Well, the new T6.1 facelift for the current 6th generation VW Transporter has been launched, with vehicles arriving late 2019/early 2020. So, what are the differences and what do you get for your money?
Our current VW based Kampa SE model is based on the Highline specification Transporter because it gives you all the bells and whistles you expect on a modern car, so why not have them when you have a campervan! So, for this installation of the Jobl Design Blog I am going to concentrate on this trim spec. As an aside, if you don’t know, for a very long time the Transporter has been available in 3 trim specs, the Startline, the Trendline and the Highline. For the new T6.1 they have done away with the Trendline trim spec, so you can only have the Startline or the Highline. Basically, either a works van with plastic bumpers and few creature comforts (although the Startline has gained quite a bit over the T6 version) or a modern car spec van with all the bells and whistles.
Lets start with the outside, as it is the first thing you will see! Looks are very much a subjective thing, but I think the T6.1 is a handsome beast. Some people are saying they don’t like it, but I remember people saying they didn’t like the T6 when it can out, but they still sold in their droves. The rear is pretty much as it was with the addition of some new taillights. The front end has had a complete makeover with new everything. It has new twin H7 bulbed headlights (yay the terrible H4s are gone), a new front bumper with a wide, sleek new lower grill and some extra little styling moulding in front of the repositioned side repeaters (can someone hurry up and make the inevitable aftermarket mouldings with that can be personalised). So, in all, a fresh new look that will no doubt be enhanced and individualised with the swathes of aftermarket parts that will appear in the next 6-12 months.
The cab has also had a re-fresh with a ‘semi-comfort dash’ as standard by the gear selector, a new sharper styled top dash, the same styling make over on the door cards and a sharper looking steering wheel. This is not revolution, but evolution and again I think it looks much more modern and car like than the T6. Another tick in the box.
Spec wise all the T6.1s get App Connect for seamless smart phone integration, new electromechanical speed sensitive steering (to help reduce the emissions), cross wind assist (coz they can with the fancy new steering tech) and an integrated eSim that allows thing like eCall and We Connect to operate. eCall is a safety feature that will automatically send the vehicles location to an emergency response centre following a collision. It will then establish a voice connection to the van and if you do not respond eCall will automatically inform the emergency services. Which if nifty.
On the Highline trim spec vehicle the bells and whistles that come as standard have increased over the T6 model. The new additions include power fold wing mirrors that can be operated from the key fob, front parking sensors in addition to the rears and Adaptive Cruise Control.
On the options list there are a few safety based gadgety tick boxes that you can choose as well. The Traffic Sign Recognition system uses a camera to look for traffic signs (speed limits, danger signs etc) and warns the driver on the dash display, which could save some speeding tickets. The Active Lane Assist which uses a camera mounted near the rear-view mirror to monitor your lane position and will gently correct the steering if you drift across the lane. Park Assist is a personal favourite, as it will parallel and perpendicular park the vehicle for you, taking control of all steering functions and you only have to operate the accelerator and brake. I am an awesome parallel parker, but I do love
a gimmick! The final item of note on the options list is a Manual DPF Regeneration, that will put a stop to driving up and down the motorway at 60mph in 3rd gear to clear a DPF warning light.
In conclusion, the T6.1 is a more modern looking vehicle (in my humble opinion) with some excellent new safety features and some extra gadgets. VW have taken the 6th generation Transporter up a level and who isn’t going to enjoy locking their camper and the wing mirrors automatically folding up?
We have the first batch of T6.1 vans arriving with us in January, so will be displaying one on our stand at the NEC Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show in February 2020. See you there.