VW Transporters what do I need to know?

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  • VW Transporters what do I need to know?
  • Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    if only there was a magazine that did a review of the 3 most popular vans for the purpose you mentioned ๐Ÿ˜‰

    sc-xc
    Member

    You’ll get T5 owners saying how great they are….

    …and everyone else will tell you to buy a Bongo/Transit/Vivaro/Traffic etc.

    My T5 is converted to a full camper, so no room for bikes inside, I can carry 5 people with belts though.

    As economical as our car, with lower VED thanks to some new Euro engine. Cheap insurance. Costs about ยฃ110 to fill the tank, I get about 550 miles with a heavy right foot.

    Nice to drive, the kids love it, we have had some great times in it. Could no doubt get an equally good non VW van for loads cheaper, but after owning a Bay a few years ago, I wanted a T5.

    Premier Icon tomd
    Subscriber

    The version with seats is called a Caravelle. I think you can take seats out to give you the large space in the back. You’d probably want the LWB version for 5 + kit.

    I’ve got a 1.9tdi T5 (104HP version) and it does 35-40mpg if that gives you an idea. There are 85HP 1.9 versions and 2.5l versions also. So it’s not cheap for doing high mileage but not ruinous either.

    sharkattack
    Member

    I can’t be bothered to go on and on about how great my T5 is again.

    But I can tell you that I do 60 miles a day for about 40-50 quid a week in diesel. This is in a 130bhp 2.5 turbo. Almost any other Transporter is less thirsty but the 6 speed box makes a massive difference at cruising speeds, with the option of quick and painless overtaking.

    Crell
    Member

    Nicer than a van = Caravelle / California
    Van with 5 / 6 seats = Kombi

    If you don’t just want “a van” your options are to buy a ‘velle (expensive) or buy a transporter and have it fitted out (marginally less expensive ๐Ÿ™‚ )
    If you want to sleep more than 2 you’ll want a pop-top roof as well (or an awning / tent).

    180 BiTDI gives me ~32 – 36 mpg on the motorway. 30 average.

    140 / 114 are quite a bit more economical.

    As for not worrying about racks, well I have a van with a rack. The rack just frees up more space to live / sleep in though there are some very good bike specific conversions out there.

    ElShalimo
    Member

    fwiw If you’re getting nearly new the Hyundai iLoad has a 5 yr warranty
    I’m sure that is best in class
    They do an i800 minibus style version too

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber

    You are after a combi (or Kombi for a vw).
    This will have a 2nd row of seats with additional windows, and then the remainder is normal van. This will seat 5 or 6, depending on whether you have captain seats at the front or not. Its a perfectly nice place to be imo.

    30something mpg depending on engine choice, your route and your right foot ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    There is a vw t5 forum…

    I miss my t5 a lot. Sold it to a family just like yours. It’s an estate car with benefits. Check the t5 forums to wade through the many options

    Sounds like a 5 seat Komi is where your heading but the combinations of seating, engines, gearboxes, doors can be a bit difficult to get through. Check the t5 forum, not here.

    Premier Icon Mark
    Subscriber

    Good Grief! Issue 88! Van test! T5 Kombi, Vito Sport & Custom Transit.
    No Really! ๐Ÿ™‚

    johnj2000
    Member

    I have a hankering for a big thing we can chuck the families bikes into and head off for a weekend without worrying abouts racks and extra luggage space. The VW from the outside looks great size wise but I am trying to understand what I will find when I open the rear doors.

    Is it just a van, do they do a version that gives you 5 seats and a massive space in the back that looks nicer than a van? Or do you basically take a van and pimp the inside?

    Also, I will probably have to use it to drive to work a few times a week which is an 80 mile round trip, is it going to guzzle the fuel?

    Any owners with knowledge it would be great to hear from you.

    Many thanks

    J

    Premier Icon rOcKeTdOg
    Subscriber

    Mark – Resident Grumpy
    Good Grief! Issue 88! Van test! T5 Kombi, Vito Sport & Custom Transit.
    No Really!

    If only someone had mentioned this earlier in the thread! (2nd post just in case you missed it….again) ๐Ÿ˜‰

    IHN
    Member

    I have a T5. A others have said, if you want what is basically a massive estate car (5 seats and huuuge ‘boot’ area), Kombi is the way to go. Personally, mine’s a camper conversion from Amdro which keeps a smaller boot area (but will still fit a couple of roady bikes or an MTB).

    You can either get a VW-made Kombi or buy a panel van and have it converted to a Kombi my many after-market converters.

    Also, I will probably have to use it to drive to work a few times a week which is an 80 mile round trip, is it going to guzzle the fuel?

    That’s what I do in a 1.9 108bhp TDI, you’re looking at around 37/38mpg assuming there’s a fair amount of motorway/dual carriageway. If it’s stop/start urbany type stuff then considerably worse (but then, it would be the same in a car).

    If you’re local-ish to Cirencester you’re welcome to have a look at mine.

    johnj2000
    Member

    Ok you smart arses up there ^^^ ๐Ÿ™‚ assuming the article in question covers the basics I was more after some real life experiences along with info on whether you can just buy off the shelf bike suitable or whether conversion is the way to go. Will check out issue 88 as well though thanks.

    Cheers for all the other info, bit of a mix of opinions on mpg so will have a look at the T5 forum wherever that may sit.

    johnj2000
    Member

    Thanks for the offer IHN but in Hampshire unfortunately

    Two things:

    I’m very sceptical about the fuel consumptions being bandied about above. I get about 29mpg on a long run in my T5. It’s a 2.5 56 reg LWB with a full conversion. Costs me about ยฃ160 to the gorms and back from Manc. Enough to put me off using it for that stuff.

    Also insurance. If you buy a ready kitted out one it makes the insurance much cheaper/easier than getting one converted afterwards.

    cheers

    Premier Icon ceepers
    Subscriber

    dont forget to consider a t4. i have a long wheel base, drives like a car, more than happy to cruise the length of france at 85. parking is fine unless its a real tiny carpark. The extra length inside makes a difference

    the engines go on for a long time, 100,000 miles is fine on a second hand one

    Inside wise, they are pretty flexible and it’s reasonably easy to fit one out yourself with basic diy and plywood for camping. buy a second hand rear seat and fit it then sort the rest yourself.

    of course depends how plush you want it to be. The caravelles and the factory camping ones are expensive and much less flexible for carrying stuff inside

    ps insuarance wise, ive always found tesco pretty good, lots of firms dont believe you can have a commercial vehicle for non commercial use.

    scuttler
    Member

    LWB won’t fit in a ‘normal’ parking space whereas SWB will park anywhere expect John Lewis in Sheffield (cos of the small spaces and abundance of mumtrux) although sliding doors simplify the process.

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber

    Kombi is suitable ‘off-the-shelf’ and there’s lots around to choose from.

    Some folk have fancy ways of restraining bikes, but I just lob it all in and use some bungees to stop them moving around. Plenty of restraining loops on the floor.

    You then have the engine choice, and I’m sure there’s lots to say on the T5 forum about this. Having been frustrated in hire vans before with sluggish engines, I went for the 174ps 2.5tdi engine and its got reasonable poke, even when loaded. Think this engine has been replaced with the one Crell has now on the t5.1s.

    IHN
    Member

    I’m very sceptical about the fuel consumptions being bandied about above. I get about 29mpg on a long run in my T5. It’s a 2.5 56 reg LWB with a full conversion.

    Every time I’ve done a fuel consumption calculation (tank fill to tank fill, so over about 600 miles) I’ve got between 36 and 38mpg. I’ve ot done it that often, mind, but often enough to get believably consistent figures.

    Also insurance. If you buy a ready kitted out one it makes the insurance much cheaper/easier than getting one converted afterwards.

    There are plenty of brokers and companies who’ll insure after-market and self-conversions. Adrian Flux is who I’ve used for years and they’re reasonably priced.

    If you’re buying an off the shelf Kombi, I’d imagine you’ll have your choice of price comparison sites.

    You then have the engine choice, and I’m sure there’s lots to say on the T5 forum about this.

    My 108bhp 1.9 has poke enough for me. It’s not fast, but it’s not sluggish either. It is (in most other respects too) like driving a pretty bog-standard car.

    Premier Icon ceepers
    Subscriber

    @scuttler

    i dont agree, i’ve driven a LWB for 10 years and ive never failed to park it in a space, sometimes it does require a litlle bit of manouvering i grant you but not enough to put me off having one

    Premier Icon ChrisI
    Subscriber

    We love our T5. Ours is a 2010 180BiTDi and as above get somewhere around mid 30’s MPG cruising for most of its life. We took a standard panel van and fitted it out as a camper so no rear space for bikes, we use a towbar rack. Cabin wise, its the same as a mid-spec VW car really, nice place to be, not the nicest but at the end of the day its a van! If you can get a post 2010 then it has the newer Euro5 engines with better MPG and lower tax, and also 6sp is well worth it.

    scuttler
    Member

    @ceepers

    I stand corrected. Cali Beach owner here and it fits snugly (as in I wouldn’t want it to be any bigger).

    Scamper
    Member

    We have a fully converted facelift 2010 2.0 105hp tdi. Normal driving its 37-38 mpg, but being careful I’ve had 40 plus which equated to something silly like 700 miles plus to the tank. Insurance was less than our car which was nice and included unlimited mileage or time abroad. Quite nice and relaxing to drive out on the main roads, but it is still a van so a bit lumpy around town. Turning circle is better than my Passat Estate and the footprint seems no bigger.

    Premier Icon mattbee
    Subscriber

    I have a swb 1.9 84 hp with a full width r@r bed in the back. Bikes sit just behind the front seats held by bungee cord. Can get 4 bikes and people in it or of I use the rack on the tow bar 5 of each.
    A full tank from light on costs me around ยฃ120 and I get 560-580 miles from that, mix of town and motorway. Not caning it but not driving like a nun either.
    A shuttle or Cali with the removable rear seats would be ideal for you, seat 6 with a boot or take some/all back seats out to give a bigger load space for fewer people. Can get the multiplex board to convert rear seats into a bed too, whoch also gives you a ‘parcel shelf’ over load space behind seats.
    Head to the T5 forum for biased but still useful info on all the different options.
    I’m in Hants too if you want a nose at mine, although the layout may not be what you are after. X

    Premier Icon ceepers
    Subscriber

    @scuttler

    to be fair, i dont live in a city, it’s small town and rural driving mostly

    strike
    Member

    Are you certain you want a Transporter?

    I’d be considering the Hyundai van or the Vauxhall Vivaro.

    Premier Icon colp
    Subscriber

    I have a Vito Dualiner extra long 120CDi with the comfort pack, which gives you a nicely lined boot area etc. I can fit 7 fully built up bikes in the back stood up, just roll them straight in, 5 seats with loads of legroom, a coolbox between the front seats, auto box, cruise control, after an economy remap it does around 32mpg pretty much everywhere, but does 0-60 in around 8 secs if you need it to. Absolutely love it.
    Will never go back to a car.

    balfa
    Member

    IHN How do you like your Amdro conversion? I like the look of them and have been considering one myself. Did you do the conversion yourself? If so how easy was it? I take it only one mtb realistically fits in the SWB version?

    there are some very good bike specific conversions out there

    Only one I can think of is the Amdro. Anyone care to suggest any others?

    IHN
    Member

    I’m properly impressed with it. Did it myself, wasn’t difficult, but took quite a while. I put the windows in myself too, which in hindsight I wouldn’t do again as it was quite a level of faff.

    It’s really well put together, we spent 6 months living in it around Europe with no problems.

    You’ll only get one mtb in the boot if you just remove the front wheel, if you took both wheels off you might get two, I’ve never tried it. We tend to stock mine in the boot and hers in the back.

    Again, if you’re anywhere near Cirencester you’re welcome to have a look.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Nothing to add about transporters but anyone saying to look at iload or i800 needs hearing checked,

    What a noisy bucket.

    Premier Icon Yak
    Subscriber

    johnj2000 – I’m near you (I think). You’re welcome to come and have a look. Email in profile.

    johnj2000
    Member

    Thanks everyone, that’s a lot to think about. The only negative so far is the mpg as I currently get 50+ from the car so quite an investment both in purchase and running costs.

    Matt and Yak thanks for the offers and will drop you a line if the money adds up.

    jond
    Member

    As a VW alternative, there’s the Caddy Maxi – if you want a second row of seats, the Kombi or Window van, if you want 3 rows (7 seats) the Maxi Life – rear bench is removable, middle seats are 2+1, both fold. I think you need 2011 or later to get a removeable middle row – mine’s 2012. Various enterprising souls on the caddy2k forum have added a second row to a standard maxi van, but that doesn’t get you around the commercial limit (likewise a kombi *conversion* of a t4/t5 still has the commercial speed limit)

    Think I’m getting 520-550 miles to ยฃ80 of diesel (tho’ more of that is fast aroad), that’s on the little 1.6tdi. Might benefit from being lowered a little, Maxi Life seems to ride somewhat higher than the bog standard maxis.

    Main downside with the i800 AFAIA is you need to unbolt the seats, whereas the Maxi (and a factory/decent T* conversion they ought to come out easily) – it’s midway between a SWB and LWB transporter by comparison.

    There’s a fair bit of discussion on the brick-yard forum about t5 fragility/issues, dunno how the lot on the t4/5forum find it.

    Premier Icon johnnystorm
    Subscriber

    My T5 is awesome and I wish I hadn’t fannied around with getting an estate car. It gets similar mpg to the saab 1.9tid it replaces albeit with less power, not that I care. 5 seater kombi is nicer place to be than a full cramped car. Another thing to consider is that I bet a full van returns better mpg than a car with a rack on it. Spookily I get about 36-37 mpg and find t5 easier to fit into a space than the saab as its the same footprint but with massive mirrors and a better view out. I was going to get a runabout but the van isn’t the hassle around town I expected.

    I’m not ashamed to say that I picked up a hyundai brochure but really, it was never going to happen.

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Here you go, get stuck in …..

    http://www.vwt4forum.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=147

    Jond has it, caddy maxi Kombi for me next, that’s coming from a 220 bhp swb Kombi which was absolutely brilliant.

    Hob Nob
    Member

    As a former T5 & then 5.5 Kombi owner, vans certainly do have their uses. I did a lot of miles in our 5, and apart from routine maintenance it was solid as a rock. Had it for 4 years and it got taken all over Europe and the UK for riding and racing.

    Same with the 5.5 – only ran it for just over 12 months, but it was again, reliable & it served a purpose.

    However – despite being the most ‘car like’ van i’ve driven of its size, it’s certainly not car like. The bench is unpleasant for passengers on long journeys, it’s a lot noiser (Kombi was better – more soundproofing?) both rattled & squeeked, even with the a/c maxed out it struggles in the heat, etc etc.

    A half decent estate is a much nicer place to be.

    john_l
    Member

    08 plate Kombi here. 104ps model re-mapped by Pendle to 138 & getting between 33-38mpg on a run with cruise set at 75. Could really do with a 6th gear, but it’s really nice to drive & quick for a big metal box.

    Lined & carpeted by me, lowered, alloys etc. You WILL want to do that ๐Ÿ˜€ Watch out for insurance if you do – the main providers won’t touch it, but there’s plenty of competitive specialist agents like Adrian Flux

    Rear seats are easily removed, even with them in I can get 4 bikes & kit plus 4 people. (2+2). Love it.

    IHN
    Member

    Lined & carpeted by me, lowered, alloys etc. You WILL want to do that

    Or leave the original ride height, tyres and steel wheels and not care about potholes, knackered tracks to campsites/ride starts, kerbs… ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Premier Icon rickmeister
    Subscriber

    Hard to believe this is a STW van thread on page 2, without pictures…

    trail_rat
    Member

    For every well modified transporter theres at least 5 bad looking ones ,

    I seem to collect photos of the bad ones on my phone , saw quite a few with bike racks on and british plates in alpe dhuez last year , i dare not post phots for fear of upsetting the locals but if your t4 is (mostly where it hasnt peeled off) nissan orange with lexus lights – you provided much needed entertainment at the top.

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