me it gets loaded with mountain bikes & my sons band gear on a regular basis & of course the obligitary trips to the rubbish tip.
    my wife loves driving it as well
    i do admit the Transporter looks better from the front but when i looked at my mates new one the Vito is definately finished off better in side.
    personnaly i wouldnt mind a converted Transporter & car trailer with my TR6 & mountain bikes & do a bit of touring.

  • _g_ 03 Jul 2012

    Cheers. I haven't worked it out exactly, but don't think I get good mpg around town.
    A little better, because I also like the traffic light GP regardless of the vehicle I'm in, but have managed to reign it in.

    Mine is pretty much poverty-spec, bar alloys. Doesn't have a mechanism to adjust mirrors inside the van!
    Did look at a much higher spec 115, but mechanically it was in a lot worse shape and the buyer messed us about, including making us wait for an hour, then conveniently having us view with another set of people waiting for the same vehicle. We walked pretty quicky.

  • Daniel1 03 Jul 2012

    _g_ said:
    What sort of 'thirsty' out of interest?

    I have a 111 (chipped). 32mpg at a steady 70-75, 37mpg or so at 56-60.

    When money is better, do fancy upgrading to a higher spec one.
    • takes a deep breath*
    Well, my one is loaded and has done 55,000 miles, admittedly a lot in London, and is averaging 22 mpg. On a motorway it might do 26mpg. I'm sure it will do more but traffic lights and dual carriageways are far too tempting, especially as it will keep up with a V8 range rover sport up to and beyond 100 leptons (apparently...). Mine is an auto though.

    The V6 is silky smooth (same engine as the 320 spec cars of the same era), it's comfortable and an infinitely better drive, both in handling and ride, then any UK domestic pickup. Not sure if it was an option but mine has the Merc speed limiter that I love and also the same stereo/satnav as the cars. So it has an aux/iPod connection and can control a phone. Only downside is mine has two seats and so the space between them is a little "unfinished". It does have better dials then the standard Vito's and the gear knob is leather and quality plastic, rather then the normal Heavy duty plastic. I personally don't regret buying it as you get all the practicality of the van but driving 115 vitos and this back to back, there is no comparison.

    Terrible in the snow though hehe

  • supersingle 02 Jul 2012

    Sivraj said:
    Love the van but its well out of my price range!!
    Just boght a T4 with the 2.4D and a camper conversion for £7500 and am very pleased with it.
    Probably a little to bling for the tastes on this site but I love it!!!
    A T4 with a 2.4D engine is likely to be a hell of a lot more reliable than any T5. Good choice!

  • Sivraj 02 Jul 2012

    Love the van but its well out of my price range!!
    Just boght a T4 with the 2.4D and a camper conversion for £7500 and am very pleased with it.
    Probably a little to bling for the tastes on this site but I love it!!!

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