Volkswagen Transporter Sportline Van Review
Facts At A Glance
ENGINES:2.5-litre TDI PD 172bhp
PAYLOAD CAPACITY:795kg – 1,245kg
LOAD LENGTH: 2,543mm- 2,943mm
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: ABS,traction control, driver’s airbag.
VolkswagenTranSporter Sport Line Van - ATRANSPORTER WITH EXTRA SPORT
If You’re Put Off By The Blandness Of Bog-Standard Panel Vans, Volkswagen have The Answer In The Shape Of Their Extrovert Transporter Sportline.
Whenimages of Volkswagen’s Transporter Sportline first appeared in ouroffice, they attracted an unusual amount of interest. If the Sportlinewas an Italian supercar or the latest Japanese rally replica, a certainamount of fuss would have been par for the course but it isn’t, it’s apanel van. The reason why this comparatively unassuming vehicle caughtthe imagination quite so readily will be immediately clear to anyonewho lived out their misspent youth during the mid to late 1980s.
Deckedout in Diamond Black paint with 18-inch alloys, roof spoiler and chromeside rails, the Transporter Sportline is a dead-ringer for the A-Teamvan.
Allthat’s missing is a red stripe down the Transporter Sportline’s flanksand it truly would be the modern day equivalent of the 1983 GMCG-Series van that Hannibal, BA, Face and ‘Howling Mad’ Murdoch madefamous in the A-Team TV series. The youngsters who watched The A-Teamon its first airing all those years ago (regular re-runs can still befound on satellite TV channels) will now have grown-up and may well bein one of the numerous professions where a practical panel van like theTransporter would be just the ticket. It’s reasonable to assume that agood few of them will warm to the idea of heading out to work eachmorning in a vehicle similar to that in which the A-Team survived assoldiers of fortune in the Los Angeles underground, avoiding theunwanted attentions of Colonel Decker’s military police.
Evenif you have no recollection or interest in the A-Team, there’s a goodcase for taking a closer look at the Transporter Sportline. A company’scommercial vehicles act as an extension of its public image and thosewanting to project a youthful, dynamic persona to the world at largemay have found their ideal van. The standard Transporter exterior isjazzed-up considerably by the Sportline special edition features. Atthe front, there’s a chunky spoiler and two (count-‘em) chrome grilleswith the bumper and spoiler ensemble fully body-coloured. The mirrorsand door handles are also body-coloured while the back end benefitsfrom a roof spoiler and impressive-looking ‘Sportline’ badging. Chromeside rails span the lower edge of the van between wheelarches which arefilled admirably by 18" Borbet five spoke alloy wheels shod with lowprofile all-weather tyres. The whole package is then given a moreaggressive stance by the inclusion of Eibach suspension springs whichdrop the ride height by 30mm.
"Volkswagenhave thrown the options list at the Transporter Sportline"
Lookingat a well-stocked equipment list like this, you may have to stop everyso often and remind yourself that this is a panel van we’re talkingabout. Inside, there’s more of the same with electric heated doormirrors, electric windows, air-conditioning, a CD stereo, remotecentral locking, leather trim, a Sportline gearshift cap and a driver’sarm rest.
TheTransporter Sportline is available in short or long wheelbase form,creating load lengths of 2,543mm and 2,943mm respectively. Bothversions are powered by Volkswagen’s 172bhp 2.5-litre TDI diesel enginewhich endows them with strong performance characteristics. The enginedevelops its peak torque of 400Nm from just 2,000rpm making theTransporter quick off the line and surprisingly unfazed by heftypayloads. The 0-62mph sprint takes 12.2s and there’s a 117mph top speedbut fuel economy remains at a manageable level where owners can expectin excess of 40mpg on the open road.
Givenwhat you’re actually getting in the Transporter Sportline package, youwouldn’t expect it to be cheap and it isn’t. You’ll pay just over£21,000 for the short wheelbase model and £500 more for the extracapacity of the long wheelbase. It’s a hefty sum for a businesses tofind when you consider the prices of more ordinary panel vans butVolkswagen are confident that the vehicle’s road presence and car-likespecification will secure its popularity. The target customers are userchoosers who want something more distinctive than your typical panelvan or else surfers, skiers and trailbikers who want to move theirequipment from place to place in a bit of style.
We’vetouched on the standard Transporter’s less than inspiring outwardappearance which the Sportline successfully addresses but insidethere’s a real touch of class about the place that the Sportlineinherits. Drivers will be pleased to find a raft of storage options forodds or ends, including a lockable glovebox, and the whole ambience hasthat distinct air of Volkswagen quality. The gearstick sprouts from thecentre console, as is the fashion at the moment and it falls nicely tohand. As do the controls on the gently sloping facia which are simpleto pick out and manipulate without diverting attention from the roadahead. You could easily be in a people carrier from the top of theVolkswagen passenger car Range, such is the refinement and simplicityof the cabin.
Goodthough the Volkswagen Transporter’s interior is, the crowning glory inthis van’s make-up has to be its performance on the road. Even withouta load onboard to appease the heavy-duty suspension, the ride isexemplary and the steering is perfectly weighted. The squeaks, creaks,rattles or hums that seem to creep into commercial vehicles have beensuccessfully banished and the engine noise is noticeably wellsuppressed. There’s a solidity about the T5 Transporter suggestingthat, like its predecessor, this model will run and run.
Volkswagenhave thrown the options list at the Transporter Sportline and theresult is one of the most distinctive panel vans officially availablein the UK. The standard Transporter base vehicle is a highly competentvan but it certainly isn’t one of the more exciting offerings to lookat in the sector. What this Sportline derivative does quitesuccessfully is inject a little visual dynamism that should help theTransporter glean sales from more attractively-styled models like theVauxhall Vivaro and Mercedes Vito. The A-Team famously loved it when aplan came together and Volkswagen will be hoping that Sportline gets asimilarly positive result in the marketplace.