What do you get when you strip all the luxuries from a VW Caravelle and then, umm, put some of them back again? Tada… this new Transporter Kombi!
You should know: The Volkswagen T6.1 / bus model planning strategy is surely not that simple, but I like to think that some inspiration was drawn from people like my buddy Twosocks (nope, no idea). A couple of years ago he helped a friend to retrofit all sorts of goodies – and windows – to a decidedly affordable T5 Crewbus.
More info: So instead of dragging the locally legendary “Kombi” name any further from its original ethos, VW of SA simply came up with this posh/er version of their T6.1 Transporter range. The highlights? Low-boost TDi engines, normal alloys and tyres, manual sliding doors, hard-wearing rubber mats and a decidedly upmarket vinyl seat covering.
What else? The result is truly astounding, not just in ZAR savings, for a fully-grown Caravelle will set you back at least 1.2 bar. Breathe. Breathe! The most expensive Kombi is around 930k, while this mid-spec (110kW single-turbo diesel FWD Trendline) currently retails for R770,200. Go for the pap 81kW derivative and you’ll save another 30k.
There is another distinct advantage of ordering this lesser-powered box on wheels: smoother response. Yeah, sure, it won’t do nought to one hundred in eight comma voetsek, but I absolutely detested the mix of lethargy and savagery in the 146kW Bi-TDi Caravelle we tested earlier this year.
This Transporter is easier and more predictable to pilot.
Why you shouldn’t: Hey, that’s a tough one, actually. Besides the initial purchase price – which applies to 95% of all new vehicles in southern Africa – I have very little to caution you about. Umm, it’s quite large and can be tricky to park? Actually, it has a great turning radius and as long as you get some park beepers or cameras, you’ll be fine.
Why you should: This VW bus is a proper descendent of the original Kombi. No fancy frills, no expensive leather or multi-zone lighting, it’s just a big ol’ bus with an easy-care interior. Chuck in the kids, bring the dogs, pick up granny and head into the countryside! Just not too far… this is a 2WD version after all.
|Engine:||2L i-4 turbo-diesel|
|Transmission:||7-speed DCT, FWD|
|Avg. cons.:||Claimed 6.6|
|0-100km/h:||12.02 (claimed 12)|
|Top Speed:||Claimed 182km/h|