The VW Transporter 4Motion Highline is the high-spec version of Volkswagen’s famed medium panel van, sitting above the entry-level Startline in the range. However, with an eye-watering £5,000 premium over the Startline, are all the extra gadgets and sophisticated styling cues worth the hefty price tag? Read our VW Transporter Highline review to find out.
VW Transporter Highline specification
There’s no denying that Volkswagen has lavished the Highline with a generous amount of kit. The image below shows the extra equipment that the Highline includes in addition to the Startline.
Exterior and appearance
The Highline certainly sets the tone from the outset. With its body-coloured bumpers, 16” alloy wheels and front fog lights, the Highline is immediately distinguished as the premium option in the range. Less obvious Highline upgrades to the untrained eye include front and rear parking sensors, front fog lights with cornering function and automatic headlights.
As with the rest of the VW Commercial Vehicle range, the cab design prioritises practicality over aesthetics. While it may lack the style of a Mercedes-Benz or even Ford, the interior is well appointed with a wide range of storage compartments – although most of these are open pockets and lack covering.
All Transporter cabs are relatively comfortable and practical with a 6.5” multifunction display, DAB+ radio, multi-function steering wheel and a driver’s armrest but the Highline spec goes a step further with climate control, a more premium ‘Bricks’ upholstery and adaptive cruise control although it still lacks electric seats.
Engine and driveline
Under the bonnet is VW’s famed EA189 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel engine which produces up to 204PS at 4,000rpm and up to 450Nm at between 1,400 and 2,250rpm – the most powerful guise in the Transporter van. The engine is hooked to the 7-speed DSG automatic transmission, which provides smooth and decisive gear changes.
Loading and towing
Behind the B-pillar at the business end of the vehicle, the VW Transporter hasn’t changed much since the T4 was introduced in 2003. We tested the short wheelbase version which boasts a generous load length of 2,572mm (large enough to fit 8×4 sheet lengthways), load width of 1,700mm (1,244mm between the wheelarches) and load height of 1,410mm.
The load area is accessed via a rear tailgate – unusual for a medium panel van – or a single side loading door. In terms of weights, Transporters have never been great for carrying weight and our T32 model (designating the 3,200kg gross vehicle weight) allows for a payload of just 1,126kg while the towing capacity for braked trailers is 2,200kg.
VW Transporter 4Motion price and ownership
Our demonstrator (VW Transporter T32 Highline SWB 2.0BiTDi 204PS 4Motion 7-Speed DSG) came in at a hefty £38,640 plus VAT although the Transporter boasts the best residual values of any panel van. In terms of aftersales, Volkswagen van owners are looked after by the reputable 70-strong ‘Van Centre’ dealer network and there is a 3-year, 100,000-mile warranty.
Read the full VW Transporter T6.1 review