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RE: PH Fleet: VW Transporter Kombi Sportline

RE: PH Fleet: VW Transporter Kombi Sportline

Friday 3rd August 2012

PH Fleet: VW Transporter Kombi Sportline

A short but sweet tenure for the Transporter sees it back to VW and leaving a big hole in the PH fleet

It's like a whole new world opens up when you drive a vehicle like the Transporter Sportline. True, proper van cred only comes with ancient, rust-stained dents, at least one light cluster hanging out like some gouged-out eyeball, a yellowing red-top on the dashboard and some shifty, tattooed young offender type scowling in the passenger seat with a fag tucked behind his ear.

This is apparently what they call 'lifestyle'
This is apparently what they call 'lifestyle'
But even an ostentatiously 'lifestyle' commercial vehicle like the Transporter seems to have genuine credibility from a vast cross-section of drivers.

My commuting patterns mean I tend to arrive at PH Towers earlier than most and at a time when delivery vans are doing the rounds. And on a number of occasions I had chaps wander over, drink in every detail of the Transporter's Sportline trimmings and murmur admiration for it in hushed, reverential tones as if I'd turned up in a Koenigsegg or something similarly exotic. Maybe it was the colour, but I'd have expected to be shunned as a wannabe van driver in such a vehicle.

Back where it belongs
Safer ground, meanwhile, was found doing the things 'civilian' van users buy these things for. Turning up at Brands Hatch with a Caterham behind felt like very much the done thing and the rig got further admiration then. A shame my numpty towing 'skills' (term used loosely) resulted in a messy interaction between trailer hitch and bumper at one point, grovelling and apologetic emails to the VW press fleet administrator following in short order.

Mixing it with the exotica at PH Sunday Service
Mixing it with the exotica at PH Sunday Service
Transporters of all ages are very much the favoured transport for outdoorsy folk too and practise for a forthcoming mountain bike race at some local trails saw the VW being put to very good use indeed. The joy of just being able to sling bike(s) and gear into the back and have somewhere to get changed, chill out between runs and generally act the marketing stereotype is already being missed. Climbers, surfers, bikers, track day fanatics - there's a van-shaped space in your life for sure.

But what was it actually like for doing normal non van-like stuff then? Well, for all that prattling on about its on-road footprint being comparable with a large SUV there's no escaping it feels cumbersome when you need to park it. And though very luxurious and refined for a van - ours getting the Cab Comfort Pack with extra sound deadening - there's no escaping it still felt utilitarian compared with a similarly priced passenger car.

Crunch... "Hello, is that the VW press office?"
Crunch... "Hello, is that the VW press office?"
Double the goodness
Unladen, the twin-turbo, 180hp diesel makes it feel properly sprightly and it's an unexpectedly revvy engine too and very happy to spin into the 3s and 4s on the rev counter without feeling strained. Even a Caterham on the back didn't blunt its edge too much, though the trip computer's average dipped to the low 20s rather than the high 30s it usually recorded.

Gripes? The Kenwood nav/stereo was about the most fiddly, least user-friendly piece of kit I've ever had the misfortune to use. Why VW uses this rather than the regular OE touchscreen unit like the one in our Golf GTI astounds me, the flaky nav and absurdly complicated interface just two of its many annoyances. The only other moan was the weight of the seats when you remove them to go to full van mode - a two-man job really and a real faff if you don't have a garage to store them in.

VW and Caterham a perfect partnership!
VW and Caterham a perfect partnership!
but these are minor quibbles really and on its short stay with PistonHeads the Transporter more than earned its keep. Not least at our last Sunday Service where it provided a most useful mobile command centre for the PH team to coordinate the gate. And stash the very welcome (that's what's known as a hint...) chocolate-based offerings kindly donated by many attendees.


Car: 2012 VW Transporter Kombi Sportline T32 SWB 2.0-litre BiTDI 180 PS
Run by: Dan Trent
On fleet since: July
Mileage: 11,856
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 couple of weeks at a glance: Dan lives out the 'lifestyle' ... lifestyle

Previous reports:
Less than 24 hours into 'ownership' and the Transporter is loaded up and headed for France
White vans are the fastest thing on the road, right? This one looks like it ought to be...





Original Poster:

2,324 posts

101 months

Friday 3rd August 2012
quotequote all
Next week on PH Vans;

The Volkswagen Crafter 4 MOTION with four-wheel drive from Achleitner!



32,360 posts

209 months

Friday 3rd August 2012
quotequote all
Blag a camper next time biglaugh


3,017 posts

100 months

Friday 3rd August 2012
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£40k for a van

you would need to be foolish to piss that amount away on a van


3,029 posts

150 months

Friday 3rd August 2012
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Imagine most would be on the company, so not the end of the world...

I rented a standard van and was surprised with the decent stereo and air con. Vans have come along way! I've seen some very tastily modified ones lately.

missing the VR6

1,904 posts

114 months

Saturday 4th August 2012
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I have so much want for one of these, as a pretty keen mountain biker I really can see how one of these could be very very useful.


18,148 posts

180 months

Saturday 4th August 2012
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tbc said:
£40k for a van

you would need to be foolish to piss that amount away on a van
Agreed, if you wanted a van to actually do proper work with rather than a fashion accessory for posing.


180 posts

138 months

Saturday 4th August 2012
quotequote all
Just put a 2002 T4 2.5 888 Special (tailgate, captains chairs) back to about 8/10 condition and colour coded bumpers/mirrors and it owed me £4000. Looked great. The 2.5 is de-tuned, so with a remap and intercooler would go pretty well.

The new ones are a horrendous price, but if you had the money they are about as good as it gets. The VWs wear even better than Mercedes in my opinion and don't seem to rust like the Mercs.


3,408 posts

112 months

Saturday 4th August 2012
quotequote all
as much as I love them ... 40k is too steep for me for a van, and I am still dubious about the reaction to say turning up at a works meeting in one rather than something a bit more ubiquitous, esp considering I have recently bought an 05 Bentley Conty for more than £10k less than that (and I know there is no comparison but just thinking obtusely financial!)


618 posts

121 months

Saturday 4th August 2012
quotequote all
Not overly keen on the white with black wheels but each to his own.

I drive a Combi with steels. Much more subtle, but I would like some nice alloys.

Mine is a work van, so I don't have to pay anything but as far as vans go, I don't think transporters can be beat.

Mine is a 140bhp, 6 speed, cruise control, air con, CD with USB, electric folding mirrors, rear and side privacy glass. Its a combi with a 2/1 split removable seats which are heavy but I lift them in and out myself and I am 5'4 lol!

Perfect for camping, I am also a keen mountain biker.

PS I think this worked out at about 25-26k. I think it being a Kombi rather than an all out van adds alot to the price.

Mr Senna

1,034 posts

134 months

Saturday 4th August 2012
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I just sold my Sportline last night.

Tis a great bit of kit!


1,000 posts

79 months

Sunday 5th August 2012
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Got to love the T5 and don't worry about £40K. Many are wage earners on their first reg and are disposed of at relatively sensible rates from dealers or private. Proper as an MPV as it takes people and luggage. Also Dan, what things around the house have you been able to do with one of these in the family that you couldn't have done with more reptastic metal?


1,318 posts

80 months

Sunday 5th August 2012
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Ye'gads, that looks like Darth Vaders cod piece!
Sorry, but van culture just ain't my bag baby!

Dan Trent

1,807 posts

93 months

Sunday 5th August 2012
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The £40K is a bit of a red herring; clearly you can live this dream at any number of price points.

What did I gain from running that I couldn't have achieved in a 'civilian' MPV or SUV? Well, I guess it depends on your needs. Personally I regularly have need to carry as many bikes and folk as I can, both usually muddy, and it's just so liberating to not have to worry about messing up a fancy interior. Space to get changed and the rest is nice too. It meant I went for more rides while I had it so, for that particular part of my life, yes it made a quantifiable difference. Brill on the holiday too; again the amount of kit and flexibility it enabled was just fab. For a family I guess more so too. But, like I said in the main story, no escaping that away from all that it does feel a bit cumbersome. All depends what you need really but, for me, it was bang on. And the fact it looked cool, went well, was refined and comfy was just icing on the cake stuff.

Already missing it! And the Caterham too...


256 posts

116 months

Monday 6th August 2012
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I think it makes perfect sense which is why I've gone with the T4 camper conversion.
Lots of usable space, a comfy couch and a TV/ DVD player (can't justify the price tag for the T5 yet but I will have one when the prices drop).


325 posts

129 months

Monday 6th August 2012
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nothing like a sticker to fix a dent in the rear bumper wink


1,582 posts

128 months

Tuesday 21st May 2013
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A bit of a 6 month plus bump here but this looks to be a good deal?


I know it’s still a lot of money but I need to find a way to convince the wife.

The want of the DSG box is the only thing stopping me from getting a second-hand model, but even without it, there’re still enough money to put me in two minds on a new one.