Feast your eyes on the 2016 Volkswagen Transporter, also known as Caravelle, Multivan and Transpoter — depending on spec and market. The lineup of vans represents the sixth iteration of the infamous VW van, which is known internally at VW as the T6. We’ve already somewhat seen a glimpse of the 2016 VW T6 in the Tristrar concept that VW showed off last year, along with whatever was brought along by this rendering. But the official unveiling, which took place at an event in Amsterdam on April 16th, shows the real thing.
The sixth-generation Transporter maintains the traditional boxy look that takes a more evolutionary approach to redesigning the iconic van. In fact, VW openly admits that the shape of the van was “modernized cautiously.” Even so, the changes make the van a more handsome version of its predecessor thanks to such subtle design elements as creases in the hood and a front fascia that does a better job integrating the headlamps. And, as we’ve come to understand with the likes of the Porsche 911, evolutionary is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, why mess with success?
Under its new metal skin, the T6 rides on an updated version of the chassis that currently underpins the T5. The cabin of the T6 doesn’t stray too far from the Tristar concept, which previewed a clean, fresh interior design that looked quite ready for production. Other than a few minimal tweaks, we expect the T6 to feature a very similar interior design scheme.
In overhauling the Transporter for the sixth generation, VW’s biggest goal was to improve fuel economy. The automaker has accomplished just that, as the sixth-gen Transporter sports an average 15 percent improvement in fuel consumption across the lineup. This is mostly due to standard stop/start functionality, as the engine range includes a 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder available in 83-, 101-, 148- and 201-horsepower variants. There’s also VW’s infamous 2.0-liter gasoline-burning four-banger with either 148 or 201 horses.
Outside of fuel economy, VW also wanted to create a safer, more comfortable van. The T6 is available with such comfort-inducing features as adjustable shocks, adaptive cruise control, a power tailgate and VW’s City Assist Braking system. The latter can automatically bring the van to a stop from under 19 mph. Meanwhile, the Driver Alert System monitors the driver’s behavior behind and recommends taking a break when appropriate.
Just as it did with the T5, VW will offer the vehicle in a variety of capacities — from the business-oriented cargo-hauling Transporter to the people-moving Multivan and the mixed-use Caravelle. The Multivan continues to top the range and receives VW’s attractive Generation Six special edition model, pictured above. Based on the Multivan Comfortline, the special edition brings a host of standard features such as LED headlights, chrome trim, and Alcantara seats. The retro, two-tone paint is optional.
Customers will be able to find the sixth-gen Transporter and its variants in Volkswagen showrooms across Europe later on in 2015, with the range carrying a base price of 23,035 euros ($27,000). Unfortunately, VW currently has no plans to bring the Transporter to the United States. But if it were ever possible for VW Commercial Vehicles to officially bring the storied van to the States, now would be the time.